This lemon poppyseed cake is so moist, fluffy, and full of lemon flavor, you won’t believe it is vegan! Topped with a dairy free cream cheese frosting, it’s made without eggs, without milk, and without butter!
Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Cake
We love our healthy lemon recipes around here. Our favorites include lemon loaf, lemon cake, and this healthy lemon poppyseed cake.
This truly is the BEST lemon poppy seed cake. Why? It’s secretly healthy! Like seriously, we have been eating slice after slice for breakfast.
It’s completely vegan and gluten free, and there are instructions included to make it keto and low carb.
The texture of this poppy seed cake is incredible- Moist, fluffy, and with a tender crumb. Taste wise, it’s sweet, tangy and LOADED with lemon flavor. Topped with a creamy frosting, you will be obsessed!
Ingredients to make a lemon poppyseed cake
The Ingredients listed and amounts indicated yield a single layer cake with frosting. If you’d like to make a layer cake, simple double or triple the ingredients. Bake them in 2 or 3 8-inch cake pans.
- All purpose flour– Sift your flour carefully, to ensure there are no clumps. If you’d like this cake to also be gluten free, be sure to use gluten free baking flour (a gluten free flour with added xanthan gum).
- Sweetener of choice– White sugar or a white sugar substitute is best, like monk fruit sweetener. You can use brown sugar or coconut sugar, but your cake will be darker.
- Salt– A must to bring out the sweetness!
- Baking soda– Leavening agent that reacts with the vinegar to replicate the eggs.
- Poppy seeds– A must for a lemon poppy seed cake!
- Vinegar– White vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cake recipe!
- Oil of choice– Use a neutral flavored oil, like canola oil, vegetable oil, or refined coconut oil.
- Lemon juice– Gives a delicious tangy flavor throughout.
- Water– Mixes everything together.
- Yellow food coloring– Optional, but gives the lemon poppy seed cake a gorgeous yellow color.
How to make a healthy lemon poppyseed cake
Start by mixing together your dry ingredients. Next, add the rest of your ingredients, except for your food coloring. Mix well, until combined. Add 2-3 drops yellow food coloring, and mix until incorporated. Transfer the cake batter into an 8-inch cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely, before frosting.
Easy Frosting Ideas
- Cashew cream cheese– Ultra creamy and thick, and made with no dairy or refined sugar.
- Cream cheese frosting– The recipe used as pictured in this recipe.
- Powdered sugar– Mix powdered sugar with water or milk, until desired consistency is reached.
Can I make lemon poppy seed muffins?
If you’d like to make this cake as healthy lemon poppy seed muffins, you can easily do that by making the following changes-
- Line a 12-count muffin tin with muffin liners. Distribute the batter amongst the 12-muffin pans.
- Bake the muffins for 17-19 minutes, or until a skewer comes out ‘just’ clean.
- Let the muffins cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes, before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, frost them.
Can I make this low carb?
To make a keto lemon poppy seed cake, use these ingredients and instructions below.
The ingredients– 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 4 large eggs.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and whisk until fully combined and a smooth batter remains. Transfer to a loaf pan, cake pan or square pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool in the cake pan until cool, before frosting.
Tips to make the best cake
- Do not overbake the poppy seed cake, as it will continue to cook as it is cooling. Once a toothpick comes out ‘just’ clean, remove it from the oven.
- Oven makes and models differ. Some may find their cake ready after 30 minutes, or longer. Do the toothpick or skewer test to check!
- Your lemon poppy seed cake must be cooled before frosting. Otherwise, you risk the frosting slipping off.
- For a gluten free lemon poppy seed cake, be sure to use gluten free baking flour.
- For a more pronounced lemon flavor, sub out some of the milk for extra lemon juice.
How to store the cake
- To store: Leftover vegan lemon poppy seed cake should always be kept in a sealable container and stored in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 2 weeks.
- To freeze: Place leftover slices of cake in a container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More easy vegan cake recipes
Lemon Poppyseed Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar white or sugar free substitutes * See notes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon vinegar white or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoon oil vegetable, canola, or any neutral flavored oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup water
- 1-2 drops yellow food coloring
- 1/2 cup cream cheese frosting
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Add your wet ingredients, except for the yellow food coloring. Mix everything together. Add your yellow food coloring, and mix until incorporated.
