Easy vegan lemon olive oil cake made with only 6 key ingredients using 1 bowl. This cake is fluffy, tender and light and perfect for Spring!
I love light and zesty cakes like these which aren't too sweet (but sweet enough to be called dessert). This cake has a similar flavour profile to my vegan whole lemon cake and vegan lemon drizzle cake.
Key ingredients you'll need
Like the majority of my recipes, this vegan lemon cake uses only common ingredients including:
Plain (all-purpose) flour for the lightest fluffiest cake.
Granulated cane sugar
Dairy free milk such as soy, almond or coconut.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to add moisture and flavour. Some types of olive oils are sweet while others are a little peppery so your cake will adopt the flavour of your particular oil.
Lemon juice and zest and lots of it for extra zing! Lemon juice is an acid so reacts with the dairy free milk to make buttermilk which makes a cake more tender :). I used fresh lemon juice but bottled will also work.
Baking powder to make the cake extra fluffy and to help set the cake
Optional: salt and vanilla to enhance the flavour of the olive oil and lemon juice.
As always, all the ingredient amounts are in the grey recipe box at the bottom of this post :).
How to make vegan lemon olive oil cake
Like the majority of my cakes, making the cake batter is a simple 2 step process with just 1 bowl! I loathe doing dishes so the less bowls/equipment, the better :).
So, simply add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined. Add all the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. The final batter should be a little runny without any lumps of flour or streaks of wet ingredients.
Pour the cake batter into an 8 inch (20 cm) lined loaf tin and bake it in your preheated oven. So so easy! Your house will smell wonderful when the olive oil cake is ready to take out of the oven.
How to decorate this lemon cake
This olive oil cake is lovely with a simple powdered sugar icing which is made from only 2 ingredients. It sets at room temperature and doesn't collapse at room temperature for long periods of time (like buttercream does).
Alternatively you can skip the icing and enjoy the cake plain, with berries or a light dusting of powdered sugar. This makes the cake a little less sweet!
Customising this cake
For a less sweet cake, I'd recommend enjoying the cake without the icing (or with some powdered sugar on top).
The sugar can be slightly reduced to 1 cup (200g) in this recipe. However, I wouldn't strongly recommend it because the sugar adds moisture and balances out the sour lemon flavour and slight bitterness from the zest.
It's possible to use coconut sugar in this cake but it changes the flavour profile. Imagine eating a lemony caramel cake! I haven't tested this cake with alternatives such as monk fruit sweetener or erythritol.
I don't ever recommend baking vegan sponge cakes using a liquid sweetener instead of granulated sugar. This will make a cake too heavy and dense.
Yes, check out the notes in the grey recipe box at the bottom of this post
No, you don't haaavvvee to! The lemon zest adds complexity of flavour and an extra lemon punch. For a more mild lemon flavour, omit the zest.
Yes, but I'd recommend using my lemon blueberry cake recipe. The recipe is similar to this olive oil cake but the batter is thicker so the blueberries don't sink!
More vegan lemon and citrus desserts
- Easy Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Whole Lemon Cake and Whole Orange Cake
- Pistachio Lemon Avocado Cake
- Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
- Easy Lemon Tart
- Blueberry Lemon Bars
- No bake Lemon Cheesecake
- Mandarin Orange Tart
Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake
- 2 ½ cups (315g) plain or all-purpose flour, (note 1 for gluten free)
- 1 ¼ cups (250g) cane sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of any good quality salt, optional
- 1 cup (250g) dairy free milk, such as almond, soy or coconut
- ½ cup (125g) extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup (80g) lemon juice and zest, (about 2-3 lemons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
To decorate (optional, see note 2 for alternatives)
- 1 ½ cups (150g) powdered sugar / icing sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup (150g) fresh berries
To make the cake:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (355°F).
- Add all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) to a bowl. Mix until there are no lumps. Add all the wet ingredients (milk, oil, lemon juice/zest and vanilla) and mix until smooth. Pour into an 8 inch (20 cm) lined loaf tin.
- Bake the cake for 1 hour or until you can poke a skewer in the middle and there's no wet batter on it. As this is a moist cake, some crumbs on your skewer are fine.
- Allow the cake to cool in the loaf tin for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing:
- Add the lemon juice and sugar to a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Add more lemon juice (or dairy free milk) for a thinner icing 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.
- To make this vegan lemon cake gluten free, substitute the plain flour for 1 ⅔ cups (165g) almond flour / blanched almond meal and 1 cup (160g) gluten free all-purpose flour.
- Alternatively, you can enjoy the cake plain, topped with fresh berries or a light dusting of powdered / icing sugar.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.