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Almond Flour Lemon Cake (Gluten Free & Paleo!)

Almond Flour Lemon Cake – This light, fluffy lemon cake is perfect with fresh berries and whipped coconut cream. It’s gluten free, grain free, dairy free, paleo perfection!

Gluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life

I *may* or may not have THREE lemon cake recipes on my blog at this very moment.

I regret nothing.

A bright, sunny lemon cake is exactly what spring and summer call for. You KNOW I love a good, dense flourless chocolate cake, or a rich chocolate tart, or a mind-blowing brownie any time. I’m a chocolate lover forever. But there is nothing like the light, citrusy goodness of a lemon cake. They’re sweet and tangy and feel so light and fresh.

I love that this one doesn’t weigh you down. It’s the perfect blend of soft and fluffy while still being substantial enough to hold up to whipped coconut cream and berries. Michael was just one bite in before announcing “I’m pretty sure I want this for my birthday.”

I don’t blame him. This almond flour lemon cake is perfection.

A slice of Gluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life A close up view of Gluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life

Plus, this one is topped with whipped coconut cream and loads of fresh berries, which launches it up to the next level. I adapted this from a Simply Recipes recipe that was the perfect starting point, then made a few changes along the way. Here are a few of the keys to success:

For one thing, you separate the egg whites and yolks. Whipping your egg whites is totally responsible for the “fluff” factor in a cake that could otherwise be quite dense. It MAKES the texture and is definitely worth doing well. I’ve got lots of tips below, so don’t fret if you’ve never done it before.

Second, the almond flour. I love that magically this cake is gluten free, dairy free AND grain free. Almond flour has a natural sweetness to it and gives such a lovely texture and flavor to the cake. I also love knowing that it’s not full of empty calories. (Does that mean it’s a health food!? Let’s say yes, shall we? 😉 )

Thirdly, brushing the fresh-from-the-oven cake with a lemon-honey glaze adds and extra lemony layer to this cake and does something magical to the surface. It stays fairly glossy and sort of caramelizes the edges of the cake. Then, the lemon and honey soaks down ever so slightly into the cake, which keeps it from going dry (though it’s certainly not soggy!).

With a few simple techniques, and a lineup of really simple, yet quality ingredients, this almond flour lemon cake is worthy of an Easter brunch, birthday party, summer cookout, or Sunday afternoon. It’s definitely on our short list of favorite desserts!

Gluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life

Tips for this Almond Flour Lemon Cake

Watch Me Whip-Whip. Whipping the egg whites is KEY here to creating the structure you’re looking for in the cake. The the original recipe, Elise used vinegar and sugar to help stabilize her egg whites. Since I’m using honey instead of sugar in my version, I used cream of tartar. It’s gluten free, dairy free, grain free, etc. and only contains tartaric acid. It’s excellent for adding stabilization to egg whites, and many paleo bakers use it in tandem with baking soda as a substitute for baking powder. I think it’s worth keeping on hand, if only for this recipe.

Let’s talk flour. It wouldn’t be almond flour lemon cake without almond flour! I use blanched almond flour for this recipe, which is a finely ground almond flour made from almonds with their skins removed. This is visually and texturally important, so please don’t try to substitute almond meal (which keeps skins on and is coarser). Different brands vary a bit, but I look for “finely ground, blanched almond flour.” I’ve had good luck with Honeyville, Blue Diamond, Hughson Nut, Bob’s Red Mill, and Kirkland brand, all of which I’ve been able to find at Costco at different times, where it’s 3 pounds for $10-12 instead of 1 pound at the grocery store for $8-9. Use what you like, and what you can find! NOTE: You CANNOT substitute ANY other flours for almond flour in this recipe, especially coconut flour. The ratios aren’t the same.

A tip for coconut whipped cream. If you’re not strictly paleo, I highly recommend buying SoDelicious CocoWhip (I get it at Sprouts or Natural Grocers). It’s basically coconut milk Cool Whip. It’s more stable than anything I’ve made myself, but does have added sweetener. I think it’s so lovely with the subtly-sweet cake. If you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, I recommend using this method or this method for making your own. Follow the directions to the letter, and keep the whipped cream in the fridge until the last possible moment before serving. (And, obviously, if dairy doesn’t hate you, you can totally go with classic dairy-rific whipped cream!)

Not into whipped cream? Try this! Two words: Raspberry Sauce. It makes everything better, from cake to your morning oatmeal. My favorite recipe (seen here) is about as easy as can be: frozen or fresh raspberries + lemon juice + honey. Puree, strain, and serve. Bam.

Craving More Yummy Desserts? Try…

p.s. My other two lemon cake recipes are this Lemon Cream Cake, and this Gluten Free Lemon Cake 

Side view of a slice of Gluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life

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Close up view of Paleo Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries

Almond Flour Lemon Cake


  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 Slices 1x

Description

A gorgeous, bright lemon cake that’s perfect for any occasion! Don’t skip the whipped coconut cream and fresh berries! (Adapted from Simply Recipes)


Ingredients

Scale

For the Cake:

  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder*

For the Lemon-Honey Glaze:

  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

To Top (Optional):

  • Coconut whipped cream
  • Fresh Berries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment and spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Separate egg yolks and whites and place in two separate, VERY clean metal or glass bowls. (Egg whites will not whip if there is any grease in your bowl and they need the friction of metal or glass to whip well).
  3. To the yolks mixture, add honey, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir well until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond flour and baking powder. Stir into yolks mixture. (Mixture will be quite thick).
  5. Using a hand mixer (or a whisk and a lot of elbow grease!), whip egg whites on medium speed until just frothy. Pause and add a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar.
  6. Continue to whip, now on high speed, until they reach the soft peaks stage. There should be no more liquid egg whites on the bottom of the bowl, and when the beaters are lifted out of the egg whites, the peaks should flop over slightly (instead of standing straight up).
  7. Working in 3-4 batches, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter. At first, this will seem like it might not work. Just keep going, gently using a spatula to fold the mixture together (don’t stir quickly or you’ll deflate the batter). Repeat with remaining whipped egg whites until all are incorporated into the batter. Batter will be lighter in color and very fluffy.
  8. Pour batter into your prepared pan and gently shake to even out the surface.
  9. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

WHILE THE CAKE IS BAKING, make your lemon-honey glaze —

  1. In a small bowl or saucepan, whisk together honey and lemon juice until very smooth and well blended.
  2. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Remove the springform, and while the cake still quite warm, brush with the lemon-honey glaze.
  3. Allow cake to completely cool before slicing, or topping with any garnishes–I prefer whipped coconut cream and fresh berries.

Notes

*If you are strictly paleo, you can substitute 2/3 tsp cream of tartar and 1/3 tsp baking soda for the 1 tsp of baking powder.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Oven, Baking
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

Keywords: lemon cake, almond flour, almond flour lemon cake, paleo cake, paleo lemon cake,

Gluten Free, Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake from One Lovely Life

Almond Flour Lemon Cake from One Lovely LifeGluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life
Gluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life 2-Image Collage of Gluten Free & Paleo Almond Flour Lemon Cake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries from One Lovely Life

140 Comments

  1. YUMMMYY!! This was so popular with my family! I’m used to very “moist” cakes as my Finnish family always moistens cakes with fruit juice. So I doubled the lemon glaze and oh… double yum! I’m going to make it again tomorrow for my mom’s birthday! Thank you!

    1. You might find this article about adapting cake recipes to different-sized pans. It’s my go-to! Do know your cake WILL be thinner and cook faster if using a larger-sized pan. It will be really important that you whip your egg whites properly so you get enough puff!

  2. Straight up the best gluten free&dairy free cake I have ever made. The cake was gone in seconds. Everyone requested for more!!!! Thank you for this amazing recipe you hit the right spot with everyone in my family.

  3. Mine went billowy and seemed to rise but once out the oven went flat. So made two to sandwhich together. Second one seems like consistency of cloud bread. I whipped the whites more but still sank when cooled. But then i buggered up the buttercream! Hopefully it tastes ok!

    1. I haven’t. I don’t use sugar-free substitutes regularly, so I haven’t experimented with that. I’d love to know how it goes if you give it a try!

  4. Made this for Easter Sunday and it was very tasty! Trying to keep paleo and it really hot the spot. Thank you!

  5. Made this but haven’t yet tried it as it is meant to be shared on a birthday. I was careful in following directions and the cake seems flat (3/4″ high). Beat the whites until frothy. Perhaps they needed more whipping? Advice, please?

    1. Garrie – A few tips to keep in mind so you get the height you’re looking for:

      1. You want to beat the egg whites all the way until they reach the soft peaks stage. There should be no more liquid egg whites on the bottom of the bowl, and when the beaters are lifted out of the egg whites, the peaks should flop over slightly (instead of standing straight up).

      2. Second, when you fold the beaten egg whites in the batter, you want to be as gentle as possible (folding, not stirring or beating), so that you maintain as much of the air as possible in the batter.

      3. Lastly, triple check that you use the correct size pan. Some folks have accidentally baked this in a larger pan, which means a thinner cake.

      I hope the cake is a winner for the birthday!

  6. I love this simple recipe. Went make it again and realized i don’t have any honey.. What can I use in its place and how much?

    1. Adriana – I haven’t made this cake with anything other than honey, but your best bet would be another liquid sweetener, like agave. If you’re using liquid sweetener, you’d use the same amount, though the results will vary slightly texturally and from a flavor perspective. I wish you the best of luck!

  7. Hi!! Thank you so much for this recipe! My friend’s birthday is in a week and she is on a strict gluten and dairy free diet due to health concerns. I was wondering….Can I make cake the night before or could I at least make the cake the night before and then arrange toppings?

    1. Brenda – If you need to bake it in advance, I’d actually recommend our regular gluten-free lemon cake over this almond flour one. It holds up a little better in advance. If the other one won’t work for you, then I recommend freezing it if possible, then pulling it out and decorating the cake the day of.

  8. Works like a charm everytime, but now I leave out the lemon as I found it made the recipe too bitter.

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