Looking for a show-stopping plant-based dessert or tea-time treat? This reliable, absurdly moist, and rich vegan pound cake is going to make you say "yippee skippy" for real.
This cake is fluffy and satisfyingly rich with just the perfect amount of zesty lemon flavor. And when topped with a creamy, tangy elderflower-infused frosting, it becomes the ultimate indulgence for any dessert lover. Perfect to serve in the summer time after a meal with my vegan fried chicken and elotes. Plus, with simple, easy-to-follow instructions, you'll be enjoying this decadent treat in no time! This blog post includes HIGHLY recommended tweaks to offer you endless variations on this sumptuous vegan pound cake.
👒This whole cake takes less time to get in the oven than it does to put a hat and glasses on your talking dog Harold!
Go grab a loaf pan and get ready to savor every bite of this irresistible Vegan Lemon Pound Cake with Elderflower Cream Cheese Frosting.
- 🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
- 💣Some of the notable ingredients that make this recipe the bomb.
- 🚂Toot Toot Substitutions
- 🙅♀️🌾 How to make vegan gluten-free pound cake:
- 📖Step-by-step instructions
- 🧁To make the frosting
- ❗️Top tips
- Looking for other vegan sweets?
- Vegan lemon poundcake with elderflower cream cheese frosting
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
👉Moist and Fluffy Texture: The vegan lemon pound cake is soft, moist, and fluffy, making it a delight to eat.
👉Lasts quite well for a baked good: Some baked goods (like my apple fritters) are best eaten on the day they are made. This pound cake stays moist and wonderful for 4-5 days if stored properly.
👉100% Plant-Based: As a vegan recipe, this lemon pound cake is free from animal products and uses only plant-based ingredients, making it a great option for anyone following a vegan diet, a dairy-free diet, or looking to reduce their consumption of animal products. It's better tasting and kinder to animals than a traditional pound cake!
👉Elderflower Cream Cheese Frosting: Aren’t you glad this isn’t another plaid-out cake recipe with a boring topping? The frosting is infused with delicate elderflower liqueur, which complements the lemon cake perfectly, adding a unique and delicious twist. Of course, like always, I am gonna give you plenty of other glaze ideas to riff on if you don’t have or can’t get elderflower liqueur!
👉Easy as heck to Make: The recipe comes with simple and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions with photos, making it accessible to even novice bakers.
👉Perfect for Special Occasions: This cake is a perfect vegan cake for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, or other celebrations, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to any dessert table.
👉Impressive Presentation: The cake's beautiful appearance, with the light-yellow hue of the lemon cake and the delicate white frosting, will impress anyone who sees or tastes it. And the best part? You don’t have to have any real cake decorating skills to get it looking gorgeous!
💣Some of the notable ingredients that make this recipe the bomb.
- Vegan cream cheese: Vegan cream cheese is a non-dairy alternative to traditional cream cheese, which is normally made from animal-based ingredients like milk, cream, and cheese cultures. Instead, vegan cream cheese is made from plant-based ingredients such as soy, nuts (such as cashews or almonds), coconut, or other non-dairy kinds of milk. I prefer the Tofutti brand, even though there are probably healthier options. I think the Tofutti brand really captures the flavor of dairy cream cheese the best.
- Unsweetened vegan yogurt: Man! Vegan yogurt has come a LONGGG way in the past ten years. It used to all taste like super-sweet pudding. Now there are some excellent, completely unsweetened plant-based yogurts that are made from natural ingredients, using the same processes as normal yogurt. My fave is Kite Hill almond milk yogurt.
- Elderflower liqueur: Elderflower liqueur is a sweet, floral liqueur made from the blossoms of the elderflower plant. The most well-known brand of elderflower liqueur is St-Germain, which is made in France. The liqueur has a delicate and fragrant flavor, with notes of citrus, and pear.
To make elderflower liqueur, elderflower blossoms are steeped in a neutral spirit, such as vodka or brandy, along with sugar and other ingredients. The mixture is then strained, bottled, and aged to allow the flavors to develop.
As with all alcoholic ingredients, it’s best to check barnivore.com to verify that the brand you are looking at is 100% vegan.
- Lemon juice and zest: No shortcuts here with lemon extract. Fresh lemon zest speckles the batter with bits of color, and is rich in the oils of lemon, providing a deeper dimension of citrus flavor. And since you are using zest, that means you will use real lemons for the juice, which is way better than bottled lemon juice. So it’s a freaking win-win!
- Vegan butter: Yes, you can swap out the butter for an equal amount of another plant-based fat (heck, even olive oil will work!). But nothing will make this as rich and, well, buttery as vegan butter does! I like Earth Balance buttery sticks, but you can pick any brand you like.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this page for the complete list of ingredients and their quantities.
🚂Toot Toot Substitutions
Can’t find something I call for in this recipe? I gotcha:
- Vegan butter- instead of vegan butter, you can use an equal amount of any plant-based fat, including olive oil. My suggestion for best results though is to opt for one that is solid at refrigerated temperatures. Refined coconut oil is the best alternative to vegan butter in this recipe.
- Vegan yogurt- another GREAT option is to use vegan sour cream instead of vegan yogurt. Either homemade, or store-bought will do the trick.
- Elderflower liqueur- any other flavored liqueur will work, and that presents you will lots of creative opportunities to take the flavor of the frosting in different fun directions. If you don’t want to use anything alcoholic, then substitute with an equal amount of any liquid. You could use something relatively bland like soy milk, or something fun like blood orange juice. Just don’t replace it with an extract, because that will be WAYYYY too much of that flavor if you switch it out 1:1.
- Lemon- You can ditch the zest altogether and replace the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar if you do not want to have a citrus-kissed dessert.
Golly, gee-wiz! One thing that is generally mega-dope about pound cake is that it is like an open canvas for easy flavoring opportunities. Try a few of these ideas. Or if you make your own version, please write about it in the comments section of this blog post, so I can rejoice with you and celebrate your creativity!
- Pistachio pound cake with cardamom and rosewater frosting- Once the batter is mixed, stir ½ cup of toasted chopped pistachios and ½ teaspoon of ground cardamom into the batter. Replace the elderflower liqueur in the frosting with rosewater. After frosting, garnish with a sprinkle of dried rose petals.
- Blueberry lemon pound cake- This is a NO BRAINER! After the batter is mixed, fold in 1 ½ cups of fresh or frozen blueberries to the batter. The extra volume will make the pound cake a bit taller. Because of that, I have found it takes ten more minutes to bake. When I have made it this way, it needs to stay in the oven for up to an hour and fifteen minutes. Especially when made with fresh blueberries, this is one of the most marvelous desserts.
- Plum and almond pound cake- Use almond extract instead of vanilla. After the batter is mixed, fold in 1 cup of chopped plums, and ⅓ cup of chopped roasted almonds. After the batter is smoothed out, before the pound cake enters the oven, press into the surface thin slices of plum, one tablespoon of slivered almonds, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. The fruit will cause this pound cake to take an additional 8-10 minutes in the oven. No need to frost this variation. You can simply garnish with a dusting of cinnamon or powdered sugar once the loaf has cooled.
- Apricot vanilla pound cake- Fold ½ cup of chopped dried California apricots and ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder into the finished batter. Use apricot jam in place of the elderflower liqueur in the frosting.
- Hazelnut chocolate pound cake- Leave out the lemon zest in the batter and replace the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar. Stir ½ cup of chopped toasted hazelnuts, and ½ cup of chocolate chips into the batter. For the frosting, replace the elderflower liqueur with a hazelnut liqueur such as Frangelico. Garnish the frosted pound cake with a sprinkle of cacao nibs and thinly sliced toasted hazelnuts.
- Bundt of course you don’t have to bake it in a loaf pan! A popular way to bake pound cake is also in a bundt pan. Just grease it up really well, since you will not be able to line it with parchment paper unless it’s one of those completely-flat-on-the-bottom bundt pans.
🙅♀️🌾 How to make vegan gluten-free pound cake:
Yes, and it still comes out pretty darn moist! Use a measure for measure gluten-free flour mix. Because making this gluten-free makes it even easier to fall apart, I prefer to bake this in two smaller loaf pans, rather than in a 9-inch pan. But if you only have a 9-inch pan, it will still work. Either way, make sure to fully allow the loaf to cool in the pan before carefully removing it, using my tip for easy removal of the loaf.
You wanna see how this yummy thing gets made? I will walk you through the whole process. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Preheat the oven to 325°F (or 163°C) and ensure the vegan butter is at room temperature. Cream the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or wooden spoon.
Add the yogurt, vanilla extract, salt, lemon juice, and zest, and mix until well combined.
Stir in the flour and baking powder until smooth.
Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and brush with oil or melted vegan butter.
Spoon the pound cake batter into the pan and spread it flat with a rubber spatula or offset spatula.
Bake for 60-75 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
🧁To make the frosting
Mix cream cheese, elderflower liqueur, and powdered sugar until smooth for the frosting.
After cooling the loaf for 30 minutes, flip the cake onto a wire rack, spread the frosting on top, and let it cool for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Here is how to remove the pound cake from the pan without harming it or hurting its feelings in any way:
Place a larger pan or plate over the top of the loaf pan. Hold both pans together and flip them upside-down quickly onto a flat surface. Lift the loaf pan to release the pound cake. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the pound cake and flip the plate, pound cake, and rack together so that the cake is right-side up.
👉Another way you can make it easy to remove your pound cake is to cut the parchment paper longer than the height of the sides of the pan. Fold the paper outwards to prevent it from blowing onto the surface of the batter and interfering with baking. Use the paper to lift the cake from the pan once it has cooled and set up.
If your frosting develops a skin:
This can happen if you mix up the frosting before your cake is ready to be taken out of the oven. No biggie, though! Just whisk it back up again. If it seems like it has become a bit stiff from the powdered sugar solidifying the liquids, just add a tiny extra drop of any kind of liquid (plant-based milk or extra elderflower liqueur) to it when you mix it again.
Pound cake has been around for centuries and has its origins in Europe. It is believed to have been first created in the early 1700s in England. At that time, it was known as "pound cake" because it was made with a pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.
The recipe for pound cake quickly spread throughout Europe, and variations of the recipe were developed over time. In some countries, it was made with almonds or other nuts; in others, it was flavored with spices or liqueurs.
In the United States, pound cake became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, and was often served as a dessert at social gatherings. It was also used as a base for other desserts, such as trifles and fruit compotes.
Today, pound cake remains a popular dessert around the world, and many different variations and flavorings are used to make it. It is still considered a classic dessert and is often served at special occasions and celebrations.
There are a few ways to tell when a pound cake is ready to be taken out of the oven:
Check the color: The top of the pound cake should be golden brown in color. If it is still pale, it needs more time to bake.
Check the edges: The edges of the pound cake should start to pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. This is a sign that the cake is fully baked.
Use a toothpick: Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean with no wet batter sticking to it, the cake is ready. If it comes out with batter on it, the cake needs more time to bake.
Use a cake tester: A cake tester is a long, thin metal rod that you can insert into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
Keep in mind that baking times can vary depending on the recipe and the oven, so it's important to check the cake regularly towards the end of the baking time to avoid over or under-baking.
A pound cake sinking in the middle can happen for several reasons:
Incorrect oven temperature: If the oven temperature is too low, the cake may not cook evenly, causing it to sink in the middle. Make sure your oven is calibrated correctly, and check the temperature with a thermometer.
Over-mixing: If the batter is over-mixed, it can cause the cake to collapse in the middle. Be sure to mix the ingredients just until they are combined.
Opening the oven door: Opening the oven door too frequently or too early in the baking process can cause the cake to sink. The sudden change in temperature can cause the cake to collapse.
