Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake | Gluten-Free

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Say hello to the best vegan and gluten-free Lemon Poppyseed Cake ever: A fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth cake infused with a bright lemon flavor. The perfect balance of tart & sweet!

IT IS TIME, MY FRIENDS! Spring cannot be officially sprung until we have made a lemon-based dessert to ready our taste buds for the light, refreshing times ahead. This Lemon Poppyseed Cake is the perfect way to greet the season! It’s bright, citrusy, sweet, and incredibly fluffy & tender. 

Every forkful is so soft and buttery, with a crumb that almost melts in your mouth. I promise — one bite of this Lemon Poppyseed Cake and you’ll forget it’s made without dairy, eggs, gluten, or oil! 

close up photo of slice of lemon poppy seed cake on white speckled plate with gold fork holding a bite of the cake to show texture

INGREDIENTS FOR LEMON POPPYSEED CAKE

This fragrant, fluffy cake is made using pantry-friendly ingredients that are easily accessible. The soft and tender base is made with a combination of oat and almond flour, giving it its delicious buttery flavor. The zest and juice from a couple of fresh lemons give this cake its bright lemon flavor. To balance out all of the tartness from the lemons, we’ll use a little maple syrup and a bit of creamy, full-fat coconut milk to give us the ultimate sweet and tangy lemon cake. And as an ode to tradition, we’ll add some poppy seeds for that delicate crunch (and extra cuteness ????).

ingredients for lemon poppy seed care in small white bowls on stone background. Text labels read vanilla, poppy seeds, almond flour, oat flour, lemon juice + zest, ground flax, salt, baking soda, baking powder, full-fat coconut milk, and maple syrup

The final (and debatably the most drool-worthy) touch is a sweet & tart LEMON GLAZE. Yes, yes, it truly is that good and deserves capitalization. Being that the lemon bread itself is not overly sweet, this drizzle on top adds the perfect balance of sweet & tart, and really helps all of the flavors pop! There’s no other way to say it: this lemon glaze is incredible and I think you absolutely must make it. But hey, if it’s not for you, the glaze is totally optional……but highly recommended ????

HOW TO MAKE LEMON POPPYSEED CAKE

photo of lemon poppy seed cake batter in white mixing bowl with wooden spatula next to photo of cooked bread in bread pan resting on a black cooling rack

Sometimes the most “fancy” treats are the easiest ones to whip up in a hurry. Easy to make and ready in under an hour, this Lemon Poppyseed Cake is just that; fuss-free, but absolutely dripping with elegance (and lemon glaze). Here’s how to make it: 

  1. Whisk the oat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the flax egg, maple syrup, coconut milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients and mix into a thick batter. Fold in the poppy seeds.
  3. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake until the exterior is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit, then transfer from the pan to a baking tray to cool. 
  4. Once the cake has cooled, whisk all of the lemon glaze ingredients in a bowl and drizzle over the cake. Slice and serve

lemon poppyseed loaf topped with lemon glaze and lemon zest, with 3 slices cut. Fresh lemons rest on the side

Don’t get me wrong, I’m first in line for a decadent double chocolate fudge brownie deluxe, but sometimes there’s just nothing better than a baked good with balance; something not too sweet, too decadent, or too heavy. I’ve found that there is a fine line between breakfast and dessert — THAT is my favorite line to work with ???? I call it…the breakfast sweet spot, and this Lemon Poppyseed Cake definitely makes the cut. I would happily JUMP out of bed for this first thing in the morning, but I could just as easily enjoy a slice as my post-dinner dessert. 

This cake will store well at room temperature in a container with a loose-fitting lid for up to 4 days. It can also be pre-sliced and frozen for up to two months, making it perfect for prepping ahead of time for ready-to-eat sweet treats you can thaw and enjoy, or a ready-to-take dessert to bring to get-togethers with friends and family.

Two slices of lemon poppy seed cake stacked on top of each other on small white plate with fresh lemons on the side

If you’re looking for more tart & sweet lemony recipes to welcome in the warmer weather, you’ll love these Vegan Lemon Bars, these Lemon Blueberry Muffins, and these Lemon Poppyseed Energy Bites!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

vegan lemon poppy seed cake on speckled ceramic tray topped with lemon glaze and lemon zest with sliced lemons off to the side

Say hello to the best vegan and gluten-free Lemon Poppyseed Cake ever: A fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth cake infused with a bright lemon flavor. The perfect balance of tart & sweet!

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 48 Minutes
  • Total Time: 58 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 to 10 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

For the Cake: 

  • 2 flax “eggs” (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 5 tablespoons water)
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 g) oat flour
  • 1 cup (95 g) almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) grade A maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) full-fat coconut milk
  • Zest from 2 small lemons; approx. 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; about 1 small lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Glaze* (Optional):

  • 1/2 cup (60 g) powdered sugar 60g
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Additional lemon zest, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F and grease or line a 9″ loaf pan. Mix the ground flax with water in a small bowl, then set aside and let thicken for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Dry Ingredients: Whisk the oat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, coconut milk, lemon zest, flax egg, and lemon juice. Mix until evenly incorporated, then add to the dry ingredients and mix to form a thick batter. Finally, fold in the poppy seeds.
  4. Bake: Transfer the batter to the loaf pan, then bake in the center of the middle oven rack for 48 to 50 minutes, until the exterior is golden brown. The center may droop a little bit, but the interior of the bread should still be cooked. Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking tray to let cool completely.
  5. Glaze: Once the cake is cool, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well; if the glaze is too thick, add water to the mixture in 1 teaspoon increments. Drizzle the glaze over the cake, then slice and serve.
  6. Storage: Leftovers will keep at room temperature, in a container with a loose-fitting lid, for up to 4 days. This cake can also be pre-sliced and frozen for up to two months.

Notes

  • Substitutions: I have not tested this recipe with any other substitutions. You could try replacing the almond flour with 2/3 cup additional oat flour, but the bread will be much more dry and slightly gummy. I highly recommend using full-fat coconut milk because it gives the bread a buttery and tender texture; if you want to replace it, using a full-fat oat milk would be your best bet. Maple syrup can be replaced with another liquid sweetener, such as agave.
  • Oat Flour: to make your own oat flour, add quick-cooking or rolled oats to a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 20-30 seconds, until the oats have broken down to form a fine, fluffy flour.
  • Glaze Option #2: For a refined sugar-free glaze, combine ½ cup melted coconut butter, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3-6 tablespoons warm water until you get a drizzle-able glaze. FYI: this version is darker in color and has a distinct coconut taste!

Keywords: gluten free lemon poppy seed bread, lemon poppy seed bread, lemon loaf, dairy free lemon poppy seed bread, vegan lemon loaf

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. I made this last night and so glad I did! Since I am not gluten free, I did substitute 3/4 oat flour for all-purpose flour. I added some vanilla and an extra Tbs. of lemon zest. It was super moist as described and great lemon flavor! Thank you for sharing!

  2. This loaf is amazing! I’ve made it a number of times and it has the best texture of any of the gluten-free recipes I’ve made. Today instead of the poppy seeds I added 1/3 cup of flaked coconut. Delicious!