Dairy-Free Lemon Cake Recipe

Dairy-Free Lemon Cake

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Cool Time: : 40 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
347 Calories
20g Fat
38g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 347
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 74mg 25%
Sodium 127mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 72mg 6%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 70mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This cake is a rich, tangy, sweet treat that is absolutely phenomenal with a light, dairy-free icing​ of your choice or simply with a dusting of powdered sugar. 

Swapping butter for olive oil when baking a cake is a good idea for two reasons. People who are lactose-intolerant cannot have butter because it contains small amounts of the protein casein and butter can trigger a negative reaction. Butter is high saturated fat whereas olive oil contains mostly unsaturated fat. 

To make an even stronger case for using olive oil instead of butter, a cake does not need butter to be moist—olive oil works just as well or even better. This recipe can be made with any type of olive oil, as long as it’s pure olive oil. The choice of olive oil is up to you. Your standard everyday cooking olive oil has a neutral flavor, it’s the safest bet and also the more economical. If you use extra-virgin olive oil, one that is more fruity than peppery works best for this cake. To kick up the lemon flavor of the cake, you can also use store-bought lemon olive oil, or make your own lemon-infused olive oil

And if that’s still not enough lemon flavor for you, you can also add lemon juice or lemon extract to the dairy-free icing. For the icing, you can keep it simple and cover the entire cake with the it. Or, for a two-layer dessert cake, cut the cake in half horizontally and fill it with some of the icing, then spread the rest on the sides and on top.



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"If you think dairy-free means flavor-free, this recipe will prove you wrong! This cake is incredibly moist, light, and full of flavor. The lemon adds a nice zing, and you won't miss the dairy. Although this cake does have eggs, you can serve this for a kosher meal or to anyone that is lactose intolerant." —Tracy Wilk

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons almond milk, or other nondairy milk

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 6 tablespoons soy margarine, melted

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • Confectioners' sugar, or dairy-free frosting, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Dairy-Free Lemon Cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. Lightly oil a 9-inch cake pan. Lightly flour the pan, tapping out the excess flour, and set aside.

    oil and flour cake pan

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

    In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow in color.

    whisk together the eggs and sugar

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Add the non-dairy milk alternative of your choice, olive oil, melted soy margarine, lemon juice, and zest, whisking until well combined.

    Add the non-dairy milk alternative of your choice, olive oil, melted soy margarine, lemon juice, and zest to the egg mixture

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. Add the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

    add wet and dry ingredients together

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

    baked cake on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  8. Immediately turn the cake out onto a wire cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely, right-side up.

    cake on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  9. Dust with confectioners' sugar, or frost with a dairy-free frosting of your choice.

    Dairy-Free Lemon Cake

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger