Vegan lemon drizzle cake - this is the ultimate eggless and dairy free lemon drizzle cake recipe! A soft, moist, easy to make and intensely lemony loaf cake soaked in tangy lemon syrup and topped with lemon glaze. This vegan lemon cake is sure to become a favourite!
If you could only pick one type of cake to eat for the rest of your life what kind would it be? (A harsh sentence I know). Mine would have to be a good old fashioned lemon drizzle.
I'm a sucker for any kind of intensely lemony dessert; and a simple, classic lemon loaf cake, drenched in a sharp lemon syrup, is just about as perfect as cake gets for me.
This vegan lemon drizzle cake is the ultimate vegan version of a classic lemon drizzle cake - intensely lemony, moist, soft and very, very moreish.
In my opinion, when it comes to lemon drizzle, the more lemon the better. If it doesn't pack a punch then it just isn't up to standard. The problem is that lemon flavour is often lost a little while baking.
To conquer this, I use lots of lemon juice and zest (of three whole lemons!) in the batter; drizzle the cake with a generous amount of lemon syrup once it is baked, AND top it with a lemon icing and sugared lemon zest once it has cooled. There is no missing the lemon flavour here!
How To Make Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake:
(For ingredients and full instructions see the recipe card below)
*For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.*
Sift plain flour, cornflour (cornstarch), baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) into a large bowl then whisk in ground almonds, caster sugar and salt.
Add grated lemon zest, non-dairy milk, non-dairy yoghurt, lemon juice, vanilla extract and melted vegan block butter.
Whisk gently until no dry lumps remain but be careful not to over-beat the batter as that can make the cake tough.
Pour into a greased and lined approx 11.5 x 21.5 cm / 4.5 x 8.5 in loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top starts to colour too much before the cake is ready then you can loosely cover it with a sheet of tin foil.
Because there is so much acid in this cake batter, it reacts with the raising agents extremely quickly so you need to get it in the oven right away. Don't leave the batter sitting around at all before getting it into the tin and the oven.
While the cake is baking prepare the drenching syrup - place freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster or granulated sugar in a small pan and heat gently while stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Once the cake is baked, set it aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then poke holes all over the top with a cocktail stick.
Drizzle over the syrup, making sure that you pour it evenly around the edges as well, not just in the middle otherwise you will end up with a soggy centre.
Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin. Once the cake is cool, carefully lift it out of the tin using the strip of baking parchment.
To make the glaze, place sifted icing sugar in a bowl and gradually stir in enough lemon juice to form a thick but pourable icing.
Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake and serve (top with sugared lemon zest first if you like; see below for instructions on how to make it). Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
How To Make Sugared Lemon Zest:
If you want to decorate your vegan lemon drizzle cake with some sugared lemon zest as pictured (which also adds an extra burst of lemonyness!), then it is really easy to make.
Simply use a lemon zester - the kind with the little holes for making strips of zest (like this one), to zest two lemons. Mix the zest in a small bowl with 3 tsp granulated sugar so that it is well coated then spread it out on a sheet of baking parchment and set it aside to dry.
Do this while the cake is in the oven then sprinkle it over the top of the cake once it is glazed. It is best to add it shortly before serving as the sugar will melt after a few hours.
How Long Will Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake Keep?
This vegan lemon drizzle cake is really moist so it keeps well in an airtight container for around four to five days.
If you make the sugared lemon zest to decorate the cake with it will only stay crunchy for about a day; but it will still be delicious and good to eat once it has softened.
Can I Freeze It?:
Yes! You can freeze this cake either whole or in individual slices. Either way make sure it is well wrapped to avoid freezer burn.
It is very important that you use a vegan block butter/margarine to make this cake – the kind that comes in a foil wrapped block, NOT the spreadable kind in a tub which has too high a water content for baking.
A bit of cornflour (cornstarch) helps to give the cake a nice, soft texture, and helps to bind in place of the egg.
Adding some ground almonds to the batter gives this cake a far superior texture to those that I tested without almonds. You can't taste the almond at all but I think that the mouthfeel is much nicer.
Make sure that you measure your ingredients accurately! I always, always use a digital scale to measure everything out and would never recommend using cups, they are not accurate enough for baking.
Grease your tin well and line it with baking parchment to ensure that your cake doesn't stick. Leave a strip overhanging on either side so that you can lift the cake out of the tin easily.
This cake is very lemony, but if you want it to be extra, extra lemony then you can add the finely grated zest of another one to two lemons to the batter (so a total of five). Don't add any more lemon juice however as that will make the cake too wet.
Lemon Drizzle Cake Variations:
- Swap the lemon zest and juice for lime to make a vegan lime drizzle cake.
- Swap the lemon zest and juice for orange or clementine to make an orange drizzle cake
- Add a couple of tablespoons of poppy seeds along with the flour to make a lemon poppy seed cake
- Add a teaspoon or two of ground ginger along with the flour and stir in some chopped crystallised ginger once the batter is ready to make a lemon and ginger drizzle cake.
- Add a dash of whisky or brandy to the drizzle and glaze to make a lemon hot toddy cake.
More Classic Vegan Cakes:
- Vegan chocolate fudge cake
- Vegan Victoria sponge cake
- Vegan carrot cake loaf
- Vegan courgette (zucchini) cake
- Vegan coconut layer cake
- Easy vegan ginger cake
- Vegan biscoff banana bread
- Easy vegan chocolate cake
- Vegan Christmas cake
- Vegan apple bundt cake
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Ultimate Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake
- 280 g (2 ¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 20 g (2 Tbsp) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 50 g (½ cup) ground almonds
- 230 g (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- finely grated zest of 3 lemons
- 120 ml (½ cup) unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soy)
- 80 g (⅓ cup) non-dairy yogurt (I use soy)
- 100 ml (⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp + 1tsp) lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 120 g (½ cup) vegan block butter melted and cooled slightly
- 50 ml (3 Tbsp + 1 tsp) lemon juice
- 50 g (¼ cup) caster or granulated sugar
- 130 g (1 cup + 1 Tbsp) icing (powdered) sugar sifted
- the juice of ½ - 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160℃ fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease an approx 11.5 x 21.5 cm / 4.5 x 8.5 in loaf tin and line with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl then whisk in the ground almonds, sugar and salt.
- Add the lemon zest, milk, yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla extract and melted vegan butter.
- Whisk gently until no dry lumps remain but be careful not to over-beat the batter.
- Working quickly, pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-70 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top starts to colour too much before the cake is ready then loosely cover it with tin foil.
- While the cake is baking prepare the syrup - place the lemon juice and sugar in a small pan and heat gently while stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once the cake is ready, set it aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then poke holes all over the top with a cocktail stick. Drizzle over the syrup, making sure that you pour it around the edges as well, not just in the middle. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
- Once the cake is cool, carefully lift it out of the tin using the strip of baking parchment.
- Place the sifted icing sugar in a bowl and gradually stir in enough lemon juice to form a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.