- Transfer the cake batter into the lined pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely, before frosting.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.
You know if you make that lemony pucker face too often, your face will freeze in that shape. Just sayin’. But I’m also saying that I want this lemon poppyseed cake like you wouldn’t believe right now! Your mum is a genius for this one. She invented lemon poppyseed cake AND she makes amazing Indian food. 🙂
My mum’s real name is….GOD.
I’ve heard of secret menus at fast food places but honestly the combinations in there don’t sound all that good. This cake though, sounds amazing! I am totally a fan of lemon poppyseed, or anything lemon really. Great idea Arman!
Thanks Ellie! Enjoy!
Love lemon poppyseed and it’s been on my list of things to make. Looks like you nailed this and I’m drooling over that frosting!
Thanks so much, Michele!
I will never get tired of Arman’s family stories and conversations. Honestly. Can you an Niki (and your Mom) create a YouTube channel? Please. I am unemployed and need good entertainment.
Also: ‘my inner lemon has come out to frolick and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. ‘ – now you know my yearslong relationship to my inner egg.
LOL. Can we seriously? Keeping up with the Per-dashians.
Come back to Australia. I’m heading over in April, you can be adopted. The white child my mum never had.
Woweeeeee. I love lemon poppyseed cake! That was the kind of muffin I wanted (after blueberry) when I was a kid.
My parents make fun of me for liking sriracha and wasabi these days because I would literally CRY if one morsel of wasabi made it onto my sushi and I hated spicy foods when I was little. Now, you can find sriracha on my face/literally in my backpack.
Really?! Such gourmet tastebuds.
Sriracha in your eyes too? 🙂
I must save every single one of your dessert remakes haha. This one I can’t wait to try out and share! We love lemon poppyseed muffins and the added frosting makes it sound amazing!
Haha thanks so much, Hilary!
I’m going to try it this week! Can I use pb instead of almond butter? Also, can I use regular milk instead of dairy free? I’m just trying to use what I have in my pantry. 🙂 Thanks so much!
Hi Stephanie! You sure can- Although the peanut butter comes out much more evident! 🙂
I’m pretty obsessed with lemons or any tart citrus. This look so yummy! Panera used to have a secret menu, but I don’t know if they have it any more. Seemed kind of silly to me, especially since it was on their website.
LOL. I just spat water on my screen. So much for it being secret!
So many options! It’s like choose your own adventure… cake edition! Looks delish 🙂
Thank you, Emma!
iIn the winter I go for all things chocolate but in the spring I start to gravitate to all things citrus! This could not come at a more perfect time as spring is approaching. If only the weather would behave with the seasons!!!
Right? It was like a thunderstorm yesterday and then boiling hot the day before. WHY LOS ANGELES
That frosting looks amazing! This reminds me of Spring and I am so ready for Spring to arrive!
Right? I’m abit over Winter!
I love lemon poppyseed and you just reminded me of that. Now I must have it immediately.
Okay so I said I was going to try your blueberry cake but since I have a huge bag of poppyseeds sitting around [and taking up valuable space] this will come first. Also because you got me craving poppyseed anything. I could usually do without lemon but I’m willing to try the combination here.
Also, yes, I’ve heard of secret menues – namely Starbucks’ – but since there’s no store close to where I live haven’t tried anything off them yet.
Please do- You’ll enjoy it!
I need to put poppy seeds on my list because this cake has me salivating! I don’t quite get the “flourless” description, though, if you use oats ground into flour or coconut flour.
Hello Linda! 🙂
No worries at all- In my recipes I’ve made oats not considered a flour based on their original source- As for the paleo one, that one is touted as grain free.
I’m so excited you set up a shop page! I’ve been wanting to get the Norbu sweetener that I’ve been seeing everywhere and have tried in baked goodies! 😛 This lemon cake looks to die for BTW–I LOVE poppy seeds but I’d probably get opiate-high if I eat too much1
YES! Please do check it out!