Get two new free healthy recipes each week. Sign Up

Starbucks Healthy Lemon Cake

Sweet frosted healthy lemon cake…

A soft and fluffy lemon cake from @choccoveredkt that literally melts in your mouth... this healthy Starbucks lemon cake makeover is completely irresistible:


A soft and fluffy lemon cake that instantly melts as it touches your lips…

Sure, that irresistibly moist lemon cake from Starbucks is hard to resist. But with almost 500 calories, a staggering 9 grams saturated fat, and more than half the sugar limit you’re supposed to consume in an entire day, Starbucks’ famed lemon cake is not even close to a healthy breakfast!

To put things in perspective: You could actually eat seven frosted slices of today’s makeover healthy lemon cake and still not equal the calories and saturated fat in just one slice from Starbucks!

This recipe can be low-fat / low-sugar / whole-grain / under 100 calories per slice

Soft and MOIST lemon cake, just as good as Starbucks, without all the sugar and calories. (This recipe is really good for breakfast) @choccoveredkt

So you could save the Starbucks lemon cake for a rare special occasion… or you could eat this homemade healthy lemon cake every single day.


And it’s so good you’ll probably want to do just that!

A soft and fluffy healthy lemon cake that melts in your mouth... Starbucks’ version has almost 500 calories and more than twice the sugar! Full recipe link:

A soft and fluffy lemon cake that literally melts in your mouth... this healthy Starbucks lemon cake makeover is completely irresistible! Recipe link:


Healthy Lemon Cake

Starbucks Healthy Lemon Cake

Total Time: 25m
Yield: 8-10 slices
Print This Recipe 4.79/5
Starbucks Healthy Lemon Cake


  • 1/4 cup yogurt of choice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 tbsp oil OR more yogurt of choice if oil-free is desired (35g)
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • zest one lemon
  • 1 cup spelt or white flour (or bob’s gf + 1/2 tsp xanthan) (130g)
  • scant 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup xylitol or sugar of choice (100g)
  • Optional Powdered Sugar Glaze: 1/4 cup powdered sugar or sugar-free powdered sugar + 1 tsp lemon juice.


*2019 Update: This makes a small (8×5) loaf. For a larger loaf, be sure to try this Vegan Lemon Bread!

Starbucks lemon cake healthy makeover: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×5 loaf pan, and set aside. In a bowl, whisk the first 5 ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients. Pour wet into dry, and stir just until evenly mixed. Smooth into the loaf pan, and bake 25 minutes or until loaf has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool, then spread the glaze on top if a glaze is desired. Glaze hardens when it cools, and you can refrigerate to expedite the process if you wish. For optimum freshness, store leftover lemon cake slices in the fridge or even in the freezer.

View Lemon Cake Nutrition Facts




More About The Cookbook


Currently Trending Recipes:

Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Thanksgiving

Cauliflower Mac And Cheese


healthy pecan pie

Vegan Pecan Pie


Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

4.79/5 (63)

Rate this recipe

Published on March 24, 2015

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day!

Learn more about Katie

Get Free Recipes

Don’t Miss Out On The NEW Free Healthy Recipes

Sign up below to receive exclusive & always free healthy recipes right in your inbox:

Chocolate Covered Katie The Healthy Dessert Blog Recipes

Popular Right Now

Reader Interactions


Leave a comment or reviewLeave a rating
  1. Catherin B. says

    Do I have to make an adjustment in the liquid depending on whether I use “regular” yogurt or the denser Greek yogurt? This would be nice after Easter dinner. Thanks.

      • Catherin B says

        Thanks, Katie! I wasn’t sure whether “yogurt of choice” included Greek-style. I will just use ordinary yogurt. I pre-ordered your cookbook and have already given one to a friend. Keep up the good work and friendly comments on your blog! You have quite a following.

      • Mary says

        I tried the greek yogurt and it worked fine. Didn’t need to add any extra liquid either. Can’t wait to try it.

        • Ann says

          Mine worked fine! And it tastes delicious! I have had the Starbucks one before, and I actually think this one is better! I would say that even if it weren’t healthy! It’s lighter and spongey and not as heavy or dense as the overly sweet Starbucks lemon cake, and the lemon flavor is perfect!

  2. Kathy Vondra says

    Why don’t you offer a print option for your recipes? They all look so yummy but it’s hard to remember the ones I like, so I would love to have the option to print the ones I would like to try.

    Thank you!

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      Unfortunately, the company who made the plugin I was using went out of business a few months after I began offering a print option. I’m working with a design team to completely change the site at the moment, but in the meantime you can always highlight just the recipe and right click. It should give you an option to print from there.

        • Lynda says

          Oh, hi,

          When you go to print it, after dragging to select what you want printed, after saying Print, you “should” get the option on the print page to print “selected” only. I guess that might depend on your printer.
          Hope that works for you.

  3. Sheri says

    Do you think this will work in an 8″ round and layer with fresh strawberries? I don’t have a loaf pan. This looks amazing! You are pure genius!

  4. Anita says

    I’m wondering why so little lemon in this cake? I love your recipes but Is it really only the zest of 1 lemon?
    For real lemon lovers I’m not sure if that is enough.

  5. Megan says

    Speaking of starbucks….
    Have you ever experimented with making chocolate covered coffee beans? I loooove these and want to try making them at home with your chocolate bar recipe. I wonder if the coffee beans should be prepped any special way, guess I’ll see 🙂

  6. Nicole {} says

    Awesome! This was my absolute favorite treat from Starbucks before I became vegan! Had no clue about the calories/saturated fat though. Geesh along with the latte I used to get that combo certainly was far from healthy! Can’t wait to give this healthy version a try! Yummy!

  7. Lindsey @ Simply Lindsey says

    I love lemon cake, especially from Starbucks, so I will definitely be making this healthier recipe soon! Yum!!

  8. Caroline says

    This looks absolutely amazing! My husband loooooves the lemon cake from Starbucks so I’ll have to make this for him. I was wondering if you think using whole wheat pastry flour would work?

      • Amy says

        Maybe your flour was off? That happened to me one time, I used wholemeal spelt for a CCK chocolate cake and it did not rise at all and was dense and horrible! Not the recipe but the flour. Wholemeal tends to go bad quicker than white flour because it’s still got the ‘germ’ around it. White flour is much more stable and keeps far longer than wholemeal, which is what they started producing it, to have a flour with a longer shelf life.

      • Vanessa says

        I used half regular whole wheat and half regular all purpose flour and didn’t have to change/add anything else for it to turn out delicious and moist! I did put the zest of 2 lemons in this one (instead of 1), as I like lemony flavors and also added poppy seed at the end, just mixed in with the batter. I’ve experimented with a lot of recipes (for example the healthy banana bread) and if I apply the half and half adjustment it’s always a success. If the batter turns out to be a bit on the dry side, as whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid, I add 1/3 cup of whatever liquid is used in the recipe. Hope this was helpful!

  9. Alysa says

    Lemon!! My absolute favorite! Sadly, I am out of vegan yogurt, is there anything that I can replace it with without ruining the texture to much?

    • Ariane Newell says

      I could not wait to get the yogurt. I used vegan mayo and added more lemon peel for the missing yogurt tartness. Delicious.

  10. Leslie says

    I love all things lemon and this is no exception! I’m tying to watch what I eat so if I can slim it in anyway, it’s going in my mouth. Haha. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Kate says

    Will be making this in the near future!
    I am assuming that you used plain yogurt. If I used sweetened yogurt do you think I can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?

    • Diane says

      I’m not Katie, but the yogurt I used when I made this is not unsweetened and I didn’t change anything about the recipe and it worked out really well. The texture was perfect, and it didn’t even need the glaze or any type of icing. It was sweet enough on its own. So you might even end up with a lower sugar result due to the fact that the sweetness from the yogurt allows you to not use the glaze. The cake was really good just by itself.

  12. stefanie says

    OMG thank you soooo much !!! I’ve looked every where for a vegan cake and who other than the best vegan blogger in the world could take on the task. Again thank you so very very much!

  13. Jen says

    Does this recipe have to be refrigerated after baking (due to the yogurt)? My brother loves all things lemon, and I would love to make this and mail it to him 🙂

  14. Melina says

    Some time ago I found some xylitol in the store and was so excited to make your recipes that make use of it! I tried two different recipes and I found it extremely bitter and strangely it would somewhat burn my mouth, almost like something unpleasantly spicy but without the flavor of spicy foods. I was so disappointed. Could it be my brand? What brand xylitol are you using?

    • Anon says

      Wow not sure if this is the same thing but a small percentage of people get a bitter taste in their mouth when consuming artificial sweeteners.

    • Natasha Hammond says

      I have tried multiple brands of xylitol and never experienced this.. perhaps there is something in it that you are sensitive to? For me, xylitol tastes very sweet and has a slight cooling sensation, which is why I think it gets used in gum and toothpastes sometimes.

