Treat yourself to a slice of bright, rich, and moist Vegan Pound Cake with Lemon. It’s dense, buttery, soft and easy to make! No one will believe it’s vegan.

close up on a sliced vegan pound cake.

This Vegan Pound Cake with Lemon fits in just about anywhere. It’s a melt-in-your-mouth, classic cake recipe that can be served as dessert, for celebrations, or as a tangy snack with tea. The bright and vibrant lemon flavors and sweet glaze on top will fill anyone’s day with sunshine.

A traditional pound cake recipe is made with equal parts butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. My vegan pound cake tastes just as dense, rich, and buttery as the classic, but with no animal products.

The sweet and lemony slices are best enjoyed with a dollop of vegan whipped cream and berries on top, or take it up a notch with a spoonful of lemon curd. It’s a refreshing and delicious treat every lemon enthusiast is sure to love!

a fork taking a bite out of vegan pound cake on a white plate.

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Vegan butter – Make sure it’s room temperature so it’s easy to work with and fully mixes into the batter.
  • Granulated sugar – Another granulated sugar, like cane sugar or coconut sugar, should work just as well.
  • Lemon zest – For flavor and gorgeous yellow flecks throughout the cake.
  • Lemon extract – This should be easy to find at most major grocery stores or specialty kitchen stores.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vegan sour cream – Or use plain vegan yogurt or cream cheese. Either choice will help the cake turn out very moist and slightly tangy.
  • All purpose flour – I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, but you could try using a 1:1 gluten free flour mix instead.
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Lemon glaze – Because cake just isn’t the same without icing! This lemon glaze is easy to make with melted vegan butter, powdered sugar, and fresh lemon juice.

How to make vegan pound cake

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Start by beating the softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest together until light and fluffy. Add the lemon extract, vanilla extract, and vegan sour cream, and mix again. Next, slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Don’t over mix!

Pour the cake batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Make the lemon glaze while you wait. Simple whisk the melted vegan butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice together in a small bowl until you have a sweet and smooth icing.

Pour the lemon glaze over the cooled cake and leave it to set for at least 30 minutes. Afterward, slice and enjoy!

sliced vegan pound cake on a wood board.

Pound cake flavor variations

This vegan pound cake recipe is NOT just for lemon lovers. The citrus can easily be omitted or changed for a variation you may love even more. These are my favorites:

  • Vanilla pound cake – Use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and omit all of the lemon zest and extract. Serve each slice with fresh berries, mint, and coconut whipped cream!
  • Almond pound cake – Add 2 teaspoons of almond extract to the cake and omit all of the lemon flavor. Replace the lemon juice in the glaze with 1 teaspoon of almond extract and a few tablespoons of water. Serve the slices with crushed nuts and coconut whipped cream on top!

Frequently asked questions

  1. How is pound cake different from regular cake? Pound cake is very rich and dense, meaning it doesn’t rise as much as a regular vegan lemon cake. To keep it from tasting overwhelmingly rich, pound cake is best when it’s flavored with light flavors and simple glazes rather than decadent buttercream frosting.
  2. Why did my pound cake sink in the middle? Over mixing the batter will knock all of the air out, leaving you with a sunken pound cake. To achieve that beautiful dome shape, only mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until they’re JUST combined.
  3. How long does vegan pound cake last? The frosted or unfrosted cake should stay fresh and moist for about 5 days when wrapped in plastic and kept out at room temperature. Keep the glazed pound cake covered and in the fridge to help it last longer.
  4. Is it freezer-friendly? Yes! The whole unglazed cake or individual slices can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for about 2 months.
sliced vegan pound cake on a wood board.

Want more lemon dessert recipes?

close up on 2 slices of vegan pound cake.
4.96 stars (23 ratings)

Vegan Pound Cake with Lemon

Treat yourself to a slice of bright, rich, and moist Vegan Pound Cake with Lemon. It's dense, buttery, soft and easy to make! No one will believe it's vegan.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 
 

Pound Cake

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream or yogurt or cream cheese
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a standard loaf pan (9×5 or 8 1/2×4 1/2).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy and combined.
  • Add the lemon extract, vanilla extract and vegan sour cream. Mix until combined, scraping the bowl as needed. It will look curdled, but it will be fine.
  • Now add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl. Mix on low speed or stir with a large spoon until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
  • Pour into the prepared pan, place in the center rack of the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean with no wet batter.
  • Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the loaf from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath it (to catch the glaze drippings).
  • Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the melted vegan butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Pour the glaze over the loaf and allow it to set for 30 minutes if possible before serving. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Vanilla – Increase the vanilla to 2 teaspoons and omit all lemon zest, extract and juice. Consider serving with fresh berries and coconut whipped cream!
  2. Almond – Add 2 teaspoons of almond extract, omit all lemon flavorings. For the glaze, replace the lemon juice with 1 teaspoon almond extract and a few tablespoons of water. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 12 servings | Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 449IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. I used mikonos butter and I doubled lemon juice instead of extract and it definitely doesn’t look right. Still excited to try it but looking forward to making it again. Always love your recipes Nora ❤️

  2. I wanted to make a light fruit cake for Christmas. I haven’t made one in years because the one I always used, my mom’s recipe, calls for four eggs. After a lot of searching I decided to try this one with out the lemon. I doubled the vanilla, used PC brand vegan sour cream, and folded in my dried fruit soaked in whisky at the end. It turned out wonderfully. Thanks for another great recipe, Nora!

    1. What a fun idea! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback! I will have to try this sometime! Happy cooking!

