An incredible gluten free lemon cake! Layers of delicious lemon cake, filled with fresh lemon curd, and frosted with a lemon curd buttercream frosting.
I can’t believe it’s already October. It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a recipe here on the blog. I’ve been active on Instagram, but let’s just say I baked a little too much during quarantine this spring and summer… I needed a little break.
I’m excited to be back and finally show you the recipe for this ultimate Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling!
I have made this cake quite a few times this summer as it quickly became a family favorite. I know right now you may be into all things pumpkin and apple, but this cake is so good it deserves a spot in your home any time of year.
Let’s talk about it for a second…
This gluten free lemon cake It’s filled with fresh lemon curd filling and frosted with a delicious lemon curd buttercream. The cake itself is perfectly moist and spongy with a lovely sweet lemon flavor.
I prefer to make my own fresh lemon curd filling for cakes, but you can always use store-bought as a shortcut.
Finally, it’s frosted with a lemon frosting. I put lemon curd in my buttercream instead of lemon juice because it really enhances the lemon flavor!
All this lemon makes for a wonderfully sweet, and not too tart, lemon flavor carried throughout the cake.
WHAT FLOUR TO USE FOR GLUTEN FREE LEMON CAKE
For all my cupcake and cake recipes, I use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour. This is the flour that I have been using since my Celiac diagnosis and seems to work the best for me! Not all gluten free flour mixes absorb moisture the same way, and they all have different proportions of ingredients used, so keep in mind that this recipe was designed specifically for this flour mix.
I always measure my flour by weight to ensure I’m using the exact amount needed, as even just a little bit more or less could change the texture of the cake. It’s also nice because I don’t have to dirty as many measuring cups, so I just spoon my flour into a bowl on my kitchen scale to weigh. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can measure your flour by spooning it into your measuring cup and then leveling it off before adding it to your dry ingredient bowl. This helps to prevent you from using too much flour, which can happen when you scoop it out of the bag with your measuring cup.
I haven’t tested this recipe with other flours, so I can’t guarantee that your cake will turn out the same if using a different flour mixture. If using a different gluten free flour mixture, I recommend using a 1:1 mix that contains xanthan gum and measure by weight. I have seen some bakers make my recipes successfully with Pillsbury gluten free flour. If you made this successfully with a different flour, please let me know!
CAN I MAKE A 4 LAYER CAKE
Yes!! I have made this into a 4 layer cake and it’s just as perfect. Just fill 2 cake pans instead of 3 and bake for around 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once the cakes have cooled completely (I find it’s best to have them chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour first… more on chilling below), cut them in half lengthwise across the middle with a serrated knife so that each layer becomes two. You will now have 4 thinner layers.
There is still enough frosting and filling in this recipe for a 4 layer cake.
CAN I MAKE OTHER SUBSTITUTIONS?
Gluten free baking is very finicky. I don’t recommend making a lot of substitutions as this it can really change the structure and texture of the cake.
However, there are a few that I have personally done that work well:
Dairy: For the yogurt, I usually use plain low-fat yogurt. You can use a dairy free yogurt or swap it for sour cream if you need to. I don’t recommend using greek yogurt as it’s had most of the liquid strained out and might make the cake a little dry or give it a different texture. For the milk, you can use regular cows milk or a non-dairy version. Canned coconut milk is too thick and has a different fat content and will not work well (I have tried it).
Oil: You can use any neutral oil you’d like in this gluten free lemon cake cake recipe. Melted or liquid coconut oil will also work, however depending on what type you use it may give the cake a coconut flavor.
Lastly, I did make this cake using myer lemons once instead of regular lemons. It was just as delicious! Keep in mind you may need more myer lemons because of the smaller size.
HOW TO STORE GLUTEN FREE CAKES
One thing I’ve found really helps with the texture of gluten free cakes is to refrigerate them before and after frosting. This cake is still great without refrigerating, but it’s even better when chilled as refrigerating helps to lock in the moisture and keep the cake from drying out.
Once the cakes have baked and cooled for about 10-15 minutes, carefully remove them from the pans and place on a wire cooling rack lined with parchment paper to cool completely.
After they have cooled completely, place the cakes on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a piece of parchment (to help prevent the cake tops from sticking) and cover tightly with foil. Then, place the baking sheet into the refrigerator until to chill at least one hour. You could also do this step the night before and keep the cakes chilled overnight. This not only helps to keep the cakes very moist but also makes it much easier to stack and frost.
Once you have filled and frosted the whole cake (the frosting for this cake recipe makes enough to fill, cover, and decorate a 6” cake), you could either eat it immediately or store it in the fridge for later. My cake recipes all work well for making a full day ahead of time. Just cover the assembled and frosted cake either with a glass cake dome or in an airtight cake container/carrier, then place it back into the refrigerator – just bring it out at room temperature 15-20 minutes before you are ready to serve.
6” stacked cakes are usually anywhere between 6-8” tall (or taller depending on if/how you decorate the top of the cake), so make sure your cake dome is large enough. If you don’t have a cake dome or airtight cake storage container, you can also place the cake on a large plate and cover it with a large stockpot if it fits in your fridge! The cake just needs something over it to prevent air from getting in and drying out the cake, as gluten free cakes tend to dry out quickly.
Store any cake leftovers in the refrigerator under the cake dome, or you can pre-slice and store in airtight containers. The cake should stay fresh this way for 3-4 days before it starts to dry out.
I hope you love this lemon cake as much as my family and I do! If you make it, be sure to comment below, or tag @zestandlemons on Instagram.