Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)

This delicious recipe for lemon poppy seed zucchini cake combines two of our favourite baked treats. Lemon and poppy seed cake with a zucchini bread taste. A perfect sweet and healthy combination that is delicious eaten warm from the oven as a bread. Or let it cool and ice with sweet lemon icing to enjoy as a cake. Either way, this allergy-friendly cake is free from common allergens like milk and egg, making it suitable for vegans. It’s also entirely wheat and gluten free.

sliced lemon poppy seed zucchini cake on white plate with text "allergy-friendly lemon poppy seed zucchini cake gluten free vegan"

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Is it a zucchini bread or is it a cake?

This recipe can be either! With lots of freshly grated zucchini and baked in a loaf tin, you could easily enjoy this recipe without icing as a twist on zucchini bread. The lemon and poppy seed combine beautifully with the zucchini. A little crunchy on the outside and moist in the middle, you can enjoy it still warm from the oven without icing.

If you are after a loaf cake to have as a sweet treat with coffee or tea, then let this delicious cake cool first. Then smother with lots of sweet lemon flavoured icing and garnish with some lemon slices and delicate flowers from the garden.

Ingredients

To make this delicious egg and dairy free lemon poppy seed zucchini cake you’ll need :

  • 3 teaspoons Orgran No Egg egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons of water* (or other suitable egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (eg canola)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups self raising flour (gluten free if required)
  • 250g grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Icing: 1 cup icing sugar and juice of one lemon
  • Additional lemon slices and small flowers to garnish (optional)
vegan lemon poppy seed zucchini cake ingredients including Orgran no egg egg replacer and gluten free flour

Egg replacer

When using Orgran egg replacer, the usual instructions are to mix one teaspoon of egg replacer with 1 Tablespoon of water to replace one egg. For this recipe, we use 1 and a half teaspoons of egg replacer to 1 Tablespoon of water for each egg instead, to give the cake that little bit of extra rise with the gluten free flour.

If you don’t have any egg replacer, you can use other vegan egg substitutes equivalent to 2 eggs, such as:

  • flax egg – mix one tablespoon of flax seed (linseed) meal with 3 tablespoons of water, whisk, and leave in the fridge for around 15 minutes to make a gel like consistency. (For this recipe you’ll need 2 flax eggs, so double the quantity – 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed with 6 tablespoons of water in total)
  • aquafaba – the liquid from canned chickpeas. This is one of my favourite substitutes for eggs in baking. Use 3 tablespoons of aquafaba to replace one egg. (For this recipe, use 6 tablespoons of aquafaba.)

Notes about using gluten free flour

Making a gluten free lemon poppy seed zucchini cake is as easy as using your favourite gluten free self-raising flour. We used Yes You Can dairy and gluten free self-raising flour in this recipe. Another brand we use often is Doves Farm gluten free flour, which is nut free. Just be sure to check the ingredients of your chosen flour carefully for any of your allergens.

Of course, if you don’t need to make this cake wheat or gluten free, feel free to just use normal self-raising flour. In that case, the cooking time might be a little shorter (closer to 40 minutes), so keep an eye on your cake to make sure that it doesn’t burn. Test with a cake tester or skewer to make sure it is cooked all the way through.

Poppy seeds and poppy seed allergies

If you have an allergy to sesame or other seeds, you may be concerned about using poppy seeds in this recipe. Poppy seeds are not one of the top allergens and there are not many reports of people being allergic to poppy seeds. However, there is the potential for someone with a sesame allergy to also be allergic to poppy seeds due to cross-reactivity. If you have been told to avoid poppy seeds or have any concerns, you then you can still make this recipe but leave the seeds out. Your lemon and zucchini cake will still taste delicious.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C(350F).

Grease and line a loaf cake tin with baking paper (parchment).

Finely grate the rind of one lemon into a large mixing bowl. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the bowl, together with the egg replacer, oil, vanilla and caster sugar. Whisk the sugar mixture until smooth.

Add flour, grated zucchini and poppy seeds to the mixing bowl and stir gently until combined into a thick batter.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and spread evenly. Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake starts to brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes our clean. (Note that if you are not using gluten free flour, the cake will cook a little faster).

Remove the cake tin from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.

To enjoy as a lemon poppy seed zucchini bread, remove from the tin and serve while still slightly warm.

Alternatively, remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the lemon icing, mix icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to form a thick but spreadable mixture. Drizzle icing over the cool cake and garnish with slices of fresh lemon (and small flowers from the garden).

Serves 10 (serving size, one slice).

Lemon poppy seed zucchini cake is very moist (especially if made with gluten free flour) and is best kept in a cool place or refrigerated and eaten within 3 days. Un-iced cake can also be well wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.

More allergy friendly recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like our egg and dairy free orange and poppy seed muffins. Or for other allergy friendly cakes, try our easy vegan coconut and lime cake, vegan vanilla peach cake (made from just 2 ingredients) or nut and gluten free carrot cake with orange and ginger.

For another recipe using zucchinis, check out our allergy-friendly savoury breakfast muffins with vegetables.

All of the allergy-friendly recipes on our recipe page are free from top allergens including egg and milk.

Lemon poppy seed zucchini cake in baking tin and iced caked with lemon garnish with text "allergy-friendly lemon poppy seed zucchini cake gluten free vegan"

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vegan lemon poppy seed zucchini cake on white dish with lemon

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Allergy Spot
A delicious lemon poppy seed zucchini loaf that can be eaten warm from the oven like zucchini bread or smothered with lemon icing as a loaf cake.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine Australian
Servings 10
Calories 330 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Sharp knife
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 citrus zester
  • 1 Citrus juicer
  • 1 grater
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 mixing spoon
  • 1 loaf cake tin
  • baking paper (parchment)
  • 1 Wire cooling rack

Ingredients
  

  • 3 teaspoons Orgran No Egg egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons of water (or other suitable egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 1 lemon, for zest and juice
  • ½ cup 1/2 cup vegetable oil (eg canola)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups self raising flour (gluten free if required)
  • 250 g grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup icing sugar (for icing, optional)
  • 1 lemon for juice (for icing, optional)
  • additional lemon slices and flowers to garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C(350F).
  • Grease and line a loaf cake tin with baking paper (parchment).
  • Finely grate the rind of one lemon into a large mixing bowl. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the bowl, together with the egg replacer, oil, vanilla and caster sugar. Whisk the sugar mixture until smooth.
  • Add flour, grated zucchini and poppy seeds to the mixing bowl and stir gently until combined into a thick batter.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and spread evenly. Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake starts to brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes our clean. (Note that if you are not using gluten free flour, the cake will cook a little faster).
  • Remove the cake tin from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • To enjoy as a lemon poppy seed zucchini bread, remove from the tin and serve while still slightly warm.
  • Alternatively, remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To prepare the lemon icing, mix icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to form a thick but spreadable mixture. Drizzle icing over the cool cake and garnish with slices of fresh lemon (and small flowers from the garden).

Notes

Lemon poppy seed zucchini cake is very moist (especially if made with gluten free flour) and is best kept in a cool place or refrigerated and eaten within 3 days.
Un-iced cake can also be well wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.
Approximate calories per serve is for iced cake. Without icing, approximate calories per serve is 283. 
Keyword allergy-friendly, cake, dairy free, easy, egg free, gluten free, lemon, nut free, poppy seed, vegan, vegetarian, wheat free, zucchini

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