This is a must-try recipe if you love lemon desserts as much as I do! This is a moist, decadent Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. It is topped with sweet-tart Lemonade Icing. It is perfect with a cup of coffee, tea, or dessert! As a bonus, this gluten free dessert is also dairy-free!!

The top view of the sliced cake and a slice of gluten-free lemon poppy seed cake on a plate.

Because I love this new recipe, I will definitely be baking more sweet, quick-bread loaves! They are perfect for snacking! This is an easy beginner-level cake to make. The lemonade icing pulls the flavors together beautifully.

One bite and you will be hooked on this easy-to-make dessert. You can also do what I like to do: make a double batch and freeze one gluten free lemon loaf for another time. If you love lemon, you also need to try this Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake recipe!

Allergen Information:

This lemon poppy seed cake is gluten-free, soy-free, oat-free, and dairy-free. To make this cake recipe nut-free, omit the almond flour and substitute an additional ¼ cup gluten free flour blend.

Reader Rave

This was drop-dead delicious! I stuck to the recipe as written but halved the glaze amount. I poured the glaze over the cake while it was still warm and still in its pan. It soaked in beautifully. I let it cool completely before removing it from the pan.”
Dana C., Reader comment

Ingredient Notes:

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – I tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure and Bob’s Red Mill 1:1. For Bob’s 1:1, add 2-3 TBSP of additional flour. You can read more about my best gluten free flour recommendations and testing.
  • Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan or guar gum, add ½ a teaspoon.
  • Baking Powder and Soda – This recipe contains both. They help give a nice rise to this cake. Use aluminum-free baking powder.
  • Poppy Seeds – Use any brand, but read the ingredients to ensure it is just the seeds.
  • Eggs – Use size large.
  • Coconut Oil – I used this, but you can use another light oil. I also like avocado and canola oil.
  • Milk – I used almond milk to keep this lemon poppy cake recipe dairy-free. You can use any plant-based milk you like or regular milk. You can read more about what plant-based milk is gluten free.

You can even make this into gluten free lemon poppy seed muffins!

The top view of a whole gluten free lemon poppy seed loaf with lemonade icing.

Tips For Sucess

1. I recommend using the spoon or leveling methods to measure your gluten-free flour. 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. You can also use a spoon to fill the measuring cup. Use a knife to level along the top to remove the extra flour.
2. Let the cake batter sit in the loaf pan for 20-30 minutes. This will soften the rice flour in the batter, so the cake is not gritty.

Gluten free baking can be challenging. For more tips, check out my best Gluten Free Baking Tips.

Step-By-Step Directions:

Lemon poppy seed cake dry ingredients in a bowl.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350º F. Add the dry ingredients, including the flour, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds, to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.

Step 2: In a separate smaller bowl, mix the wet ingredients, including the coconut oil, vanilla, eggs, lemon juice and zest, and non-dairy milk. Whisk.

Wet and dry ingredients in a bowl, ready to mix.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix. Don’t overmix the batter for best results because this can make your poppy seed cake denser.

🔑 Sandi says: I do NOT recommend a stand mixer. It will overmix your batter, leaving you with a dense cake.

Step 4: Spray a loaf pan with gluten-free baking spray. Pour the batter into a bread loaf tin and bake at 350º F for 40-50 minutes until done. The actual baking time can vary depending on the size and depth of your loaf pan.

You can test if your gluten-free lemon poppy seed loaf is done by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is finished baking! This is called the toothpick test!

Fun Topping Ideas:

  • Lemon glaze (a much runnier version of my lemonade icing; you want the lemon juice and sugar to absorb into your cake.)
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Cream cheese frosting
A fork holding up a bite of lemon poppy seed cake.

If you love cakes baked in loaf tins, try this Gluten Free Peach Cake and this Gluten Free Cherry Cake recipe!

Recipe FAQ:

Can you omit the poppy seeds?

The poppy seeds are optional, so feel free to omit them if you don’t have them.

How long will this gluten free lemon poppy seed cake keep fresh?

This lemon poppy seed cake will keep fresh for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend storing it on the counter, as gluten-free foods tend to spoil much quicker.

Can you freeze this loaf cake?

You can freeze this lemon loaf cake. To freeze it, wrap the cooled loaf in plastic wrap tightly. Next, wrap it in foil. Place the bundle into a freezer bag. It will keep for about three months in the freezer.

A slice of lemon poppy seed cake on a white plate with a bite taken out.

More Gluten Free Lemon Desserts:

If you are a big make-ahead baker, you may also like this Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread or this Gluten Free Matcha Green Tea Banana Bread.

Love This Recipe?

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

The top view of the sliced cake and a slice of gluten-free lemon poppy seed cake on a plate.

Fluffy Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Sandi Gaertner
A moist and delicious gluten-free lemon poppy seed cake that is perfect for any brunch or dessert.
4.90 from 67 votes
dairy free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cake Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 10 slices
Calories 250 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour * see note
  • ½ cup almond flour * see note
  • cup cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder aluminum-free
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut oil or another oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dairy-free milk

For Icing:

  • cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice feel free to adjust this if you want your icing thicker or runnier.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease a bread loaf pan with gluten-free baking spray, coconut oil, or butter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to blend them together.
  • In a smaller bowl, add all wet ingredients, including zest and whisk to mix. If your coconut oil is solid, melt it for 20 seconds in the microwave oven.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. Don't overmix or your cake will not be as light and fluffy. Optional: Let the cake batter sit for 20-30 minutes. This allows the rice flour to soften so the cake is not gritty.
  • Bake the lemon cake for 30-40 minutes, or until done. Insert a toothpick into the top middle to test. If the toothpick comes back clean, the cake is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, bake a little longer. The baking time can vary depending on the size and depth of your loaf pan.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • In a bowl, add icing ingredients and mix. Drizzle on top of the cake and enjoy!

Notes

  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work; I just have not tested other flours.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add ½ teaspoon.
  3. I highly suggest using almond flour and not almond meal. Almond meal is coarser and will make your cake grainy.
  4. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake needs to bake longer.
  5. I used almond milk, but other dairy-free kinds of milk will work, but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
  6. This cake will keep up to 4 days in an airtight 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: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 5gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 118mgPotassium: 79mgFiber: 3gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 49IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 1mg
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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.

This post was updated from an older April 2018 post.

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Recipe Rating




68 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Lovely recipe, thank you! Turned out so light and yummy! I subbed vegetable oil and dairy milk because that’s what I had on hand, and added almond extract. Will be adding to my regular rotation!