Vegan Lilac Lemon Cake

May 25, 2022
Lilac’s are finally in full bloom and they only stick around for a few weeks before they start dropping their petals, so I try my best to embrace them each year before they’re gone. Lilacs are so very beautiful and they give off the most delightful fragrance that can be smelled from a mile away. I was lucky enough to be gifted a giant branch full of them by a co-worker last week, and I knew I was going to put them to good use in my kitchen after admiring them for a couple days.

To extract the flavor from the lilacs, I infused the petals into a water and sugar syrup mix. You can substitute honey or agave for the sugar if you prefer. Once you make the syrup, you can use it however you would like. I chose to pair mine with a classic lemon cake, as the faint floral and citrus notes complement each other perfectly. This recipe will make far more syrup than you will actually need for the cake. You can use the leftover syrup to sweeten lemonade, tea, and coffee, or even add it to a vinaigrette salad dressing. I advice steeping the lilacs only for a few hours as called for, as they begin to break down and disintegrate when left any longer than this. I also suggest making the syrup ahead of time so you have it available to you when you are ready to bake.
vegan lilac lemon cake on a white plate

Vegan Lilac Lemon Cake

Recipe Type: Sweets
utensils YIELDS one 8-inch cake
herb graphic for recipe card
  • For the syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups lilac flowers
  • For the cake:
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 1/2–2 tbsp almond milk
        graphic for recipe card


1. To make the syrup, add the sugar and water to a small pot over medium low heat. Bring to a simmer and stir the sugar until it melts into a syrup. This will only take a few minutes.

2. Add the lilac petals to a bowl. Pour the syrup over the petals, cover, and set aside to infuse for 2-3 hours.

3. Strain syrup through a sieve to remove the flowers and set aside to cool while you make the cake.

4. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease two 8 inch cake pans.

5. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

6. Add the almond milk, lemon extract, zest, oil, and vinegar and whisk until combined.

7. Pour batter evenly between two cake pans and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8. While cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy. Start with 1 1/2 tbsp of almond milk and add the other half tablespoon if needed. Set aside.

9. Remove cake from oven and let cool on a wire rack before removing from cake pans.

10. Using 2 tbsp of syrup per layer, brush the syrup onto each layer of the cakes.

11. Frost cake and top with fresh lilac flowers.

Also by Lauren: Boston Baked Beans Skillet

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Photo: Lauren Sacerdote

Lauren is a homebody who likes to spend time with her cat, explore new ideas in the kitchen, relax in the sun with a good book, and promote healthy living to friends and family.


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