Nothing says Spring more than lemon cake, am I right? I originally had a savory recipe planned for this week but then it hit me that Easter is this Sunday, so I knew I needed to get this Vegan Lemon Cake posted just in time for Easter!
This cake was a reader request from 2 different readers. When a reader requests cake, you don't need to tell me twice. Thank you both for your patience, I know it's been awhile.
Unlike traditional lemon cakes that are filled with butter and white flour, this one is made with whole wheat pastry flour (my favorite flour ever) and brown rice flour for the perfect texture, natural sweetener like maple syrup (except the glaze) and applesauce and fresh lemon juice instead of oil. Don't worry though, it is still every bit as delicious.
Another bonus? This cake is not only incredibly delicious, bright and lemony, it is also low-fat! Whatttt. Yup, just like my Gingerbread Cake. That one has so many 5 star reviews and has become my most popular cake on the blog and it's low-fat guys. Not even 1 gram of fat per slice, the hefty slices too, based on 9 slices. Not those miniature 16 slices. Well, here is another one for you. I'm telling you, fat is not always needed for incredible dessert and these cakes prove it. My focus is not to make them low-fat, it is just what it is.
Wanna know just how delicious it is? Well, when I made it, there was 2 slices missing out of the dish for taking my photos. I had to leave and upon my return, my daughter and hubby had eaten almost the WHOLE thing, there was only two slices left. TWO. I had never seen so much dessert devoured after I left the house, hahaha. So, I asked my daughter if she thought it was delicious. She told me it was not only delicious, but it was AMAZING and she literally shouted it. So funny. My husband ate 3 pieces. Y'all, I've told you before he is not a dessert person, so this totally shocked me, but he does love lemon.
This cake is fluffy, soft, springy, spongy and perfectly moist. The glaze on top soaks into part of the cake and just makes it magically moist and a perfect slice of lemon heaven. Oh boy, my mouth is watering thinking of another piece.
To make this Vegan Lemon Cake, you will need just 8 ingredients, including the glaze (+salt): Is this a crazy easy and simple cake or what?
whole wheat pastry flour
brown rice flour
pure maple syrup
fresh lemon juice
powdered sugar (glaze)
That perfect cake texture. I love you.
So, run now and go make this or I guess you can wait until Easter Sunday if you want. I can't wait to hear what you think of it!
Vegan Lemon Cake made with healthy wholesome ingredients. This cake is so fresh and lemony and the perfect sponge texture. It is light, low-fat and made with only 8 ingredients!
15 minPrep Time
24 minCook Time
39 minTotal Time
5 based on 15 review(s)
1 1/2 cups (192g) whole wheat pastry flour, not plain whole wheat (can sub with regular all-purpose flour) SEE NOTE at bottom for GF
6 tablespoons (60g) brown rice flour
2 tablespoons (16g) cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons (9g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (200g) pure maple syrup
1/2 cup (120g) fresh lemon juice and zest of one large lemon (about a tsp)
1/2 cup (120g) unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup (114g) powdered sugar*
3 teaspoons (15g) fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons (15g) water or milk
NOTE: As always, I recommend a scale for accuracy. It is so important with baking to ensure the best results, even being off 1 tablespoon of flour can affect the result when measuring, so a scale makes baking a breeze. For the glaze, I really love the classic flavor and texture from powdered sugar, so I make an exception sometimes for this sugar. If you, however, really don't want to use it, you can sub with coconut sugar, but I would strongly suggest to process it into a fine powder first, as it is very gritty. This will of course change the flavor, texture and color of the glaze, but should still be yum.
Preheat an oven to 350°F (177°C) and spray an 8x8 square baking dish with nonstick spray and place a square piece of parchment paper on the bottom. Have your pan ready BEFORE you make the batter because you will want to put it in the oven right away because it is a bubbly batter and the baking soda starts working immediately once the liquids hit the dry.
To a large bowl, add the pastry flour, brown rice flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and whisk very well.
To a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, lemon juice and zest and applesauce and stir until mixed.
Make a well at the bottom of the dry ingredients and pour the liquids into the large bowl. Now, gently and slowly, use a large whisk to mix the ingredients around the bowl and from the bottom, being very careful to be gentle and mix just until it is mixed and smooth. Do not overmix. You will notice how light and fizzy the batter gets from the baking soda and lemon juice working. This is what yields a fluffy cake. If you overmix it, it can make the cake more tough/chewy and the middle sink, especially since it is a low-fat cake.
Pour the batter gently into the dish and lightly spread out the top. Pick it up and jiggle it a bit to smooth it out. Immediately put in the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick is clean from the center. Mine was perfection at 24 minutes.
I know it's hard, but allow the cake to cool 45 minutes. This will allow it to finish cooking and cool before adding the glaze.
Once the cake has cooled, make the glaze by adding the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk very well until smooth. If your sugar is really lumpy, use a strainer to break up the lumps. Pour the glaze over the middle of the cake and smooth it out over the top. I like to pick up the pan and gently tilt it side to side until the glaze naturally covers the whole surface. Allow it to soak into the cake for about 10 minutes or so, this will help add more moisture, which we want since it is low-fat. Then you can place it into the fridge to speed up the firming of the glaze for a few minutes. Slice and top with pretty lemon slices if desired for presentation!
Keep the cake covered and stored at room temperature to retain it's moisture best, but it does ok in the fridge.
To make this gluten-free, sub the pastry flour with superfine oat flour, the same weight amount (192g) and all the rest of the ingredients are the same. Please note that this version is not as light or fluffy and a bit flatter and more dense, but still really delicious! Also, spelt flour works well in place of the pastry flour also, just use the same weight amount. Just make sure the center toothpick is fully clean and let it cool a full hour, as oat cakes are a better texture the longer they cool. Only use this version if you are allergic to gluten, since the above version is best.
If you make this recipe, please do not repost it in full on your site, please link to me instead giving proper credit. I work very hard to create my recipes and share them for free, so please be respectful and link properly. If you are inspired by this recipe, again, please give proper credit and do not simply post it on your site and ask before reprinting any of my recipes.
Hi! I'm Brandi, a wife and mom behind this blog who healed my husband's gout and my digestion issues through a plant-based diet. I'm not complicated, I keep things simple. All my recipes are 8 ingredients or less, not counting salt, pepper or water. They are allergy-friendly, as they are all vegan, oil-free and nearly all are gluten-free. You'll find lots of baked goods here, as I've been a baker all my life, it's my passion!