This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.

This easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake is the ultimate spring and summer dessert! This loaf cake also happens to be a vegan dessert, making it a thoughtful addition to a potluck or picnic menu.

Slices of lemon olive oil cake on a cooling rack.

A few years ago, my friend Alisha told me about an olive oil cake that was so good, it “haunted her dreams.” She asked, “Would you be up for the challenge of creating a similar cake?”

Although I don’t follow a vegan diet myself and swear by my egg-inclusive recipes like Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake and Lemon Bundt Cake as well as butter-based ones such as Easy Pound Cake and Texas Sheet Cake, I knew I could find healthy ingredient substitutions to recreate this cake recipe in a way that would make it possible for Alisha and I to share a slice.

After testing and perfecting this Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe, however, I can confirm that each slice is far too delicious to share. Vegan or otherwise, you’re going to want several slices (or, you know, the whole loaf cake recipe) of this summery dessert for yourself.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Lemon Olive Oil Cake (Vegan) Recipe

Recipe ingredients

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Unsweetened almond milk: This works one-for-one as a substitute for regular cow’s milk in this and nearly any baking recipe. Here, I combine the plant-based milk with lemon juice to create a vegan buttermilk replacement. (In case you missed it, here’s my non-vegan buttermilk swap!)
  • Turbinado sugar: This sweetener is less processed than regular granulated sugar. The latter may or may not be vegan, depending on the brand and how its processed, so I formulated this olive oil cake recipe to use partially-refined turbinado. Some of the molasses from the sugarcane remains in the mix for turbinado sugar, so it has a subtle caramel flavor that plays nicely in this vegan dessert recipe.
  • Olive oil: No need to splurge on the super-fancy and flavorful olive-green finishing oils. Mild-flavored, light olive oil is ideal for baking.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick cooking spray. 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.
A cake pan next to a bowl with a white mixture and a piece of lemon.
  1. Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and olive oil in a large bowl until creamy. Whisk in buttermilk mixture.
Wet ingredients and dry ingredients for lemon olive oil cake in two bowls.
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold into buttermilk mixture and stir until just incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
Lemon olive oil cake in a pan before being baked.
  1. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 45 minutes. 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.
A lemon olive oil cake in a pan.
  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.
Glazing a Lemon Olive Oil Cake.
  1. Slice and serve.
Slices of lemon olive oil cake on a cooling rack.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: My Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe makes eight generous slices.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: The cooled loaf (frosted or unfrosted) can be wrapped in a double-layer of freezer plastic, dated, labeled, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Slices of lemon olive oil cake on plates.

Recipe FAQs

What other toppings could I try on Lemon Olive Oil Cake besides this lemon glaze?

If you think the cake itself packs enough citrus flavor, feel free to top this vegan cake recipe with Powdered Sugar Icing (using water or almond milk). Or leave it unglazed and serve each slice garnished with a generous spoonful of Strawberry Topping.

Vegan Pancakes

A quick and easy vegan pancake recipe for light, fluffy pancakes that practically float off the plate. I adjusted my favorite buttermilk pancakes using plant-based ingredients, and the results are just as delicious. I love…

20 minutes
View Recipe

More citrus dessert recipes

Lemon olive oil cake on a cooling rack.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake (Vegan)

This easy recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake is the ultimate spring and summer dessert! This loaf cake also happens to be a vegan dessert, making it a thoughtful addition to a potluck or picnic menu.
4.94 from 30 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 8 slices
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 321

Ingredients 

For the cake:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (see note 2)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (see note 3)
  • 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:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  • 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
  • Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and olive oil in a large bowl until creamy. Whisk in buttermilk mixture.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold into buttermilk mixture and stir until just incorporated.
  • 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. 
  • 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:

  • 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.

Notes

  1. Unsweetened almond milk: This works one-for-one as a substitute for regular cow’s milk in this and nearly any baking recipe. Here, I combine the plant-based milk with lemon juice to create a vegan buttermilk replacement. (In case you missed it, here’s my non-vegan buttermilk swap!)
  2. Turbinado sugar: This sweetener is less processed than regular granulated sugar. The latter may or may not be vegan, depending on the brand and how its processed, so I formulated this olive oil cake recipe to use partially-refined turbinado. Some of the molasses from the sugarcane remains in the mix for turbinado sugar, so it has a subtle caramel flavor that plays nicely in this vegan dessert recipe.
  3. Olive oil: No need to splurge on the super-fancy and flavorful olive-green finishing oils. Mild-flavored, light olive oil is ideal for baking.
  4. Yield: My Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe makes eight generous slices.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  6. Freezer: The cooled loaf (frosted or unfrosted) can be wrapped in a double-layer of freezer plastic, dated, labeled, and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 321kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 325mgPotassium: 120mgFiber: 3gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 3IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Website | + posts

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I’ve made this cake twice now and I absolutely love it ..it is so easy and most intriguing!!! I’ve been trying to bake “healthy” treats for my neighbors and this one fit the bill without any modification. The problem I have with it is portion control … I cannot stop eating it. I might try it next as muffins … that should help a little with portion control. I made blueberry sauce to go with the cake this time … which it really didn’t need … but it changed things up a bit. Thank you for this gem Meggan!!5 stars

  2. This cake was very good! It had a good rise and texture. The glaze made the cade. I poked holes in the cake so the glaze would seep into itl.5 stars

  3. I’ve made this 3 times now and I think this one is the best! Doubled the recipe and baked in a bundt pan for 40 min. Used half sprouted whole wheat flour and equal parts of “00” italian flour and bread flour. For the oil I used half meyer lemon EVOO and half avocado oil. Total of 1 cup cane sugar and almost doubled the lemon zest. SOOO tender and mildly sweet but the glaze makes up for any lack (use almond extract in the glaze). This is definitely a keeper!!5 stars

  4. I have this cake in the oven right now and it smells amazing!! I added in some fresh blueberries and almond extract, curious to see what it will taste like πŸ₯° Very excited to try my first olive oil cake after years of seeing them on my timeline!! Thanks for the recipe πŸ’—

  5. Hi there, I have had my eye on this recipe for months. I am hosting a bridal shower for my sister in law, and have been tasked with making muffins and cupcakes. Do you think I could make this recipe in a muffin tin? Or as mini Bundt cakes? Thank you in advanced for your help with this!

    1. Hi Jessica, yes you absolutely can. The baking time needs to be adjusted, though, and off the top of my head I don’t know what it would be. If you are a confident baker, you could just check them as you go (start with 10 minutes or something, check them every 2 minutes after that, or something like that). When is your event? We could try to figure it out before you need to know, if we have enough time. Please write me at hello@culinaryhill.com or reply to this comment and let me know your timeline. Thank you! :) -Meggan

View all comments