Lemon Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe: Vegan & Refined Sugar-Free

Cakes are, of course, usually made for celebrations, but that doesn’t mean they should be relegated to celebrations only. And this bright lemony layer cake is just the sort of perfect-for-a-picnic cake that needs no special occasion.

“Oil-based, eggless cakes are a dream to make—no creaming sugar and butter, or beating eggs, or electric mixing required,” writes Alexandra Daum in her new vegetarian cookbook Occasionally Eggs. “This cake has a nice lemon flavor and is easy to put together, despite the glamour of the finished cake.” That glamour comes largely from topping the cake with edible flowers—like lilac blossoms, elderflower blossoms, and pansies.

This recipe also makes smart swaps for traditional ingredients. Spelt flour takes the place of classic all purpose flour, coconut sugar subs in for refined sugar, olive oil replaces eggs, and it uses alt-milk and coconut cream in place of dairy. Combined, these mean the final product is vegan and free of refined sugar. “Coconut sugar is lower on the glycemic index (GI) than cane sugar or even maple sugar,” Victoria Albina, N.P., MPH, told mindbodygreen. “Foods with a lower GI are more slowly absorbed, thereby reducing the health-damaging insulin spike.”

This recipe is a perfect example of how making those small tweaks to favorite dishes—including desserts—can help make them a little bit better for you. This tasty lemon treat is also the ideal simple layer cake to whip up any time.