Underbaking: If the cake is not baked long enough, the center may not be fully set and can collapse.
To prevent your pound cake from sinking in the middle, follow the recipe carefully and ensure that your oven temperature is accurate. Avoid over-mixing the batter, opening the oven door too early or too frequently, and underbaking the cake.
Freshly baked vegan pound cake can be stored for several days if stored properly. Here are some guidelines on how to store pound cake:
Allow the cake to cool completely before storing it. If the cake is still warm, it can create condensation inside the container, which can cause the cake to become soggy.
Wrap the pound cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure the wrap covers the entire cake and that there are no gaps or openings.
Store the wrapped pound cake in an airtight container, such as a cake carrier, or a sealable plastic bag. This will help prevent air and moisture from getting in and keep the cake fresh for longer.
Keep the pound cake at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Do not refrigerate the cake, as this can cause it to dry out quickly.
Depending on whether you have added fruit to the pound cake and the storage conditions, pound cake can last up to 4-5 days if stored properly.
It's important to note that some of the variations I have mentioned on this page with fresh fruit in them will have a shorter shelf life and should be consumed within three days.
Rejoice, you can freeze and thaw pound cake! Here are some guidelines on how to freeze and thaw pound cake:
Allow the pound cake to cool completely before freezing it. If the cake is still warm, it can create condensation inside the container, which can cause the cake to become soggy.
Wrap the pound cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure the wrap covers the entire cake and that there are no gaps or openings.
Place the wrapped pound cake in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag. Label the container with the date and contents.
Freeze the pound cake for up to three months.
Remove the pound cake from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for 10 hours. This will prevent condensation being absorbed by the cake, making it soggy.
Once the cake has thawed completely, it can be served at room temperature.
It's important to note that the texture and flavor of the pound cake may change slightly after freezing and thawing. However, if the cake is wrapped and stored properly, it should still be delicious and enjoyable!
Looking for other vegan sweets?
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Vegan lemon poundcake with elderflower cream cheese frosting
Lemon pound cake
Elderflower cream cheese frosting
- 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons elderflower liqueur
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). Make sure your vegan butter is at room temperature. Cream the vegan butter and sugar together either with a stand mixer, or with a wooden spoon in a bowl.
- Add the yogurt, vanilla extract, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and continue to mix until well combined.
- Add the flour with the baking powder on top of it, and stir together until smooth. If using a stand mixer, I recommend using the paddle attachment.
- Cut a piece of parchment to fit into a 9-inch loaf pan, covering the bottom and the two long sides. Leave the short ends uncovered by the paper to make to prevent buckling of the paper in the corners. Bush the entire inside of the paper-lined pan with neutral-tasting oil (canola, safflower, melted vegan butter, or melted refined coconut oil).
- Spoon the batter into the pan, and even out the top surface with a rubber spatula, or metal offset spatula.
- Bake the loaf for 60-75 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius. You will know it is done when the surface is lightly golden brown, the edges are just barely starting to pull away from the pan, and a toothpick can be inserted and removed from the center without being coated in wet batter.
- While the loaf bakes, mix up the frosting. Cream together the vegan cream cheese and elderflower liqueur in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or by hand using a whisk and bowl. Add the powdered sugar and continue to whisk rapidly until completely smooth.
- Cool the loaf in the pan for 30 minutes. Use a sharp knife to trace around the full perimeter of the pan to ensure the cake is not stuck anywhere.
- To remove the pound cake without damaging it, place a pan or plate larger than the size of the loaf over the top. Holding the loaf pan and the plate, quickly flip them upside-down together. Place them onto a flat surface and lift up the loaf pan to release the pound cake. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the pound cake and flip the plate, pound cake and wire rack nightside up again. Allow the pound cake to finish cooling for 10-15 minutes on the wire rack.
- While the pound cake cools, spread the elderflower frosting onto the top of it, using an offset spatula or butter knife.