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Birthday Cake: Vegan Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Holy Moly do I love making birthday cakes.

What I love even more is the minimal effort that goes into making vegan cakes. Literally chuck together a few simple ingredients and voila! You have yourself a beautifully concoction that is a cake. I guess the con to this is that we miss out on burning off the cake calories from the arm workout that comes with creaming together the butter and sugar- buuuuuuuut we’re eating cake aaaaand it’s a birthday so who cares.

It’s my gorgeous flatmate Claire’s birthday today (13th June), and this date also commemorates one year together as a flat which is pretty cute. Couldn’t imagine my life in Auckland without these dorks.

Granny Flat Cuteness

Aren’t we cute!

It’s so rare to find people you full-heartedly get along with as it is, but to have the honour of living with them too? Truly blessed.

Gratitude aside, what better way to celebrate good people than with good cake!

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Pictured above is the abomination that Lish and I whipped together.

It took us about 2 hours alone just finding the flowers. You don’t realise the potential risk to your health that comes with ingesting flowers until you try to put them on your cake.

We were lucky to avoid this with some prior research.

We knew roses were edible- the lilac heads were $15 for three. “Ouch!” screams the wallet.

We found the Dahlias (cream colour) and the Chrysanthemums (deep wine colour) approximately 2 hours before the guests arrived. Working so close to the deadline was like something off MKR (a cooking show we’re absolutely addicted to).

After some research we found out the Chrysanthemums were fine, but the Dahlias were questionable. Potentially toxic, but definitely not poisonous. With this information we decided to cut of the stems to about 5cm in length, conceal it with tape, and then insert in into a straw that was slightly longer to ensure there was no way it would touch the cake. We also taped underneath the petals for this very reason.

With this caution, we prepared all of the flowers ahead of time, and arranged them on the cake 10 minutes before we had to present it on the night.

It worked well!

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For those of you wanting to put fresh flowers on your cake, we used these links as our starting points:

Now comes the moment everyone has been waiting for…..


For the Light and Lemon-y Cake (derived from Veganomicon)

Ingredients (makes one 9-inch cake or 12 cupcakes):

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and prep a 9 inch baking pan with non-stick spray or baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, sugar, rice milk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour into baking pan and pop into the oven. Let cook for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

For the Tantalising Cream Cheese Icing (derived from

Ingredients (makes approximately 2 cups):

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan shortening
  • 2 tablespoons plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar**
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Place all ingredients into a powerful food processor and process for 1 minute, or place into a large bowl and whisk with an electric beater on high until fluffy.***

*I tripled each recipe to make this delectable cake.
**I found this quantity didn’t give me much flavour when I was making my first batch. It seemed to do the trick for a lot of people, but if you find that it’s not tangy enough then don’t be afraid to go with your gut and add more! 🙂
***We did have difficulty combining this initially because our processor couldn’t handle the vast quantity of shortening. It might be wise to consider doing this in smaller batches if this is the case for you as well. The electric beater was a good alternative though. It may not look like its going to work but patience is a virtue. It will get there and it will get creamy and amazing!

That’s it.

Erica x

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