Bakery/ Sweets

Vegan Lemon Loaf | Starbucks Copycat

I’m back at it with the copycat recipes! I received excellent feedback from my last copycat recipe. This one is an end of summer special. A delicious lemon loaf cake heavily inspired by Starbucks. Some might say that it is identical, aside from the absence of animal secretions.

When life gives you lemons, make a lemon cake.

I used to order a slice of this cake with each visit to Starbucks. I don’t know how to describe this other than fresh and pleasant. It is something that you will always be in the mood to eat. Even though some substitutions are necessary, this is simple to make. Fresh lemons add so much character to cakes without overpowering the other components. I only have good things to say about this recipe!

What you will need?

I always like to include this section because I want people to know what they are getting into before they see the recipe card. Luckily, this recipe calls for fairly standard baking ingredients. Check out my kitchen essentials page for more!

See the recipe card below for the details.

What makes this special?

The base of this recipe is a basic cake batter. Lemon juice and lemon zest are added to transform this into a lemon dream. Veganizing this is easy. The egg substitute is a flax egg. This involves mixing ground flaxseed with water. I have two dairy substitute recommendations. I suggest vegan buttermilk or non-dairy yogurt. You can make vegan buttermilk by adding 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to soy milk. This only works with soy milk because of the protein content. The other option is a non-dairy yogurt, which is the easier (but more expensive) option. Yogurt and buttermilk, whether vegan or not, will add extra lift to the cake as well as a tang. This is technically a cake, but it is baked in a loaf pan. I’ve been using loaf and cake interchangeably, but this is much sweeter than a quickbread.

Cautions and Tips

In one of my trials, I apparently used expired baking powder. This made the cake sink. Make sure your baking powder is fresh. Also, when baking cakes, do NOT open the oven door. This is what causes cakes to fall apart or sink. With this cake, you don’t want to overmix it either. You want the texture to be light and if you mix it too much, it will become dense and more like a bread.

This cake tends to brown on the top faster. I tented foil over the top when the cake had about 10 minutes left. This allowed the middle to fully cook without the top burning. I always use a toothpick to check if the center is baked completely. My last bit of advice is to let the loaf completely cool before spreading the icing on. I’ve made the mistake of icing a cake that was still warm and it turned into an absolute mess!

Vegan Lemon Loaf | Starbucks Copycat

A delicious lemon loaf cake heavily inspired by Starbucks. Some might say that it is identical, aside from the absence of animal secretions. 
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings


For the Cake Batter

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed + 7 tbsp watter
  • 1 cup cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter
  • zest of 3 lemons 3-4 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Icing/Glaze

  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan with vegan butter and flour or you can use parchment paper.
  • Combine flaxseed with water and set aside until it becomes a gel-like consistency. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the vegan butter, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Incorporate the yogurt and flax eggs into the mixture.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Stir until JUST combined. You don’t need to overmix this. Pour into the loaf pan and smooth the top to make sure that it is even.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the middle is fully baked (check by using a toothpick). If the cake is browning too quickly tent foil over the pan. I did this step around the 40-minute mark.
  • Leave the cake in the pan for about 5 minutes and then place it on a cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before icing.
  • To make the icing, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until your desired consistency is achieved. Drizzle it onto the cake and serve with more lemon slices. Enjoy!


This recipe was adapted from Country Cook
I haven’t tried this with gluten-free flours, so I can’t recommend any. 
Try to use ripe lemons for this!
Keyword copycat, lemon cake, lemon loaf, lemons, vegan, vegan baking

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! I apologize for the late post. I have a new job and I am adjusting to the new hours. If you decide to make this, please let me know in the comments and feel free to leave a rating. Happy baking!

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  • Reply
    September 22, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Looks Amazing!

    • Reply
      September 22, 2019 at 7:55 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    This sounds like such a tasty snack! I love copycat recipes.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2019 at 6:59 am

      Thank you, Allison! I hope you like this. I definitely want to do more copycat recipes!

      • Reply
        AlinaRose Sabah
        March 29, 2020 at 11:16 am

        Just made this recipe and it didnt work. Even mixing the batter you could tell right away it was far too loose and had too much liquid. I couldn’t figure out why it would be so overly moist but then looking back on the original recipe you copied from, they asked for 2T lemon extract where this recipe asked for 1/4c lemon juice. With all the other ratios holding the same it’s safe to assume that that extra liquid addition was enough to make it so overly moist. The cake was still delicious though. It was like a gooey lemon bar instead of a loaf and my girlfriend and I devoured it. I want to try remaking this with lemon extract and see if that does the trick. I do love using the fresh lemon juice in the recipe though so I also want to try remaking it with a higher ratio of dry ingredients to see how that goes. Thanks for the recipe!

        • Reply
          March 29, 2020 at 11:26 am

          I’m sorry you had a bad experience! I didn’t use lemon extract because it can taste artificial and when I first started testing the recipe, the loaf turned out very dry. I have made this a few times and it’s never been too liquidy. Maybe the flax egg didn’t set or maybe the yogurt was a different texture than mine. Regardless, I’m glad it was still edible and I appreciate you trying it out!

  • Reply
    Alyssa Maher
    September 22, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Can’t wait to make this!!

    • Reply
      September 23, 2019 at 6:59 am

      😊 let me know how you like it!

  • Reply
    Anthea || The Salty Biscotti Blog
    September 30, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    Perfect styling!! It looks fantastic!!

    • Reply
      October 4, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you for this kind comment!

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