Almond Flour Cake with Lemon
This Almond Flour Cake with Lemon and Berries is me, impatiently waiting for spring. I received a beautiful taste of it last week in Paris and Verona. Trees and public gardens burst with flowers, and the markets overflowed with fresh fruits and veggies. Back home in Milwaukee, our tulips have yet to make an appearance. Fortunately, with light and bright recipes such as this almond flour lemon cake at my disposal, any day can be spring in the kitchen!
Lemon always reminds me of spring, because every year at Easter, my Grammy bakes a special lemon dessert for our meal. Usually it’s this Lemon Cream Pie, which is, to put it mildly, heavenly.
This year, I stuck to my family tradition of lemon, but I wanted to see if I could come up with a signature dessert of my own. Not only is this Lemon Almond Flour Cake a recipe I’d be proud to bring to any gathering, but I’d go so far as to say it could hold its own beside my Grammy’s lemon pie!
This Almond Flour Cake is special for so many reasons. It is decidedly unfussy to prepare, yet it tastes as if it came from a bakery case. Its flavors are pure and bright, the texture is light and airy, and while it is sweet enough to serve for dessert, it would be equally pleasing beside a cup of morning coffee.
Another remarkable quality of this Almond Flour Cake is that it is gluten free. To be honest, when I see a cake labeled “gluten free,” I’m often skeptical. Gluten-free baking flours are naturally denser and heavier than their wheat-based counterparts, and thus, the resulting cakes can be dense too. Not so with this Almond Flour Cake. While it has a little body to it, it is not at all heavy or chewy. I served it to my sisters when they visited me a few weeks ago, and both agreed that they wouldn’t change a thing about it, including the texture.
As its name would suggest, almond flour is the key ingredient that makes this lemon cake gluten free. I use and love Bob’s Red Mill brand. I’ve been working with Bob’s to create recipes for the last four (!) years, this Almond Flour Cake included. Even if you aren’t following a gluten-free diet, almond flour is absolutely worth keeping in your kitchen. Made completely of finely ground almonds, almond flour has a wonderful flavor, provides nutrients and protein, and is also an excellent option for those seeking low-carb, Paleo, and, of course, gluten-free options.
To dress up this Almond Flour Cake, I spread it with a cloud of whipped cream, then scattered fresh berries over the top. You could just as easily serve these additions on the side. As I can personally attest, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is quite delicious too.
If you are looking for a spring dessert recipe you can make ahead, the Almond Flour Cake also freezes beautifully. It tasted just as lovely out of the freezer as it did the day I baked it.
Almond Flour Cake with Lemon
- 4 large eggs — whites and yolks separated
- 1/2 cup sugar — plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder — I recommend aluminum free
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of 2 medium lemons — about 2 tablespoons
- Optional for serving: sliced berries — toasted slivered almonds, whipped cream
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch round pan with butter or coconut oil, coating the bottom and all the way up the sides. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then coat again. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar into the bottom of the pan.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl, place the egg whites, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and cream of tartar. With an electric mixer (or stand mixer) beat the egg whites on low speed until they become foamy, then increase the speed to high and continue to beat until they form soft peaks. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Continue mixing on low speed until combined. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg yolks, then stir to combine. The dough will be very thick, dry, and crumbly.
- Working 1/2 cup at a time, gently fold in the egg whites, completely incorporating them between each addition. The batter will be very thick at first but will lighten as you progress. Fold in the lemon zest.
- Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake on the center rack for 28 to 32 minutes, until it is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it, then gently turn the cake out onto a serving plate and let cool completely. Serve with berries, almonds, and whipped cream, as desired.
- To freeze the cake, let it cool completely, then tightly wrap it in plastic and place in the freezer. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving. The cake can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 12), without toppings) — Calories: 142, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 52mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Protein: 5g
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