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!!
With this new recipe, I am baking many more sweet quick-bread loaves. They are perfect for snacking!
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!
Why Make This Cake:
- It is moist and delicious.
- This is a great beginner-level cake to make.
- The lemonade icing pulls the flavors together beautifully.
- You can make and easily freeze this cake. It thaws out and tastes just as good as when you baked it.
This was drop-dead delicious! I stuck to the recipe as written but halved the glaze amount. I poured the glaze over while the cake 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.
- 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 tablespoon 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 one teaspoon.
- Baking Powder and Soda - This recipe contains both. They help give a nice rise to this cake.
- Eggs - Use size large.
- Coconut Oil - I used this, but you can use another light oil if you prefer. Do not use a strongly flavored 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.
GF Baking Tips For Success:
- 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.
- See the FAQ below for instructions to make this cake nut-free.
- 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.
Do you ever wonder what to call these sweetbreads? I always get confused if something is a loaf, bread, or a cake. This gluten free lemon poppy seed cake recipe is definitely sweet enough to be a dessert, so maybe bread isn't the right word here. You can even make this into gluten free lemon poppy seed muffins!
I always recommend mixing any batter by hand. That means don't use a stand mixer. Mixing by hand means your baked goods will turn out light and fluffy. Mixing by hand can be a pain, but using these bowls with rubber bottoms makes it easier. They don't slide all over the counter while you mix your wet and dry ingredients together.
Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:
Step 1: Add the dry ingredients to a large
Step 2: In a separate smaller bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix well.
Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix. For best results, don't over-mix the batter because this can make your poppy seed cake denser.
Step 4: Pour the batter into a greased bread loaf tin and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or 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 loaf is done by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is finished baking!
- 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
You may also love this Gluten Free Cherry Cake recipe!
The poppy seeds are optional, so feel free to omit them if you don't have them on hand.
To make this recipe nut-free, omit the almond flour and substitute an additional ¼ cup gluten free flour blend.
You can easily 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 3 months in the freezer.
This lemon poppy seed cake will keep fresh for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. I don't recommend storing this cake on the counter. Gluten free foods tend to spoil a lot quicker.
If you love cakes baked in loaf tins, you will also love this gluten free peach cake recipe.
More Gluten Free Lemon Desserts:
- This Gluten Free Lemon Layer Cake is the ultimate lemon cake recipe...it makes a great birthday cake.
- The lemon filling in this Gluten Free Lemon Tart is delicious.
- Love donuts? These Gluten Free Dairy Free Lemon Donuts are going to become your favorite!
- This Gluten Free Lemon Bundt Cake is a winner and will feed a dessert-hungry crowd.
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.
Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- 1 ½ cups gluten free flour * see note
- ½ cup almond flour * see note
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup almond milk
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice feel free to adjust this if you want your icing thicker or runnier.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease a bread loaf pan with coconut oil or butter.
- In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
- In a smaller bowl, add all wet ingredients, including zest and whisk to mix.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. Don't over mix or your cake will not be as light and fluffy.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Insert a toothpick into the top middle to test.
- Allow the cake to cool completely.
- In a bowl, add icing ingredients and mix. Drizzle on top of the cake and enjoy!
- I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF, Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend, and Authentic Foods Multi Blend. That doesn't mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
- 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 cake grainy.
- To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the lof. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake needs to bake longer.
- I used almond milk but other dairy-free kinds of milk will work but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
- This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
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.
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 recipe was updated from an older January 2020 post with more details.
If you love the recipes you find on my blog, I would love for you to sign up for my newsletter (and get my free gluten free lemon dessert e-cookbook!)
(*This post was updated from an older April 2018 post.)
I took this recipe and turned it into orange date bread i replaced the lemon with a medium size orange and instead of the milk i used the juice from the orange and to make half a cup i put orange crush i added 5 min more baking time but it turned out delicious its a great recipe and can be made versatile
Next time i might turn it into chocolate cherry bread but more like the old fashoned snack n cake
Thank you very much for getting me back to my fav hobby baking
Wow, you are fabulous for making this recipe even better. I love your suggestions and I am really glad you have been able to use my recipe as a base for your creativity.
I don't understand how much flour to add??? Is it both almond & all purpose gf or just one ??? And can you use raw milk?
Hi, did you go to the recipe card at the bottom? From the top of the article, hit the big Jump to Recipe button. Raw milk is fine to use.
I'm still so confused as to how much flour to add & I've read this recipe 100 times LOL Must be my pregnant brain. She says to add ½ cup almond flour but also says 1 ½ cups gluten free flour. So I suppose it's one or the other? But then I get confused because she also says: "To make this recipe nut-free, omit the almond flour and substitute an additional ¼ cup gluten free flour blend." So does that mean we add 1 1/2 + 1/4 cup of flour or 1/2 + 1/4 flour? Its just not clear to me at all & I really want to make this. I'd love clarification as to exactly how much almond flour OR all purpose GF baking flour to add. Please & thank you.
Hi, I remember those pregnant brain days. You need to use both the regular amount of flour and almond flour to make the recipe as is. If you are nut-free, you omit the almond flour and add the 1/4 cup additional flour to the original amount of flour 1 1/2 cups or 1 3/4 cups of total flour (no almond flour.)
I just took this out of the oven. It looks and smells amazing. Can’t wait to taste it ! There is a little confusion in this post. In your comments you say to bake it for 40-50 minutes but the actual recipe says to bake for 30 minutes. Mine was done in 45 minutes in a very accurate oven.
Thank you so much and I am glad you are enjoying the recipe. I will clarify the directions...baking time varies widely depending on what people bake this cake in. A loaf pan takes longer, but I found quite a few readers bake this in a cake pan, which is closer to the 30 minute mark.
I just tasted the finished product, delicious! The bread itself has no sweetener, no the icing is vital if you want a sweetbread. I poked holes in the top, then actually sliced the bread to get the glaze into the bread. I didn't need/use the almond milk for the glaze. The lemon juice made it thin enough. The lemon taste is superb!
Hi Lauri, I am so glad you loved the cake. There is sugar in the cake itself, so I was a little confused when you said there was no sweetener in the cake. Thank you!
Delicious! It’s the perfect amount of sweetness and the texture is light and fluffy. You can’t even tell it’s gluten free! I will be saving this recipe to make again.
I am so glad you loved this cake, Angelina. Thank you!