Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Moving along our list of classic recipes we want to veganize, today we’re making Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake!

Almost 2 years ago I began working on this recipe. I tested it over and over and over again. I tested it so many times that once it was perfect I could not make myself bake another lemon poppy seed cake. Not even once more so I could post the recipe here. I could not do it.

This past year I’ve been thinking to myself, “Man, I need to try that recipe again so I can post it to the blog!”. Finally, last week I decided to pull out the recipe and try baking it again. Oh my goodness. This lemon poppy seed cake is so so good! I was so ready to post it! I’d be doing you, my readers, a huge injustice if I didn’t share this recipe.

This vegan lemon poppy seed cake is everything you’d expect it to be. It’s moist, light, sweet, and zipping with tangy lemon flavour. I topped it with a bright, sweet and lemon-y glaze flecked with lemon zest. The glaze soaks right into the cake and makes the taste and texture downright sinful. If vegan lemon poppy seed cake is your thing, then you need to make this recipe. Right now. Go out and grab some lemons and poppy seeds and make this cake right now. (But if you’re getting up and leaving the house to grab ingredients right this second… You might need chia seeds, coconut oil, and icing sugar too… Everything else is your typical baking stuff. But scroll all the way down to check the ingredients, just in case…)

Back to the recipe! I’d find any excuse to enjoy lemon poppy seed cake. You can make this veganized version for a light dessert, afternoon tea, or for decadent breakfasts. It would make for a nice treat inside a packed lunch too!

We’re going to use chia seeds instead of eggs for this veganized lemon poppy seed cake. No one will notice the chia seeds because they’re camouflaged by the poppy seeds. We’ll swap butter for coconut oil too. Voila! Lemon poppy seed cake, veganized! There isn’t much coconut oil in this recipe, but if you dislike coconut, choose a refined coconut oil to avoid any trace of coconut flavour.

This recipe is super easy to make. The prep takes about 15 minutes and the cake bakes for about 35 minutes.

The sweet lemon glaze is very simple and requires just 3 ingredients. The glaze soaks into the cake and makes it extra moist, extra sweet, and extra lemon-y. It’s irresistible!

As an alternative, you can buck tradition and top this cake with streusel instead. It’s a delicious twist on your typical lemon poppy seed cake and adds a touch of crunch. If you want something a little less sweet you can omit the glaze all together.

This recipe is great to make ahead of time. It’s freezer-friendly but it would last a few days without freezing (if you don’t enjoy it all by then!). You could freeze it in slices to thaw and enjoy a piece at a time. I hope you love this lemon poppy seed cake as much as we do!

This isn’t our first Lemon Poppy Seed Recipe! Check out our Lemon Poppy Seed Scones and our Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes!


Ingredients :

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) (10 g) chia seeds
  • ¾ cup (185 ml) soymilk
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) (75 g) coconut oil, soft (at room temperature)
  • ⅔ cups (160 ml) (145 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups (330 ml) (180 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) baking powder
  • ¼ tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
  • ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) (11 g) poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) (16 g) lemon zest
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) (100 g) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp (7.5 ml) (4 g) lemon zest

Instructions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180 °C).
  2. Whisk together chia seeds, soy milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside to thicken.
  3. Cream together coconut oil and sugar.
  4. Add the thickened chia seed mixture to the creamed butter.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix for 30 seconds.
  7. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Empty batter into loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack. Prepare Lemon Glaze.
  9. Whisk together icing sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  10. Using the edges of the parchment paper, pop the cooled cake out of your loaf tin. Peel the paper away from the edges of the cake and cover with glaze. Using the parchment paper, pop the glazed cake back into the loaf tin (this allows the glaze to soak into the sides of the cake too!)
  11. Slice and serve.
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