This gluten free lemon cake is moist, spongey and so easy to make. Just one bowl and a few simple ingredients. Top it off with a sweet and tangy dairy free lemon buttercream frosting.
This cake has been a long time coming and gone through SO many phases! I initially planned on making a vegan lemon cake that would of course be gluten free, but every trial results in a gummy, weirdly chewy or really dense cake.
After about 5 tries, I decided to throw in the towel on the vegan idea and just stick to a really, really good gluten free lemon cake. The eggs provide this cake with structure and help contribute to the perfect spongey texture.
This cake also uses a mix of gluten free all purpose flour and almond flour to provide a nice cakey texture. It’s much fluffier than my gluten free lemon drizzle cake, which is more like a pound cake.
I sometimes find that just using the all purpose flour can yield a slightly gummy texture, but a little bit of almond flour really helps to balance that all out and keep the cake light, fluffy, moist and delicious.
One bite into this cake and you’re going to fall in love. It’s the perfect Easter dessert, but to be honest, I would eat this any day or any time of year. If you love this recipe, my strawberry cake, almond flour vanilla cake or orange cake next!
How to make gluten free lemon cake
Line either one 9×13 pan or two 9 inch round pans or three 6 inch round pans with parchment paper just on the bottom. It helps to lightly oil the bottom then put the prepared parchment paper in so it sticks easily. Set aside.
Add in the dry ingredients, making sure to spoon and level the flours to measure, don’t scoop from the bag. Use a whisk to mix together until well combined, but careful not to over-mix.
It shouldn’t be runny, but definitely won’t be thick either. It should resemble a fairly thin pancake batter.
Pour into your prepared pan(s) and add to the oven. The 9×13 will take about 32-40 minutes, the 9 inch will take closer to 25-30 and the 6 inch will take about 45. Check with a toothpick to test doneness.
Remove from the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully flip onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. If you’re making a sheet cake, you are welcome to leave it right in there and frost it in the pan for easy storage.
Let cool completely before frosting. I suggest sticking in the fridge for about an hour to ensure it’s fully cool.
To make the buttercream, add the room temperature butter, milk lemon juice an zest to the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl and beat until well combined. I prefer using a stand mixer to make buttercream.
Beat in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until your desired consistency is reached. I used about 4 cups for this recipe. To make it thicker, add more sugar, to make it thinner, add more milk. Frost the cake once cool & enjoy!
Getting the perfect flavor
This cake uses three forms of lemon to achieve the perfect lemon flavor. We’ll be using fresh lemon juice, zest and lemon extract. That might seem like a lot, but I promise it’s SO good!
The tangy of the lemon gets balanced by the sweetness from the sugar and the richness from the oil. Lemon juice and lemon extract are not the same, so be sure you’re using both in this recipe!
I also don’t recommend bottled lemon juice as it will react differently with the baking soda compared to fresh lemon juice.
The best flour for gluten free cake
If you’ve made any of my recipes before, you know I’m very loyal to my Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking flour. A lot of gluten free bakers prefer making their own blends, but I find it easiest for me and you to use a blend. Plus, if you’re not gluten free, just swap it out for regular all purpose flour.
I highly recommend sticking to the Bob’s flour since there is a lot of variation brand to brand, but if you opt to use a different one, just make sure it has xanthan gum in the mix!
This gluten free cake truly tastes no different than a regular cake. I’m the only one in my family who is gluten free and everyone says it tastes just like the real deal. Try it and you’ll see!
How to keep cake moist
For whatever reason, a lot of people seem to think gluten free cakes (like my mint chocolate cake) and other baked goods are really dry. Because of that, I make a serious effort to ensure all of my recipes are incredibly moist and stay that way.
This gluten free lemon cake is made moist with the oil, milk, eggs, a generous amount of lemon juice and even almond flour. As long as you store it in a container or wrapped with foil, you should have no problem keeping this cake moist!
I even find that it can get more moist as it sits because the buttercream seeps into the sponge a bit overtime. I promise, no dry cakes over here!
Once prepared, this cake will keep for about 3 days at room temperature or 5 in the fridge.
You’ll also love..
- Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- Gluten Free Carrot Cake
- Red Velvet Cake
- Marble Bundt Cake
- Gluten Free Lemon Bars
- Gluten Free Lemon Cookies
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Gluten Free Lemon Cake
by: claire cary
- ¾ cup butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons milk dairy or non-dairy
- 1 tablespoons lemon zest or to taste
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add in the dry ingredients, making sure to spoon and level the flours to measure, don't scoop from the bag.
- Use a whisk to mix together until well combined, but careful not to over-mix. It shouldn't be runny, but definitely won't be thick either. It should resemble a fairly thin pancake batter.
- Pour into your prepared pan(s) and add to the oven. The 9×13 will take about 32-40 minutes (mine took 35), the 9 inch will take closer to 25-30 and the 6 inch about 45 (they're smaller but the layers will be fairly thick so they need to bake for longer).
- Check with a toothpick to test doneness. The top should be golden brown and there should be no jiggling on the inside.
- Remove from the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully flip onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. If you're making a sheet cake, you are welcome to leave it right in there and frost it in the pan for easy storage.
- Let cool completely before frosting. I suggest sticking in the fridge for about an hour to ensure it's fully cool.
- Beat in the sifted powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until your desired consistency is reached. I used about 4 cups for this recipe. To make it thicker, add more sugar, to make it thinner, add more milk. Beat in the milk, lemon juice and zest until well combined.
- Frost the cake once cool & enjoy!