This lemon drizzle cake is so fluffy, zingy and delicious! Drizzled with lemon icing and topped sugar paper flowers it makes a fantastic Easter cake!
It's been over a week since I posted a recipe, and no, I haven't turned vegan during that time. Chris and I have been celebrating my birthday in New York! More on that later.
This vegan cake came about simply because I didn't have any eggs in.
Since I had soya milk in the fridge, I thought I might as well go all in and make a vegan version!
And let me tell you - the process was not as easy as I expected. It took a little more testing than usual to get it right.
I always find it's the cakes that take more testing. I guess that's why Kitchen Sanctuary has so many savoury recipes! However, I can't resist a lemon drizzle cake. ESPECIALLY if it's been topped with a thick drizzle of icing.
Yes I know - drizzle cakes are traditionally just topped with a simple sugar-lemon solution, but I like my toppings! So this cake has the simple sugar-lemon topping (which sinks into the still-warm cake and makes it beautifully tangy, sweet and moist) AND the sweet lemon-flavoured icing too. Plus a few sugar-paper flowers, because it's nearly Easter and yellow flowers = Easter.
We start by mixing vegetable oil and sugar together in a bowl. Then add lemon zest, flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and soya milk. Stir together and pour into a lined loaf tin. Place in the oven to cook.
Whilst the cake is cooking, make the toppings. Mix together sugar and lemon juice for the first topping. When the cake is cooked, poke several holes in it (whilst it's still hot) and drizzle over the lemon sugar mixture. Then leave the cake to cool. Next mix the icing sugar with lemon juice to form a thick icing. Remove the cake from the tin and remove the liner, then drizzle over the thick icing. Arrange rice paper flowers and/or butterflies on top.
Serve in thick slices:
So, New York.
Wow! It was my first time there, and I LOVED it! We went for my birthday. I turned 40 (boo hoo, so old!!), and Chris knows that I'd never forgive him if he tried to surprise me with a party. That's one of my worst nightmares. So instead, I asked him to take me away so I wouldn't have to face anyone when I hit that milestone. We had 5 days of eating, walking, eating, taking in the sights, eating and shopping.
We took lots of video and some photos too, since we tried out quite a few amazing food spots. I'll be writing a full post on it in the next couple of weeks - so you can watch us stuffing our faces in the accompanying video (lucky you!).
Looking for more Easter recipes (note they're vegetarian, not vegan)? For a sweet Easter treat, try my:
- Easter Chocolate Caramel Egg Mille Feuille
- Chocolate orange hot cross buns
- Cadbury Creme Egg and Cinnamon Toast Soldiers
- Carrot and Orange Tray Bake with Orange infused Raisins
The Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe:
Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake
- ⅓ cup + 1 tsp (75ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (200g) caster (or superfine granulated) sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon - (about 1 tbsp)
- 2 cups + 1 tsp (250g) plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup less 1 tbsp (220ml) soya (soy) milk
- Juice of half a lemon - (about 1 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- Juice of 2 lemons - (about 4 tbsp)
- 1 ⅔ cup (200g) icing (confectioners') sugar - , sifted
- Rice paper flowers and/or butterflies
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Line a loaf tin with a loaf liner.
- Mix the vegetable oil and sugar together in large bowl. Add in the lemon zest, flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and milk. Beat together with a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Spoon into the prepared loaf tin and place in the oven for 35-45 minutes until golden and cooked through (you can test this by inserting a metal skewer into the centre of the cake – if it’s cooked, it should come out clean).
- Take out of the oven. Mix together the caster sugar and 2 tbsp of the lemon juice. Poke several holes in the hot cake and spoon over the sugar-lemon mixture. Leave to cool in the tin. This first topping adds a more intense lemony flavour and moisture to the cake.
- Once cool, remove from the tin and remove the loaf liner.
- Place the icing sugar in a bowl and add half of the remaining lemon juice. Stir with a whisk until combined. Add more lemon juice as required until you have a thick drizzle.
- Spoon the icing mixture over the cake. Arrange rice paper flowers and butterflies on top.
- Cut into slices and serve.
Bicarbonate of Soda:This recipe uses bicarb, but there's a mistake on the wording of the video - saying 'baking powder' instead. Baking powder will still work (you may find there's just slightly less rise), so don't worry if you used baking powder instead of bicarb.
Lemon juice:I find it's best to use fresh lemon juice for the best flavour.
Don't be tempted to add more lemon juice to the cake mixture though, as the acid in the lemon reacts with the alkaline in the bicarbonate of soda. The amount in the recipe is enough to give a nice rise to the cake with a fluffy texture. Too much lemon juice (or bicarbonate of soda) can cause too many bubbles to form in the mixture, which will cause the cake to rise too fast. The cake may then sink as the uncooked batter can't support the bubbles. .
The skewer test:It's really important to test that the cake is done with a metal or wooden skewer, as this cake can look browned and 'done', but still be uncooked in the middle. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. If it comes out with raw cake mixture on it, place back in the oven for 5 minutes, then test again. Repeat until fully cooked (you can place foil on the cake if it starts to look too brown). .
Can I make it ahead?Yes. Once the icing has set, placing in an airtight container at room temperature, and it will keep for approx. 3 days. .
Can I freeze it?Yes, drizzle on the sugar-lemon mixture, but NOT the icing. Then cool, wrap in foil and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the refrigerator, and once defrosted, drizzle on the icing before serving. .
Can I make it with regular milk?Yes, you can replace the soya milk with regular semi-skimmed (half-fat) or full fat milk. Of course it won't be vegan any more then. .
Can I make it gluten free?I haven't tried to make a gluten free version of this, but I have a great recipe for a gluten free orange drizzle cake (not vegan). .
Can I make it with lime or grapefruit instead?Yes, for a lime version, simple replace the lemon with the same quantity of lime. For a grapefruit version, try this vegan grapefruit drizzle cake I did for Neff. . Nutritional information is per slice.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.
David Hall says
Hi again Nicki , ive made this cake again many times since my last comments and with no probs making sure to follow your advice to the letter ! Thanks for your patience! One other thing.....do you think I could add some dedicated coconut .....i love the combo of lemon and coconut .
Your lemon drizzle cake recipe says to use a tsp of bicarbonate of soda. Yet in your video you use baking powder. The caption on the video at the end says baking powder as well. Which is it? A bit annoyed as I’d already made it when I looked at the video and I’d put in bicarbonate! Haven’t tasted it yet so I hope it’s still ok.😕
Nicky Corbishley says
Hi Yvonne, so sorry - It is bicarbonate of soda, so your cake should be fine. It will work with baking powder as well, it just gives a slightly better rise with bicarb. It was a mistake during editing of the video, but bicarb is used in the video too.
Best drizzle cake ever & I'm not vegan!
I made this recipe to bring to a dinner party and it was a big hit! I substituted soy milk for almond milk and topped it with homemade candied lemon peel. It was loved by vegans and non-vegans alike!
I will definitely be making this again!
Thanks for fabulous recipe… 👏👏👏 is this baked in a 2lb loaf tin (large) Also, doyou think this would work using almond milk (unsweetened) in place of soya? Appreciate all the amazing videos and recipes. Thanks
Simply a great cake, you wouldn't know it was vegan. Even my carnivorous friends love it
Tahira Akhtar says
Can I use oranges instead as I don't have any lemons but have loads of oranges at home and what to make use of them?
Can you use cake flour for this recipe?
Ruth Mcfruin says
Absolutely love this cake. My 5 year old who has a severe milk and egg and soya allergy made it with me and it turned out really well, will definetely make again.
I used oat milk because of her allergy. I used self raising instead of plain just because we had non in. I noticed on your recipe the important of the right bicarb! afterwards oops, it did rise a little too quickly but still yummy. Do you think for next time I could odmit the bicarb if I use self raising flour or just get some plain flour in?? thank you x
Ruth did it come out ok using SR Flour please?
Tahira Akhtar says
Can I make this in a regular 8inch round cake pan?
Maggie Holliday says
Beautiful.......Will definitely make this again and extra as very moreish ...
aideen ohalloran says
Thank you for a great recipe. This lemon drizzle cake was delicious . Easy to make and wolfed down by all my colleagues at work. I earned lots of brownie points. Thank you again
Brilliant cake, tastes amazing and was loved by all my vegan friends. I added about 1/2 a lemons worth more lemon zest and added some poppy seeds in the mix before baking (180 for 40 mins was perfect)
David Hall says
I dont know what I'm doing wrong but after three attempts they all sank in the middle .Tastes great looks ....depressing .Yes I followed the recipe and quantities exactly ....read also all the comments to see if anyone has the same problem ..... frustrating but Ill keep trying.
Nicky Corbishley says
Hi Davide, what sank in the middle? This recipe doesn't have any chunks of fruit in it.
David Hall says
Hi Nicky ,
Ive made it twice since then ,reduced the lemon juice and slightly less bicarb .....still sinks .I dont know why you mention chunks of fruit !? I put just lemon zest . Out of 5 attempts just one didnt sink.
Nicky Corbishley says
Ah, you mean the actual cake sank in the middle. Sorry, I thought you meant some fruit sank in the cake.
I haven't had this problem before David. Often when this happens it's because the cake is undercooked in the middle. It's a good idea to ensure you don't open the oven at all until the end of the baking time. Then after that time, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and ensure it comes out clean. If it doesn't place back in the oven for another 5 minutes, then skewer it again.
It's also worth checking that your oven temp is accurate. Often oven temperatures become less accurate the longer you have the oven. If you think the oven is a little on the low temp side, then you could try increasing the oven temperature by 10 degrees C (or 50F).
Hope that helps.
made this recipe 3 times now and it's amazing. cut down on the sugar a bit and used oat milk instead of soy. also instead of the sugar syrup i just squeezed half a lemon over the cake once it came out of the oven! added the icing on top (icing sugar + lemon juice) and everyone loved it
Fantastic recipe - easy and yummy