Vegan Lemon Loaf Cake

BY : PUBLISHED : January 31st, 2022 UPDATED: August 5th, 2022

This vegan lemon loaf cake is super moist, fluffy, tender, and packed with sweet and tart lemon flavor! All you need is one bowl, a handful of inexpensive ingredients, and minimal prep for this eggless lemon drizzle cake (glaze optional)!

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completed sliced lemon loaf against a white background

Tender and Fluffy Easy Lemon Loaf Cake with Glaze

Once you try a piece of this eggless lemon drizzle cake, you’d hardly believe it’s 100% egg-free and dairy-free (and optionally gluten-free and even sugar-free!). This vegan lemon loaf cake is wonderfully light and zingy, packed with real lemon flavor while remaining moist and tender!

Even better, you wouldn’t believe how simple it is to prepare this lemon bread recipe (even simpler than our lemon poppyseed snack cake!). All you need is just one bowl, a handful of inexpensive pantry staples, minutes of hands-on prep, and a little patience. Just zest and juice the lemons, mix all the ingredients into a batter, and bake to perfection. Optionally top with a sweet-tangy lemon glaze for a delicious vegan lemon drizzle cake!

Once baked, you can enjoy this vegan lemon bread all week long. Or save the leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months! It is a perfect low-fuss dessert for special occasions (like Easter, Mother’s Day, etc.), or to enjoy any day of the week with a mug of coffee/tea!

This is definitely one to add to the cake rotation along with other simple recipes like this orange olive oil cake, carrot cake muffins, or chocolate crazy cake!

The Ingredients

  • Flour: You can use all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or a combination of the two (the latter is our preferred option).
  • Sugar: Regular granulated white sugar works best. Alternatively, use organic cane sugar or unrefined coconut sugar, but the color and flavor will vary. Adjust the amount slightly if you prefer a less sweet lemon loaf or experiment with using a sugar-free sweetener like erythritol/xylitol.
  • Baking soda: Needed to leaven the cake for good lift and texture.
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure, natural vanilla for the best flavor.
  • Salt: Just a pinch will enhance the flavors in this lemon-glazed bread.
  • Vinegar: Use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to help this eggless lemon cake achieve the correct lift and consistency.
  • Water: For a slightly richer lemon loaf cake, you may be able to use plant-based unsweetened milk instead.
  • Oil: Use a neutral cooking oil like vegetable oil or canola oil for a moist eggless lemon cake. Melted coconut oil would also work.
  • Lemon: You’ll need lemon juice and lemon zest for this lemon bread recipe.
  • Lemon glaze: While optional, we love turning this into a delicious lemon drizzle cake with this simple homemade lemon glaze icing (sugar-free option included).

ingredients for Lemon Loaf measured out against a white background

If you’d prefer to drench the vegan lemon loaf cake with lemon syrup, then gently heat the glaze, increasing the amount of lemon juice to taste. Use a toothpick to create holes in the top of the lemon loaf cake. Then brush over the syrup and allow it to soak into the cake. You can optionally then top with a thick lemon glaze icing.

Optional add-ins & Recipe Variations

  • Lemon extract: Add a few drops of lemon extract to the lemon bread batter for a more pronounced lemon flavor.
  • Candied lemon zest/peel: Use the leftover lemon zest/peel to garnish the lemon glazed bread. But for even more of a treat, candy it first!
  • Turmeric: If you want the lemon drizzle cake to be more yellow, add a pinch of turmeric powder to the batter (you won’t taste it).
  • Sugar crust: Use coarse sugar (demerara/turbinado) to sprinkle over the vegan lemon bread before baking.
  • Lemon poppyseed loaf: Mix around 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds into the batter.
  • Coconut: Add 3-4 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes for texture and subtle flavor.
  • Lavender: Add 1-2 teaspoons (depending on how subtle you want the flavor) dried, food-grade lavender.
  • Rosewater: Add 1-2 tablespoon rosewater to the batter. If using rose extract, you’ll need much less. Alternatively, add the rosewater to the lemon glaze.
  • Earl grey: Either use strongly brewed Earl Grey instead of the water and/or add the contents of 1-2 tea bags to the vegan lemon loaf batter.
  • Ginger: Add a tablespoon or two of finely chopped stem ginger/crystallized ginger and optionally use a ginger lemon glaze (option included on the glaze recipe post).
  • Berries: Add ¾ cup of fresh berries (to make a lemon blueberry loaf, lemon raspberry loaf, or cranberry lemon loaf, etc.), gently folded into the batter. Save a few berries to press into the top of the batter before baking.
  • Zucchini: To hide extra nutrients in the cake, fold in around ½ cup of finely shredded and drained (squeeze well to remove excess liquid) zucchini to the vegan lemon bread batter. Here are 14 Delicious Zucchini Recipes to try out if you're a zucchini lover!

Easily adjust this recipe to an orange loaf by simply swapping out the lemon for orange juice and zest. The same goes for a lime drizzle cake!

How to Make A Vegan Lemon Loaf Cake?

1) First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C and lightly grease a loaf pan. Then, zest (with a microplane) and juice the lemon. Save any leftover zest or lemon juice either in the fridge or in a Ziplock/Stasher bag in the freezer.

2) Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer/whisk), combine all the ingredients. Mix until smooth.

process of showing the mixture of ingredients for lemon loaf in bowl process of showing the mixture of ingredients for lemon loaf in stainless steel bowl process of mixing batter for lemon loaf process of mixing batter for lemon loaf

3) Carefully pour the batter into the loaf tin and gently tap against your kitchen surface to release any air bubbles. Then bake for between 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean (a few crumbs is fine, but not wet batter).

process of adding lemon loaf batter to tin against white background completed lemon loaf against a white background

4) Allow the cake to cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan. If you want to add a lemon glaze icing, then transfer the cake to a wire cooling rack after that to cool completely. Once cool, pour the lemon glaze icing over the lemon bread. Allow it to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then enjoy!

completed lemon loaf against a white background

How to Store?

Store the lemon bread loosely covered on the countertop for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

You could also freeze it (best to do so without the lemon glaze icing). Wrap it well in two layers of plastic wrap and then within a Ziplock/Stasher bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Freezing the vegan lemon loaf cake whole is best for texture. However, slicing it and freezing it with parchment paper between the slices makes for easy defrosting when you only want a piece or two. Allow it to thaw in the fridge, on the counter, or even pop a piece directly into a toaster oven from frozen to thaw and reheat.

FAQs

Can I make this vegan lemon loaf cake gluten-free?

Though we haven’t tried, your best bet would be to try this eggless lemon cake recipe with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur’s).

Can I make the lemon bread in a round tin?

Yes, it should work fine in either an 8 or 9-inch round tin. You may also be able to use a cupcake tin and adjust the baking time accordingly. I recommend checking on the cupcake tin after 15 minutes, and every few minutes after a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Can I substitute the oil in the recipe?

We haven’t tried this recipe with an oil substitute yet. If you want to experiment, we recommend first trying by substituting half of the oil for unsweetened applesauce.

What to serve it with?

You can enjoy a slice of this vegan lemon loaf cake alone (especially as a glazed lemon cake). Alternatively, serve a slice chilled, at room temperature, or warm, with some dairy-free yogurt and berries, vegan whipped cream, or even a scoop of vegan ice cream. You can enjoy a slice for breakfast, brunch, or dessert!

completed lemon loaf against a white background

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Measure the flour correctly: Make sure to use the ‘spoon and level’ method. Spoon the flour into your measuring cup (rather than scooping it directly into the bag), then level with the back of a knife. This way, you avoid using too much flour and end up with dense lemon bread.
  • Don’t overmix the batter: If you overwork the gluten, it can lead to dense and un-risen eggless lemon cake.
  • For easier cake removal: It can be a good idea to line the loaf pan with parchment paper. Leave two flaps over the edges (to pull on after baking for easy cake release).
  • Make sure the loaf is completely cool before glazing: Otherwise, you’ll melt the glaze, and it will run down the sides of the cake and soak into the cake like a syrup (which tastes delicious but affects the moisture and doesn’t have the correct ‘look’).

completed lemon loaf against a white background

More Lemon-Based Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed sliced lemon loaf against a white background

Vegan Lemon Loaf Cake

Toni Okamoto
This Vegan Lemon Loaf cake is so delicious and so easy to make! It only requires one pot, simple ingredients, and will become your new favorite eggless and dairy free cake!
4.92 from 24 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 284 kcal
METHOD Oven
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cups of granulated sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon zest

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a bread load pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer), mix together all the ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the pan.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Test by sticking a toothpick in the middle. If the toothpick comes out dry, the loaf is done.

Notes

  • Lemon extract: Add a few drops of lemon extract to the lemon bread batter for a more pronounced lemon flavor.
  • Candied lemon zest/peel: Use the leftover lemon zest/peel to garnish the lemon glazed bread. But for even more of a treat, candy it first!
  • Turmeric: If you want the lemon drizzle cake to be more yellow, add a pinch of turmeric powder to the batter (you won’t taste it).
  • Sugar crust: Use coarse sugar to sprinkle over the bread before baking.
  • Lemon poppyseed loaf: Mix around 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds into the batter.
  • Coconut: Add 3-4 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes for texture and subtle flavor.
  • Lavender: Add 1-2 teaspoons of dried food-grade lavender.
  • Rosewater: Add 1-2 tablespoon rosewater to the batter.
  • Earl grey: Either use strongly brewed Earl Grey instead of the water and/or add the contents of 1-2 tea bags to the vegan lemon loaf batter.
  • Ginger: Add a tablespoon or two of finely chopped stem ginger/crystallized ginger and optionally use a ginger lemon glaze.
  • Berries: Add ¾ cup of fresh berries, gently folded into the batter. Save a few berries to press into the top of the batter before baking.
  • Zucchini: To hide extra nutrients in the cake, fold in around ½ cup of finely shredded and drained (squeeze well to remove excess liquid) zucchini to the vegan lemon bread batter.

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 379mgPotassium: 119mgFiber: 3gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Toni Okamoto

"They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez

View all posts by Toni Okamoto

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Nancy Wu says

    really need to try making this recipe

    • Andrea White says

      You dooo!

  2. Nancye Smith says

    Yummo!

    • Andrea White says

      It's super yummy!

  3. Gina House says

    I can't get enough of this lemon loaf! It's so delicious with a cup of tea. My favorite!

    • Andrea White says

      That sounds like a great pair!

  4. Teodora Grujic says

    Perfect recipe for upcoming weekend! Thank you!

    • Andrea White says

      Yay! Enjoy 🙂

  5. Amanda says

    Love a good lemon cake!

    • Andrea White says

      Same! So good!

  6. Andrea White says

    This lemon cake is soooo good! Love it!

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