This is the best vegan lemon cake you’ll ever have! Super tender, moist, easily gluten free, and layered with a dairy free vanilla cream cheese frosting, even non-vegans will love this sweet and moist eggless lemon cake!

BEST Ever Vegan Lemon Cake (Gluten Free!)

Why you’ll love this vegan lemon cake recipe

You’re going to love this vegan lemon cake for a few reasons, and the last one is the biggest.

First off, this lemon cake is the definition of tender and moist. Seriously, it has the perfect crumb, and is the best balance of moist without being gummy or stodgy.

This secretly vegan cake is also just full to the brim of wonderfully zesty lemon and sweet vanilla, which helps to balance out the enlivening flavor of the lemon. This fruity vegan cake is the perfect balance of being light yet indulgent.

What’s more, this cake is entirely vegan, eggless, dairy free, and can be made gluten free!

slice of vegan lemon cake on a plate

Now this is how I know you’re going to love this lemon cake:

My mom, who is a self-proclaimed detective of anything that is vegan or not vegan when it comes to baked goods, declared that this easy lemon cake was sublime.

Okay, so I do get really really excited whenever my mom really approves of a recipe because then I know, and time has proved me right on this, that everyone will love this recipe, vegan or not.

This lemon cake is the perfect spring dessert for your Easter brunch, Mother’s Day brunch, or any spring party!

Ingredients

For this egg free lemon cake, you’ll need:

  • Flour: I recommend using cake flour here, or oat flour (which is what I used for the cake in the photos). This is what gives this cake the ultimate tender and crumb-like texture. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, you can also sift in 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch to your all-purpose flour. Additionally, if you need gluten-free, you can use gluten free 1:1 baking flour or oat flour, adding in the cornstarch/arrowroot starch for the cake flour texture.
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar here, but you can also keep this lemon cake refined sugar free by using coconut sugar! Just keep in mind that your cake might be tanner in color.
  • Vegan butter: I recommend using vegan butter here over coconut oil, but the coconut flavor can be nice to the lemon and raspberry! Some people don’t like the taste of coconut though, so if you’re one of those people, stick with vegan butter! There are many great brands on the market that are also nut free, such as Flora Plant Butter.
  • Applesauce: We go a bit more in depth in the next section, but the applesauce here represents are egg replacement and makes this an eggless lemon cake. Read on to see why I personally recommend using applesauce above most other egg replacements. I have used dairy free yogurt in this cake recipe, and it also works wonderfully!
  • Vegan buttermilk: this is a combination of dairy free milk (of your choice- I recommend oat milk, but you can use soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or your favorite!) with a bit of apple cider vinegar.
  • Fresh lemon juice & lemon zest: both lemon juice and lemon zest give this wonderfully flavorful cake it’s personality!
  • Vanilla extract: to balance the powerful lemon!
sliced vegan lemon cake on cake board

What’s the egg replacement for this eggless lemon cake?

Yes, vegan cake baking means that all cake recipes are eggless, dairy free, and free from any animal products in general. However, if you’re not vegan and you’re just looking for an eggless lemon cake, you might be wondering what’s the egg replacement in this recipe!

For this vegan lemon cake, the applesauce or dairy free yogurt acts as the egg replacement. Applesauce is a wonderful vegan ingredient that adds both moisture and structure to a cake. I personally prefer it over flaxseed, mashed banana, or store bought egg replacement, as I’ve found it really is the best way to keep moisture in cake.

This is why I exclusively use applesauce in all of my vegan cake recipes and is one ingredient I highly recommend you don’t make a swap for! Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Overview: how to make a vegan lemon cake

As per all of my recipes, the full written instructions and measurements of ingredients for this vegan lemon cake recipe are found down below in the recipe card at the end of this post.

However, we’ll go over the basics here! Making this vegan cake is really not dissimilar to traditional baking, and certainly is not as intimidating as it seems (yes, even a layer cake!).

Here’s how you make this amazing vegan lemon cake:

  1. Cream together the vegan butter and sugar. 

    I use a stand mixer, but you can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer. Then add in the remaining wet ingredients, and mix again.vegan lemon cake batter

  2. Finish the batter:

    Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.vegan lemon cake batter

  3. Bake!

    Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pans, and bake. For the cake size, I made this into a three layer 6″ cake, but you can also use 8″ or 9″ cake pans.vegan lemon cake batter

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

This vegan cream cheese frosting is absolutely incredible. The slight tangy flavor complements the sweet vanilla and sour notes from the lemon cake perfectly.

I’ve also made this vegan lemon cake with my favorite raspberry frosting, and it’s absolutely wonderful as well!

BEST Ever Vegan Lemon Cake (Gluten Free!)

I recommend using Violife vegan cream cheese or Miyoko’s vegan cream cheese. Those are my two favorites! Then you’ll use vegan butter, and powdered sugar, to create the frosting.

Recipe FAQ’s & Tips

Can I make this into a vegan lemon loaf cake or a sheet cake?

I actually have a vegan lemon loaf cake recipe and a vegan coconut lemon loaf cake recipe that you’ll absolutely love. However, if you’d like to make this into a full sheet cake, you can keep the recipe as is.
For the sheet cake, you’ll also need to check the time as well- around 30 minutes.

What about vegan lemon cupcakes?

You can definitely transform this raspberry lemon cake into vegan lemon cupcakes as well! I would cut the recipe in half, though, or else you’ll end up with about 24 cupcakes.
I’d also fill each cupcake with the raspberry jam, and pipe the vanilla vegan buttercream on top!