    • Ariane Newell says

      I believe it was Katie (or another vegan chef blogger) who explained once about mixing it up if you use artificial sweeteners. Try using part sweetener with something natural. On this cake I used 1/4 c erythritol and 5 blended dates. It affects the color somewhat but the sweetness was perfect. I didn’t even have the glaze.

    • Beth H says

      I don’t get any bitterness after having xylitol, but something that may help? I use Monk Fruit to replace sugar/xylitol, to me, it tastes just like sugar!
      Can’t wait to try this recipe tonight! My husband loves lemon and I’m going to make this for his 40th bday tomorrow!

  15. Sharon says

    Can we substitute anything for the yogurt that is not milk or yogurt? Would a thick cashew cream work?

      • Sharon says

        Hi, Katherine B. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this recipe substitution. I have a milk allergy so most yogurts are off limits. This will help me tremendously.

        • Katherine B says

          No problem! I’m vegan, so I don’t do dairy yogurts either. They do sell some cultured non-dairy yogurts like coconut and almondmilk varieties (SoDelicious brand) or soy (Trader Joe’s or WholeSoy,) but they are a little expensive. Hope you like this cashew-based one!

          • Sharon says

            I have just mixed it all up in my blender. I will try Katie’s lemon cake tomorrow! I can’t. I did not have applesauce but one of the reviewers said she didn’t add it and the yogurt was fine. So I left the applesauce out. It blended into the silkiest, prettiest yogurt I have ever had. I have had to stop myself from just eating it until I can use it in Katie’s recipe, lol. I am going to keep that stuff around. Thank you, again. I can’t wait to use this in all the recipes that require yogurt. I am not sure it would in something that is not a dessert, but it should definitely work in any dessert. I will know tomorrow!

  16. Veronika says

    Katie, I’m so glad you’re posting so many recipes that can easily be made low fat and oil free. I know all about healthy fats, but I was diagnosed with gallstones last year, so I avoid oil like the devil. But of course I still indulge in occasional healthy treats, and lemon-based desserts are my absolute favourite. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I will try it ASAP!

  17. Faigy says

    Has anyone tried subbing almond flour or coconut flour for the spelt? If so, how did it come out? What measurements did you use to replace the spelt? Thanks!

    • Marcie says

      If you want to sub coconut flour you will have to up the liquid significantly as coconut flour absorbs A LOT of liquid. Most non-vegan recipes that use it usually have a ratio of something like 1/2 C coconut flour to 8 eggs, so I am not sure how it would work out.

      • Debbie says

        I just tried this with coconut flour. I increased the yogurt an extra 1/4 cup (I used a half cup originally and left out the oil, so 3/4 cup total) and some extra lemon juice that I didn’t measure. I had juiced 4 lemons, took out the 2 teaspoons needed for glaze (I doubled the glaze) and used the rest. The cake came out a little more crumbly than with regular flour but it works and it’s delicious! I used coconut yogurt.

    • Karen says

      I did! 2/3 cup almond flour and 1/3 cup spelt worked out beautifully. I think you could replace all of it with almond and it would still be fine. 🙂 Coconut is more tricky.



  18. Ann says

    I just pulled mine from the oven and it is so delicious! I like it even better than the Starbucks version! It’s much lighter and not sickly sweet.

  19. Stacey says

    I made this today using plain greek yogurt, sucanat and a combination of spelt, oat and wh. wheat flours. It is absolutely fabulous! Unfortunately I’ve eaten half of the loaf which, I imagine, defeats the purpose. It really is amazing though!!

  20. Jordyn Senger says

    Just made this and ate a piece and it’s AWESOME! I would make this again in a heartbeat! I doubled the recipe to make two loaves, but they came out only about an inch high lol. Next time I’ll triple it to get two loaves so they’re a bit bigger 🙂
    Also I made mine with Greek yogurt and didn’t change the measurements, and I think they came out just fine! Like I said, just kinda small.

    • Denisse says

      Hi!!! I just made one recipe and the loaf hardly rose. Is that how it is supposed to be because Katie’s pictures seem so thick and large yet mine is uber small. Kind of like a tart. Tastes amazing though!



Leave A Reply

Get Free Recipes

Don’t Miss Out On The NEW Free Healthy Recipes

Sign up below to receive exclusive & always free healthy recipes right in your inbox:

Chocolate Covered Katie The Healthy Dessert Blog Recipes