This gluten free lemon cake is layered with sinfully delicious lemon curd and topped with a fresh cream cheese frosting. It is not only our favorite birthday cake but 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!

A fork slicing into a piece of lemon cake.

If you have been following along with me for a while, you know we have a crazy productive lemon tree in our backyard. I love creating fresh gluten free desserts with lemons from our tree.

This is by far the best gluten free lemon cake recipe ever! It has a moist crumb everyone will love. 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 This Gluten Free Lemon Cake Is Great:

  • This decadent cake is light and fluffy and has layers of homemade cream cheese frosting and lemon curd.
  • This versatile cake recipe can be made into this layer cake, a sheet cake, a bundt cake, or cupcakes!
  • You can fancy up this cake as a Gluten Free Wedding Cake, make it for birthdays or Mother’s Day, or turn it into cupcakes for a bake sale!
  • You can make the cake layers and freeze them until you need them.
  • You can use my DIY gluten-free all-purpose flour to make this cake. It is a gum-free blend and has no xanthan or guar gum.

This is the first gluten free cake I made after my celiac diagnosis. It was wonderful and I’ve made it several times since. It’s a shock being diagnosed, especially when you’re 40! But this recipe helped me feel like I could do this. Thank you!!”

Brianna H.
A whole lemon cake with a slice cut out.

There are so many delicious gluten free cake recipes on this blog to explore.

Top Pick
King Arthur, Measure for Measure Flour 3 lbs

This is one of my favorite gluten-free flour blends for cookies, cakes, pie crust, biscuits, and muffins! (Do not use this flour blend for yeast recipes.)

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Ingredient Notes:

Photos of the gluten free lemon layer cake ingredients.
  • 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 one teaspoon.
  • DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend – My custom blend works well in my cake recipes. This is a gum-free blend, so no xanthan or guar gum is needed.
  • 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 :-). If you have almond flour, omit it and add ½ cup of your gluten-free flour mix.
  • Baking Soda – Be sure to use this instead of baking powder. Baking soda is best with acidic ingredients like lemon juice.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – you can use extract or vanilla bean paste but do not use imitation vanilla.
  • Butter – Use Unsalted butter. You can substitute vegan butter to make this dairy-free!
  • Eggs – Use large eggs.
  • Lemon Juice – fresh lemon or bottled will work great.
  • Almond Milk – if you need this to be nut-free, you can substitute another plant-based milk. Always double-check to be sure your almond milk is gluten free!
  • Lemon Curd – Use store-bought or homemade. I love Trader Joe’s lemon curd.

If you love lemon curd, you will also want to try these incredible Gluten Free Lemon Sweet Rolls.

Tips For Success:

  • Do not overmix your batter. I recommend mixing the batter by hand, so do not use a stand mixer.
  • Let the cake batter sit for 15 minutes to soften the rice flour. This will help eliminate grittiness.

For more tips, check out my Gluten Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide. If you are new to cake baking, here is a good write-up of my favorite Kitchen Tools For Baking Cakes.

Substitutions:

  • Nut-Free: If you can’t have almond flour, make this lemon cake recipe nut-free. Substitute an additional ½ cup gluten free flour blend instead of almond flour.
  • Egg-Free: Reader Nikki commented below that flax eggs work as a good egg replacer in this lemon cake recipe.
  • Dairy-Free: Use plant-based butter.
Lemons on a cutting board.

Tools For Lemon Rolls:

This was a great recipe that I will be saving! I didn’t have almond flour so used your recommended sub of the gf flour. I made 2 batches since I have 9” pans, so I had one batch in each pan. Added lemon zest into the batter to give more lemony flavor, and since I have one kiddo who cannot have eggs, I used flax “eggs” instead.

Nikki, blog reader

Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:

Photos of lemon cake steps one and two.

Step 1: Add the dry gluten free cake ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to blend them thoroughly.

I recommend using either the spoon or the leveling method to measure your gluten-free flour.

Spoon Method: You can also use a spoon to fill the measuring cup. Use a knife to level along the top to remove the extra flour.

Leveling Method: Put the measuring scoop into the flour and fill. Do not pack the flour. Use a knife to scrape along the top to remove the extra flour.

Step 2: Add the wet ingredients to a bowl and wire whisk to blend.

Photos of lemon cake steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently.

Don’t overmix the cake batter, or your cake will be denser. Note: Do not use a standing or electric mixer for best results. These tend to overmix your batter because they remove the air bubbles.

Step 4: Pour batter into the greased round cake pans. You can also prepare your pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper. This will ensure your cake comes out of the pan easily. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the batter, even in the pans.

Step 5: Bake the cake layers at 350º F for 20 minutes. You must adjust your bake time if you use a larger round cake pan! (I used thin layer pans, so the cakes bake quickly.)

Use the toothpick test to see if your cake is baked. 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.

Carefully remove the hot cake from the pans and place them onto a wire rack for cooling. Do not frost the cake until your layers of cake are fully cooled.

Whipped cream cheese frosting in a bowl.

Step 6: While the cake cools, mix up the frosting! Add the softened cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice to a standing mixer with a whisk attachment. Mix the ingredients on low speed, gradually increasing the speed until the frosting looks fluffy.

You can make the cream cheese frosting in the recipe or make this gluten free frosting recipe. My gluten free frosting recipe has lots of cake decorating ideas.

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! Add the frosting to a piping bag with a medium star tip to make rosettes on top of the cake.

Photos of frosting the lemon cake step 7 and 8.

I layered Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd between the layers. I spread on the lemon curd, then add frosting on top and another layer of cake. It is so foolproof. You can also make homemade lemon curd with this easy Lemon Curd recipe. I added lemon zest to the top of the cake.

You may also love this easy Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake recipe.

Storage:

If you are making the lemon cake ahead for a later date, wrap the cooled cake layers separately in plastic wrap. Then, gently place the wrapped cake layers into a zipper bag. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or store them in the freezer for up to 4 months.

To thaw, let the cakes sit on the counter so they can warm up to room temperature. Do not frost frozen cakes. Let them thaw first so the frosting can stick to the cake properly.

Recipe FAQ:

How to make a moist cake from scratch?

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 as almond flour does.)

How many people will this gluten free lemon cake recipe feed?

Each lemon cake layer is the same size, light, and fluffy! This gluten free lemon cake recipe will feed six 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!

Can you use store-bought lemon juice?

If you don’t have fresh lemons, you can definitely use store-bought lemon juice for this recipe.

Can you use a different-sized baking pan for this recipe?

Depending on how many people you serve, you can use any size cake pan.

Two slices of lemon cake on plates.

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:

Pinterest user, Hello Lovely's, photo of her finished lemon layer cake
Pinterest user Hello Lovely’s photo of her finished cake

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:

a fork slicing into a piece of lemon cake

Gluten Free Lemon Layer Cake

Sandi Gaertner
Easu directions to make a gluten free lemon layer cake. This lemon cake is perfect for a birthday, or any celebration.
Love this recipe?Give it a star rating!
4.75 from 62 votes
gluten free allergy icon
soy free allergy icon
vegetarian icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cake Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 281 kcal

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ¾ cup almond flour * see note
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract * see note
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup raw organic sugar
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • cup melted butter
  • Jar of lemon curd * See note

Frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. I highly suggest using almond flour and not almond meal. Almond meal is more coarse and will make your cake grainy.
  4. You can use store-bought lemon curd or homemade.
  5. You can make this recipe dairy-free use vegan butter.
  6. To make this cake nut-free, omit the almond flour and add an extra ½ cup of gluten free flour blend.
  7.  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.
  8. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cake. If the toothpick comes back clean, the cake is finished baking. If you see crumbs or batter on the toothpick, it needs to bake longer.
  9. This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 281kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 4gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 240mgPotassium: 90mgFiber: 2gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 324IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

Note this post was updated from an old March 2018 post with more detailed directions and tips.

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Recipe Rating




96 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful recipe! My daughter loves lemon, and I made it for her birthday. I am the only one that truly needs gluten-free in our family, but everyone loved it! Many requests to bake it again. Thank you for your wonderful, delicious recipes!

  2. 5 stars
    This cake was so delicious! I used Better Batter Artisan Blend for the flour. Didn’t have any raw sugar so I used half granulated sugar and half raw cane sugar, knowing it has a slight brown sugar taste. The cake turned out amazing, even though it completely caved in the middle. I filled it with a store bought lemon curd and a cream cheese icing that is made with heavy cream rather than butter, just to cut down on the amount of powdered sugar needed. My gluten eating friend raved about how good the taste was. I’m impressed by the soft texture. The almond meal addition is great! This is definitely a keeper!!

  3. 5 stars
    I added a little lemon zest since I was not going to frost or glaze it and felt that it could still use more zest or lemon juice! Other than that – 5 stars. It was so good. I will definitely make this again!

    1. I link the exact mini cake pans I used in the post. You can find this in the Recipe Step by Step Directions via the table of contents. They are by Wilton and they are mini multiple-layer pans. The recipe can be used in regular cake pans, but you will need to double the recipe for multiple layers.

  4. 5 stars
    This was a great recipe that I will be saving! I didn’t have almond flour so used your recommended sub of the gf flour. I made 2 batches since I have 9” pans, so I had one batch in each pan. Added lemon zest into the batter to give more lemony flavor, and since I have one kiddo who cannot have eggs, I used flax “eggs” instead. My son, whose birthday this was made for, requested some strawberries in the frosting, so I made cream cheese frosting and added in some crushed freeze dried strawberries. The cake was super light and fluffy and delicious!

  5. I’d love to make this cake but don’t have cups what would the amounts be in pounds and ounces or grams please thank you 👍😀😀

  6. Looks fantastic! We are entering bday season here at my house and I need a special recipe like this for one of my boys. But, he’s allergic to dairy. Any ideas of what may work instead of the butter?

    1. You could try making a buttercream with vegan butter. I haven’t specifically created a recipe for dairy-free frosting but I am sure there are a lot of recipes out there on Pinterest.

  7. That’s a gorgeous lemon tree! I’m trying to grow mine but all the lemons fall off before they have a chance to grow? Plus, we get these furry bugs that seem to eat the plant. Any ideas how to combat these issues?

  8. Have you tried Trader Joe’s almond flour? I’m wondering if it’s worth buying the Anthony’s online versus just picking up the TJ’s one when I get the lemon curd.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Casey, it will depend on how finely ground the Trader Joe’s flour is. Almond meal tends to be too coarse but if flour it should be fine.

  9. This recipe sounds amazing.
    Do you know if the cake will freeze well? (Just the cake part, not including the curd and frosting).
    Would like to make this in bite-size cakes for large group ahead and freeze, frosting when thawed..
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Molly, the cake will freeze well but you will want to freeze just the cake and then defrost it then add frosting.