Vegan Lemon Cake


5 from 642 votes
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This vegan lemon cake recipe is moist, fluffy, and LOADED with lemon flavor! Sweet and tangy, this cake uses just one bowl and takes 5 minutes to prepare!

vegan lemon cake.

One of my all-time favorite kinds of desserts is one involving lemon. After making my lemon loaf and lemon olive oil cake on repeat, I’ve been looking to add another vegan lemon dessert to my repertoire.

Table of Contents
  1. Why you’ll love this recipe
  2. How to make vegan lemon cake
  3. Tips and tricks
  4. Storage instructions
  5. Frequently asked questions
  6. Vegan Lemon Cake

Why you’ll love this recipe

If you’ve never made a vegan cake before, this vegan lemon cake recipe is the one you MUST try first. It’s a dessert our family have been enjoying for years, thanks to the lemon tree in the backyard!

  • It uses pantry staple ingredients. If you’ve made any of my other cake recipes before, this should be no surprise! 
  • It’s super moist and fluffy. The unique combination of flour, vinegar, and olive oil gives this cake the perfect texture. 
  • You can adjust the lemon flavor. Just like I did in our lemon poppy seed cake, if you are a hardcore lemon lover (guilty!), add even more lemon to the batter AND the frosting. 
  • There is barely any prep. Everything is made in one bowl so you have no excuses not to make it! 

How to make vegan lemon cake

This vegan lemon cake was inspired by my vegan vanilla cake and chocolate cake recipes. Also known as a crazy cake or depression cake, these moist and fluffy cakes are made without eggs, milk, or butter, but you would never tell.

The Ingredients

  • All Purpose Flour– Also known as plain flour. You can also use cake flour for a lighter crumb.
  • Sugar– Any sugar works. I used white sugar, but coconut and brown sugar also work well. Be wary, though; the darker the sugar you use, the darker the lemon cake will be.
  • Baking soda– Gives the cake some rise and fluffiness.
  • Salt– Brings out the sweetness of the cake.
  • White Vinegar– Acts as a binding and leavening agent. You can use apple cider vinegar, too. 
  • Oil of choice– I used canola oil, but any neutral-flavored oil works. 
  • Water– You can use milk if you’d like, but water works just as well.
  • Lemon juice– Gives the lemon cake the gorgeous tangy lemon flavor. You can add as much or as little as you’d like!
  • Lemon Extract– Brings out the lemon flavor even more! If you don’t have any lemon extract, you can use vanilla.
  • Lemon zest– Optional, but highly recommended for some extra lemon flavor. 

Creamy lemon cream cheese frosting

  • Vegan butter. Choose a vegan butter from block, not a spread. This will not only whip better but yield a creamier frosting. 
  • Vegan cream cheese. Softened to room temperature. Like the butter, choose the cream cheese from a block if possible. 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar

The Instructions

Start by mixing together your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then, add your wet ingredients and whisk very well until fully combined. Transfer the lemon cake batter into a square pan and bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan or a wire rack completely, before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and lemon juice. 

To make a layer cake, double the ingredients and bake the cake in two pans. Once cooled, spread the frosting between the layers and on top, and decorate with fresh lemons. 

eggless lemon cake.

Tips and tricks

  • Do not overbake the dairy free lemon cake, as it continues to cook while it is cooling in the pan. Once the skewer comes out ‘just’ clean, it is done.
  • Do not overmix the batter, as this can cause the cake to become dense and tough. Mix the batter until just combined.
  • Line your cake pan with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan.
  • Feel free to fold through some fresh berries to have something like a lemon blueberry cake
  • If you prefer your lemon cake less sweet, adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe accordingly.
  • Use fresh lemon juice wherever possible, as it makes all the difference in flavor. 
  • Swap out the frosting for a lemon glaze. To make this, combine confectioners sugar with lemon juice an drizzle over the cake before serving. 

Storage instructions

To store: Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. If you want to keep it longer, store the cake in the refrigerator. 

To freeze: Place slices of the cake in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

lemon cake vegan.

More cake recipes to try

Frequently asked questions

Can I substitute lemon juice for lemon extract in a vegan lemon cake recipe?

No, there is no need to substitute the lemon juice for extract as there is already lemon extract in the batter.

Can I make this gluten free?

For a gluten free lemon cake, swap out the flour for a gluten-free flour blend that contains added xanthan gum. 

Can I use plant based milk instead of water?

Yes, almond milk, soy milk, or any plant based milk can be used instead of water. 

Can I use a different type of flour for this cake?

All-purpose or cake flour are the best flours to make the perfect lemon cake. Alternatives like almond, oat, or coconut flour would require all the other ingredients to be altered.

vegan lemon cake recipe.

Vegan Lemon Cake

5 from 642 votes
This vegan lemon cake recipe is easy-to-make and perfectly moist and fluffy! It has no eggs, butter, or milk whatsoever.
Servings: 9 Slices
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar * See notes
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 5 tablespoon oil vegetable, canola, safflower etc.
  • 3/4 cup water ** See notes
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract can use vanilla extract



  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line an 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Once mixed, add your vinegar, oil, water, lemon juice, lemon extract and mix well.
  • Transfer your lemon cake batter to the square pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan completely. Once cool, frost if desired.
  • To make the frosting, beat together the vegan cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar until fluffy.


* Any sugar works. If you use coconut sugar or brown sugar, your cake will be darker.
** For a more pronounced lemon flavor, replace more of the water with lemon.
TO STORE: Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. If you want to keep it longer, store the cake in the refrigerator. 
TO FREEZE: Place slices of the cake in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. 


Serving: 1SliceCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSodium: 400mgPotassium: 29mgFiber: 10gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 19g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

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.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made this last month with gluten free flour and it came out wonderfully. Today I made it with regular flour (kept everything else the same, as recipe is written) and it did not rise properly in the middle of the cake. There is a pronounced well in the middle of the cake. I will fill it in with frosting, but I was disappointed.

    1. Thankyou Amy, for your comment on successfully baking it gluten free!! Now I’m going to give it a try!

  2. I followed the recipe to the letter. It did not make a “wet” batter. It was powder when all the ingredients were mixed. The tips mentioned subbing out some lemon juice for some of the milk but the ingredients list and recipe doesn’t mention milk. Are some liquids missing? I used coconut flour with 3/4 cups water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 5 tablespoons oil and the vanilla extract

    1. Hi Tim, there is no coconut flour in this recipe. It uses all purpose flour or gluten free all purpose flour.

    2. Coconut flour needs significantly more liquid than wheat flour or gf cup to cup flour and you need to adjust the recipe for the sub. You can google how much extra liquid is needed.

  3. Thanks I researched and saw my mistake in substituting the coconut for all purpose flour in equal amounts….next time.

  4. The recipe was amazing made 6 cupcakes by halving the portions. Amazing flavour and sponginess…I also added some Lemon zest. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. 5 stars
    This tasted perfect! It was a perfect amount of lemon (I just used the 1/4 cup of lemon juice & 1 teaspoon of lemon extract). Thank you for this simple and delicious recipe.

  6. I used maple syrup instead of sugar. And I chose avocado oil. It came out delicious, but has a consistency more like cornbread than cake (maybe because of the syrup?)
    I will definitely make it again!

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is much simpler than other vegan GF cake recipes, and it comes out better than any others I’ve tried. I used Trader Joe’s GF flour blend, reduced the sugar by a quarter, and did half juice and half water. The batter was really liquidy so I was worried, but I baked it as it was, and it came out perfectly. I also doubled the recipe so I could make a layer cake with vanilla frosting. It came out great. Thank you – this is my go to lemon cake now.