Easy vegan lemon olive oil cake using only 6 key ingredients and 1 bowl. This cake is fluffy, tender and light and perfect for Spring!
Key ingredients you'll need
This vegan lemon loaf uses only everyday ingredients including:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds moisture and flavor. Some types of olive oils are sweet while others are a little peppery so your cake will adopt the flavor of your particular oil.
Lemon juice and zest and lots of it for extra zing! Lemon juice is acidic so reacts with dairy-free milk to make buttermilk which gives a cake a tender crumb. I used fresh lemon juice but bottled will also work.
Granulated sugar for the lightest vegan olive oil cake! Alternatively, you may use coconut sugar however it'll make your cake a little denser and darker in color.
You don't need any special egg replacers as the cake stays moist and fluffy from the olive oil, sugar and baking powder!
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to prepare the batter
Like most of my cakes, you'll only need one bowl to prepare this vegan lemon olive oil cake!
In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients, add all the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. The final batter should be a little runny without no lumps of dry flour or streaks of wet ingredients. Alternatively, you may use a stand mixer or hand mixer but be careful to not overmix the batter!
Pour the cake batter into an 8-inch (20 cm) lined loaf pan and bake it in your preheated oven. Your house will smell wonderful while your vegan olive oil cake is baking!
This vegan lemon loaf is lovely with a simple 2-ingredient icing that sets at room temperature.
For a more decadent cake, you can top it with lemon buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting (such as from my ginger cake recipe).
If you don't have a big sweet tooth, you can top the unbaked cake with sliced almonds (just keep an eye on the almonds so they don't burn). After baking, dust the top with powdered sugar or serve with yogurt and berries.
Can I bake this cake in a different pan?
This vegan olive oil cake will bake well in any loaf pan that's 8-inches or longer. If you're using a longer one, your cake will just be shorter.
Alternatively, you can use an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan. For easy removal, use a springform pan!
To make cupcakes, I recommend using my vegan lemon cupcakes recipe which fits perfectly in 1 muffin pan.
Customizing this cake
For a less sweet cake, I recommend enjoying the cake without the icing (or only with powdered sugar on top).
The sugar can be slightly reduced to 1 cup (200g). However, keep in mind that sugar adds moisture to the cake, and balances out the sour lemon flavor and slight bitterness from the zest.
Orange juice is sweeter and less acidic than lemon juice so I recommend using more orange juice. Reduce the amount of milk and replace some of it with orange juice. Remember to use the orange zest for extra flavor!
I recommend using my lemon blueberry cake recipe. It's similar to this vegan olive oil cake but the batter is thicker so the blueberries don't sink!
More vegan lemon desserts
Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake
To make the cake:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (355°F). Line an 8 inch (20 cm) loaf tin with parchment paper.
- Add all the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) to a large bowl. Mix until there are no lumps. Add all the wet ingredients (milk, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla) and mix until smooth.
- Pour the lemon cake batter into your prepared pan. Smooth the surface if necessary.
- Bake the cake for 1 hour or until you can insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and there's no wet batter on it. As this is a moist cake, some crumbs on your toothpick are fine. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly on top, carefully tent the pan with aluminum foil.
- Allow the cake to cool in the loaf tin for 10 minutes then let the cake cool on a cooling rack.
To make the icing:
- Add the lemon juice and sugar to a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Add more lemon juice or non-dairy milk for a thinner icing (like a lemon glaze) or more powdered sugar for a thicker icing.
- Drizzle the icing over your cooled cake. If desired, top the cake with berries just before serving.
- Store the 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.
- You'll need around 2-3 medium lemons to yield the amount of lemon juice and zest for the recipe.
- Alternatively, you can enjoy the cake plain, topped with fresh berries or a light dusting of powdered / icing sugar.
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