Lemon poppy seed cake was one of our all-time favorite pastries to eat growing up but adulthood brought the realization that eating pastries regularly wasn’t so good for our bodies and minds. Enjoy this cake as a snack or breakfast when you are not following the 21-Day Clean Program but want to stay healthier when picking your indulgences. Our vegan and gluten-free lemon poppy seed cake really hits the spot without making us feel bloated or guilty.
A lot of the time we think in order to be truly healthy, we need to restrict ourselves from eating many of the foods we enjoy but we find that can lead to jumping on and off the Clean lifestyle. Living Clean isn’t about cleansing 365 days a year. A healthy balance can include chocolate, wine, and, yes, even coffee. Striking a balance is easier with healthier alternatives to our favorite foods and balancing out any less-than-healthy options with Clean supplements and Daily Shakes when we’re not cleansing.
Secretly Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
So often, we try “health” foods and end up grossed out at the suggestion that they’re anything like the classic version of our favorites. Rest assured, we have perfected our lemony cake recipe to convince even the unhealthy eaters out there that Clean eats can taste great. Even though it’s gluten and dairy free, this fluffy moist cake is full of lemon flavor and rich (but healthy) ingredients.
We use applesauce as a binding agent which replaces the need for an egg and makes our recipe vegan-friendly. The glaze is made with all-natural ingredients like maple syrup which is rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, zinc, and B vitamins. At Clean, we prefer using natural sweeteners (if any) and avoid processed/refined sugars and artificial sweeteners that can wreak havoc on our systems.
Vegan lemon poppy seed cake is great to make for brunch, dinner parties, or even when you just want a wholesome treat.
Semi-Homemade Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 package Bob’s Red Mill GF Vanilla Cake Mix
(or substitute with plain GF flour and a healthy sweetener such as coconut nectar, maple syrup, or stevia)
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup water (room temperature)
½ vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 Tbsp of poppy seeds
Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
Zest of one lemon
½ cup canned coconut milk
4 Tbsp. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease loaf pan with coconut oil and dust with some of the gluten free flour such as coconut or almond flour.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, applesauce, coconut oil, water, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and beat with a hand mixer for about 1 minute or until combined.
Fold in the poppy seeds.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes. Insert a toothpick near the center, it should come out clean or with moist crumbs, and the loaf should be golden brown.
Cool completely in the pan for about 15 minutes, before gently turning over onto a wire rack set over wax paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and pourable. You don’t want it super thin, like water, but more syrupy and thicker, so adjust with more lemon juice if needed.
Drizzle the glaze over the cake and spread it out to the edges so the entire cake is covered.
Serve immediately or enjoy the next day with a Matcha Latte – you’ve earned it!
Recipe and photos by Dorit Jaffe
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