This Flourless Lemon Cake is absolutely exploding with bright, zesty lemon flavour. The fact that it is also gluten-free is a total accident due to the fact that the main ingredient (aside from lemon), almond meal, is naturally gluten free.
This lemon cake recipe came about when a colleague at work gifted me a bag of lemons, fresh off the tree and it’s been one of my favourite cakes ever since. It has an instense lemon flavour with a tender, moist crumb and despite that moistness, is incredibly soft and light.
One of the wonderful things about flourless cakes is their ability to stay perfectly moist for days, without ever seeming dense just like my Chocolate Hazelnut Flourless Cake and these cute Mini Ginger Orange Flourless Cakes.
This simple gluten free lemon cake is topped with an even more simple lemon icing made with just 2 ingredients – icing (powdered) sugar and lemon juice). The cake needs nothing more as the icing cascades down the sides creating such a pretty finish.
How to make it – step by step
There’s just a few simple steps to this easy flourless lemon cake.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, then add the yolks, vanilla, juice and zest until it’s all incorporated.
- Gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
- Separately whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then mix a third into the cake batter before very gently folding in the rest. Don’t overmix at this point as you’ll beat the air out of your egg whites which could result in a very dense cake.
- Transfer the batter to an 8 inch round springform tin or even a sandwich tin, then bake.
- Finally, drizzle with a very simple 2 ingredient lemon icing.
You don’t need to be gluten intolerant to enjoy this flourless cake, pinky promise. Everyone I’ve served this to has adored it and many have asked for the recipe. It’s a combination of the amazing texture and flavour that make it a favourite.
Top tips and tricks
- Egg whites: You can whip these with a whisk, electric handheld beater or stand mixer with whisk attachment, just make sure they get to soft peak consistency. This is what will help give this cake lift.
- Folding: After whipping all the air into those egg whites, make sure not to bash it all out by mixing it into the batter. Start by just mixing in 1/3 of the egg whites to loosen the batter a little. Now use a folding motion to fold the rest of the egg whites in gently and do this just until you see the last lines of egg white disappear.
- Baking powder: Not all baking powders are gluten free so check before you buy if you are wanting this cake to be specifically gluten free.
- Other citrus: swap the lemon for lime or orange for another citrus twist.
- Yoghurt: If you want to lighten it up a little, use yoghurt in place of the icing.
How to store flourless cake
This cake keeps moist so you can make this 2-3 days in advance and it will still taste perfect.
Leave the icing until you serve it – it only takes 5 minutes.
Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months (if there’s any leftover).
For freezing, cut it into slices first so you can take just what you need when you need it.
As the saying goes “When life gives you lemons, make flourless lemon cake“, at least that’s what I say. This naturally gluten free lemon cake is perfect for an afternoon tea, Easter brunch or Mothers Day.
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Flourless Lemon Cake (Gluten Free)
For the cake:
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar (150g / 5.3oz)
- 115 g unsalted butter, softened (½ cup / 1 stick)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest, not packed (notes)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (notes)
- 2 ½ cups almond meal (almond flour) (250g / 8.8oz)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the icing:
- 1 ¼ cups icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar (163g / 5.7oz)
- 6-8 teaspoons lemon juice
- extra lemon zest
FOR THE FLOURLESS LEMON CAKE
- Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line a 20cm (8 inch) round springform tin with baking paper.
- Whisk together the almond meal, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage and set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then add the yolks and beat well to combine. Add the vanilla, zest and juice and beat until incorporated.
- Add the mixed dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture in 2 parts, and stir gently to combine.
- Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter and mix through to loosen it. Add the last 2/3 in 2 parts but just fold through gently until all combined. Keep the mixing to a minimum to keep as much air in the mix as possible.
- Bake for around 40-45 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick comes out with just a moist crumb or two.
- Allow to cool for half an hour before removing the spring form tin. Transfer to a cake plate and allow to cool completely.
FOR THE SIMPLE LEMON ICING
- Mix together the icing sugar and half the lemon juice. Slowly add more lemon juice until it gets to the desired consistency, then pour it over the cake.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
- All ovens vary – check for doneness 7-8 minutes before the recipe suggests.
- Not all baking powders are created equal – double check that yours does not contain gluten if you specifically want this to be gluten free.
- For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales like these are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
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