This grain-free lemon cake with whipped cream frosting is made for Easter dinner, spring birthdays, or any other special occasion. It’s super lemony thanks to lemon zest, juice, curd, and extract!
It’s the roughest Monday of the year, but I brought cake to ease the pain! If springing forward has taken some of the pep out of your step, this grain-free lemon cake will put it right back in.
When my future sister-in-law asked for a lemon cake to celebrate her birthday, I was excited. A few months ago for a styled wedding shoot, my friend Lindsey and I made a lemon layer cake with blood orange curd and blood oranges on top. I’d been wanting to try something similar with a lemon curd filling, and this was the perfect opportunity. For this cake, I adapted my lemon olive oil Bundt cake recipe to create two round layers. (Before you can even ask, no, you can’t taste the olive oil! It’s just a super healthy, easy to work with fat for baking that creates a wonderfully tender crumb.)
I used homemade lemon curd for the filling, and then frosted and decorated the cake with stabilized whipped cream. The result is a festive, richly lemon-flavored cake with tart curd and pillowy clouds of cream. It’s so good, and was a huge hit with my entire family, including my three young future nieces. I can’t wait to make it again next month for Easter!
This cake batter is easy to whip up–thanks to the olive oil, there’s no melting or creaming required. Making your own lemon curd is a little bit more time-consuming, but you can use store-bought lemon curd or make yours up to a week in advance and stash it in the fridge.
My love of lemon curd goes back a long way. In fact, it was the first recipe I ever shared on my blog, just about four years ago. If you’d like to switch things up, you could also fill this grain-free lemon cake with strawberry curd, dairy-free lemon curd, or blood orange curd. If you end up with extra curd, it’s fabulous on ice cream, yogurt, pound cake, or as a dip for fruit!
For the frosting, I used stabilized whipped cream with a dash of lemon extract. Adding gelatin to whipped cream doesn’t affect the taste or texture, but means your beautiful swirls of frosting will last much longer without melting, weeping, or collapsing. If you’re frosting this cake right before serving, feel free to leave the gelatin out!
To decorate this grain-free lemon cake, I went with thinly sliced lemons cut into quarters, but lemon candies or candied lemon peel would also be really fun.
Happy spring forward to you! I hope your plans for the season involve making this cake.
- 3⅓ cups almond flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup lemon curd, chilled (I made a half batch of this recipe)
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 teaspoons gelatin
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment, and grease the parchment.
- To make the cake, whisk together the almond flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Whisk together all the wet ingredients and the lemon zest in another large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until well-combined.
- Divide the batter between the two pans and bake 22-25 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before inverting onto racks. Make sure the cakes are completely cool before filling and frosting them.
- To make the frosting, begin by blooming the gelatin. Place the cold water in a small, ovenproof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let the gelatin bloom for five minutes, then briefly heat the mixture just until the gelatin melts (10-15 seconds in the microwave or a few minutes in a hot oven should do it). Stir to combine.
- Place the remaining frosting ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat for about a minute, then slowly pour in the gelatin mixture while the mixer is running. Continue to beat until medium peaks form.
- To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving plate and spread the lemon curd on top, leaving a half-inch border around the edges. Place the second cake on top, and frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream frosting. If desired, pipe swirls on top of the cake and a border around the bottom (I used a Wilton 1M star tip). Cut each lemon slice into quarters, and use the lemon slices to decorate the cake. Slice and serve. The frosted cake can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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