{Gluten-Free} Lemon Layer Cake for Spring

Oooh, sometimes you make a cake and it is just perfect. A lemon cake is one of my favorites to put together (I am working on adapting my favorite, simple lemon yogurt cake to be gluten-free) and it is just right for spring. The recipe for the loveliest of lemon layer cakes that I’m sharing today is one of those “perfect cakes.”

Thinking ahead to Easter, I’ll be making our dinner and I want to serve something a bit more to finish — ie, a special cake. This particular lemon-kissed cake would would be a wonderful ending to your holiday meal, or as a dessert for any spring gathering. Just three gluten-free flours in combination create a velvety texture that is balanced by maple sugar and lots of lemon zest. I’ll admit that there is a good amount of sugar called for here, but as it’s ostensibly for a holiday dessert I think it is OK!

Luscious lemon layers are filled with strawberry jam and a little lemon buttercream and the whole cake is covered in the lemon-spiked frosting. I topped mine with blueberries but you could certainly do fresh strawberries or raspberries as you like. This is definitely a more “fancy” cake than what I usually do, which makes it a special occasion treat, and so worth it!

A little baking trick — rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar before continuing with the rest of the recipe will infuse the cake even more with that gorgeous lemon flavor.

I’ll be back in a week with a Passover dessert that is also perfect for spring celebrations.

Til next time – N x

Need substitutions? Swap oat flour for the sorghum flour, almond flour for the sweet white rice (note that texture will change!), and arrowroot for the tapicoa flour. Try granulated sugar for the maple sugar and regular confectioner’s sugar for the homemade coconut powdered sugar.

To make the cake dairy-free: use coconut oil in place of the butter and a non-dairy milk of choice.

{Gluten-Free} Lemon Layer Cake

Recipe by Nicole SpiridakisCourse: Dessert




  • For Cake
  • 165 g/about 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons white rice flour

  • 145 g/about 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sorghum flour

  • 45 g/about 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon tapioca flour

  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 3/4 cups maple sugar or granulated sugar

  • Zest from two lemons (about 1 heaping Tablespoon)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature

  • 1/2-1 cup strawberry jam, for filling

  • For Frosting
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter)

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut powdered sugar or powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • Zest of one lemon

  • 1-2 Tablespoons whole milk


  • Make Cake
  • Butter 2 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder.
  • In a large bowl, place the sugar and lemon zest. Using your hands, rub the lemon zest into the sugar for a minute or so until fragrant to release the lemon oil.
  • Add the butter to the bowl with the sugar and lemon zest. Using a stand or handheld mixer, cream the butter into the sugar-zest mixture, beating on high speed for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla until well combined.
  • Add the flours mixture in three additions with the milk — flours, milk, flours, milk, and finish with the flours. Mix well on medium speed to make sure all the flours are incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then preheat oven to 350 F. Let cake batter continue to rest until oven is ready.
  • Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, checking at 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack; let cake cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.
  • Make Frosting
  • With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest with the mixer running on low. Add the milk. Increase mixer speed to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. If you think you need it, add a bit more sugar or milk for desired consistency.
  • Assemble Cake
  • Place one cake layer on a plate. Spread a very thin layer of buttercream on the layer, then top with the strawberry jam. I went light on the jam, but you could increase it as you wish.
  • Top with the other cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream.
  • Store the cake, well-covered, in the fridge, but serve at room temperature for best texture and flavor. Cake will keep in the fridge up to 5 days.
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