Lemon Olive Oil Cake (Vegan)

An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!

I love talking about food with foodies.

I had a conversation with my friend Alisha, and she told me about an Olive Oil Cake that was so good, it “haunted her dreams.” Would I be up for the challenge of creating a similar cake?

I immediately agreed, knowing my baking would be restrained by Alisha’s vegan diet. She also mentioned that a cake made with as many whole, unprocessed ingredients as possible would be preferred. And, if I could have it done in time for spring, all the better.

An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!

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Can you use Olive Oil to bake a cake?

When you bake with oil instead of butter in a cake recipe, you don’t have to wait for butter to soften. You can immediately, easily, cream oil and sugar together.

Extra virgin olive oil has a stronger flavor than other olive oils, so choose an oil with a mild taste when you’re baking.

An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!

How to Make Vegan Buttermilk

Whisk together unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as unsweetened almond milk, with lemon juice and let it set aside to curdle.

In this recipe, I also added lemon zest to the buttermilk for an extra lemony boost.

An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!

Baking with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

I used 100% whole wheat pastry flour in my recipe for the most nutrition and a nutty flavor. You could also use 50% whole wheat pastry flour and 50% all-purpose flour.

However, whole wheat flour is NOT the same as whole wheat pastry flour. All of your baked goods will be heavier and denser if you use regular whole wheat flour.

An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar, also known as “sugar in the raw,” is an unprocessed form of sugar. You can substitute 1 cup of regular granulated sugar for the 1 cup of Turbinado in this recipe.

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An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!
4.91 from 11 votes
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Lemon Olive Oil Cake

An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 401 kcal

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. To make vegan buttermilk, in a small bowl whisk together almond milk, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Set aside to blend for 5 minutes

  3. Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and olive oil in a large bowl until creamy. Whisk in buttermilk mixture.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold into buttermilk mixture and stir until just incorporated.

  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 45 minutes. 

  6. Remove from oven and cool at least 10 minutes in the pan. Remove to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and cool completely.

To make the glaze:

  1. Whisk together remaining powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. Pour over cooled cake, allowing excess to drip off the cake onto the baking sheet beneath.

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An easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake that also happens to be vegan and full of whole, unprocessed ingredients. Use whole wheat pastry flour for a tender cake with a nutritious boost!

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24 comments

  1. I love using whole wheat flour, but never thought of using it in a cake, love this idea. This cake looks so moist and yummy, I want to eat it all. With a big pot of tea.

    • Obviously all the tea! It’s so moist and tender despite whole wheat anything, ha ha. Thank you Janette and take care!

  2. You’ve done a great job “veganizing” this cake Meggan! Looks beautiful and I’m sure it is delicious! Love the use of whole wheat and the vegan buttermilk! These recipes take time to develop, but once done it is totally worth it!

    • Thank you so much Mira! Totally worth it. Plus making it for a friend made it so enjoyable. I do well with positive constraints like that. :D Thank you again and take care my dear!

  3. I love the combination of lemon and olive on cooked veggies, but never thought to use it in a cake! This sounds like it’s wonderfully moist and flavorful!

  4. Very impressively healthy, Meggan … perfect for the post-Christmas health-drive, of course, but also for any other time of year. Merry Christmas and hope you and family are well! :-)

  5. Oh gosh this would be perfect with a nice coffee. I love citrus cakes of any type and although i am not vegan i love giving new recipes a try.

    • You should definitely try this Mariana, vegan or not! It’s surprisingly good. And since it’s vegan that means you can eat twice as much right?? LOL

  6. that just looks absolutely yummy!

  7. I sure could use a slice of this right about now :) I really want to try an olive oil cake – this one will be it!

  8. Vegan buttermilk, genius! I love this healthified cake. I could use a little more health in my life in the coming year. :)

    • We could all use a little more health, ha ha! Thanks Lizzy! I am sure your cake will automatically taste better than mine because… well… you’re SugarHero!

  9. I made this. I was in a hurry so I used a cake pan, to shorten the cooking time. Served it at a picnic. My friends loved it. One friend requested that I make it again for his birthday. I think that was probably the first time he’s ever knowingly had a vegan cake, so to request it again was really good. It is dense, so it would be better as a loaf (vs. cake pan) but it was still very nice, and a surprisingly nice golden color. It went over well. My other friend noticed how moist it was, and was surprised that it only had a third a cup of oil total.

    • This is so great! Thank you! Reminds me that I need to make it again, too. It’s a pretty good cake for being vegan/whole food ingredients. I appreciate your thoughtful comment and I’m glad your friends enjoyed it too! Take care and thanks again.

  10. This was my first vegan cake. A total success. However, next time I think I will double the lemon juice and diminish the almond milk. That way the cake will have a more lemony flavor.  Hope this will work. Thanks again for the wonderful recipe.  

    • Sounds like a good plan Charo! More lemon is always better. I should probably retest this myself and try to boost the lemony flavor so more. Thanks for the suggestion and take care!

  11. I made this cake for my birthday and everyone, I mean everyone enjoyed it. We couldn’t stop eating it. I am making it for my mom’s birthday next week per her request.

    • Bethany, thank you so much for this! I love hearing a good success story especially when we’re talking about a vegan olive oil cake. :D Take care!

  12. Hi. I would like to make the lemon olive oil cake but I can’t find the whole wheat pastry flour. It si ok if I substitute it with whole wheat flour?

    Thanks

    • Hi Rosie, YES! You can do a mix of 50% whole wheat flour and 50% all-purpose flour if you’d like. If you go straight whole wheat flour, the cake will be a lot denser (I’m not sure exactly how well it will rise or if the baking time should be adjusted, but ultimately it should taste fine). Thanks! Good luck!

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