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Vegan Coconut and Lemon Cake

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Vegan Coconut and Lemon Cake. The best ever birthday cake, two layers, one with lemon, the other with coconut and delicious vegan cream topping.


Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is known as a vegan. Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans, also known as “strict vegetarians”, refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances. 

What is a vegan cake made of?

A vegan cake is a cake made without eggs, dairy butter, or dairy milk. Each of these standard ingredients is easily replaced by plant-based substitutes, such as banana or flaxseed for eggs, non-trans fat margarine or oils for butter, and plant milk for milk.

Which oil is best for vegan baking?

Neutral plant oils: Unrefined canola, vegetable, and olive oil are sometimes preferred in baked goods. When substituting oil for butter in a recipe, use 3/4 cup for every cup of butter called for. Aside from olive oil, these oils have neutral flavors that won’t affect the taste of the resulting cake or pie.

Yield: 10-12 slices

Vegan Coconut and Lemon Cake

White frosting with nuts around the bottom, and decorated with raspberries, candied lemon, and fresh flowers and vegan meringues

This is the best and most delicious Vegan birthday cake ever. Our daughter made this for me for my birthday, an absolute labor of love with baking the cake, the frosting, the meringue and candied peel - all made from scratch.

Prep and Decorating Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cake Bake Time 40 minutes
Buttercream, Lemon Slices and Meringues Time 5 hours
Total Time 7 hours


Cake Batter

  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups vegan milk, any type but not flavored or sweetened (I used almond)
  • 2 cups brown sugar (I reduced this a fair bit because I added flavored syrups afterwards)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla

Buttercream (I doubled the recipe)

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • vegan milk as needed
  • 1/4 tsp salt, only if using unsalted butter


Cake Batter

  1. Grease 2 x 8" cake pans and line with parchment.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and milk and set aside to curdle.
  4. Then in the mixer, combine sugar, flour, and baking soda.
  5. Add milk mixture, butter, and vanilla.
  6. Beat 1-2 mins on medium speed to combine - don't overmix.
  7. Scrape down the sides.
  8. Now here is where I added a bit of extra flavor.
  9. The original recipe says to divide the batter here and bake for 40mins.
  10. I did divide the batter in half.
  11. To one half I added some unsweetened desiccated coconut, and to the other half, the zest of 4 lemons.
  12. Then I baked them as instructed.
  13. When they came out of the oven, I brushed a lemon simple syrup over the lemon cake, and some light coconut milk reduced with a touch of brown sugar over the coconut one.


  1. Beat the butter and vanilla until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar 1 cup at a time.
  3. Mix in first so that it doesn't fly everywhere with the mixer, then whip together with the mixer well to fully combine.
  4. Add milk to reach desired consistency.
  5. Beat it all for a few minutes to ensure it's all fluffy and perfectly mixed.
  6. I added buttercream and whole fresh raspberries between the two layers, then iced the sides and top.
  7. I toasted some coconut flakes to put around the lower rim.

Candied Lemon Slices

  1. On the top, I decorated with candied lemon slices (boil lemon slices in simple syrup with lemon juice slowly until transparent, then dry in a 200°F oven until slightly crispy), raspberries, aquafaba meringues, and some flowers.

Aquafaba Vegan Meringues

  1. Follow Recipe on the blog for Aquafaba Vegan Meringues


Prepared, tried, and tested by Corlea Smit from The Recipe Hunter: Tried and Tested Recipes from Home Chefs and SATasty Recipes - Saffas Daily Recipes

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 606Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 75mgSodium 694mgCarbohydrates 84gFiber 1gSugar 60gProtein 6g

EsmeSalon provides approximate nutrition information for your convenience and as a courtesy only. Please note that all nutrition data is congregated by online calculators. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe, and we strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but can not guarantee or provide any assurances regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own estimates based on the ingredients used, and by using your own and preferred nutrition calculator. The author(s) of EsmeSalon are not dietitians or nutritionists. Any recommendations shall not be construed as medical or nutritional advice. You are fully responsible for any actions you take and any consequences that occur because of anything you read on this website. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease. Please consult your health care provider regarding any health-related decisions.

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More Vegan Recipes

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2 thoughts on “Vegan Coconut and Lemon Cake”

  1. Yum! This looks wonderful. Years ago I made a cake and added olive oil instead of canola oil. I could not detect an olive taste in the cake. Thanks for offering recipes for vegans.

    • Hi Terri. You’re so welcome and glad to help with Vegan recipes. If ever you need more let me know. I have a vegan series that will be coming over the next 2 months so please do check back


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