A perfectly sweet and tart vegan lemon cake made with olive oil and frosted with a powdered sugar glaze. This is bound to be your new favorite dessert!

vegan lemon cake on a wire rack

Well, the obsession with lemon desserts continues! Like I’ve mentioned before, I am HERE for everything chocolate, boozy, and sweet, but there is just something about lemon desserts that always keeps me coming back for another slice. Maybe it’s a mix of a sweet treat mixed with that tart tang of lemon, making me feel like I’m eating something refreshing and healthy-ish, even when it’s vegan lemon cake. 

Whatever it is, I’m not stopping anything soon, and if you are a lemon lover like me, you shouldn’t either. Fun fact: I used to suck on lemons as a child, so maybe that’s where my weird love for lemon comes from? Who knows!

slices of vegan lemon cake on plates

This vegan lemon cake has been about 6 months in the making and I just happened to try it one more time this past weekend. Back before Thanksgiving, I spent a whole Saturday trying to nail down the recipe for this lemon cake, each time getting slightly closer, but not quite there. One cake turned out like a big pan of lemon curd, another was flat as a pancake, and the last one overflowed, thanks to my overzealous measuring of the baking soda. Lesson learned, sometimes you just need to let it be and come back to a recipe!

I think sometimes I have such a stranglehold on making a recipe that I end up trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole at a certain point. For example, I tried for these doughnuts three times in one weekend, each time getting even further away from what I wanted them to be. I eventually gave up, came back to them 2 weeks later, and they turned out perfectly on the first try. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow when it comes to baking!

slice of vegan lemon cake on a plate

How to make vegan lemon cake

This vegan lemon cake looks absolutely gorgeous thanks to the glaze that’s poured on top, but it’s secretly one of the easiest cakes to make! To make the olive oil cake batter, you just have to whisk together some almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice), olive oil, vanilla, sugar, and the lemon juice and zest. Then add in the dry ingredients and stir to combine, making sure not to overwork the batter.

Bake your vegan lemon cake in a 350ºF oven until the top begins turning a light golden brown. You can also test the doneness of your cake by pressing your finger gently into the center of it—if the cake immediately springs back, it’s ready to be taken out! You must wait to glaze the cake until it’s fully cooled. I know waiting sucks, but if you try to glaze the cake while it’s still warm, the glaze will run everywhere and your cake will probably turn to mush.

vegan lemon cake with vanilla glaze

Tips for making this vegan lemon cake

I would watch your baking time on this vegan lemon olive oil cake very closely! I think I overbaked the last batch and it turned out slightly dry and crumbly. I kept mine right around 25 minutes and it was perfect, but check it at 20 minutes and go from there, your oven might run hotter than mine.

Also, I think you could totally swap out the lemon for orange or grapefruit, whatever citrus tickles your fancy. I can’t attest to this, but I think a grapefruit version would be perfect for the winter!

slice of vegan lemon cake

More vegan cake recipes on Heart of a Baker:

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A perfectly sweet and tart vegan lemon olive oil cake! Frosted with a powdered sugar glaze, this cake is bound to be your new favorite lemon dessert.

Vegan Lemon Cake

  • Author: Abby Bayatpour
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A perfectly sweet and tart vegan lemon cake made with olive oil and frosted with a powdered sugar glaze. This is bound to be your new favorite dessert!


Ingredients

For the lemon cake:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon zest and juice (I used 1 large lemon, but this would equate to 2 small lemons too)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the powdered sugar glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons almond milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan. Trace a parchment paper circle and line the bottom of the pan. Grease the parchment paper as well.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk, olive oil, vanilla, sugar and lemon juice/zest.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Transfer the flour mixture to the bowl with the almond milk mixture and whisk until batter is combined.
  4. Transfer batter to the greased cake pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
  5. While cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar and almond milk in a small bowl. After cake has fully cooled (don’t do this while it’s still warm!), pour the glaze over the top of the cake.
  6. Serve. Store in a covered container for up to 5 days.

Keywords: vegan lemon cake, olive oil cake