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Nourishing plant-based meals + indulgent desserts

Vegan Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This Vegan Lemon Cake recipe yields a fluffy cake that no one will guess is vegan and is frosted with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Its about time for another cake recipe don’t you think? I know I have a lot of cake recipes here on EP, but they’re my favorite to make. Typically, I lean towards chocolate and spice cakes but, the weather is finally warming up. And with spring in the air, I’m craving more fruity and bright flavors. So, today I’m sharing my DELICIOUS, soft, fluffy and light Vegan Lemon Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. This Vegan Lemon Cake is made in one bowl, and is super versatile. I frosted my cake with my Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting, but it would be amazing with vanilla, or lemon buttercream as well. Or simply left unfrosted and topped with berries and whipped cream.

Bowl of strawberry cream cheese frosting with a gold spoon
This cream cheese frosting is the perfect sheet cake frosting. It is soft, flavorful and perfectly sweet.

How to Make Vegan Cake

Cake is really simple to make completely vegan. For this Vegan Lemon Cake there are just a few simple swaps to make. And I promise you will never notice. There are three thing that traditional cakes contain that we wont use: butter, milk and eggs.

Use Canola Oil Instead of Butter in the Cake

I typically prefer to use canola oil- or other vegetable oil– rather than non-dairy butter in my cakes. Oil allows this Vegan Lemon Cake to rise higher and have a softer interior and exterior. Definitely DO NOT use coconut oil. While coconut oil is great so some things, baking cake (at least in this recipe) is not one of them.

Overhead shot of 3 plates of lemon cake with cream cheese frosting with greenery and strawberries
The Vegan Lemon Cake is light, fluffy and perfectly moist.

Use Dairy-Free Butter and Cream Cheese in the Frosting

This Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting is incredibly tasty and complements the lemon cake so well. Its made just like any other frosting recipe on my website. For cream cheese, I prefer Vio Life Just Like Cream Cheese if it is available to you. And for vegan butter, I use Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Sticks. Country Crock Plant Butter sticks are also great, but whatever you do DON’T use a non-dairy butter that comes in a tub. It will be too soft.

Use Plant Milk Instead of Dairy Milk

I always bake with So Delicious Plain Unsweetened Coconut Milk and this Vegan Lemon Cake is no exception. Its neutral in flavor and easy to find. And I love that it comes in shelf stable 32 oz containers so I can keep it in my baking cabinet. Then whenever the mood hits, I always have all the ingredients I need.

Vegan Lemon Cake with in a 9x13 pan on a white marble board with greenery and strawberries
This is a great cake to feed a crowd because its so simple to make.

Leave the Eggs Behind

It may seem like I’m not making up for a lack of eggs in this Vegan Lemon Cake. But I am in three ways! First, I use a little more fat by way of canola oil to make up for the richness that eggs lend. Second, I add a bit more plant milk to make up for the moisture that eggs give to baked goods. And I add a bit more leavener in combination with an acid (lemon juice to make up for the lift that eggs can give a cake.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting Notes

This Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting is DELICIOUS, but its soft. After mixing it together, it need to be refrigerated before frosting the cake. The frosting holds its shape nicely on a sheet cake, but don’t use this to build or frost a stacked cake. This frosting is too soft for those uses.

And be sure to keep the cake refrigerated until you are ready to eat!

Portrait of 3 Pieces of Vegan Lemon cake on white plates with lemon wedges and strawberries
And no one will ever know its completely vegan!

Looking for More Vegan Cake Recipes?

Vegan Cookie Dough Cake

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Earl Grey and Vanilla Bundt Cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

This Vegan Lemon Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting is simple to make and is so incredibly tasty. And I guarantee you will never know its completely dairy free and vegan.

Portrait of 3 Pieces of Vegan Lemon cake on white plates with lemon wedges and strawberries

Vegan Lemon Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

This simple lemon cake is made in one bowl with 10 ingredients and yields a super moist, fluffy and tender cake and is frosted with an easy cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Servings

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
  • Large Bowl
  • Sifter
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • 9×13 Pan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dairy-Free Milk I use So Delicious Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Zest of 1 1/2 lemons This will be about 2 Tbsp of zest.
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

For the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 Stick Non-Dairy Butter, room temp I used Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Sticks
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Cream Cheese, room temp I used VioLife Just Like Cream Cheese
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 1/4 Cup Strawberry Jam

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a 9×13 pan by greasing it with either coconut oil or non dairy butter. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, plant milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk well.
  • Fit a sifter on top of the bowl with the wet ingredients, being careful not to let the bottom of the sifter touch the wet ingredients.
  • Into the sifter measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  • Pout the cake batter into the prepared 9×13 pan and spread out evenly with a spatula.
  • Bake in a 350* oven for 29-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before frosting and serving.

To make the Frosting

  • In the of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese. Scraping the bowl down a few times to make sure everything is smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until a frosting forms, again, scraping the bowl down a few times.
  • Add the strawberry jam and mix. The frosting will look soft.
  • Cover and place frosting in the refrigerator to firm up.

To Frost the Cake

  • Once the cake has completely cooled and the frosting has firmed up, dollop the frosting on top of the cake and spread it out with a spatula.
  • Store the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat.
Keyword Autumn Baking, cake, cake recipe, desserts, lemon cake, lemon recipes, lemon sheet cake

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