These Vegan, Gluten-Free Mini Lemon Pound Cakes Are Worth Their Weight in Summer Vibes

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The abundance of fresh fruit during the summer months means they get to be the starring ingredient in dessert recipes all season long. Strawberry shortcake, blackberry pie, peach cobbler—there is no shortage of ways to get your sweet fix with nature's bounty. And as the recipe in the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp proves, citrus fruits shine in summer desserts, too. Today, we're whipping up mini lemon pound cakes.

"Your traditional pound cake earns its name from literally using a pound of butter, a pound of flour, and a pound of sugar," chef, certified health coach, and Barry's Bootcamp instructor Sasha Handel says in the video. "We'll still be using flour, butter, and sugar, but this time we're going to swap our all-purpose flour for a gluten-free blend, cow's milk butter for a vegan option, and we're sticking with cane sugar, because all of the alternative sweeteners that I use just didn't yield the same crumb I was looking for. So cane sugar it is." Taste is everything, after all.

Experts In This Article
  • Sashah Handal, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor certified in personal training, HIIT, indoor cycling, and TRX

Of course, the real stars of the show here are the lemons. Lemon juice and lemon zest brighten up the whole loaf with a hint of tart, and a touch of vanilla adds subtle sweetness—the two flavors vibe perfectly together.

One unexpected hero in this recipe is aquafaba, aka the liquid inside a can of chickpeas. This magic elixir transforms into an incredibly light and airy foam when beaten—you won't believe the cloud-like whip isn't made from eggs or heavy cream. Watch the episode to see exactly how to use aquafaba in baked goods, as well as how to make a flax egg in place of a traditional egg. These two ingredient swaps ensure that these perfect lemon pound cakes are 100 percent vegan. Oh, and as for that beautiful golden hue? It's not just the lemons creating that vibrant color—a touch of turmeric goes a long way.

Handel tops off the mini lemon pound cakes with vegan whipped cream made with just four ingredients. (Hint: you'll need your aquafaba again.) Scroll down for the full recipe and watch the episode to see how it's done.

Mini lemon pound cakes with vegan whipped cream recipe

For the mini lemon pound cakes:
1/2 cup vegan butter (set out at room temperature)
3/4 cup cane sugar
2 Tbsp flaxseed
2/3 cup alternative milk
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1.5 lemons
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp almond extract
6 Tbsp aquafaba (water from can of chickpeas or any low sodium white bean)
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp turmeric (for color)

For the vegan whipped cream:
3/4 cup aquafaba
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 to 2/3 cup powdered sugar to taste

For the mini lemon pound cakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin and spray liners with vegan nonstick spray. Make sure butter is at room temperature.

2. In a stand mixer, cream softened butter and sugar on medium for four minutes or until light and fluffy.

3. In the meantime, combine two tablespoons flaxseed and two-thirds of a cup of almond milk in a medium bowl, leaving space to add both extracts, lemon zest, and three tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix well and allow to sit for three to six minutes. The acid needs time to react with milk and the flax needs time to thicken; these will serve as your binders in the recipe.

4. Add all your dry ingredients to another mixing bowl and sift to ensure there are no clumps.

5. By this point, your butter and sugar should have had enough time to cream. Add the aquafaba, two tablespoons at a time, to the mixing bowl and beat for 30 seconds between additions. You’ll notice a foamed texture begin to rise.

6. Alternate adding one-third of flour mixture, mix until incorporated, then half of milk mixture, mix again, until you’ve added it finished with the last one-third of flour mixture. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom to make sure there are no dry bits left unincorporated.

7.  Distribute batter into the prepared muffin tin, only filling each about three-fourths of the way full. Bake for 14 minutes, rotate, and bake for another 12 to 15 mins. You’ll notice the edges begin to brown a bit but the muffin itself should be a beautiful yellow hue because of the turmeric addition.

8. You can check done-ness with fork or cake pick, ensuring either come out clean inserted into middle of the muffin. Allow to cool completely before topping with whipped “cream”— this step is crucial! Aquafaba does not respond well to heat, so in order to keep its fluffy integrity on top of cake, they must be fully cooled.

For the vegan whipped cream:
1. Drain aquafaba from a can of chickpeas or any other can of low-sodium white beans. (It can be drained and saved up to a week in advance.)

2. Pour three-quarters of a cup of aquafaba into mixing bowl and whisk on high for about two minutes, or until it gets foamy and grows at least an inch in size.

3. Add one-quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar and continue to whisk on high for another five minutes. The mixture will have doubled in size, the texture will appear much more firm and structured, and fluffy stiff peaks should be able to keep their form.

4. Add one tablespoon of vanilla and continue to beat for another minute. The brown color will dissipate and cream will turn white again.

5. Finally, add sugar and continue mixing on high until sugar is completely incorporated and the texture appears light, fluffy, and well structured—about three to five minutes.

Get more healthy dessert recipe ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.

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