Zingy Vegan Lemon Cake with Candied Lemon Slices

Nothing works quite as well as an afternoon pick-me-up on a rainy day as a slice of lemon cake. It’s not dense like a chocolate cake, and not as sickly sweet as a traditional vanilla cupcake – a perfect in-between.

I love working with citrus fruits in bakes. The citric zing they gift to sweets is always so welcomely refreshing and leaves you craving more.

This particular sponge is amazingly light, and the buttercream, unlike most, doesn’t quickly become sickening. The candied lemon slices on top beautifully complement the flavour and appearance of the cake too.

I’ve had a few people try this cake and, to their delight, claim it’s one of the nicest they’ve had.

So I hope you give it a go and love it too. It’s super easy to make and tastes heavenly partnered with a cup of tea and shared with someone you can have a great conversation with.

Vegan Lemon Cake With Zingy Buttercream and Candied Lemon Slices

This two-tiered dream may look heavy to eat, however it’s anything but. 
The sponge itself is delicate and moist, while the vegan buttercream is light and fluffy, making for a well-rounded slice of citric heaven.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Keyword: buttercream, cake, citrus, easy, fruit, Juice, lemon, recipe, two-tier, vegan, zest


For the Sponge

  • 310 g plain flour
  • 300 g golden caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 360 ml coconut milk (not the kind from a can. I use Alpro)
  • 110 g coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest approx 2 medium-sized lemons’ worth

For the Buttercream

  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 110 g vegan butter + extra for greasing
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp lemon extract

For the Candied Lemon Slices

  • 1 small lemon
  • 100 g sugar


For the Sponge

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease two 8″ non-stick sandwich tins with vegan butter. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. 
  • Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar and salt. Add the coconut milk, melted coconut oil, vinegar, lemon and vanilla extract and lemon zest. Mix with a hand mixer until just combined.
  • Divide the batter between the two sandwich tins and bake in preheated over for 30 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove sponges from tins and place onto a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool completely. 

Candied Lemon Slices

  • While the cakes are cooling, slice the lemon into 1/8 of an inch rounds and discard the seeds. 
  • Place 100ml water in a small saucepan and bring to a medium-low heat. Stir in 100g of sugar until dissolved. Add the lemon slices and let them simmer on low for about 15 minutes until the middle has turned slightly translucent. Remove from heat and place on parchment paper to cool. Move to fridge for about 20 minutes to speed this up. 

For the Buttercream

  • Place icing sugar, butter, lemon extract and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a hand-whisk until thick and smooth. Add more lemon juice if it’s too stiff. 
  • Spoon the icing onto the cool cakes and use a spatula to smooth out as desired. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Renata says:

    This cake is truly delicious! So moist and lemony.

    1. Jane Toner says:

      Thank you Renata. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *