This blackberry lemon bread is vegan, gluten-free, and so easy to make. It is an eggless lemon cake with fresh blackberries inside and a delicious dairy-free lemon frosting on top. The cake is so fluffy, moist, and packed with fruit flavors. Garnishing the cake with more fresh blackberries and lemon zest make it irresistible, and incredibly delicious.
Blackberry lemon bread makes the perfect spring and summer dessert with its vibrant citrus flavors. You can use fresh or frozen blackberries to make it all year round. If you love this cake, you'll also love this raspberry white chocolate bundt cake and this vegan apple cake. Add them to your baking list! You won't regret making them.
Why You'll Love This
- The blackberry lemon bread is gluten-free and vegan, made without eggs, gluten, or dairy, and safe for those with dietary restrictions or allergies.
- It is a super soft and moist eggless lemon cake baked with tons of fresh blackberries inside for a wonderful flavor combination.
- The dairy-free lemon frosting is easy to make with just two simple ingredients. It adds such a vibrant and sweet lemon flavor on top of the cake.
- You can use fresh or frozen blackberries to make the cake all year, not just in blackberry season at the end of summer.
- The recipe is so easy to make and ready to enjoy in just one hour!
The ingredients for the blackberry lemon bread are all plant-based.
Here are some helpful notes on a few of the ingredients, including substitutions you can make if necessary:
- Gluten-Free Flour: Use a gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour with xanthan gum in the ingredients list. I like King Arthur gluten-free flour, but most all-purpose blends should work as long as they have xanthan gum. Almond flour and coconut flour do not work in this cake.
- Vegan Butter: I recommend Earth Balance or Melt vegan butter, but any plant-based butter is fine. Be sure to melt it before using it in the recipe. You can try using melted coconut oil instead, but the flavor might be slightly different.
- Blackberries: Fresh or frozen blackberries work well in the blackberry loaf cake. Remember to toss them in flour before adding them to the batter so they don't sink to the bottom while baking.
- Vegan Sugar: Vegan cane sugar or coconut sugar both work well in this recipe. Coconut sugar is naturally vegan, but be aware that it will make the blackberry lemon bread a darker brown color, rather than the light yellow cake in the photos.
- Dairy-Free Yogurt: Yogurt provides moisture and lightness to the cake. Instead of dairy-free yogurt, you can use unsweetened applesauce if desired.
- Lemon Zest: Don't omit the lemon zest! It adds a vibrant lemon flavor to the cake.
Is Xanthan Gum Vegan?
Short answer: yes, xanthan gum is vegan.
Xanthan gum is very important in gluten-free baking because it provides structure and elasticity in the absence of gluten. You will often find it in gluten-free flour blends since it acts as a binding agent to retain moisture and hold baked goods together. Especially when baking gluten-free and vegan (without eggs), xanthan gum is crucial.
Xanthan gum comes from plant-based sugars and bacteria, not animal products, which makes it vegan-safe and naturally gluten-free.
Xanthan Gum Substitutes
For this blackberry lemon bread, it's best to use a gluten-free 1:1 flour blend with xanthan gum already in the flour. However, if your gluten-free flour does not have it, there are xanthan gum substitutes you can use instead, including:
- Psyllium husk - Add 5 teaspoons psyllium husk to 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour in the absence of xanthan gum.
- Cornstarch - Replace xanthan gum with cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio.
- Guar gum - You need 3 parts guar gum for every 2 parts xanthan gum in a recipe.
It takes less than 10 minutes to mix the batter for the blackberry lemon bread. It's truly a quick bread because it is so easy and quick to make!
STEP 1: Whisk dry ingredients. In a medium or large mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking soda, and salt until combined.
STEP 2: Toss the blackberries. Add the blackberries to the flour mixture and "toss" them (or stir gently) until they are well coated in flour. This coating prevents them from sinking in the cake batter.
STEP 3: Whisk wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted vegan butter, sugar, dairy-free yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
STEP 4: Add dry ingredients. Add the mixture of dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients, and gently fold them together until a thick, sticky batter forms. Be careful not to overmix! Be very gentle when folding in the blackberries to avoid crushing them.
STEP 5: Transfer to pan. Line a loaf cake pan with parchment paper first. Then transfer the cake batter into the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top of the cake into an even layer. You can gently wiggle the pan side-to-side to be sure the batter is as level as possible.
STEP 6: Bake. Bake the blackberry lemon bread for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Check on the cake at 50 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool at least 15 minutes in the pan before removing.
While you're waiting for the cake to cool completely, you can make the dairy-free lemon frosting.
Dairy-Free Lemon Frosting
You only need 2 ingredients to make the lemon frosting for the cake, and it's completely dairy-free. You don't even need to use plant milk!
