This gluten free lemon snack cake is a slice of Spring! Delicious and moist cake that has a taste of lemon, topped with a creamy strawberry whipped cream cheese frosting. This cake fits perfectly in an 8 x 8 size pan for small gatherings, picnics, or birthdays!
If you love citrus and berry desserts like I do, then you will love this gluten free lemon cake.
This cake is an ode to all things Spring. This time of year I want to reach for anything citrus or berry flavored, since our fruit isn’t in season for very long here.
What I love most about this gluten free lemon sheet cake recipe is that it fits in an 8×8 square pan, so it’s perfect for birthdays, picnics, or small parties. No need to make a large layer cake or spend a long time frosting and decorating (if you know me well, you know this takes me FOREVER). Just bake all in one small pan and frost with whatever frosting you’d like!
Now, this cake doesn’t have an intensely strong lemon flavor. It’s more of a light, refreshing lemon flavor… which is why it pairs so well with just about any flavor frosting. However, something magical happens on the second day and the the lemon flavor does come out even more if you refrigerate the cake overnight.
Strawberry Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
So let’s talk about the frosting for a minute. I’m officially obsessed with making whipped cream cheese frostings. It’s essentially a stabilized cream cheese frosting that tastes a little bit lighter, but is hassle-free compared to making regular cream cheese frosting (you know… the panic of spending time making it only to find it’s runny because you over-whipped it).
I topped this cake with a fresh strawberry whipped cream cheese frosting. It’s light, creamy, and pairs really well with the lemon cake. If you’d rather have a different flavor, try this vanilla whipped cream cheese frosting (or add some lemon zest to it!), raspberry cream cheese frosting, or use a simple lemon icing by mixing powdered sugar with a little fresh lemon juice!
To make the strawberry whipped cream cheese frosting, simply purée some fresh strawberries and bring them to a boil in a sauce pan. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce to a thick puree (about ¼ cup or less), then remove from the heat and let it cool completely. I prefer to remove the puree to a separate bowl and chill in the refrigerator until it’s nice and cold.
Once your reduced purée has chilled, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Then, with your mixer running on low speed, drizzle the heavy cream down the side of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium-high, whip until you have stiff peaks, then slowly whip in the strawberry purée.
This frosting is so creamy and dreamy. It’s ok to lick the spoon, just save some frosting for the cake.
Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten Free Lemon Cake
- 1 ½ cups (~216g) Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- Zest of two lemons
- ⅓ cup oil
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup milk
- 3 Tbsp plain yogurt
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
Strawberry Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled
- ⅓ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 8 oz block plain cream cheese
- ¾ cup cold heavy whipping cream
Make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 8x8 square baking pan or spray with non-stick cooking spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the lemon zest and whisk well (vigorously if you can) for 10-20 seconds to release the oils and help scent the flour.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, milk, yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix until combined and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the square baking pan and bake for 26-30 minutes (mine took 28) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake come out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cake onto a parchment lined wire cooling rack and let cool completely.
Make the Frosting:
- Purée the strawberries in a food processor or small blender (like a NutriBullet or Magic Bullet). Pour into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced by at least half. You will end up with about ¼ cup or less of fairly thick purée. Remove from the heat, pour into a heat-safe dish, and place into the refrigerator to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until fluffy. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly drizzle the heavy whipping cream down the side of the bowl. When all of the cream has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and whip until you have stiff peaks. Add in the reduced strawberry purée (make sure it’s cold!) and mix until combined. If the frosting is too sweet, mix in a pinch of salt.
- Finish by frosting the cooled cake. Enjoy!
- Leftover frosted cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, best eaten within 3-4 days.
- I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour for this recipe, which tends to be my flour of choice. This flour already contains xanthan gum, so I cannot guarantee that your cake will turn out the same if using a different flour mixture. Not all gluten free flour mixes absorb moisture the same way, and they all have different proportions of ingredients used. If using a gluten free all purpose flour mix, I recommend using a 1:1 mix that contains xanthan gum and measure by weight.
- Always spoon and level your flour into your measuring cups! Scooping out your flour with the measuring cup can lead to using too much. For the best results, measure your flour by weight.
- Author: Zest and Lemons
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Can I make this recipe with all-purpose flour? I love your gluten free recipes, but for this occasion I can use regular flour.
Lauren @ Zest and Lemons
I can’t use regular wheat flour so I haven’t tested any of my recipes with it. I have no idea if it will turn out the same. Since gluten free flour tends to absorb more moisture and this recipe adds additional moisture to compensate, your cake might turn out gummy or not have enough structure if you swap equal amounts regular flour. If you would really still like to try, my guess is adding an additional 1/4 of flour would be a great place to start. I wish I could help more! But thank you for your compliment!