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 very 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.

Why we love making this gluten free lemon layer cake:

  • 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!
  • This cake recipe gets rave reviews!! I also share lots of options to avoid specific allergens.
  • You can make the cake layers and freeze them until you need to serve it.

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!!”

Briana h., blog comment

Allergen Information:

This homemade lemon layer cake is gluten-free, soy-free, and oat-free.

Substitutions:

  • Nut-Free: If you can’t have almond flour, make this lemon cake recipe nut-free. Substitute an additional 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend instead of almond flour.
  • Egg-Free: One of my readers, Nikki, commented below that flax eggs work as a good egg replacer in this lemon cake recipe. (I haven’t tested this myself.)
  • Dairy-Free: Use plant-based butter.
  • Gum-Free: 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.
A whole lemon cake with a slice cut out.

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

Photos of the gluten free lemon layer cake ingredients.

Ingredient Notes:

  • 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 – I love using Anthony’s Almond Flour because they test it to ensure it is gluten free. If you can’t have almond flour, omit it and add 1/2 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.

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

Step-By-Step Photos and 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.

📢 Sandi says: Every gluten-free flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio. The brand of gluten-free flour you use will affect the moisture of the batter. If your cake batter is too runny, add more flour, and if it is too thick, add more liquids.
Read Why Gluten-Free Flour Blends Vary to learn more about this.

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.

Photos of frosting the lemon cake step 7 and 8.

I layered Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd between the layers. I spread 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.

👀 Sandi Says: If you would like more cake decorating help, I share a lot of instructions in my Gluten Free Wedding Cake recipe.

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 defrost frozen cakes. Let them thaw first so the frosting can stick to the cake properly.

Cake Troubleshooting:

Baking the perfect gluten-free cake can be tricky. The most important parts are choosing the right flour, not overmixing the batter, and ensuring the recipe liquid ratio works for the flour blend you choose.

Why did my gluten-free cake turn out dense or crumbly?

There is nothing more frustrating than having your gluten free cake turn out dense. This can be caused by a few potential issues.

  1. I always tell my readers not to use a stand mixer when they mix cake batter. They tend to overmix your batter, leaving you with a denser cake. Mix the gluten free cake batter only until the ingredients are combined, and avoid overbaking by checking the cake a few minutes before the suggested baking time.
  2. Another reason for a dense cake is that every gluten-free flour blend has a high starch-to-grain ratio. This will greatly affect the cake’s moisture level. If you use a flour blend I didn’t test; you may need to adjust the liquid or flour amount to get the right batter consistency.
  3. The same answer for #2 applies if your cake is crumbly. You may need to add more liquid to your cake batter to compensate for the grain-to-starch ratio of your flour blend.

Why did my gluten-free cake sink in the middle?

  1. I know it is tempting to open the oven door and check on your cake, but opening it while baking can cause it to sink in the middle. Cakes need a consistent, steady baking temperature. Opening the oven door lets cooler air into the oven, slowing baking.
  2. Always check the expiration date of your baking powder or baking soda before using it. An expired leavener can cause all sorts of issues in your baking.
  3. Is the cake underbaked? Know that the cake bakes from the outside in, so if you take it out of the oven too soon, the middle hasn’t had a chance to finish baking. Do the toothpick test to ensure your cake is thoroughly baked. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake needs to bake longer.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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.

Two slices of lemon cake on plates.

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 1/4tsp xanthan, subbed whole buttermilk for the almond milk and I split the extract 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2tsp 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:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

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.
4.74 from 61 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

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 3/4 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 1/2 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.

Save

4.74 from 61 votes (49 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating