lemon spice cake

$1.32 recipe / $0.17 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.31 from 13 votes
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This recipe comes courtesy of one of my wonderful readers, Diana. I was intrigued by this recipe for multiple reasons. I remember when I was a teenager I had found a recipe similar to this in a cookbook from the 1950’s. I was intrigued by it then (and baked it) and I’m intrigued by it now! Why is this recipe so unique? It’s EGGLESS, has only 1 Tbsp of fat and doesn’t require a mixer. Score!

So, for all of you vegans out there, this can easily be made into a VEGAN lemon spice cake by using vegetable shorting or oil for the fat. The texture is not exactly like regular cake because it doesn’t have the egg but for a low fat, vegan treat, it’s pretty amazing!! Surprisingly moist and flavorful!

Yeah, it still has a ton of sugar but, eh… you gotta pick your battles.

The original recipe that Diana sent me uses lemon extract but I had none so I used the zest from a lemon instead. It turned out really good although I’m sure the lemon extract would have had more of a punch. If you want to use lemon extract, just add 1 tsp when you add the butter and cider vinegar.

Thanks again for the recipe, Diana! It turned out fantastic!

Lemon Spice Cake

Two slices of lemon spice cake on a white plate

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Lemon Spice Cake

4.31 from 13 votes
This sweet and spicy Lemon Spice Cake requires no egg and very little fat! Use vegetable oil or shortening to make it vegan.
Servings 8
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 50 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.14)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar ($0.16)
  • 1 tsp baking soda ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 med lemon ($0.50)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening, oil, or butter ($0.09)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar ($0.02)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar ($0.18)


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, cloves and lemon zest. Stir until everything is well combined.
  • Make two wells in the dry ingredients and place the cider vinegar in one and shortening,oil or butter in the other (melt the shortening or butter first). Pour the water over everything and stir just until everything is wet. There may still be lumps but that is okay, just make sure there are no large pockets of dry stuff on the bottom.
  • Pour the batter into a loaf pan or 8×8 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The batter will be more shallow in a square baking dish and will therefore cook faster than in a loaf pan. Keep an eye on the top, if it starts to crack, it is probably done. Let cool on a wire rack.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the lemon glaze. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl and stir in the juice from the lemon. Depending on how much juice is in your lemon, you may not need all of it. Wait until the cake has cooled before pouring on the glaze or else the heat will cause the glaze to slide right off.

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Serving: 1ServingCalories: 260.39kcalCarbohydrates: 59.45gProtein: 2.6gFat: 1.94gSodium: 306.83mgFiber: 1.23g
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Placing parchment paper or foil under the wire rack before glazing will help with clean up.

loaf of lemon spice cake on cooling rack with two slices cut off

Step By Step Photos

dry ingredients in mixing bowl
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, cloves and lemon zest. Stir until combined.

wet ingredients added to dry ingredients
Make two wells in the dry ingredients and add the cider vinegar to one and the melted shortening or oil to the other. Pour one cup of water over top and stir just until combined.

wet and dry ingredients mixed together to make spice cake batter
There may still be lumps but that is okay, you don’t want to over stir. Just make sure there are no large pockets of dry material.

batter in a loaf pan
You can either bake this in an 8×8 dish and then cut into square or bake in a loaf pan and slice. I don’t have an 8×8 dish so I used a loaf pan. The batter will be shallower in the 8×8 dish and you will probably only need to bake for about 30 minutes. In the loaf pan it was deeper so mine needed to bake for about 40 minutes.

baked lemon spice cake in pan
close up of baked lemon spice cake in pan
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. A good indicator that the cake is cooked through is when small cracks appear on the top. If the top is still indented slightly, that means some of the batter is still liquid.

lemon glaze in mixing bowl with spoon
While the cake is cooling, prepare the lemon glaze. Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and then add the juice from the lemon. Stir until it is a smooth glaze.

glazed lemon spice cake on cooling rack
Wait until the cake has cooled, place parchment or foil under the wire rack and then pour the glaze over top.

glazed lemon spice cake with slice cut off

glazed lemon spice cake with two slices cut off

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  1. It’s tasty. Still can taste the baking soda…I think I’m going to try this 3/4 c sugar. I find with vegan cake recipes that too much sugar melts but doesn’t integrate properly with the other ingredients and then hardens at bottom. Could this be a function of my oven? Not sure but other cake recipes turn out ok… But tasty!

  2. Delicious! I love how spicy the cake is! I made with gluten-free flour, and it turned out amazing. I even sifted the flour.

    I just made the mistake of only cooking for 30 minutes in a loaf pan. It was kind of uncooked in the middle. I’m now realizing I should have done closer to 40 mins.

  3. I’m a lemon cake lover so I was excited to try this recipe. I was really disappointed when I tasted a slice of my cake. It’s too spicy so the taste of lemon is kind of absent

  4. Hi, i tried to make this and the texture came out hard and crumbly on the outside but like playdough on the inside. Any ideas on what went wrong? Taste was good though.

    1. Hmm, it sounds like either something got mismeasured or an incorrect ingredient used on accident (which can happen to the best of us). But unfortunately, I don’t have any good guesses without having been there to see the process or see the final product for myself. :(

  5. I was intrigued by the recipe. Picture a 9×5 loaf pan. I use my 8slot pan, aprox same volume for baking purposes. The whole recipe had only 1 Tablespoons of butter. No eggs. Did call for 1tsp apple cider vinegar. I reduced the sugar 3/4 cup and think its sweet enough.

    I added chopped almonds and hazel nuts, 30 grams. I also added dried cherries 45 grams. Generally I mix the dried fruit in some of the flour to coat them and keep them from sinking.

    Recipe called it lemon spice cake. Has lemon zest. I think the cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg cover up the lemon.

    Rather than the glaze I used a streusal of 4T flour, 2T sugar, 1T butter.


  6. Made this following the recipe exactly (with a loaf pan at 40 min) and my friend loved it. I would only mix 1 Tbsp lemon juice with the powdered sugar, 2 tbsp made my glaze too thin and it didn’t look like Beth’s photos. 

  7. I’d love to make this, but would like to try using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. Do you think that will work?

    1. We haven’t tested it using whole wheat but you can certainly give it a shot. It may be a little bit more dense.