This Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Layer Cake is moist and fluffy and sweet and tangy. It's a simple yet elegant dessert that's versatile enough to suit any occasion!
Why you'll love this Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Layer Cake
The combination of the light, lemon-infused sponge covered in a fluffy "cream cheese" frosting is bound to be a crowd-pleaser to suit a range of occasions.
Just like my Vanilla Cake, this Lemon Layer Cake is great for:
- baby showers
- Mother’s day
...or anything else!
How to make this Lemon Layer Cake
For the cake, I used my go-to vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free sponge recipe: it’s easy to make as it’s made in one bowl, requires just a handful of simple ingredients, and can be customised depending on what you have on hand (see recipe for substitution options).
The sponge is moist, fluffy, not-too-sweet and brightly citrusy. It’s delicious on its own, but tastes even better slathered in liberal amounts of frosting.
How to make the frosting
My cream cheese frosting is super easy to make, thick and creamy, and has just the right balance of sweet and tangy flavours.
It’s made by mixing coconut whipped cream (see recipe instructions) with lemon juice and maple syrup (or any other sweetener), so it’s refined sugar free.
Tip: If you’re feeling lazy, the coconut whipped cream can be replaced with coconut yogurt. If you’re not into coconut, you can alternatively use a cashew-based buttercream instead, and add some extra lemon juice.
EQUIPMENT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THIS GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN LEMON LAYER CAKE:
- glass mixing bowl – for mixing the sponge batter
- measuring jug – for measuring out the plant-based milk
- 18 cm / 7 inch sandwich baking tin – for baking the sponges
- baking paper – to line the baking tins
- cooling rack – to leave the sponges to cool down on once they’re out the oven
- electric whisk – to whip up the coconut milk to make the frosting
- palette knife for frosting – for applying the frosting to the cake
More vegan lemon desserts:
- White Chocolate Lemon Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Mug Cake
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Lemon Curd
- Lemon Pie
- Lemon Blueberry Cake
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo @rhiansrecipes #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Layer Cake
For the cake:
- 60 g (¼ cup) coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
- 180 ml (¾ cup) unsweetened almond milk (or sub any other plant-based milk)
- 8 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 12 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 150 g (1 ¼ cup) ground almonds (almond meal) *
- 150 g (1 ¼ cup) gluten-free flour blend (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
- 2 heaped teaspoons (2 heaped teaspoons) baking powder (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
For the frosting:
- 400 g (14 oz) tinned coconut milk (full-fat)**
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if using any other oil)
- Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl, along with the lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
- Mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry
- Transfer mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm springform baking tins)
- Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean
- Once done, turn the cakes out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely before frosting
For the frosting:
- You’ll need to keep your tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight for the rich creamy bit to separate from the watery bit at the bottom. Make sure it is full fat coconut milk, otherwise this separation won’t happen and you won’t be able to make this cream!
- Open the tin upside down – the coconut cream will be at the bottom and you can just pour off the watery liquid (save this for adding to soups or smoothies)
- Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
- Add the maple syrup and lemon juice
- Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
To frost the cake:
- Place one half of the cake onto a plate or cake stand, and spread just less than half of the frosting onto it
- Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the frosting to spread on top and around the sides of the cake
- Tastes best when fresh but keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
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