Vegan Lemon Cake


5 from 657 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 657 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 Liew
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 came here looking for a dairy free recipe but I added an egg and the cake was delicious. All I changed was a bit less water. I’ll try it sometime egg free for my mom but I did enjoy the richness with an egg. I also used a crumb topping with flour, dairy free butter, salt, and sugar to put on top instead of the frosting listed. Everyone loved it.

  2. You’re missing the point… This recipe does not NEED eggs… Why add cholesterol, fat and animal misery to a perfect recipe is beyond me. Educate yourself on the horrible lives of hens. We do not need eggs, they are easily replaced. If you have an allergy to dairy, all you need to do is replace dairy milk with any plant-based milk in any regular recipe. It’s not rocket science…

  3. eggs add a richness in flavor, improve texture, and can help with leavening, all of which are desirable in baking. This recipe may be good without eggs but if you could use eggs to make it even better, why not if there is no sensitivity or allergy? I was just looking for a dairy free recipe due to an allergy but I mostly find vegan recipes.
    Reminder to speak kindly to people even if it’s from behind a keyboard.

  4. Why on earth would you want to add eggs to an egg-less cake recipe??? The cake is delicious as is… It doesn’t need eggs! 🤦🏼‍♀️

  5. 5 stars
    This was seriously the best lemon cake I ever had! I can’t believe no eggs needed to be harmed in the making of such a delicious cake! And the kicker is I used 100% whole wheat pastry flour. I made the cake in my bundt pan, then while it cooled, I poked holes in it with a chopstick and poured a glaze of remaining lemon juice mixed with sugar. After it cooled, I turned it out of the pan and served as is. Everyone loved it. Thanks for this amazing recipe.

  6. Hello, can’t wait to try this recipe! How would you adjust the ingredients if you wanted it to be oil free as well? Would applesauce work? Or if the cake really needs oil, could I swap out coconut oil instead?

  7. Hello, can’t wait to try this recipe! How would you adjust the ingredients if you wanted it to be oil free as well? Would applesauce work?

  8. 5 stars
    This is by far the best lemon cake I’ve ever had. Taste and texture are perfect! I put 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water and I folded some blueberries in as you suggested and did a vegan buttercream icing. It was AWESOME!Super easy and quick to make. Thank you for this beautiful recipe.

  9. Will this work as a bundt cake? I’d love to try this with a simple glaze but not sure if it would hold up well.

  10. Does this work with juice of lemon in the jar from the grocery store or do you recommend fresh from the fruit?

  11. 5 stars
    I cannot believe how easy this was to make! This might be the moistest cake I’ve ever made. Super delicious

  12. Dear Arman.

    Hope you are keeping well.

    I note that you made this Vegan Lemon Cake recipe and baked it in a flat square tin, as a single layer cake.

    Do you think it would be okay to make the cake into a multi-layer, 6” or 8” cake, rather than just a single layer cake?

    If so, would you recommend baking the cake layers in separate tins, rather than in one tin, and ‘slicing’ into layers?

    Thanks kindly, and best wishes, Dean.