Lemon Caramel Cake

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This indulgent yet simple-to-make dessert features four layers of the softest lemon sponge, layered with lemon cream cheese frosting and filled with gooey lemon caramel. Plus, you won’t need any eggs or dairy for this recipe.

We start by making a one-bowl lemon sponge with dairy-free yogurt and buttermilk. Lemon zest is rubbed into brown sugar for that wonderful zesty caramel flavor. Between each layer of sponge is velvety lemon cream cheese frosting and the gooiest lemon-infused caramel. It’s the perfect springtime dessert!

Lemon Caramel Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert


Lemon Cake:

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup plant-based milk almond, soy, or oat
  • cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

Caramel Glaze:

  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dairy-free butter
  • ¼ cup canned coconut milk full-fat for richness
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


Prepare the Lemon Cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Grease and line an 8-inch round cake pan or a 9×9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In another bowl, mix the applesauce, plant-based milk, melted coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.

Bake the Cake:

  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Caramel Glaze:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, dairy-free butter, and coconut milk.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the caramel thickens slightly.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.

Glaze the Cake:

  • Once the cake is completely cooled, place it on a serving plate.
  • Pour the warm caramel glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
  • Use a spatula to spread the glaze evenly if needed.


  • Let the glaze set for about 15 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Enjoy!


  • Applesauce: Acts as a substitute for eggs, adding moisture and acting as a binder.
  • Coconut Oil: Adds richness and moisture to the cake. You can substitute with another vegetable oil if preferred.
  • Lemon Zest and Juice: Provides a fresh, tangy flavor to balance the sweetness of the caramel.
  • Coconut Milk: Full-fat coconut milk provides the best texture for the caramel glaze.

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