- Vegan Powdered Sugar: Not all powdered sugar is vegan due to some varieties coming in contact with bone char in manufacturing. Bob's Red Mill and Florida Crystals are two companies that make vegan powdered sugar.
- Lemon Juice: This acts as the liquid in the frosting, creating a smooth and creamy glaze with a fresh, tart, lemon flavor.
The lemon frosting is SUPER easy to make. Just whisk together the powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. The frosting should be thin enough to drizzle over the loaf cake, but not too runny or else it will run off the cake.
You can easily adjust the consistency of the lemon frosting. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken it. If it is too thick, add more lemon juice one teaspoon at a time until you have the right consistency.
Gluten-Free Vegan Baking Tips
- Line the pan with parchment paper - To easily remove the loaf cake from the pan, line it with parchment paper that hangs over the sides. This allows you to lift the cake out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper.
- Properly measure flour - It's very important to properly measure the gluten-free flour. Don't scoop the flour out of the bag with a measuring cup. This results in overmeasured flour because it gets packed down in the cup. Instead, weigh your flour with a baking scale or use the spoon and level method to sprinkle flour into the measuring cup and level the top with a knife. Using too much flour will result in a dry and crumbly cake instead of a soft, moist one.
- Don't overmix the batter - The cake batter will be very thick, and it's important not to overmix it. This can result in a tough cake instead of a light and soft crumb. Fold the batter together until just combined. It's okay if specks of flour remain.
- Gently fold in the blackberries - Avoid crushing the blackberries when you fold them into the batter. I recommend using a rubber spatula to gently mix them into the cake. Don't fold them more than a 4-5 times to avoid overmixing.
- Keep an eye on baking time - Remove the cake from the oven around 50 minutes of bake time and insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, put it back in the oven for a few more minutes and then check again. This ensures you don't overbake the lemon bread.
Gluten-Free Blueberry Lemon Bread
You can easily adapt this recipe to make gluten-free blueberry lemon bread instead of blackberry lemon bread. Just replace the blackberries with blueberries. Fresh blueberries and frozen blueberries work well. Remember to toss the blueberries in flour, just like you would with the blackberries in the recipe. This prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf cake.
You can add a few teaspoons of "blueberry juice" to the dairy-free lemon frosting to give it a natural purple color, if you want. Mash a handful of blueberries in a small bowl and use the blueberry juice in place of half the lemon juice in the glaze.
NOTE: You may have to add additional powdered sugar to account for the extra liquid, if you choose to make the blueberry lemon glaze.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lemon juice adds liquid and acid to a cake. It's important to have the proper ratio of dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and since lemon juice is an acid, it must be properly balanced with leavening agents. Lemon juice provdies a tart lemon flavor to cake, but lemon zest adds the most intense lemon flavor.
You can add lemon flavor to a cake by adding lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract. Lemon zest is the best way to add intense lemon flavor to a cake because it is stronger than lemon juice and does not add excess liquid like lemon juice does.
Yes, baking soda is naturally gluten-free and generally thought of as safe for those with celiac or gluten allergies. Check the label to ensure the brand of baking soda you choose is manufactured in a gluten-free facility, to be safe.
Yes, xanthan gum is a produced from plant-based sugars, not animal products. Xanthan gum is used as a thickener and stabilizer in baked goods, and is especially important in gluten-free baking.
Storing And Freezing
To store the blackberry lemon bread, slice the cake and store the slices in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Consider reheating the slices in the microwave for 10 seconds to enjoy a warm cake when reserving.
To freeze the cake, store the slices in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer. Keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Allow the cake to thaw at room temperature before enjoying it again.
More Cake Recipes
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Blackberry Lemon Bread
- 1 9x5-inch Loaf Pan
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- 1 Whisk
Blackberry Lemon Bread
- 2 cups gluten-free 1:1 flour blend with xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup fresh blackberries or frozen
- ½ cup melted vegan butter
- ¾ cup vegan cane sugar
- 1 ⅓ cup dairy-free yogurt or applesauce
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cups vegan powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Blackberry Lemon Bread
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with non-stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the blackberries and gently fold them together so they are well-coated with flour.2 cups gluten-free 1:1 flour blend, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ cup fresh blackberries
- In a separate large bowl, combine the melted vegan butter, cane sugar, dairy-free yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until smooth.½ cup melted vegan butter, ¾ cup vegan cane sugar, 1 ⅓ cup dairy-free yogurt, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix! The batter will be very thick.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use a rubber spatula to gently smooth the top and gently shake it side-to-side to level the batter in the pan.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15-30 minutes in the pan before removing.
- To make the lemon glaze, whisk together the vegan powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and creamy. It should be thin enough to drizzle over the cake, but not runny.1 ⅓ cups vegan powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Once cooled, use a spoon to drizzle the lemon glaze over the blackberry lemon bread. Garnish with fresh blackberries and lemon zest, if desired.