This Healthy Vegan Lemon Cake with a gluten-free option is made with healthy wholesome ingredients. This cake is so fresh and lemony and a wonderful texture. It is fluffy, low-fat and made with only 8 ingredients! It is also oil-free!
HEALTHY VEGAN LEMON CAKE
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.
OIL-FREE LEMON CAKE
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 a healthier whole grain cake. I used a 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.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN LEMON CAKE
First, you will need to gather these 8 ingredients, including the glaze (+salt):
- whole wheat pastry flour
- brown rice flour
- baking soda
- pure maple syrup
- unsweetened applesauce
- fresh lemon juice
- powdered sugar (glaze)
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.
MORE VEGAN CAKE RECIPES TO TRY
- Vanilla White Wedding Cake
- Vegan Almond Butter Cake
- Cinnamon Caramel Bundt Cake
- Vegan Funfetti Birthday Cake
- Gluten-free Vanilla Cake
- Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake
- Gluten-free Vegan Cranberry Bundt Cake
*This post contains affiliate links, see my disclosure policy here.
Healthy Vegan Lemon Cake (Gluten-free Option)
- 1 1/2 cups (192g) whole wheat pastry flour, not plain whole wheat (SEE NOTE at bottom for GF)
- 6 tablespoons (60g) brown rice flour
- 1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon 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
- 1 tablespoon (15g) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15g) water or milk
- Always use a scale for accuracy when baking, following my gram weights listed, it will make a difference, especially since we all measure differently with cups. You will not need cups, just the scale and bowl, as you do not need to compare cups to weights. Make sure to hit zero in before adding each ingredient and for teaspoon amounts, just use the spoons.
- I use this scale.
- Since this cake is so low-fat, the glaze on top is CRUCIAL to the cake, moisture and overall texture and result, so don't leave it off. It also balances the flavor since the cake is quite tart and not real sweet.
- 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 spoon 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 over-mix or worry if it's slightly lumpy, as long as the flour is mixed in. 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 over-mix 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.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make this gluten-free, sub the pastry flour with superfine oat flour, the same weight amount (192g) and add an additional 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (so, 3 tbsp total, 24 grams) and all the rest of the ingredients are the same. Please note that this version is not as light or fluffy and a bit 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.