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plate of lemon poppyseed cake

One Bowl Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 11 reviews
  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 9 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Moist, soft, and buttery vegan lemon poppy seed cake that’s made with just a bowl and a whisk! Based off of my classic vegan vanilla sheet cake, this lemon poppy seed cake is bursting with bright citrus and nutty sweet almond flavor, and topped with the silkiest vegan cream cheese frosting! Easily made gluten free too!



Lemon Poppyseed Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup (300 mL) dairy free milk, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup (360 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (225 g) salted vegan butter (I recommend Miyoko’s or Flora Plant butter), melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 g) dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 3 3/4 (450 g) cups all-purpose flour (or gluten free 1:1 baking flour + 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp sea salt

Lemon Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
  • 23 tbsp sugar



  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9×9 square baking pan or a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Rub the sugar with the lemon zest: In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together to release the lemon oils.
  3. Make the batter: To that same bowl, add in the vegan butter, sugar, lemon zest, dairy free yogurt, vanilla extract, and optional almond extract. Whisk to combine. Then Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt, and slowly pour in the dairy free milk as you whisk the dry ingredients into the wet. Whisk JUST until the flour is combined, then add in the poppy seeds and whisk throughout the batter.
  4. Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and bake for 37-40 minutes in the 9×9 or 30-33 minutes in the 9×13 pan, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. While the cake is baking: Make the lemon simple syrup by heating the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat until the sugar is melted, constantly stirring. Set aside until the cake is done baking.
  6. Cool: Remove the lemon poppy seed cake from the oven, and brush with the lemon simple syrup. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool COMPLETELY before frosting.
  7. Make the cream cheese frosting: Make the cream cheese frosting according to instructions, and add in the almond extract if desired.
  8. Decorate: Frost the cooled lemon poppy seed cake, and sprinkle more poppy seeds on top, as well as candied lemon peels and edible flowers if desired. Slice and enjoy!


Gluten free: I really only recommend using King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten Free Flour or a similar blend with xanthan gum that also weighs 125 g per cup. Please note that Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF Flour will NOT work here.