This gluten free lemon cake is layered with sinfully delicious lemon curd and topped with a fresh cream cheese frosting. It is not only my daughter's very favorite birthday cake, but it is the perfect cake for any special occasion. It just takes one bite, and you will be hooked on this easy gluten free lemon cake recipe!
If you have been following along with me for a while, you know we have a crazy productive lemon tree in our back yard. I love creating fresh gluten free desserts with lemons from our tree.
This is by far the best gluten free lemon cake recipe ever! If you LOVE lemon flavor, this is the cake recipe you must make! You may also want to try these Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes!!
If you love lemon desserts as much as we do, you will want to check out all of the gluten free lemon desserts on the blog. It may be hard to decide which to make first!
Why you need to try this cake:
Decadent light and fluffy lemon cake with layers of homemade cream cheese frosting. This is a versatile cake recipe that can be made into this layer cake, a sheet cake, or makes cupcakes with it!
If you prefer, this also makes a delicious gluten free lemon drizzle cake...I include a recipe for lemonade icing if you want to try this!
- Gluten free flour blend - I have tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF Blend and King Arthur Measure for Measure GF Blend. If your gluten free flour blend doesn't contain Xanthan Gum, please add it.
- Almond flour - not only does it keep my baked treats moist, but using almond flour in the recipe adds protein to balance out some of the sugar :-).
- Pure vanilla extract - you can use extract or vanilla bean paste but do not use imitation vanilla.
- Butter - you can substitute vegan butter to make this dairy-free!
- Lemon juice - fresh lemon or bottled will work great.
- Almond milk - if you need this to be nut-free, you can substitute different milk.
- Lemon curd - store-bought or homemade. I love Trader Joe's lemon curd.
Recipe step by step directions:
Step 1: Add the dry gluten free cake ingredients to a bowl. Use a whisk to blend them thoroughly.
Step 2: Add the wet ingredients to a bowl and whisk to blend.
Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently. Baker's Tip: Don't overmix the cake batter or your cake will be denser.
Step 4: Put the cake batter into the greased cake pans. Smooth the batter out so it is even in the pans.
Step 5: Bake the cake layers at 350º F for 20 minutes. If you are using a larger cake pan, you will need to adjust your bake time! (The layer pans I used are pretty thin so the cakes bake quickly.)
How do you know when the cake is done baking?
Use the toothpick test to see if your cake is baked through. Insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes back clean, your cake is done baking. If there are crumbs or batter on your toothpick, bake it longer.
Step 6: While the cake cools, mix up the frosting! You can make the cream cheese frosting in the recipe, or make a buttercream frosting.
I used these cute layer pans, I found at Michaels. I have never made a gluten free layer cake with this many layers and these pans made it look so easy. I have made lots of different gluten free lemon desserts...it is time to get fancy!
Note, I am still learning cake decorating so this cake is not "gorgeous" like a bakery cake. We can learn together :-).
I layered Trader Joe's Lemon Curd between the layers. I spread on the lemon curd, then add frosting on top, then add another layer of cake. It is so foolproof. You can also make homemade lemon curd with this easy Lemon Curd recipe.
Not a great photo, but you get the idea of what the layers filled look like :-).
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ:
The secret to this moist lemon cake is almond flour. (*Note you want to use almond flour, not almond meal. Almond meal is ground thicker and doesn't bake with a smooth texture like almond flour does.)
If you can't have almond flour, you can definitely make this lemon cake recipe nut-free. Substitute an additional ½ cup gluten free flour blend instead of almond flour.
Each lemon cake layer is the same size, light and fluffy! This gluten free lemon cake recipe will feed 6 people, make 12 cupcakes, or one gluten free lemon sheet cake.
Or, it can feed two hungry teenage boys :-). I don't know how teens do it, but it is almost like they have an extra dessert stomach!
If you don't have fresh lemons, you can definitely use store-bought lemon juice for this recipe.
You can use any size cake pan, depending on how many people you are serving.
Can you use a store-bought lemon cake mix?
You can definitely use a gluten free lemon cake mix if you prefer. There are not many gluten free lemon cake mixes on the market, so you can use a gluten free vanilla cake mix and add 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice to make it lemon flavored.
Reader adaptations and reviews:
I doubled the salt (kosher), used Bob 1:1, still added an extra ¼tsp xanthan, subbed whole buttermilk for the almond milk and I split the extract ½ tsp vanilla and ½tsp lemon extract. We frosted with lemon buttercream instead of cream cheese. Because when you are 101 years old and want a lemon birthday cake with buttercream that's what you get! Made 2 perfect 6 inch round cakes which we created 5 layers with. Everyone raved young and old."A Pinterest user, Hello Lovely,
More Gluten Free Cake Recipes to Try:
- Gluten Free Chocolate Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Gluten Free Carrot Cake
- Homemade Gluten Free Lemon Bundt Cake
Here are all of the delicious gluten free desserts on this blog to explore.
Gluten Free Lemon Layer Cake
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Spray coconut oil in your cake pans to prevent sticking.
- In a large bowl, add your dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
- In a mixing bowl, add all wet ingredients and mix. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is just barely mixed.
- Pour batter into the baking pans, so each pan is ¾ full.
- Put the batter filled pans on a baking sheet and bake.
- Bake for 20 minutes. (*See note)
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Add all frosting ingredients to a mixer and mix on high speed.
- Remove first cake from the pan onto a plate.
- Spread lemon curd on the cake.
- Add a layer of frosting.
- Continue to stack until you have used all layers of cake.
- Spread frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
- Optional top with fresh lemon zest.
- I have tested Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Blend and King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Blends in this recipe.
- If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
- I highly suggest using almond flour and not almond meal. Almond meal is more coarse and will make your donuts grainy.
- You can use store-bought lemon curd or homemade.
- You can make this recipe dairy-free use vegan butter.
- To make this cake nut-free, omit the almond flour and add an extra ½ cup of gluten free flour blend.
- Note, baking time will vary depending on what you bake this cake in. If you bake in the mini layer pans, you would bake for 20 minutes. A regular cake pan bake for 30 minutes. Cupcakes take 25 minutes.
- Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cake. If the toothpick comes back clean, the cupcakes are finished baking. If you see crumbs or batter on the toothpick, it needs to bake longer.
- This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
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