Vegan Lemon Cake

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Check out this amazing Vegan Lemon Cake – it’s a top pick in our recipe collection! The cake is wonderfully light and fluffy, bursting with zesty lemon goodness, and crowned with a luscious vegan lemon buttercream frosting. Plus, it’s a breeze to whip up and serves as a versatile base for various cake variations!

Vegan Lemon Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12


*Vegan Lemon Cake:*

  • ¾ cup vegan butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • cup lemon zest
  • 3 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

*Vegan Lemon Buttercream:*

  • 1 cup vegan butter softened to room temperature
  • 4-4 ½ cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest divided
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract



  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F / 175˚C. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Mix in applesauce.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, alternating with milk and lemon juice, until well combined.
  • Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 34-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.


  • Beat butter and powdered sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  • Add milk, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and ¼ teaspoon lemon extract. Beat for an additional 1 minute on high speed.
  • Frost the cake and top it with the remaining lemon zest.


  • For a 2-layer cake, use two 9-inch round pans, dividing the batter equally. Adjust the baking time accordingly.
  • Storage: The cake stores well covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. Refrigerate in warm climates to prevent frosting melting.
  • Ensure the cake cools completely before frosting.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest for the best flavor; the zest is essential for the recipe’s rich taste.

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