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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.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Calories 321kcal


For the cake:

For the glaze:


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


  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.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg