This Sweet Vanilla Pea Cake tastes like a vanilla cake, but it's green! The flavor of the peas fades away in this vegetable cake. It's topped with a zingy lemon frosting and a halo of pea shoots for decoration.
We all know the sweetness of peas, and in this cake the pea flavour fades beneath the vanilla, marrying nicely with the zing of the lemon buttercream frosting.
In its wake the peas leave their moist green vegetable goodness, nutrients and vitamins. Wrapped in a blanket of delicious cake.
I've made it as a 3-tier layer cake in 6" pans, but you can cook it as a 2-layer cake too.
The texture is light and fluffy, and super-moist from the added peas. The flavor is so gentle.
There's a very delicate undertone of flavor from the peas, but in a really lovely sweet earthy way.
Mostly, it tastes like a vanilla cake - which happens to be naturally green with no food coloring!
I've long enjoyed tinkering with flavors and putting together unusual combinations. It all started with putting kale into a cake and my love of vegetable cakes was born.
I took the obsession with vegetables in cakes so far that I created this blog to highlight my weird and wacky recipes. Then I ended up writing a cookbook about them: Veggie Desserts + Cakes. Find it on Amazon!
If you love this pea cake, you'll also love these other vegetable cake recipes:
Apple Kale Cake
Chocolate Beetroot Cake
Roasted Squash Spice Cake
Vanilla Spinach Cake
Kale Orange Cupcakes
Chocolate Squash Cake
Sweet summer peas are an absolute joy.
Ideally eaten straight from pod to mouth on a warm morning with nothing to rush for, nothing to do but burst the little spheres and savour the texture and flavour.
Does anyone have the luxury of empty time? Will I ever have it again?
You could stare into the distance blissfully eating peas, listening to songbirds and relishing the moment, or you could rush indoors and bake a cake.
A pea cake with vanilla and a lemon frosting. Decorated with a halo of pea shoots like the cider queen at a village fete.
recipes with peas
If you love peas in a pea cake, perhaps you'll also love some of these more conventional pea recipes!
Easy Pea Soup (4 ingredients)
Courgetti with Pea Mint Sauce
Pasta with Peas
Spinach and Pea Burgers
Peas on Toast with Mint and Radishes
Sweet Vanilla Pea Cake with Lemon Frosting
- 2 cups (275g) fresh or frozen peas
- ¾ cup (200g) butter room temperature
- ¾ cup (150g) sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Lemon Buttercream:
- ⅔ cup (150g) butter room temperature
- 2 ½ cups (300g) powdered icing sugar
- Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
- Pea shoots optional
- lemon zest optional
For the Vanilla Pea Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C. Grease and line two 9” cake pans (or three 6” pans, as I did in the pictures).
- Boil the peas for a few minutes, drain, refresh under cold water and puree until completely smooth. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the cooled pea puree, vanilla, zest and lemon juice.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to gently combine.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins, push to the edges and level, then bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
For the Lemon Frosting:
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and beat. Beat in the zest and a little of the lemon juice. Add more lemon juice to make it a frosting consistency and beat again. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Spread a little of the buttercream between the layers of the completely cooled cakes and sandwich together. Cover the cake in the remaining buttercream and decorate with pea shoots and lemon zest.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
I really like your recipe.
Very good. I used canned peas. After draining them it was short just a tiny bit. I did reduce butter by half and substituted mash sweet potato for the missing butter. Baked as cupcakes. 16 minute bake time. I skipped the frosting. Great flavor and texture
Wow, you're ruthless!....in the best of ways. Kale in cake as a headstart?! Kale is like the least compromise friendly vegetable I have ever encountered! I too find adding vegetable fascinating, but I started with the basics, carrots, beets, spinach... Mild or sweet tasteing stuff... There is no way in hell kale melts I to cake taste, right.... Oh no, I am going to have to try it...and I am dreading the outcome of this insanity.. But a curious baker got to do, what must be done...same as I made ommlet from fish and chocolate pudding from avocado's.
To the actual recipe I am commenting under, I love the idea of using peas especially paired with citrus! It sounds really really nice. For I have more food I tolerances than is reasonable, I will have to adapt it heavenly, but still, the idea itself is great ^^
Just had to pop on and say how good this recipe is. I tweaked it to use unrefined sugar and to make it gluten free and I was so impressed! Gluten free cakes can often be dry but it wasn't at all. I made a little lemon juice / icing sugar drizzle too rather than buttercream (I'm also dairy free) which worked really well. My kids happily ate it, despite the peas!
Alexander Eoin Moll McCarthy
Great stuff. I changed the lemon to lime and it came out a success. Thanks.
Absolutely love this recipe! Made it on a whim and so pleased with how it looks and tastes. Lovely and moist but not too soggy, lovely colour and subtle but surprising taste. 10/10. P.s. I noticed if I boiled the peas a little longer they turned to puree easier.
Hello, I've just discovered this recipe and I can't wait to try it as I was given several packets of frozen pureed peas and want to use them in a cake. I was wondering if it would be possible to substitute mint for the lemon zest? Or to use it in addition to the zest? Somehow, peas and mint go together in my mind.
Absolutely! You can totally use mint instead. I hope you enjoy the cake!
As a few others have, I also made cupcakes, they were really good. They weren't the sweetest cakes, but we're perfect with the buttercream. Am looking forward to making as a big cake!
Looking forward to trying this cake. Would it be ok to use canned peas?
Hi, I haven't tried it with canned peas. In theory they should work, but the colour may not be quite so green. Let me know how it goes though!
Hi there, do you think I could make this with dried peas? Also, could I reduce the sugar or use honey or maple syrup? I'm trying to make some fun and colourful cakes for my daughter's second birthday but I don't want to create overly hyper toddlers! Thanks!
Hi Hayley, I think it would need to be fresh or frozen peas. You should be able to reduce the sugar a little bit without affecting the structure. Perhaps instead to reduce the sugar content you could make them into cupcakes and only add a tiny swirl of frosting, or leave the frosting off altogether?
I saved these a while ago, and finally made them last week! I loved how they turned out. I baked them into cupcakes, and baked for 20 minutes. The flavor was really lovely. No one could guess there were peas in there, and honestly most people just thought it was "very good lemon cake." I could tell there was more than lemon in there but probably wouldn't have been able to guess pea if I didn't already know!
Thanks for another great recipe 🙂
Miss G M M Robertson
Could this be made using g
Turn free flour, baking powder
Hi, I haven't tried this one with gluten free flour, but it should work. If you use the usual gf flour that you use for cakes then I hope it will work well. Please let us know how you get on if you try it.
Love your recipe! I adapted it to be gluten free and diary free for allergy purposes. so if anyone with a freakish list of allergies wants to try this recipe it can be done! I used earth balance butter and all purpose flour blend *I follow gluten free girls blend. I also made them into cupcakes which made for a cute party cupcake. princess and the pea cupcakes is what I called them and hide a pea inside the middle,
I LOVE your princess and the pea twist! And thanks so much for telling us about the gluten/dairy free options you used!
Thankyou so much for shairing this excited recipe.
I've made this cake twice now and it's great. Everyone whose tried it has found it so unique and delicious whilst not being overly sweet. The second time I made it was for the cafe I work at and it sold very quickly so thankyou for posting the recipe! 🙂 However I found the icing curdled a bit - I was wondering if there's a way to prevent this?
I'm delighted that you like the recipe! That's great that it has been popular in your cafe. About the icing, I've not had it curdle - perhaps add it slowly? I've made it quite often and not had it do that so I'm not really sure what to suggest! I use a stand mixer, so perhaps it is that it is beaten in quickly?
Perhaps it's that, unless I got the ratios wrong since I need to make the cakes alot larger. It's hard to make these cakes and not get a slice for myself! I'll try your cauliflower chocolate cake next I think 🙂
I tried and loved it! I made it as cupcakes instead. It didn't taste vanila though. I will add a spoonful of vanila-infused sugar next time. Loved the colour, and it is really moist.
I'm so glad to bump into your veggcellent blog:-)....the cake recipes look amazing. Will definitely try them as I too like the idea of veggie in a cake. Super Kate!
Margot C&V (@coffeenvanilla)
Wow, so many amazing and unusual recipes here... love the coffee & avocado smoothie as well 🙂
Thanks so much, Margot! The smoothie was creamy and lush!
My in-laws have peas with EVERYTHING! I wonder how this would go down with them? I bet they would love it. Look forward to reading your interviews.
Should we line three cake pans? The photo shows a three tiered cake.
In the photo I used three little 6" cake pans, but you could also use two standard cake pans. The small pans are fairly unusual so the recipe has timings for two standard pans. 🙂
Thalia @ butter and brioche
this looks delicious.. the colours are amazing. definitely curious to know what a pea cake tastes like, thanks for the recipe!
You can't even taste all those peas, Thalia!
Jen @ Blue Kitchen Bakes
Such a beautiful looking cake, I love the colour from the peas and the lemon buttercream sounds divine!
Thanks Jen, the peas gave it such a lovely shade of green. 🙂
Your cakes are always so lovely, and they always look so moist too! This combination sounds so interesting, I definitely will give it a try!
That's what I love about vegetable cakes. They never dry out! I haven't had a dry crumbly cake in years. Yay veg!
Courtney @ Neighborfood
Such a lovely cake--it seems like something the fairies would eat. 🙂
Ha ha I LOVE that! Definitely a fairy cake 😀
Oh I wish my peas were up to make this lovely cake. Sadly only three strands have appeared from the ten planted. I could use frozen as you suggest. It does look very lovely. I'm glad you have given measures for two pans. Not sure I could manage three!
Shame your peas aren't producing. There's nothing like fresh peas, but this is really easy to make with frozen instead. 🙂
Two weeks without broadband?!? Quelle horreur!! I would lose the plot... 😉 This cake is just gorgeous - I can picture it as a wedding cake with all those pretty pea shoots and maybe some sweetpea flowers to decorate 🙂
I know, TWO WEEEEEEEEEKS. Shocking. Thanks for your lovely comments. 🙂
Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
Wowwww this is absolutely stunning. I'm not the biggest fan of peas but I think even I could manage them if they were in a cake 😉
Ha, yup, you wouldn't even know they were there. Thanks!
Keep Calm and Fanny On
So lovely as ever, and will watch out for your interviews! Welcome back to the digital world 😉
It's nice to be back in the land of the living!