Naturally sweetened and just the right amount of lemony flavour, this vegan lemon loaf is perfect for a healthy treat. Moist and delicious, simple to make, using just 1 bowl and ready in about 1 hour.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This vegan lemon loaf doesn’t quite look like the lemon loaf you may be accustomed to.
It’s a little darker in colour, thanks to dates, and wholesome flour choices, but still incredibly delicious. And just like my orange cranberry bread, you’ll find that dates is all you need to sweeten this delicious cake.
Why you’re going to love this cake
- No added sugar. That’s right! Now you can have your cake and eat it too! (Although, I kind of hate that saying…) This vegan lemon loaf is sweetened using none other than dates! And, I promise they do a fantastic job of it.
- No refined flour. Using a combo of oat flour and brown rice flour, makes this loaf a nutrient dense, wholesome option, especially when compared to white flour. The added bonus here, being that this cake is gluten free, making it perfect for gluten intolerance too.
- No oil. Using unsweetened applesauce to replace oil keeps this loaf, not only lower in fat and calories, but suitable for a WFPB (whole food plant based) diet, too.
- Super lemony! I mean, it’s a lemon loaf, after all. Let’s make some!
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather and measure out your ingredients.
NOTE: If you don’t have oat flour or brown rice flour, you may make some by blending rolled oats or brown rice in a high speed blender.
Add the dates and water to a blender and process until smooth. Transfer your date syrup to a bowl and set aside. (photo 1)
Then add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk until combined. (photos 2-3)
NOTE: If you don’t have a high speed blender or your dates are very dry, soak them first for 15 minutes in cool water, then drain and process.
Now add the wet ingredients, using 1.5 cups worth of the date syrup (not more!) and then continue mixing until a cake batter is formed, without over mixing. (photos 4-5)
Transfer your vegan lemon loaf batter to a loaf pan lined in parchment paper and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (photos 6-7)
While the loaf is baking, prepare your lemon glaze. Add 2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to your remaining date syrup and mix well. (photos 8-9)
Once completely cooled, glaze your loaf. (photo 10)
Let your loaf rest a few minutes after glazing so it slightly hardens and then slice and serve. Enjoy!
How long does it keep?
This lemon loaf tastes best when freshly made but keeps at room temperature for up to 3 days. Make sure to tightly wrap in plastic wrap or store in a sealed container.
Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze without the glaze for up to 2 months.
Expert Tips + Recipe Notes
- Make sure to use active baking powder. Oat and rice flour are denser than white flour and need a little extra to rise nicely. If your baking powder is very old or has been open for longer than 6 months, it may start to lose its effectiveness. Test it before using, if you’re unsure.
- If you don’t have a high speed blender or your dates are very dry, soak them first for 15 minutes in cool water, then drain and process as directed. This will soften your dates, making them easier to blend.
- Don’t dump all your date syrup into the loaf. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and only use 1.5 cups of your total date syrup, reserving the rest to make your lemon glaze.
- To maximize the juice you get from a lemon, you may soak the whole lemon in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes, or microwave your whole lemon for 10-20 seconds. You may also roll your lemon on a counter with your hands to get the juices flowing.
- For the glaze. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice into your date syrup and taste the mixture. Add more lemon juice until desired lemony flavour is reached.
- The spices are subtle in flavour, since the lemon is really the star of the show here. For stronger spice, double the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg called for in the recipe.
- Let your vegan lemon loaf cool to room temperature before glazing. Once glazed, let the loaf rest a few minutes longer so it slightly hardens, making it easier to slice. If you have extra lemon glaze, you may garnish each slice.
More delicious vegan fruit & veg loaves
- Banana Strawberry Bread
- Vegan Apple Bread
- Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Vegan Cranberry Orange Bread w/ Sweet Orange Glaze
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
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- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Add your dates and water to a high speed blender and process until smooth to make date syrup. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Now measure 1.5 cups worth of the date syrup you just made to add to your mixing bowl and NOT more. (Reserve the rest for the glaze.) Also add the applesauce and ⅓ cup of fresh lemon juice and the lemon zest. Mix until combined without over mixing.
- Transfer the batter to your loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes and then transfer to a cutting board or cooling rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, add 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the remaining date syrup for your lemon glaze. Taste and add more lemon juice, if desired. Then glaze your cooled loaf. Let the glaze rest a few more minutes to slightly harden, and then slice and serve.