A bright lemon glaze coats these clove-scented snack cakes to make them perfect for an afternoon nibble. The oat flour base provides a tender, chewy texture that’s a cross between a cookie and a muffin so you get the best of both worlds. Each bite-size cake is infused with lemon zest and lemon extract to double down on the refreshing citrus flavor while a touch of vanilla adds mellow warmth. Naturally sweetened with dates, applesauce, and maple syrup, these tasty treats are a healthy way to indulge your sweet tooth!

Tip: To soak dates, place them in a bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let stand for 5 minutes and then drain.

For more healthy vegan dessert recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Ellen Boeke,

  • 632


  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1¼ cups unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped Medjool dates, soaked
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Thin lemon slices and/or fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of twelve 2½-inch muffin cups with parchment paper, or use silicone muffin cups.
  • Place oats in a food processor. Pulse well to achieve a flour-like consistency. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in baking powder, salt, and cloves.
  • In the food processor combine milk, dates, applesauce, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, the flaxseed meal, lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon extract. Process until smooth. Add to oat mixture. Stir just until oats are moistened. Pour into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand in cups 10 minutes. Remove cakes from cups and place on a wire rack set over waxed paper.
  • Meanwhile, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup and the lemon juice. Brush glaze over warm cakes. If you like, top with lemon slices and/or fresh raspberries. Serve warm.

Comments (62)

(4 from 17 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Just made these for the first time. My friends are coming over who are lactose-intolerant and celiac. The flavour is very nice! I found the batter very runny. Tried adding some flax flour to get the consistency I’m familiar with from making muffins with white all-purpose flour. This seemed to work. Letting the batter sit actually helped a lot! After 20 minutes of resting on the counter the batter was the consistency I expected and the bake turned out well! I wish I could send pics so you could see the difference…


This was so delicious. I followed the recipe exactly except that I did not do the final glaze (2 tbsp maple syrup and lemon juice) because they were so delicious as is, and I used 86 grams of whole dates (about a half cup) and chopped them in my food processor along with the oats and other ingredients. Delicious and will definitely be making it again!


Ok, this is a "bitter-sweet" review. I am not giving it a rating right now. I tried the recipe as written and the cakes did not bake through. I used silicone muffin trays. The recipe yields 12 cakes. I ended up with 16 cakes. Ok, no problem. My muffin trays may measure different. No probs. I kept leaving them in the oven longer and longer checking them every 10 minutes after the required baking time and the toothpick did not come out clean. Finally I just decided to pull them after baking appox 55 minutes. I toothpicked tested them 3 times after the required time. I let them cool on a wire rack, removed them and glazed them. The taste is delicious, but the moist factor is over the top too much. I love moist, but this was like doughy-moist, if that is a word. I threw the recipe away, but my husband said to give it another try, with my twist. We love the taste, but way too much moisture. I reprinted the recipe and will experiment with raising the temp of the oven to 400 or 450 degrees F, like my homemade muffin recipe even though these are 2/3 full muffin cups, they are so dense. (That's why they are so good for us!) . I plan on checking on them in about 20 minutes for the toothpick test. We will see what happens. Thank you for the wholesome ingredients. We will not give up. We love your website and thank you for sharing all of these wholesome plant based recipes. Different climates, different ovens, different altitudes, but all the same wholesome ingredients. I am confident that we will make this recipe one of our go-to recipes, so delicately flavorful, for breakfast with coffee or for a mid day snack. Thank you for continuing to educate us and bless us.


Meh. It is too wet. Not very lemony. I will have to add more oat flour and lemon to enjoy this.


Too wet. Center never baked. Had to throw out all muffins because I could not get them to bake.


How do I save this recipe in my FOK Meal Planner?

Penni Lopez

Really wish I could add this recipe to the meal planner.....


Followed recipe to the "T". They turned out awful. Too wet. Had to throw them out, what a waste of money. Would not recommend!!


Mashed banana or any fruit puree I would think.

Lisa Chavez

I tweaked these by adding 3 T lemon juice and prunes instead of dates…they came out of the oven very moist. After cooling for about 15 minutes they were perfect!


what can I use instead of apple sauce

Courtney Davison

Hi Donna, One mashed banana or a half cup of mashed summer squash (like zucchini) or pear puree would probably be good substitutes for the applesauce, but we can't guarantee those would work, as we haven't tested the recipe with them. Let us know how it goes! Thank you, Courtney Editor with Forks Over Knives


I didn't have lemon on hand so I used lime. Sooo delish and refreshing. I didn't process the oats enough so it ended up being too dense in the center but I'm looking forward to making it again using a high speed blender to make oat flour instead of using the food processor to make flour. I love using the Fork over Knives recipe app. It also has the ingredients listed by steps so not as easy to make mistakes. I think I will add lime and cloves to my morning oatmeal. What a fantastic flavor combo.

Kelly H

They were good, but my batter seemed a little too liquidy. If I make them again, will adjust. I didn't have lemon extract, so used extra lemon zest and flavor was still bright and lemony. Not sure the "glaze" was needed; plenty of flavor without.


A dedicated coffee grinder works well too. We had an older one I saved just for grinding oats, spices and small amounts of seeds and nuts.

Dianna S

This is absolutely delicious! My husband and I love lemon and this is the first lemon desert I have made since I went WFPB last April. I didn't have lemon extract so I used some extra lemon zest per one of the comments and it had a nice lemony flavor. I also wanted to comment in regards to several people who ask about the nutrition. I use an app called Whisk to save recipes, they even have a browser extension that you can just click to add to your saved recipes. Anyway when you save the recipe it will give you nutrition information and it will also give it a health score. I love this app and it is a great way to keep all your various favorite recipes in one place. And so you don't forget about all the wonderful websites that share their delicious recipes with us - when you need to see the directions the page with the ingredients list has a link back to the website that has the recipe.

Terri Evans

Very tasty! I made 24 mini muffins and baked them 23 minutes. I accidentally added lemon juice to the batter so I threw in a little more ground flaxseed to absorb the moisture. For those concerned about a sugar “trigger,” they taste good without the topping.


Beautifully moist and very moorish…love the lemon and clove combo and the texture of the oats…Second cake recipe I’ve made using ground rolled oats….works wonderfully! Loving these no oil sweets recipes…I was skeptical at first but they are full of flavour and very satisfying :)


I made them….I like them. Thought they were a little too moist but maybe I didn’t drain my dates long enough. I love lemon and at 88 calories a muffin, this recipe is a winner.


Beautifully moist and very moorish…love the lemon and clove combo and the texture of the oats…Second cake recipe I’ve made using ground rolled oats….works wonderfully! Loving these no oil sweets recipes…I was skeptical at first but they are full of flavour and very satisfying :)


Oops, I didn't mean to reply to your comments Janet... I was just trying to leave a review and now I can't delete it, sorry!


I made these this morning and purposely and accidentally made changes. I used hemp milk. I didn't have cloves so I opted to use cardamom instead. I accidentally added the lemon juice to the liquid so I added more rolled oats to the mix because it was very liquidy and thought I needed to adjust because of the extra lemon juice I accidentally added (still used the vanilla and lemon extracts). The cake itself is definitely better warmed up and with the maple lemon juice glaze. The cake is soft and not dry at all. It would be nice to eat with a hot cup of tea. My opinion is obviously skewed since I messed up, but it seems it'd be a nice snack. I think the ingredient list would be helpful to separate the list according to its use. For example, the maple syrup and lemon juice is for the glaze. It'd also make it easier for people who opt out of glaze so they know exactly what's needed in the cake batter.


Cake is in the name of the recipe. How many cakes have you eaten that are healthy? Just because they are plant based doesn’t mean sugar free or healthy. However, this is better than a regular cake recipe for nutrition. I cannot wait to make these. I hope they freeze well!


Hello. To briefly share my journey I had BC last year. After a lumpectomy and becoming a vegan/gluten free and consume very little sugar (vegan desserts tend to be surgery) I lost 18 pounds very easily. No soda just water and a healthy diet of veggies and fruits (mostly veggies). My body gained 20 pounds over 2 years and that was due to the tumor I didn't know I had. I'm grateful to God for so many things and being here to share my story. I do a colon cleanse from Dr. Richard Schultz and next will be a liver and kidney cleanse. In that order! Colon comes first to prevent disease. As for this recipe just modify what concerns you may have. I agree seems like a lot of sugar so I'll use 100% pure maple syrup and no sugar apple sauce. Modify. Nothing taste great with out sugar but once you starve your body from sugar you won't miss it. Anyway I'm grateful my health is back on track and hope you found this comment to be helpful.

Carol McCollum

Congrats on your nutritional journey for better health. I must have missed something in the recipe... You state that it "seems like a lot of sugar so I'll use 100% pure maple syrup and no sugar apple sauce." There is NO sugar in the recipe. It already calls for 4T pure maple syrup, and unsweetened applesauce.


Why not just use oat flour rather than pulsing the oats to make flour?

Toni Wing-Jenkins

The pulsed oats has more fiber. It requires a little more water in the batter, too.


I haven’t made the recipe but am interested as it sounds tasty. Ingredients are easy and have cooked with these ingredients in other recipes. Decided to comment after reading the senseless reviews! What is the matter with people? It’s just plain nasty to comment in a negative form especially when you haven’t even tried. Reviews are for if you made recipe and whether you liked recipe and how you might vary the recipe for your own taste. Negative people get lost!

Jane MacArthur

I haven't made these but definitely will - and thank goodness for these 'highly palatable' recipes. I make oat waffles every weekend with maple syrup. I weigh 50kg and just don't gain on the no oil (low sugar) vegan way of eating.


Couldn’t agree more! I have also noticed on other FOK reviews that the reviewer didn’t actually make the food. How is that the least bit helpful?! How about some common sense people? If it doesn’t seem to fit your diet or personal nutritional needs, don’t make it, move and and find another recipe. But don’t give items a poor rating when you didn’t actually try it just because you don’t like the sounds of it. That is NOT a useful review.

Rebecca Denson

If you don't have anything to add as to whether the recipes is good - AFTER making them - this is not the forum for it!

Rebecca Denson

So, let me get this straight - out of the 6 reviewers that left stars - only 2 actually made the recipe and every other comment was whining about nutritional info. You can do the nutritional info yourself - it's called google!


Would not make these due to high sugar. You can use dates, applesauce and maple syrup, sugar is sugar!!! What are you trying to achieve. Sugar is not healthy.

Blue Wren

These would look lovely made in madeleine moulds. I'll give it a try.

Kristina Thompson

I was just thinking the same thing!!!


UK readers be aware that many lemon extract formulations available here contain 90% oil (rapeseed or sunflower) and 10% extract except Nielsen-Massey which shows as ethanol and extract. Anyone know if lemon juice would be a good sub for the extract??

Blue Wren

The extract is just there to pump up the lemon flavour without increasing the liquid content. You could simple add a LOT more lemon zest and it wouldn't alter the liquid to dry ingredient ratio.

Ann E. Leenhouts-Shane

I agree with all the comments. I actually contacted fok about the nutritional counts a few years ago and was told they are not included for reasons that escape me. It would be so easy for them to do the counts and a great support as so many of us eat this way for our health! Especially critical to know carbs, sugar, sodium, potassium and fat content for anyone, but especially for diabetics and heart patients and those wishing to avoid chronic disease! Step up fok! So many of us support you by buying the food plans and magazine!


Forks over Knives is so uppity with regard to listing the calorie counts. If I see a recipe which contains an enormous number of calories I just won't make it. While I love their "no tuna tuna" recipe it's just loaded with calories so I rarely make it. If I know the calorie count then I can decide what to do. I have maintained the same normal weight all of my entire life on a diet of fruits, veggies, low carbs, no sodium (I hate it) and lean protein.

Jenna Ordway, Esq., LL.M

Disregard the one star rating, the reviewer didn’t even make them and gave it one star because they are too “highly-palatable”. ….Ooooookay. It’s advertised as a snack/treat. We don’t eat solely for survival, we also want to enjoy what we eat. FOK is attempting to provide a healthy alternative that is also delicious. Good on them, SD, you unfairly rated this recipe. The satiety in oat flour will cause the eater to limit intake and won’t “overstimulate eating and contribute to excess calorie consumption” as said reviewer alleges. These look delicious and are a healthy twist on a snack. I look forward to making them.


Nutritional info would be so beneficial for people who have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. Diabetics need carbohydrate info to put into their pumps for proper insulin delivery. Sodium info would be beneficial for those with high blood pressure, etc. Please consider adding this information.

Sondra Davies, MS

I see a trend that concerns me, on Forks Over Knives, in which there is increasing emphasis on recipes for highly-palatable foods that will over-stimulate eating and contribute to excess calorie consumption - the last thing we currently need, given the phenomenal shift to population-wide obesity. Four tactics I would target in this specific recipe: 1) Grinding the rolled oats - which reduces their glycemic index substantially (see the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter in a Q&A, 11/16/2013 revised 9/17/2019, 2) Adding sugar, disguised in alternate forms, such as maple syrup and dates 3) Adding salt 4) Adding applesauce instead of diced or chopped apples.


I appreciate your comments immensely. I just wanted to note that it appears there is a typo: Reducing the surface area of the rolled oats *increases* their glycemic index, a troubling matter. Though I haven't been an ardent follower of FOK, I have been a vegan for over half my life (i.e., close to 30 years), and I have followed most of the trends over time, including 100% raw as well as processed-oil-and-sugar-free (and low-salt) whole foods. My sense is that the gentleman behind FOK has invested a lot of money in his vision, and the average person is not going to continue to buy $10-an-issue glossy magazines that don't cater to the "highly palatable". I heard Caldwell Esselstyn speak at Iowa Heart in Des Moines years ago--and he made it abundantly clear that chewing whole foods was the healthiest approach to increase nitrous oxide ("Say yes to NO!") that is key in both heart and brain health. No processing--including making smoothies. I think it's great you spoke up. If you are looking for another resource, I recommend the Simple Veganista, who provides a lot of alternative approaches (dates vs. granulated sugar, homemade applesauce that requires no processing beyond heating the apples vs. processed oil, etc.) and at least for a time provided feedback in a helpful, kind manner. This doesn't address the clamoring for nutritional information. There are a number of sweeping generalizations about the vegan diet--you get plenty of protein, you don't need to mind calories, etc. etc.--but if you follow a nutrition minded professional like Dr. Michael Greger, he addresses them with nutrition facts (hence, the name of his website). His app--Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen--doesn't break things down into calories and such . . . but if you abide by his guidelines, they sync up with chronometer.com guidelines (since we can no longer turn to the federal government's website on nutritional guidelines). So, I recommend using both to see if these recipes are in keeping with best practices. Could FOK be transparent to save readers the hassle? Of course they could--but choose not to.


Yes, I also need to know the nutritional values. My husband is a diabetic and it can be difficult to know number of carbs. I wish FOK included nutritional facts!


There are many websites that include the nutrition facts. fOK is not one of them. If you really need that maybe look elsewhere for recipes. That’s one I’d the tenets of wfpb eating is not counting carbs, calories, or any thing else.


I haven’t made these yet but i have copied and pasted the ingredients into MyFitnessPal. Now obviously this does depend on which brands you use and, for example, I would not put salt in mine so the below figure would be reduced. But as standard choices It shows, Per 1 biscuit Cals- 88 Total Fat- 1g Saturated - 0.2g Trans- 0g Poly- 0.4g Mono- 0.2g Cholesterol- 0mg Sodium - 132.4mg Total Carbs - 16.9g Dietary Fibre - 1.8g Sugar- 3.7g Protein - 2.5g Calcium - 6.7g Iron - 5.9g Potassium- 79.1g Vit A - 0.1% Vit C - 9.4% Hope this helps someways.


Your awesome thanks! Your post will help anyone on insulin.

Ann Leenhouts-Shane

Thank you, much appreciated!

Debra Burton

Great site


Thank you Katie for using metric measurements! Only three countries use the imperial system (USA, Myanmar and Liberia). Please take note Forks over Knives and start the change, because 98% of the world will thank you for it!

Gayle Stallings

I’m agreeing with Jan’s comments about wanting to know the nutritional facts for the recipes. Is there a philosophy around this about why nutritional data is not posted?


Well, got that wrong! I assumed the g was gram, but unit down from oz is grain. Sorry for the misunderstanding.


How much oat flour should I use instead of the rolled oats? I want to make this recipe.


You need 65 gram flour instead of 1 cup.


You can just add/create a recipe in MyFitnessPal and it'll give you all that info. It's absolutely free to use.


I would really like to try these but, I need the nutrition facts. I'm diabetic and use an insulin pump. I need to know the carb content. I'm really disappointed that Forks Over Knives does not provide that for their recipes. Or am I just looking in the wrong places?


You can put the ingredients into a recipe app like MyFitnessPal


I agree would be easier if they did. However, you can always research the carb content of each ingredient and divide by the portions to see the specifics


Agree … yes I could put into a builder, but… Taking a quick glance at a nutritional value would encourage me to either use this recipe or delete it


I’m going to make these but I will definitely change the flavor profile because maple, lemon, dates and clove together does not appeal. Thanks for publishing vegan recipes! We are a longtime vegan family and the recipe rut is real!


Excited to try these and have a question. If using pre-ground oat flour, how much would I use? Thank you.

C. Turner

YUM. Definitely making these again. The lemon glaze is my favorite part.

About the Author

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About the Author

Ellen Boeke

Ellen Boeke has more than 25 years of experience as a recipe developer and food editor. She holds Bachelor's of Science degrees in consumer food science and journalism from Iowa State University and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Find her on LinkedIn.
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