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Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake {Easy + Dairy-Free}

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You’ll absolutely love this luscious vegan lemon olive oil cake! The bright, citrus aroma and light, airy texture make it a winner in our world. So easy to whip together with ordinary, everyday ingredients––you probably already have them canoodling in your kitchen cupboard.

With no eggs or dairy in sight, you might think that this cake would be totally dense and dry but, FYI, it’s not. Adding a ripe banana and moist applesauce to the mix creates the most perfect consistency. This Italian-inspired dessert is incredibly divine and begging to be baked ASAP.

How to Serve Up This Vegan Olive Oil Cake

Although a freshly baked cake smells amazing, I always feel that the texture and taste is even better the next day. When the cake has cooled, the lightness and airiness of the cake is improved. The lemon flavor is more pronounced, too. Other ways you can serve up this delightful cake include:

Bring on the Bananas – Serve your cooled vegan lemon olive oil cake with a solitary scoop of banana nice cream. Strawberry would be scrumptious or also a marvelous Mango Berry. It’s all up to you!

Opt for Oranges – You can easily swap the lemon juice for orange juice in this recipe, as well as for the zest. Your cake will become a little sweeter and have an entirely new and fantastic flavor.

Cover With Coconut Cream – Instead of powdered sugar, add a layer of coconut cream to your cake. The cream will add another dimension to your cake and serve as a lovely white background for any toppings or decorations.

Reach for Raspberries – These sweet and tart berries are a perfect pairing for this light and fluffy dessert. You can either add a bit of buttercream frosting, coconut cream, or perky powdered sugar to the top and then arrange your berries as you please.

Layer With Lemon Slices – Candied lemon slices would be both delicious and gorgeous as a garnish. With their bright citrus tang and sugar-crusted exterior, they’re sure to bring out the best of the cake’s flavors.

Sliced Lemon Olive Oil Cake garnished with powdered sugar and three lemon slices on top

How to Store Your Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Storage is simple because this cake is unfrosted. To keep the cake from drying out due to moisture loss, cover with a cake keeper or an overturned bowl to keep it fresh. This vegan lemon olive oil cake should be fine at room temperature for a few days. 

Freezing is also an option. Cut any leftover cake into slices and wrap each well with plastic wrap. Place the wrapped slices in freezer safe bags, like Stasher bags and they should last at least a few months. To defrost, make sure to take the slices out of the freezer the night before so that they’ll be all ready the next day.

What’s the Best Olive Oil to Use?

Olive oil is key to this cake recipe. It is an olive oil cake after all! So while you can use any olive oil you have on hand for this recipe, you might want to choose a higher quality oil or take into account the different flavor profiles of olive oil. Just like wine, olive oil can be made using many different olive varieties, processing techniques, and they all have very different flavors.

If you love the flavor of olive oil, be sure to choose “Extra Virgin” which is less processed and retains that olive flavor. 

Here are a few tips to consider before baking your cake:

  • An Italian olive oil (especially from Tuscany) has a slight buttery, mild flavor.
  • Use a Spanish olive oil for its fruitier-with-a-slightly-peppery-taste profile.
  • Choose extra virgin olive oil because it’s more flavorful and is less processed.

Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake topped with sliced lemons and rosemary and served on a rustic wooden cake stand

Equipment You’ll Need for This Recipe

More Mouthwatering Vegan Cake Recipes:

Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Author: Michelle Cehn
5 from 10 votes
This light and fluffy sponge-like cake is absolutely delicious and oh-so-easy to make—no eggs necessary. It's hands-down the best vegan lemon olive oil cake recipe I've ever made! 
The Best Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 9 -inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • ½  cup of olive oil, we used Bono Olive Oil
  • ½  cup of applesauce
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed completely with a potato masher 
  • ½ cup of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons of fresh lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until evenly incorporated. 
  • In a large bowl add the sugar, olive oil, and applesauce. Using a hand mixer, mix on high for 2 minutes. Add in the mashed banana and whip to combine. Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and mix with a spoon just until combined. 
  • Slowly add the flower mixture into the wet mixture and stir with a spoon just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Scoop the batter into a greased 9" cake pan and tap it roughly on a hard surface to remove any pockets of air.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool fully in the pan before gently removing and plating and dusting the top generously with powdered sugar. If desired, decorate the top with a few thin slices of lemon that have been patted dry before adding to the top, and a sprig of rosemary. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword baking, cake, dairy-free, dessert, egg-free, holiday, Italian, olive oil, soy-free, spring, vegan, vegetarian

The Best Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake you'll ever try

This Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe and vegan food photography by Michelle Cehn. Article written by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth. Content copyright World of Vegan, all rights reserved. Photo from Canva.com and Zhoro Apostolov. This delicious cake recipe includes affiliate links when available and shopping through these links supports World of Vegan. 

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Recipe Rating




18 comments
  1. Karen J Young says:

    5 stars
    This was delish! I’m new to the world of vegan baking and appreciate your recipe!

  2. I tried making this with gluten-free flour following your exact recipe and it came out all soggy inside do you have any tips ?

    • Hi Rima! I’ve never tried this with gluten-free flour, so I really appreciate you sharing how it went for you! I’m so sorry it didn’t work well. This recipe may just not be a good fit with gluten-free flours. You can look online for a specifically gluten-free vegan lemon olive oil cake and I bet someone has mastered the art!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely DIVINE!!! This is such an interesting twist on a classic cake. It presents beautifully at dinner parties and tastes delicious.

  4. Looks great but I despise bananas! Any way to replace or leave out?

  5. Brie dimercurio says:

    This cake is soooo good! The lemon really brightens everything up. I was afraid the banana flavor would be too strong but it was subtle and a great compliment. I added some apricot jam as a glaze instead of powdered sugar and it was just so yummy!

    • Aww, yay, so glad you loved it!! If you ever want to drop a star rating on recipes you try, those are so helpful, both to the site and to other readers! xoxo ~

  6. Andrea White says:

    5 stars
    Omg this looks so delicious! I need to make this pronto!

  7. My 2.5 year old twins and I made this last night and it is SO good! Thank you!

    • Aww, I’m so glad you loved it! And how sweet that you have twins, you are a SUPERMAMA! I have my hands full with my one 14-month old 🙂 -Michelle

  8. 5 stars
    I love lemon cake so this recipe is right up my alley!

  9. 5 stars
    The best cake I’ve eaten in 10 years, seriously! I’m a huge fan of anything with a lemon flavor, but the consistency of this cake is out of this world. Light, airy and just so satisfying. It’s not overly sweet, which is nice. I can’t wait to make this cake for my friends!

  10. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    OMG! This lemon olive oil cake is beyond spongy and delicious! Yum!

  11. 5 stars
    Love love love making this cake, especially when my little Meyer lemon tree is burning with fruit! I sadly just picked my last lemon of the season.

  12. 5 stars
    Lemony desserts are so suggestive of spring/summer. I love cake, and this one is one of my favorites!

  13. 5 stars
    I’m typically don’t go for lemon in pastries but this cake looks way too good to pass up!