Welcome to my birthday week celebration, where I'm sharing one of my all-time favorite treats: the Gluten Free Lemon Cake! This year, amidst a delightful array of baked goods, this lemon cake stands out as a potential top contender.
Get ready for a lemony delight that's far from subtle. This Gluten Free Lemon Cake strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet. It's akin to savoring a refreshing glass of lemonade in cake form! Each layer is generously soaked in a homemade lemon syrup, ensuring every bite is moist and flavorful – say goodbye to the dread of dry cakes. And to top it off, it's adorned with the most heavenly dairy free lemon cream cheese frosting. Is your mouth watering yet??
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What Makes This Gluten-Free Lemon Cake Awesome
- Moist - Because of the lemon syrup drizzled over the cake layers, this cake stays moist and tender for days.
- Flavorful - This cake is bursting with lemon flavor! It is the most lemon-y cake I've ever had and it's amazing.
- Allergen Friendly - This lemon cake is both gluten free and dairy free as written and the frosting is dairy free / vegan too.
- Gluten Free Flour Blend - I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to1 flour for this recipe. You can use the gluten free flour blend you prefer, but ensure it contains xanthan gum or a similar binder. Using another brand of flour may result in a different outcome in your bake as all gluten free flour blends are a little different in their makeup.
- Baking Powder - this leavening agent helps the cake rise and creates a light texture.
- Salt - This crucial ingredient helps to balance the flavors of this dessert. Don't be tempted to skip it.
- Sugar - White sugar is the base of this lemon flavored cake.
- Vegan Butter - I used Country Crock plant butter for this recipe. Any stick type vegan butter will work. If you're not dairy free, use regular unsalted butter in the same measure.
- Oil - I used extra light olive oil, but any light flavored cooking oil will do. Don't be tempted to switch out butter for the oil - the combination of the two fats helps the cake to be more moist.
- Vanilla Extract - Provides complexity and sweetness to the flavor of the cake.
- Eggs - Since this cake requires four eggs, I would not try an egg substitute here.
- - Use your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk. If you're not dairy free, use regular milk in the same measure.
- Lemons - You'll need both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest for this recipe. Three to four lemons should be enough to make the cake, lemon drizzle and the lemon cream cheese frosting.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not Dairy Free - use dairy butter and milk in the same measure.
- Fruit Infusion - Add 1 cup of your favorite berries to the cake batter - blueberries would be delicious!
- Citrus - Swap lemon for grapefruit, orange or limes for a different flavor profile.
How to Make the Best Gluten Free Lemon Cake
STEP 2: Add the lemon zest to the sugar and rub together with your fingers to impart the oils to the sugar. You should be left with a light yellow colored sugar.
STEP 3: Pour the lemon juice into the milk and stir together. Set aside while you're mixing the cake.
STEP 4: Add the vegan butter, sugar, and lemon zest to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
STEP 5: Add the vanilla extract and oil to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes more. The mixture should become light and fluffy (like frosting).
STEP 6: Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each addition.
STEP 7: With the mixer on the lowest speed, add half of the dry ingredients followed by half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
STEP 8: Divide the batter evenly between your prepared cake pans. Rest the cake batter for 10 minutes, then bake.
How to Make a Lemon Syrup Drizzle
This easy lemon syrup will not only add extra lemon flavor to the cake, it will keep this gluten free cake moist for days.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: Lemon juice, sugar, lemon peel and water.
STEP 1: Combine lemon juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk well and bring to a boil. Allow to bubble for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
STEP 2: Once the syrup has been removed from the heat, add the lemon peel. Allow the syrup to sit until cooled to room temperature. Then strain out and discard the peel before using.
STEP 3: With the cake layer inside the cake pan, pour the lemon syrup over allowing it to soak in. Divide the syrup evenly amongst all the cake layers.
Cover the cake layer with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour before decorating.
How to store leftover cake
This cake must be refrigerated. You can keep this cake in an airtight container, like a cake keeper, for up to 4 days.
Or if you have a lot of leftover cake, you can freeze some for later. Slice individual servings and wrap them in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped slices inside a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Measure your ingredients carefully. Adding too much flour is the number one reason for dry cake. Also, take care to not over-bake the cake. Every oven will bake differently, so you should start checking your cake a few minutes before the suggested bake time has elapsed.
The combination of air incorporated with the sugar and butter, the beating of the eggs and the addition of baking powder all make a cake rise.
If you use the recommended lemon cream cheese frosting, then it must be refrigerated. If you use a standard American buttercream frosting, you can store the cake at room temperature.
Other cake recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Gluten Free Lemon Cake
For the cake:
For the lemon syrup:
- ½ Cup Sugar
- ¼ Cup Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup Water
- Peel of 1 Lemon
For the decoration
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your cake rounds and line them with parchment paper. This recipe will make three 6-inch rounds, two 8-inch or 9-inch rounds, one 9x13 cake or 24 cupcakes.
- Combine the gluten free flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Whisk well to mix and set aside.2 ¼ Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, 2 ½ teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Salt
- Combine the milk with the lemon juice. Stir well and set aside.1 Cup Non Dairy Milk, ¼ Cup Lemon Juice
- Add the lemon zest to the sugar and rub it together with your fingers to impart the lemon oils. Then put the lemon sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.1 ¾ Cup Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
- Add the butter to the sugar and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.½ Cup Vegan Butter
- Add the oil and vanilla extract and beat again for 1-2 minutes.⅓ Cup Oil, 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- Add the eggs one at a time mixing for 30 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the bowl.4 Eggs
- Turn the mixer to the lowest speed. Add half of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Stir only until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans. Let the cake batter rest for 10 minutes before baking.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 28-30 minutes (for 6-inch) or 25-28 minutes (for 8-inch) or until the top springs back when gently poked and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Cool the cakes in the pan for about 30 minutes.
For the lemon syrup:
- While the cake is baking, prepare the lemon syrup. Combine the lemon juice, water, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk well and bring to a boil. The sugar should be completely dissolved. Allow to cook for 10 minutes then remove from the heat.½ Cup Sugar, ¼ Cup Lemon Juice, ¼ Cup Water
- Add the peel to syrup and allow it to cool completely.Peel of 1 Lemon
- Once it’s cool, strain the peel from the syrup.
- Trim your cakes so that they are level if needed. Return them to the cake pans.
- Poke a few holes in each layer of cake using a toothpick or skewer. Drizzle the syrup over the cake (use all of the syrup evenly over all the layers). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cake layers for about one hour.
- Once the cake has chilled, decorate with frosting.
- three 6-inch layers
- two 8-inch or 9-inch layers
- one 9x13 cake
- 24 cupcakes
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.