If you’re a lover of lemon cake like we are, this recipe is a must-try! It’s fluffy, perfectly sweet, and plenty tart thanks to lots of fresh lemon juice and zest!
I’ve been wanting to share a lemon cake recipe ever since I had a slice of lemon cake for my birthday many years ago. The pillowy, lemony cake layered with buttery citrus frosting never left my mind. I wanted to create a healthier alternative to enjoy at home.
And while this cake is vegan and gluten-free, you won’t be able to tell! It’s incredibly moist and tender, has a delicate crumb, and is perfectly tart-sweet. Plus, it comes together in just 1 bowl with simple ingredients you likely already have on hand. Let us show you how it’s done!
Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Cake
It all starts with mixing the wet ingredients — lemon zest and juice, applesauce, avocado oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. The generous dose of lemon makes this cake scream of spring, while applesauce and avocado oil add moisture, maple syrup adds sweetness, and vanilla gives it a little something extra.
Next we add our new favorite flour combination for creating moist and fluffy gluten-free cakes: almond flour, potato starch, and cornstarch. It’s truly magical. And if you enjoy it (trust us, you will), you’ll also love our 1-Bowl Vegan Coffee Cake (GF, Oil-Free) and Easy Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)!
Lastly, we add in baking powder to help it rise and sea salt to enhance all the flavors.
While the cake is baking, we prepare the perfectly sweet-tart lemon glaze by combining lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.
Once cooled, it’s time to drizzle the cake with the glaze and prepare to hear some serious wows and yums from everyone who gets a slice!
We hope you LOVE this lemon loaf cake! It’s:
& SO delicious!
It’s the perfect cake to celebrate the arrival of spring and take to baby showers, Mother’s Day celebrations, and beyond! It would also be incredibly beautiful topped with fresh berries or decorated with sprinkles.
More Vegan Cake Recipes
- 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- Gluten-Free Zucchini Cake
- 1-Bowl Apple Gingerbread Cake
- 1-Bowl Pumpkin Cake (Vegan + GF)
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Lemon Loaf Cake (Vegan/GF)
- 3-4 Tbsp lemon zest (~3 ½ large lemons as original recipe is written)
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups almond flour
- 3/4 cup potato starch* (not potato flour)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch*
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp lemon zest (zest from ~1/2 a large lemon as original recipe is written)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cup organic powdered sugar, sifted (to reduce clumps)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line a standard-size loaf pan with parchment paper.
- To a large mixing bowl, add lemon zest, lemon juice, applesauce, avocado oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
- Add almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, baking powder, and sea salt and whisk again until well incorporated and no lumps remain. The texture should be thick and look similar to cornbread batter (see photo). If too thick, thin with a little bit of dairy-free milk. If too thin, add a little more almond flour.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely in the pan — about 1 hour. Wash your mixing bowl to prepare glaze.
- While the cake cools, make the glaze in the clean mixing bowl. Zest lemon and set aside. Whisk together vanilla extract and lemon juice, then begin adding sifted powdered sugar 1/4 cup (28 g) at a time, mixing until no lumps remain. Once all the powdered sugar is added, add zest and mix once more. Set aside.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, remove from the pan and gently remove parchment paper. Place on a serving plate and, starting near one end of the cake, slowly pour glaze over the cake, letting it drizzle down the edges slightly.
- Enjoy immediately with a cup of tea or some dairy-free milk! Store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to 2-3 days (we find it best within the first 1-2 days). Cake can be frozen for up to 1 month, ideally without glaze. Let thaw before slicing.
*In place of cornstarch, arrowroot may work.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with all of the glaze.
*Prep time includes cooling.