This vegan lemon loaf cake recipe is moist, tender, and bursting with lemon-y flavor. The loaf is naturally sweetened with maple syrup to balance out the sweetness of the simple lemon glaze on top. Pair with a cup of coffee as an afternoon treat!
Originally published July 2020; Updated January 2023.
Last summer, I created this yummy lemon poppy seed zucchini bread but was recently craving something more like a lemon cake. Hence, the recipe for this easy vegan lemon loaf cake was born!
The combination of all purpose flour and almond flour means that it stays moist and has a tender crumb. Plus, lemon and almond pair so well together! I also love topping it with a few extra slices of lemon or even some chopped pistachios for a pretty presentation.
In case you might be craving more lemon, I also have this lemon blueberry baked oatmeal recipe that is a great meal-prep friendly & healthy breakfast! This lemon loaf is also perfect for brunch – serve it with one of these 30+ vegan brunch recipes.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- This vegan lemon cake recipe is super simple to make and is packed with lots of bright lemon flavor.
- If you want a vegan alternative to the popular Starbucks lemon loaf – this is a perfect option!
- This recipe is vegan, egg free, and dairy free since we use soy milk, oil, and a flax egg in this version of the popular dessert.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground flax seed: you’ll use this as an egg replacer in this vegan lemon loaf.
- All-purpose flour & almond flour: when testing this recipe, I found that using a combination of all purpose flour and almond flour makes this loaf super tender and delicious.
- Baking powder: Adds lightness to this vegan lemon loaf.
- Olive oil: Use any neutral tasting oil in this recipe. I actually like the taste of olive oil in this loaf with the lemon, but canola oil, melted coconut oil, or vegetable oil will also work well.
- Soy milk: Use any non-dairy milk that you prefer – just make sure it is plain and unsweetened. I like using soy milk in baked goods because the protein and fat content is most similar to dairy milk than other plant-based milks.
- Maple syrup: Adds natural sweetness to this cake. You can leave off the lemon glaze if you want to limit the sugar content.
- Lemon: You’ll use 1 lemon plus the zest for the loaf, plus another 1/2 lemon for the glaze. Since you need both the juice and the zest for this recipe, you’ll need to buy a couple fresh lemons. The fresh lemon juice has so much more flavor!
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Step by Step
Step One: Make your flax egg in a large bowl by combining the ground flaxseed and water. To a separate bowl, add all of your dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
Step Two: Once your flax egg has gelled, add the rest of the wet ingredients (oil, soy milk, maple syrup, lemon juice & zest) to the large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Step Three: Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a spoon just until combined.
Step Four: Line a 9″x5″ glass loaf pan with parchment paper. Add your lemon loaf batter to the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.
Step Five: Once the loaf has cooled, make the lemon glaze by combining sifted powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. The consistency of the glaze should be thick but still pourable, kind of like molasses.
Step Six: Add the glaze to the cooled loaf. Allow glaze to harden to before slicing. Garnish with fresh lemon slices if desired.
- Line your loaf pan with parchment paper so it is easier to remove the loaf from the pan. I make sure there is extra paper so that I grab that to lift it out of the pan.
- Make sure to measure your flour properly. Spoon the flour into your measuring cups and level with a knife rather than scooping the flour out of the bag with the measuring cup.
- Let the loaf cool completely before adding the glaze or else it will be too runny.
- To make the glaze, you’ll want to gradually add the lemon juice just 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the right consistency. It should be very thick, but just runny enough that you can spread it over the top of your loaf.
Yes! This lemon loaf can be frozen in a airtight container if you’d like. Note that the the glaze will not look as nice after it has been defrosted. I normally slice the loaf before freezing so I can defrost it one slice at a time. I just add a piece of parchment paper between the slices and layer them in an airtight container to freeze.
Yes, normally lemon loaf does have dairy since most recipes call for butter and milk. However, this vegan version uses oil and soy milk instead so that it is dairy free.
The cake should be golden brown along the edges of the loaf pan and if you insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf, it comes out clean with only a few moist crumbs. Let the loaf bake for another 3-5 minutes if there is wet batter on the toothpick before checking again.
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Vegan Lemon Loaf
For the Loaf
For the Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3-5 teaspoons lemon juice
For the Loaf
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk together the ground flax seed and warm water in a large mixing bowl and set aside for 2 minutes to gel.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the olive oil, soy milk, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla to the mixing bowl with the flax egg. Stir well.
- Add the flour mixture and stir again just until everything is mixed.
- Transfer to baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes in the pan.
- Lift out of pan and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Glaze
- Once bread is completely cool, make the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Add the other 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice a few drops at a time until glaze is thick but pourable.
- Pour glaze over bread and use spatula to spread it to the edges of the loaf. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow glaze to set.
- Olive Oil: You can use a different oil in place of the olive oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil.
- Milk: I prefer soy milk for baked goods like this one because the protein and fat content is similar to dairy milk. However, you could use almond milk or oat milk if needed. Just make sure any milk you use in plain and unsweetened.
- Glaze: Allow loaf to cool completely before adding the glaze.
- Storage: store the finished loaf on the counter or the fridge in an airtight container. You can also slice and freeze the loaf in an airtight container with parchment between the slices.