  3. Hi Nora,

    Can I replace the butter in the cake and frosting for coconut oil?

    And have you tried baking it in a bundt pan yet?

    Thanks! You are my go to for baked goods 🙂

    1. Yes, I think that will work just fine, though I’d increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon to make up for the vegan butter (which is usually salted). I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it will work! Thanks for the reminder, I need to do that soon. 🙂

      1. Just wanted to follow up after making 1.5x the recipe for a medium sized bundt pan with two substitutions. It turned out perfect!! A dense, fine crumb that was moist and delicious. Made this for my son’s birthday and will be making it again.

        I subbed the vegan butter in the cake for coconut oil, increasing the salt to 1/2 tsp as per your recommendation, and the granulated sugar for coconut sugar. I did need to microwave the coconut oil and coconut sugar briefly to get it to cream nicely. After mixing in the Toffuti vegan sour cream, extracts and dry ingredients, making sure not to over mix, my batter was very, very thick-almost dough like. I scraped it into the oiled bundt pan, arranging some of the larger chunks so that it was as even as possible and baked it for 55 minutes. The top resembled a crumb cake, which did make it slide around on the plate a bit while icing :). I easily could have trimmed down some of the higher peaks so that the cake laid flat.

        1. Happy birthday to your son! I’m glad the cake turned out perfect. Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback! Wishing you happy cooking!

  4. I replaced all lemon ingredients for orange, and added cranberries for the holidays. It came out sooo good! Thank you 🙂

  5. Nora! I’m back to this delicious recipe to ask if there’s anyway to reduce the sweetness without sacrificing the integrity of the loaf?? Thanks for your help!

  6. Nora, you’ve done it again 😍 This was an incredible recipe and the first pound cake I’ve gotten to rise properly. It baked absolutely perfect. I used Silk oat yogurt!

    1. I’m thrilled the pound cake turned out wonderful for you, Neen! Thank you for sharing your fabulous feedback! Happy cooking!

  7. I’m going to have to try this again. I can’t rate it because I made a mistake. I combined the sugar with the dry ingredients. Not sure how this is going to turn out. Also I didn’t want the lemon flavored, and guess what I forgot to add the extra teaspoon. I hope this doesn’t make the cake taste bad. I have decided to do a pineapple glaze and add the other teaspoon of vanilla extract to it. What do you think Nora?

    1. Hopefully it will turn out okay, but I’ve never tried making it like this so I’m not sure. Pineapple glaze and vanilla sounds good, it doesn’t have to be lemon flavored. Let me know how it turns out!

    1. You are welcome! It’s great to hear the cake was a hit! Thank you for your wonderful review and feedback!

  8. hello Nora I am looking for a denser cake that I can carve for a birthday cake. Will this work ? grateful for any ideas Thank you so much

  9. Made it! Absolutely delicious! I added a little less lemon zest and used cold butter instead of melted for the icing, for my own taste. I love the fact that your cake recipes turn out perfectly moist, without any burned sides because of having to fully cook the interior. They’re just wonderful , so thank you!

    1. I’m thrilled you loved the cake, Lyne! Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback and review.

  10. I used Bobs 1 to 1 gluten free and some super fine almond meal. I also used kite hill cream cheese successfully. I always always ALWAYS weigh my baked items. It pays off everytime. This cake was sweet and lemony without being over bearing. Moist and fully cooked as a gluten free vegan pound cake is hard and this recipe DELIVERS. Definitely recommend

    1. I usually use Tofutti brand, but I’m also made it with vegan cream cheese (Tofutti as well) and Kite Hill plain vegan yogurt.

    1. I haven’t tried it but you may need to double the recipe to fill a large bundt pan. Also, I’m not sure how long it will take to cook as I haven’t tested it.

          1. Instead of the lemon extract could I use lemon juice? Forgot to buy the extract.

          2. Hi Yvonne. Lemon extract is so concentrated that it gives the cake a natural lemon flavor without needing to add extra liquid to the batter. You’d have to use double the amount of lemon juice to achieve the same flavor as the extract, which could affect the structure of the cake.

    1. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tried it, but it might make the cake batter too liquidy. I wouldn’t use more than 1/2 to 3/4 cup just in case.

  11. Mine didn’t work, I didn’t have cream cheese so I used plain vegan yogurt, the cake is not fluffy, it’s thick and like gooey, I don’t know, it’s not pound cake like. 🙁

    1. Sorry it didn’t work out, Amy! It’s hard to know exactly what went wrong without being there but if the texture is gooey, then it’s possible the cake batter was overworked and/or too much liquid was added.

    2. Unfortunately I had the same problem. I used violife cream cheese and the pound cake completely sunk. I’ll have to try it with toffuti sour cream next time.

      1. I used. tofutti just now. Sunken cake. And I’m experienced, ha. This is my first blunder from Nora, so I presume it was me. 😉

  12. Fantastic recipe!! Delicious, and the whole family loved it and RAVED about how good it is! We used it to dip into fondue, and ate a bunch without anything on it. I actually preferred it on its own because the flavor is so perfect. No chocolate needed!

    1. How awesome! I’m thrilled the cake was a hit! Sounds amazing with the fondue! Thanks for your fantastic feedback and review!

  13. Absolutely amazing. I added 1/2 Tsp almond extract to the cake as well and 1/4th tsp to the icing. The cake is so moist and fluffy exactly what I was looking for. I used forager sour cream

  14. Made this for my hubs today. So darn good! My icing was not anything like the picture…but still tastes nice and lemony.

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