This rich, soft, and zesty vegan lemon drizzle cake rises so beautifully all with no eggs and no butter! Easy to make in one bowl with simple ingredients!

vegan lemon drizzle cake sliced

You won’t believe this lemon drizzle cake is vegan:

This vegan lemon drizzle cake took me 10 attempts to FINALLY get the perfect rise, texture, and level of moisture that a traditional lemon drizzle cake has- all without eggs, milk, nor butter. 

And it was well worth it because now I can present to you the most unbelievably vegan lemon drizzle cake that rises and domes beautifully, keeps its moisture, and has a burst of fresh lemon flavor all throughout the cake.

All without using any lemon extracts- just real lemons! – and absolutely no animal products.

slice of vegan lemon loaf

Like with my vegan lemon blueberry loaf and vegan lemon pound cake, I cried tears of joy. Lemon desserts can be notoriously tricky because the acidity in the lemon can hinder rising, but we’ve cracked the code (which is quite simple!).

And the best part? This lemon drizzle cake is made literally in just one bowl and with a whisk. It’s so easy, you don’t need any fancy equipment or years of baking experience.

Trust me when I say that you will be speechless after baking this lemon drizzle cake!!

Simple, pantry staple ingredients:

  • Flour: I use all purpose flour here, but you can also use a gluten free flour blend- see my notes below for my specific recommendations because not all blends will work!
  • Sugar: I have not tested this cake with any other sugar other than organic granulated sugar (which is vegan-friendly). 
  • Lemon zest: We’re adding the lemon juice to the cake AFTER we bake, to help the cake rise better!
  • Oil: I like either vegan butter or a neutral oil, like avocado oil. 
  • Dairy free milk: You can use oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk here.
  • Dairy free yogurt: This is to help add some moisture to our vegan lemon drizzle cake.
  • Baking powder: We’re actually not using any baking soda, and that’s by design. The acidity from even just the lemon zest will neutralize the baking soda, which will prevent the baking soda from helping the loaf rise. The baking powder is already activated baking soda and a much more stable leavening agent, so that’s what will help our lemon drizzle cake rise!
sliced vegan lemon loaf cake

How to get a lemon loaf to rise without eggs:

This was my biggest learning lesson, as typically a drizzle cake rises from mostly eggs, followed by a little help from leavening agents.

Well since we aren’t using eggs, I tested a few different options, including a higher ratio of dairy free yogurt, swapping in just applesauce, which just landed me with very level and flat cakes.

Great for a vegan cake for layer cakes, but not great for loaf cakes.

Eventually, I landed on a higher ratio of flour than what a typical pound cake requires, while also mimicking the moist and tender texture of traditional lemon drizzle cake.

That’s the key- using the proper ratio of ingredients to mimic a more traditional bake!

slice of lemon drizzle cake on parchment paper

We also OMIT the lemon juice from the cake batter- this is intentional, as lemon juice FURTHER prevents our lemon drizzle cake from rising (as it neutralizes leavening agents). 

However, we’re also not using any lemon extracts- just real lemon juice and zest. The lemon zest adds a beautifully strong aroma to the cake, and the lemon simple syrup we brush on top at the end will pack in the lemon flavor.

Overview: step by step how to make a vegan lemon drizzle cake:

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

Optional frosting or glaze:

Instead of going with a traditional icing sugar glaze, I decided to top with my favorite vegan cream cheese frosting with lots of lemon zest in it. 

The vegan lemon drizzle cake is quite sweet, so I wanted that tang to balance the flavors. 

Can I make this vegan lemon drizzle cake gluten free?

Absolutely! I recommend using King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten-free flour. It’s a really good blend that yields a texture nearly identical to that of all purpose flour.

Personally, I haven’t liked using Bob’s in recent years because I feel that the formula changed, and rendered it NOT 1:1. So experiment at your own risk, but I haven’t had much success so I don’t recommend it here.

sliced in half lemon drizzle cake slice

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If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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sliced vegan lemon loaf cake

One Bowl MOIST Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 70
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This rich, soft, and zesty vegan lemon drizzle cake rises so beautifully all with no eggs and no butter! Easy to make in one bowl with simple ingredients!


Ingredients

Scale

Lemon Drizzle Cake:

  • 2/3 cup (150 g) unsalted vegan butter or neutral oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) organic granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dairy free yogurt, room temperature*
  • 45 tbsp lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups (375) g all purpose flour*
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) dairy-free milk, room temperature*

Lemon Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
  • 23 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Optional: vegan cream cheese frosting or simple glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 tbsp dairy free milk

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F, and line a pound loaf pan (about 8″) with parchment paper. Measure out all ingredients.
  2. Rub the sugar with the lemon zest: In a large bowl, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together between clean fingers to help bring out the lemon oil and flavors.
  3. Make the batter: To the sugar mixture, add in the oil, dairy free yogurt, vanilla extract, and salt, and whisk just until mixed. Then add in the baking powder, and whisk again.
  4. Finish the batter: Add in the flour and dairy free milk, and whisk JUST until the flour is combined.
  5. Bake: Pour the lemon loaf batter into the prepared pan, and place onto a baking sheet just incase of any extra spillage. Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you notice that your vegan lemon drizzle cake loaf is browning too much towards the end you can cover it with parchment paper.
  6. While the loaf is baking: Make the lemon syrup. In a small saucepan, heat the lemon juice and sugar until dissolved. Then pour into a heat-safe jar and let cool while your lemon loaf bakes.
  7. Cool: Once out of the oven, brush the loaf with the lemon syrup and let cool completely before you frost or ice.
  8. Make the frosting: Prepare the frosting according to instructions and frost. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

Oil: You can use avocado oil, vegetable oil, or even olive oil.

Gluten free: Swap in a gluten-free flour blend, such as King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten-Free Flour.

Dairy free yogurt: You can use vegan sour cream or dairy free yogurt here- any type will do.

Dairy free milk: I like oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk.