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Last Updated on September 17, 2020 by Chenée Lewis
I’m so excited to share this vegan cake with you! I’ve been working on vegan olive oil cake recipes for a while now, with mixed results, but this recipe is definitely a keeper! It’s so moist and fluffy, and bursting with pistachio and lemon flavors. And it’s topped with a pistachio-lemon glaze and more crushed pistachios!
This is an ideal vegan lemon cake for a dinner party, small get-together, or just to treat yourself! And best of all, it’s dairy-free, egg-free, and delicious!
Why this cake is so good
I love olive oil cakes. One of my favorite recipes on this blog is my Orange-Rosemary Olive Oil Cake. The use of olive oil in a cake adds richness, flavor, and keeps the cake from drying out. If you’ve ever had a cake that seemed dry and crumbly, chances are that cake was made with butter. Butter has a higher water content than oil, and as that water evaporates, the cake dries out a bit. Also, oil is liquid at both room temperature and when chilled, so if you store your olive oil cake in the fridge it will keep a soft, moist texture.
Another reason I love this vegan lemon-pistachio olive oil cake is the addition of pistachio oil. I adjusted my olive oil cake recipe to replace some of the extra-virgin olive oil with toasted pistachio oil, to achieve that pistachio flavor without using an extract. The result is a soft and moist crumb, a balanced nutty and lemony flavor, and a truly show-stopping olive oil cake!
Best, of all, this vegan lemon cake is so easy to make! Because there’s no butter, the ingredients can easily be mixed together with just a bowl and a whisk. And it’s a single layer cake, so it’s even easier! You just have to try this vegan cake!
- lemon zest & juice – brings that bright lemony flavor.
- granulated sugar – gives this cake just the right amount of sweetness.
- extra-virgin olive oil
- toasted pistachio oil
- unsweetened applesauce
- vegan milk of your choice — I used soy milk, but oat milk or almond milk would also work.
- pure vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
For the Pistachio-Lemon Glaze:
- toasted pistachio oil toasted pistachio oil
- fresh lemon juice – a little more lemony goodness to top off this lemon olive oil cake recipe.
- powdered sugar – gives our glaze the sweetness and texture it needs.
- chopped roasted pistachios and lemon zest – this topping finishes off the elegant look of this vegan lemon cake, and adds a nice lemony crunch to each bite!
Toasted Pistachio Oil
For this cake, I used toasted pistachio oil to achieve the nutty pistachio flavor while adding to the moist texture of the cake. I chose La Tourangelle pistachio oil, and I really enjoyed the flavor, but you can use whatever pistachio oil you prefer. If you can’t find pistachio oil, feel free to substitute a teaspoon of pistachio extract, but then you’ll need to add in another 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
As I mentioned, this vegan cake recipe is a one bowl, one whisk situation. That means that you won’t have to plug in any tools or wash out any mixing attachments. Just grab a bowl, a whisk, and your 8-inch cake pan and you’re ready to start baking!
Step by Step
The steps for this vegan lemon cake couldn’t be easier!
- First, press your lemon zest and sugar together in a large bowl. Rub them well with either a spatula or your fingers to release all that lemony oil.
- Add the rest of your wet ingredients, whisking between each one.
- Sift in your dry ingredients and fold them to combine.
- Pour into your baking pan and bake!
If you like this vegan olive oil cake, you’ll definitely want to try my pistachio lemon white bean dip! It’s a savory recipe, but it has a lot of the same flavors as this cake — lemon, roasted pistachio, and extra-virgin olive oil. Plus, like this lemon olive oil cake, it’s vegan!
You should also check out a recipe that has been a big hit with Chenée Today readers, my Strawberry-Banana Sorbet! It’s another vegan recipe (as long as you don’t use honey as your sweetener) and it’s so delicious and easy! It’s perfect as a summertime treat!
Equipment you may need
- 2 tbsp lemon zest – from about 2 medium lemons
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil – (see note)
- 2 tbsp toasted pistachio oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅔ cup soy milk
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract – 2g
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour – 228g
- 1½ tsp baking powder – 7g
- ½ tsp kosher salt – 2g
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour; line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub sugar and zest together to thoroughly release oils.
- Whisk in olive oil, pistachio oil, applesauce, soy milk, and vanilla, mixing between each addition.
- Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and fold until just combined.
- Transfer batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. .
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, pistachio oil, and lemon juice in a bowl. Spread over cooled cake and top with chopped pistachios and lemon zest.
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