Lemon Is a Triple Threat in This Completely Plant-Based Lemon Cake
This story is part of Eat More Plants, Kitchn’s June 2021 special issue devoted to learning how to put the flavor and magic of plants at the heart of your plate.
We don’t take the lemon flavor in this cake lightly: It’s indeed a triple-threat situation. The lemon hits your senses right from the start when you blend its zest with sugar to infuse the scent with its rich oils. Next, add a splash of lemon extract to the batter to take it up another notch. Finally, whisk some lemon juice with powdered sugar to make a quick and tangy glaze that’s poured over the tender crumb. The result is a crowd-pleasing, sweet, and zesty cake that hits all the right notes.
This humble cake is so moist, fluffy, and loaded with bright citrus flavor that you’d never guess it’s totally vegan and dairy-free. That’s the power of Follow Your Heart Vegenaise, the original egg-free mayo alternative. This key ingredient replaces the eggs, butter, and other dairy you typically find in cake recipes — yet you might not believe it after taking a bite. (It’s also preservative-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and non-GMO, too.)
This is a perfect cake for sharing, and it’s perfectly portable. After the glaze has hardened, cut it into squares, pack it up, and head to the cookout! Just be ready for the wide eyes and wows you get when you finally reveal the secret ingredient in this rich, moist cake is a vegan mayo alternative!
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes to 35 minutes
- 3/4 cup
medium lemons, divided
- 1 1/2 cups
- 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1 cup
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
- 3/4 cup
- 1 teaspoon
- 3/4 cup
Optional garnishes: Thinly sliced lemon or lemon zest twists
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper that hangs over the 2 long sides. Coat with cooking spray.
Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl. Finely grate the zest of 2 medium lemons into the bowl (about 2 tablespoons). Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and whisk to combine.
Halve the zested lemons crosswise. Squeeze the juice from 3 halves into a medium bowl (about 4 1/2 tablespoons). Reserve the remaining half for the glaze. Add 1 cup Follow Your Heart Vegenaise, 3/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon lemon extract to the bowl of lemon juice and whisk to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined and no dry flour remains; some lumps are fine. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out into an even layer.
Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Grasping the parchment paper sling, remove the cake from the pan to the rack and let cool completely before glazing.
Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half into a small bowl. Add 3/4 cup powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Spoon evenly over the cake, then spread with an offset spatula or rubber spatula. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon or lemon zest twists, if desired. Let the cake sit until the glaze hardens, about 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Storage: Leftovers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Follow Your Heart® and Vegenaise® are registered trademarks of Earth Island®