Can I use an 8″ or 9″ cake pan?

Yes! This doesn’t have to be a 6″ lemon cake. In fact, you can use an 8″ or even a 9″ cake pan. The 8″ cake pans will still give you a three layer cake, but you’ll have just two layers with the 9″ cake pans.
Keep in mind that the cakes will bake at different times, so be sure to check your oven.

How do I store leftovers?

Keep all leftovers stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly. For how to store leftover cake:

  • Room temperature: up to 3 days on the countertop.

  • Fridge: up to 5 days in the fridge.

  • Freezer: up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • Can I make this a gluten free vegan lemon cake?

    Absolutely! You can use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour or gluten-free oat flour for this lemon cake. To give it more of a cake flour texture, sift in 1 tbsp of cornstarch or arrowroot.

    slice of lemon cake on a plate

    Make sure all wet ingredients room temperature

    Room temperature ingredients are crucial for a light and fluffy cake. As Sally’s Baking Addiction describes, room temperature ingredients help to trap air while baking, which helps with rising the cakes.

    If your ingredients are at varying temperatures, you can split the vegan butter, and the texture will be completely off when baking. Make sure to give all of your ingredients enough time to come to room temperature before beginning.

    Spoon and level the flour

    This part is crucial, and if done incorrectly, almost always leads to a dense and gummy cake.

    Make sure that you spoon and level your flour instead of scooping the measuring cup into the flour bag. Scooping the cup will give you way more flour than you actually need, leaving your cake being dry or gummy.

    You can get closer to the general ball park of 127 grams per cup if you spoon and level.

    Prepare your cake pans before you begin

    Once the leavening agents are added into the batter, they start to work to rise the cake. If you haven’t prepared your cake pans before beginning the batter, you risk your lemon cake not properly rising.

    Make sure that you’ve prepared your cake pans by oiling them and lining them with parchment paper for easy removal before you begin making the batter.

    Watch how to decorate this vegan lemon cake here!

    Check out how I decorate this vegan lemon cake on my Instagram page!

    eaten slice of lemon cake

    You’re going to absolutely love this easy vegan lemon cake! It’s perfect for Mother’s Day, Easter, or any spring get together. If you give it a go, let me know down below in the comments section, as well as giving it a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others may find it. 

    As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!

    Happy cake baking!

    More vegan cake recipes you’ll love:

    Best ever vegan vanilla cake

    Super moist vegan chocolate sheet cake

    Easy vegan chocolate cake

    Vegan brownie cookie dough cake

    Easy vegan banana snack cake

    Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

    BEST Ever Vegan Lemon Cake (Gluten Free!)

    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!

    Print
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    BEST Ever Vegan Lemon Cake (Gluten Free!)

    Vegan Lemon Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

    • Author: thebananadiaries
    • Prep Time: 10
    • Cook Time: 23
    • Total Time: 33 minutes
    • Yield: 16 1x
    • Category: Dessert
    • Method: Baking
    • Cuisine: American
    • Diet: Vegan

    Description

    This is the best vegan lemon cake you’ll ever have! Super tender, moist, easily gluten free, and layered with a dairy free vanilla cream cheese frosting, even non-vegans will love this sweet and moist eggless lemon cake!


    Ingredients

    Units Scale
    • 3 1/4 cups (420 g) cake flour, all-purpose flour or gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour or oat flour, sifted (do NOT skip- add in 1 tbsp arrowroot powder if using all-purpose flour or gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour)
    • 1 1/4 cup (240 g) granulated sugar or coconut sugar (see Note)
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 cup (200 mL) dairy free milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, room temperature
    • 3/4 cup (190 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup (113 g) vegan butter, softened (stand mixer method) or melted (by hand method)
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup lemon juice (juice from 3-4 lemons)
    • 2 tbsp lemon zest

    Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

    • 1 cup vegan butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup vegan cream cheese, room temperature
    • 34 cups powdered sugar
    • 23 tbsp dairy free milk

    Instructions

    No equipment version:

    1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F and grease three 6″ cake pans with olive or coconut oil and line with parchment paper. Mix together the dairy free milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
    2. Make the lemon cake batter: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or large bowl with hand mixer, cream together the vegan butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Then add in the applesauce, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix again until just combined. Then add in the dry ingredients and mix on medium-speed just until combined, adding in the vegan buttermilk in increments of 2. 
    3. Bake:Divide the batter evenly into the cake pans. Place cake pans into the oven and bake for 23-26 minutes (for 6″) or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a drying rack to cool completely before frosting.
    4. Make the vegan cream cheese frosting: When ready to frost the cakes, add vegan butter and vegan cream cheese to a large bowl or stand mixer and cream for 2-3 minutes. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, continuing the beat the mixture until it’s a thick buttercream. Add in vanilla and 2-4 tablespoons of dairy free milk and continue to beat until desired texture.
    5. Assemble the cake: Frost the cake and top with lemon slices. Slice and enjoy!

    Notes

    Sugar: if using coconut sugar, your cake will come out tanner in color, but still taste delicious!

    Gluten free: Use gluten free 1:1 baking flour or oat flour to create an entirely gluten free lemon cake.

    Raspberry buttercream: If you’d prefer a raspberry frosting rather than cream cheese frosting, I recommend using my vegan raspberry frosting here.

    Vegan buttermilk: allow the buttermilk mixture to sit for 5 minutes before using.

    Keywords: vegan lemon cake, vegan lemon cake recipe, raspberry lemon cake, eggless lemon cake, vegan cake recipe, gluten free vegan cake