This vegan lemon cake is unapologetically lemon. In your face, bursting with flavor, crisp, sweet, and undeniably delicious lemon. We brought this cake over to our friends’ house recently, and I will never tire of the mind explosions that occur when non-vegan folks fall hard for a vegan dessert. The shattered expectations. The disbelief. And the questions that burst from mouths once the first bite hits. How is it so lemon-y? How is so soft and fluffy? How is it vegan?!?! Yes, yes, friends, welcome to the secret garden of delicious vegan desserts, and let this vegan lemon cake guide your way.
how do you make vegan lemon cake?
This cake recipe is easy to make but, fair warning: it will take some time. Fortunately, most of your time will involve letting the cake bake or cool, so you’re not actively working hard in the kitchen. To make this cake, start with the batter. Simply place your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add in the wet ingredients and hand whisk until mostly mixed (small lumps are ok). Divide the batter between two 8″ cake pans with soaked cake strips and bake for 30 minutes. Cake strips help the edges of the cake bake more slowly, making a much more evenly cooked cake with less of a dome. Remove from the oven, let cool 10 minutes, and then gently remove the cakes from the pans. Let cool on wire racks for an additional 30-60 minutes, until completely cool, and make your frosting while that happens.
To assemble the layer cake, spread a little frosting on your cake stand to help the bottom layer stick. Put your first level down, using a serrated knife to remove any dome from the top so it’s flat. Cover the first layer in frosting. Carefully stack the second later on top and cover with icing, making sure to fill any gaps on the sides. Top with fresh grated lemon zest, slice, and enjoy.
what are cake strips and why do I need them?
Cake strips correct uneven baking by applying an insulating layer around the outside of a cake pan. The edges of a cake usually bake faster than the rest of the cake, leading to overdone or dry edges. Simultaneously, the center tends to dome, crack, or collapse, ruining your cake baking dreams. Although you can level out a dome on a cake, you can’t do anything to fix differences in texture due to certain parts of the cake being over or underdone. And, if you cut the dome of the cake off, you’re guaranteed to introduce crumbs to your frosting experience, which can be frustrating.
Enter cake strips. By soaking them in water before you put your cakes into the oven, cake strips protect the more exposed elements of the cake from overcooking, leaving you with soft, fluffy, and evenly cooked cake beauty.
Also, cake strips aren’t expensive so if you plan to cook cakes every so often, they’re a worthwhile investment.
If you’re on the prowl for some more vegan dessert ideas, check out this vegan apple crisp, vegan thumbprint cookies, vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, or vegan snickerdoodles. And if you make this delicious vegan lemon cake recipe, let me know by leaving a comment, rating the recipe, taking a picture, and tagging it @plantandvine on Instagram. Bonus points if you capture the pleasantly shocked facial expressions of your non-vegan guests.
vegan lemon cake and wine pairings
Ok, so you’re making this vegan cake recipe for an upcoming dinner party and you also need a bottle of wine to pair with it. Lucky for you, that’s the name of the game at Plant & Vine, so I’ve got you covered. The most important things to remember for pairing with lemon cake: 1) honor the acidity of the lemon with a high-acid wine; and 2) make sure your wine is slightly sweeter than your cake, so you don’t make a perfectly delicious bottle of wine suddenly taste bitter when paired incorrectly. Here are a few wine soulmates for vegan lemon cake:
- Riesling: a later harvest Riesling will bring crisp acidity and a deliciousness sweetness to the table. Look for Beerenauslese or Auslese on the label if you’re eyeing a German bottle; it means the wine is produced from grapes that are riper than average when picked.
- Suggested Regions: Mosel, Germany
- Prosecco: made from the Glera grape, Prosecco brings fruity flavors such as green apple, honeydew melon, pear, and honeysuckle. Prosecco’s sweet aromatics and bubbles make it a lovely pairing if you fancy a glass of sparkling wine.
- Suggested Regions: Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Italy
- Ice Wine: ice wine is a wine treasure. It’s incredibly difficult to make (produced from frozen grapes harvested in the middle of the night during the winter). No thanks. But yes, thank you, to ice wine’s delicious, sweet, succulent flavors, which are perfect for pairing with tart desserts.
- Suggested Regions: Niagara Peninsula, Canada
If you’re interested in learning more about how to pair wine with vegan recipes, check out my wine pairing and vegan wine guides. Or, if you’ve already got a bottle and need the scoop on how to decant wine, check out the best wine decanters.
Vegan Lemon Cake
Delicious, soft, and zesty vegan lemon cake recipe. Unapologetically lemon.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Vegan, Dessert, Cakes, American
Vegan Lemon Cake:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons lemon flavor
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated lemon zest
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon flavor
- Fresh grated lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350°F .
- Spray two 8 inch cake pans with non-stick spray. Wrap your soaked cake strips around the outside perimeter of the pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper (I cut circles to roughly fit the shape of the cake pans). Set aside.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl and gently combine. Then add the wet ingredients – almond milk, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, lemon flavor, and lemon zest. Whisk with a hand whisk briefly until mostly combined. Tiny lumps are normal and to be expected.
- Divide the batter between the two pans, place into the oven, and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in their pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Slide a dull knife around the perimeter and gently flip over cake pans to remove. Flip over the cake again so it is right side up and let it continue cooling on the wire racks for 30-60 minutes. The cakes need to be completely cool before icing.
- To make your frosting, add the powdered sugar, vegan butter, lemon juice, and lemon flavor into the bowl of an electric mixer. Starting off slowly, gradually increase your mixer’s speed until frosting is thick and smooth. If your frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add a drop of lemon juice to thin until you get the right consistency.
- To frost the cakes, put a small spoonful of frosting on the bottom of your cake stand so the bottom layer of cake sticks while frosting. If your bottom layer cake is domed, use a serrated knife to gently flatten out the cake before frosting. Cover the bottom layer of cake in frosting. Add the next layer of cake and cover in frosting, making sure to carefully close any gaps between the layers.
- When completely frosted, top with additional freshly grated lemon zest.
- To store, keep covered at room temperature. Frosting will begin to slightly harden after a few days, so best when fresh and within 1-2 days of baking.
*Recipe is from Loving it Vegan’s Lemon Vegan Cake.
Keywords: vegan lemon cake, lemon cake, vegan cake recipes