This vegan lemon drizzle cake is light, fluffy and has a refreshing flavor from real lemon juice. It is easy to prepare and uses only 8 common ingredients.
Why you'll love this vegan lemon drizzle cake
LOTS OF LEMON FLAVOR: This recipe uses real lemon juice in the cake loaf, two-ingredient lemon syrup and simple lemon icing.
TEXTURE: The cake has a lighter texture than pound cake but is slightly denser than a regular vegan lemon cake.
Ingredients you'll need
Notes about the ingredients
Lemon juice and zest from fresh lemons for the best flavor. You may use bottled lemon juice and omit the zest, but your vegan lemon drizzle cake won't be as flavorful.
Granulated sugar for the fluffiest vegan lemon loaf. For a refined sugar-free cake, you can use coconut sugar, however, your cake will be brown in color and it will taste a little like caramel.
If you'd like to reduce the amount of refined sugar, in the lemon syrup, use a liquid sweetener instead of granulated sugar. I don't recommend reducing the sugar in the cake itself.
Oil of choice. If you'd like your cake to have a subtle golden hue, I recommend using a light-flavored olive oil.
Even though this is an eggless lemon cake, you don't need any special egg replacers!
The full list of ingredient quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make the lemon loaf
The lemon loaf comes together in one bowl! Simply add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl then mix until there are no lumps. Then add all the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Be careful to not overmix the batter as it'll make the cake denser. A few lumps in the batter are fine, as long as they aren't lumps of flour!
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan then it's ready to bake in your preheated oven.
Preparing the lemon syrup
While the vegan lemon cake is baking, you can make the two-ingredient syrup.
Simply add the sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat through. Eventually, the lemon juice and heat of the stove will dissolve the sugar!
Your lemon syrup is ready when it's translucent and you can feel or see any granules of sugar. No one wants a grainy vegan lemon drizzle cake!
While your lemon loaf is still warm, use a long skewer or toothpick to poke lots of holes in the cake. Be generous with the holes, as they will allow the syrup to reach all parts of the cake!
Then pour your warm syrup over your cake! As the cake is still contained the loaf tin, your syrup won't run away.
How to make the lemon icing
The lemon icing adds extra lemon flavor, moisture and sweetness! It's easy to make as you just need to mix the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
For a thicker icing, add a little more sugar and mix. For a thinner icing, add a little more lemon juice or milk and mix. Try to add only 1 teaspoon of extra sugar or liquid at a time as a little goes a long way!
It's best to pour the icing on the vegan lemon drizzle cake when it's at room temperature or slightly cool. If your cake is warm, your icing will run down the sides of the cake and melt away.
How to serve the cake
The vegan lemon drizzle cake is delicious at room temperature with just the icing. However, you can also top your cake with:
- Fresh berries - make sure you arrange the fruit just before serving as the berry juices may leak onto your icing.
- Extra lemon zest
- Edible flowers
I also love serving slices of the cake with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream, to complement the lemon flavor.
Expert tips and customizations
For a round or layered lemon cake, check out my vegan lemon cake recipe. For muffins, check out my vegan lemon poppy seed muffin recipe which includes tips on achieving those bakery-style muffin tops.
Orange juice will work! However orange juice is less acidic than lemon juice (imagine tasting a spoon of orange juice compared to a spoon of lemon juice). I recommend replacing some of the milk with extra orange juice.
Or check out my vegan tres leches recipe where you soak a sponge cake in a three-milk mixture.
I haven't tested it myself so can't vouch for results. If you try it yourself, let me know!
Yes, but I recommend adding an extra dash of milk as those flours are more absorbent then all-purpose flour.
More vegan lemon desserts
Easy Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake
Vegan Lemon Loaf
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (355°F). Grease or line an 8 inch (20 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
Make the vegan lemon loaf:
- Add all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt) to a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined. Add all the wet ingredients (milk, oil, lemon juice and vanilla) and mix until combined. Avoid overmixing the batter. Some lumps are fine as long as they aren't lumps of dry flour.
- Pour the lemon cake batter into your prepared loaf pan.
- Bake the cake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean. Keep the cake in the loaf pan.
Make the lemon syrup (while the loaf is baking)
- Add the sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. This should take 1-2 minutes. Set aside until your cake is ready.
- When the lemon cake is still warm from the oven, use a long skewer or toothpick to generously poke holes in the cake.
- Pour the lemon syrup over the warm cake. Allow the cake to cool in the loaf pan.
Make the lemon icing:
- Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Add more lemon juice for a thinner icing or more sugar for a thicker icing.
- Remove the lemon cake from the loaf pan. Drizzle the icing over your cooled cake.
Serving the cake:
- If desired, just before serving, top the cake with fresh berries and lemon zest. Use a sharp to slice your cake and enjoy!
- Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or in the fridge for up to 3 days. The cake can be stored without the icing in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- For a richer cake, you can replace 1⁄2 cup (65g) of the all-purpose flour with 2⁄3 cup (65g) almond flour. Also, to make this cake gluten-free, substitute the all-purpose flour for 1 2⁄3 cups (165g) almond flour and 1 cup (160g) gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Alternatively, you can use 3 tablespoons of your liquid sweetener of choice. Instead of cooking the mixture on the stovetop, you can simply mix the sweetener with lemon juice in a small bowl.
This post and recipe was originally published in 2020 and updated in 2022 with more informative pictures and an improved recipe.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.