Vegan lemon loaf cake is a delicious and easy-to-make dessert that is perfect for any occasion. This cake combines the tangy flavor of lemon with a sweet drizzle of icing to create a delightfully sweet treat that everyone will love.
The eggless lemon loaf cake is oil-free, dairy-free, and plant-based. This made-from-scratch cake uses almond flour to make this fluffy moist cake without oil. The cake itself uses fresh lemon zest and juice to provide a lemon flavor; it’s not overly sweet and it doesn’t have an overpowering lemon flavor.
To give the oil-free vegan cake a more intense lemon flavor, combine powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice to create an icing to drizzle over the top once the cake has completely cooled. For more oil-free desserts try raspberry truffles, vegan peanut butter cookie bars, or vegan banana bars with chocolate chips.
- Oil-free, vegan, dairy-free, and egg-free!
- Easy to make!
- Bursting with lemon flavor from a zesty glaze!
- Great for any occasion!
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Please see the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and exact measurements for the vegan lemon loaf.
White whole wheat flour - White whole wheat flour is not all-purpose flour, but it does give cakes a lighter crumb than regular whole wheat flour. Regular whole wheat or all-purpose flour can be used as substitutes. If you use regular whole wheat flour, I would start to check the cake at 45 minutes.
White whole wheat flour can be bought on Amazon, at least for me it is not easy to find at my local shop. Another option is to use half all-purpose and half regular whole wheat flour, this will give the cake a lighter crumb compared to using all regular whole wheat flour.
Weighing the ingredients is the most accurate way to make the vegan lemon loaf cake. Flour can settle while being stored, making it more compact. If you simply scoop a measuring cup into the flour the measurement can be more compact, meaning you have more flour than what’s needed for the recipe. This throws off the liquid-to-dry ratio and makes a dense cake.
Almond flour - Almond flour is the key ingredient for making the cake without oil. The flour keeps the cake moist without the need for butter or oil. I use Bob’s Red Mill super-fine almond flour for this vegan lemon loaf recipe. I don’t have a substitute for super-fine almond flour.
Cane sugar - I use organic cane sugar, but granulated sugar should work.
Dairy-free milk - Any non-dairy milk should work. Try it with soy, cashew, almond, or oat milk.
Unsweetened applesauce - I use unsweetened applesauce with almond flour for a moist oil-free cake.
Fresh lemon juice - Fresh lemon juice is a must for a lemon loaf cake. Zest first, then juice. Only zest the top yellow part, not the white bitter pith underneath. Depending on the size and how juicy the lemons are, you may need 2-3 lemons for the recipe.
Vanilla extract - Add for more flavor.
Lemon zest - The zest of a lemon adds a more intense lemon flavor to the cake.
Powdered sugar - This will be combined with fresh lemon juice to make an icing once the cake has cooled.
- White whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour can be used. Check the cake at 45 minutes if you use regular whole wheat flour.
- The almond flour cannot be substituted. It is essential for giving the vegan oil-free cake a fluffy and moist texture.
- Preheat the oven, give your oven about 10 minutes to adjust to the temperature once preheated. I use an inexpensive oven instant-read thermometer to make sure my oven temperature is accurate. A proper oven temperature is essential for baking.
- I use a glass baking dish, if you use a different material that may alter the baking time.
- If the parchment paper will not stay put. Try crumbling it up and then unwrapping it. Sometimes this helps it stay in place. In addition to this, I like to use wooden clothespins to hold the corners in place. Pour the batter in and remove the clothespins before baking.
- If you’re using parchment paper, leave a slight overhang on the sides to be able to easily lift the cake out when it needs to cool.
- Use the spoon and level method or a kitchen scale for measuring the flour.
- Don’t over-mix the wheat flour with the wet ingredients, only until everything is just combined.
Instructions for vegan lemon loaf cake
Start the oil-free vegan cake recipe by preheating your oven to 350°C (180°F) and line a 9 x 5-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper or grease it with non-stick cooking spray. If you use parchment paper, have a little overhang on the sides so the cake can easily be lifted out after baking.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, almond flour, cane sugar, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Be sure the baking powder and salt are distributed well. If your baking powder clumps you may need to sift it.
In a separate bowl add in the dairy-free milk, unsweetened applesauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Zest the lemon first, then slice it to squeeze the juice out.
Whisk the wet ingredients until everything is blended smoothly. Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until everything just comes together, don’t over-mix.
Pour your batter into your prepared loaf dish and bake it in the oven for around 45-53 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the middle of the cake. The top of the cake should start to turn golden brown and brown more around the edges. Once the cake is finished baking, let it cool for about 10 minutes in the baking dish before removing to a cooling rack.
Once the vegan lemon cake has cooled completely, make the lemon icing to drizzle over top. Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice, it should be thick but you should be able to spoon it over the cake. Start with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, then add more if needed, a little at a time.
Drizzle the icing over the cake with a spoon. Let the icing firm up then slice the vegan lemon cake. Serve it at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!
Frequently asked questions?
I have not tested with an all-purpose gluten-free flour, so I can’t say for sure.
No, the almond flour helps to keep the oil-free vegan loaf cake moist without using oil or butter.
Room temperature: The cake can be stored covered at room temperature for about 2 days.
Refrigerate: Store covered in the fridge for about a week. Personal preference here, but I think the cake is delicious after chilling in the fridge.
Freeze: The cake can also be frozen for about 3 months. I like to slice leftovers and then freeze them on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking tray that will fit in the freezer. Freeze overnight or until frozen, then transfer the frozen slices to a freezer container. You now have individually frozen slices. Slices can be frozen with or without icing.
- Vegan chocolate raspberry truffles
- Vegan snickerdoodles
- Vegan cranberry orange bread
- Vegan peanut butter cookie bars
- Vegan banana bars with chocolate chips
I hope you enjoy the recipe! If you like it feel free to rate it and leave a comment.
Vegan lemon loaf cake is a delicious and easy-to-make dessert that is perfect for any occasion.
- 1 ⅔ cup (200 grams) white whole wheat flour, spooned and leveled
- ¾ cup (75 grams) super-fine almond flour (not almond meal)
- ¾ cup (155 grams) cane sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (180 ml) unsweetened dairy-free milk
- ½ cup (120 g) unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon loosely packed)
- ½ cup powdered sugar (54 grams)
- 1 -2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and line a 9 x 5-inch glass loaf dish with parchment paper or grease it with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl mix together the white whole wheat flour, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl mix dairy-free milk, applesauce, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and zest. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, don’t over-mix.
- Pour into a prepared glass loaf pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 45-53 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the baking dish for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice for the icing, start with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and add more if needed to get a drippy paste consistency. Drizzle over the top of the cake, and let the icing firm up before serving.
When testing with a toothpick, it may be hard to see the cake batter on the toothpick. Use your fingers to feel the toothpick, if it's still goopy bake a little longer.
I use an inexpensive oven instant-read thermometer to make sure my oven temperature is accurate. A proper oven temperature is essential for baking.
Spoon and level the wheat flour into cups for measurements or weigh them to be more accurate.
If you use regular whole wheat flour use 190 grams, and check the cake at 45 minutes.
I use a glass baking dish, if you use a different material that may alter the baking time.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: dessert
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: vegan lemon loaf, vegan lemon loaf cake