I love poke cakes so much when they're super moist and soft and especially, this vegan lemon poke cake which is filled generously with tangy lemon condensed milk and topped with smooth frosting.
For those of you who don't know what poke cakes are, they're cakes which have had holes poked into them and then condensed milk poured into the holes which soaks into the center of the cake. It takes just 20 minutes to bake inside the oven and the other steps are really simple.
Due to the moist nature of this cake, I believe that it is best when served on it's own and ultimately, I don't think any other additions are needed when serving. There's already so much going on with the creamy frosting and the zesty filling.
If you love lemon treats as much as I do, be sure to also check out my selection recipes such as, my vegan almond lemon cake, vegan lemon poppy seed mug cake and vegan blackberry lemon cake which are all incredibly delicious in their own right.
Why You Will Love This Cake
- Lemon Flavors Throughout - This recipe is lemon heaven. Not only is the cake itself lemon flavored but also, the filling AND the topping. Therefore, the tanginess comes through quite a lot. This is quite different from my vegan lemon olive oil cake which has more subtle flavors.
- The Best Frosting - The frosting is so creamy and smooth. It is similar in consistency to the one used in my vegan carrot cake bars in the sense that they both utilize vegan cream cheese in the recipe.
- Super Simple - This recipe is so easy to make. Simply make the filling and frosting while the cake is baking and you'll have your cake ready in no time at all.
- Allergy Friendly & Plant Based - This vegan lemon poke cake recipe is fully vegan and dairy free.
- Apple cider vinegar - This needs to be mixed into the soy milk in order to create a vegan 'buttermilk'.
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice - Whatever you do, don't use any artificial lemon juices as this will hinder the authentic flavor that this cake needs.
- Lemon zest - This will be used for both the cake batter and frosting. It adds a nice extra kick for sure and shouldn't be left out.
- Vegan condensed milk - For this ingredient, you can either make my recipe which is also used in the vegan tres leches cake or buy a store-bought vegan variation.
- Vegan cream cheese - My favourite is the vegan Philadelphia cream cheese as this creates a nice thick texture to frosting.
See recipe card for full information on individual ingredients and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- If you would this cake to be a little less lemony, you can reduce the amount of lemon by only adding it to the cake batter and the condensed milk filling - emitting it from the frosting. This will make a small difference but it's certainly a noticeable difference.
- You can make the frosting thicker by adding more powdered sugar. This just depends on your own personal preference. There's no right or wrong answer for this one. For example, the frosting on this cake is very different to the one on my eggless chocolate oreo cake loaf which is considerably thicker.
How To Make A Vegan Lemon Poke Cake
For the full method, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1: Line a square baking pan with non-stick parchment paper.
2: Make vegan buttermilk, then let it curdle.
3: Make the lemon cake batter.
4: Pour the cake batter into the lined tin. Bake the cake.
5: Let it cool down in the tin.
6: Poke holes into the cake.
7: Make the lemon condensed milk mixture.
8: Pour the lemon condensed milk over the cake so that the holes are filled.
9: Make the vegan lemon cream cheese frosting.
10: Spread the frosting over the cake. Slice and serve.
What to use to make holes in the cake - I like to use the end of wooden spoon to poke the holes into the cakes. Place each hole approximately 1 inch apart. This means that the holes are close enough in proximity to create a nice, moist texture.
Pour the condensed milk mixture in while the cake is warm - The liquid will infuse into the cake more when it is warm, creating better flavours. It sinks deep into the crumb of the cake. Trust me with this one!
The way that I recommend you store this poke cake is to store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will stay nice and moist and the lemon flavours will only increase.
If you'd like to freeze this cake, do so BEFORE you add the frosting which doesn't freeze very well. Wrap the condensed milk filled lemon cake tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. Let the cake thaw in the fridge, then make your vegan cream cheese frosting.
Make sure you poke the correct amount of holes at the right depth. Also make sure that you get the ratios correct when making the condensed milk mixture. If it's too thin, the cake will become too wet.
More Vegan Lemon Recipes
If you tried this Vegan Lemon Poke Cake Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!
Lemon Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Vegan)
For the cake batter:
- 200 ml soy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 200 g all-purpose flour sifted
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 0.5 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 50 ml canola oil rapeseed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of 2 medium lemons
For the filling:
- 320 g vegan condensed milk or store bought
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon soy milk
For the lemon cream cheese frosting:
- 100 g vegan cream cheese room temperature
- 65 g vegan butter block room temperature
- 250 g powdered sugar
- 0.25 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat your oven to 177 Celsius (350F).
- Grease an 8-inch, square cake tin with vegan butter and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make your vegan ‘buttermilk’ by mixing the apple cider vinegar into the soy milk. Set aside and let it curdle for 8 minutes.
Make the lemon cake batter:
- In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Pour in the curdled buttermilk, the canola oil, the vanilla, the lemon juice and finally, add the lemon zest. Fold your lemon cake batter, without over-mixing.
Bake the cake:
- Pour your lemon cake batter into the lined tin carefully. Bake in the center of your oven for 20 minutes. A skewer will come out of the cake clean when it is ready.
- Let the lemon cake cool inside the tin for 15 minutes then transfer it over to a cooling rack so that it can cool completely.
- Use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke holes into the cake in about 1-inch intervals. Poke about ¾ of the way down into the cake.
- Mix the filling ingredients and pour over the cake. Spread it around with a spoon or a palette knife, making sure the holes are filled.
Make the lemon cream cheese frosting:
- Place the whisk attachment onto a stand mixer. Cream together the vegan cream cheese and vegan butter until creamy on a high speed.
- On a medium speed, add your powdered sugar gradually until you have added it all.
- Finally, pour in the vanilla and lemon zest. Let it continue to combine for a few more minutes on a high speed.
- Spread the lemon cream cheese frosting over the cooled poke cake. Use a palette knife again to smooth it out. Slice and serve.
- I like to use the end of wooden spoon to poke the holes into the cakes. Place each hole approximately 1 inch apart. This means that the holes are close enough in proximity to create a nice, moist texture.
- Make sure that you pour the condensed milk mixture in while the cake is warm. This way the liquid will infuse into the cake more when it is warm, creating better flavours. It sinks deep into the crumb of the cake. Trust me with this one!