Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

This gluten free Lemon Cake is one of my favorite cake recipes. Its fresh, tart flavor and light, moist crumb seem to please nearly every palate. Frost with my Lemon Buttercream Frosting for the proverbial icing on the cake!

gluten free lemon cake

Bake as a sheet cake, in two rounds or as cupcakes — any way you chose, it’s delicious! The glaze helps to permeate this delectable cake with tart flavor, while the frosting offers enough sweetness to make this dessert a delight for all your tastebuds.

(Note: I’m re-sharing this fabulous recipe now for a very special reason: it was used to make my wedding cake this past weekend!!! I have to admit that it got more oohs and aahs from the guests than the bride did, but I’m happy to share the spotlight; this cake was THAT good.)

Lemon Buttercream icing long


Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

lemon buttercream frosting recipe

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author:


Lemon Cake


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly and seeded


Preheat oven to 350° F (static) or 325° F (convection).

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl, beating until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and yolk, one at a time, mixing to integrate. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice and mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Then alternately beat the dry ingredients and milk into the mixing bowl, just until combined and batter is smooth. Fold in lemon zest.

Oil one 9×13 pan lightly. Pour in cake batter and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake until cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan, approximately 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake – if it is clean or has very few crumbs, the cake is done.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, if necessary to release the cake.

While the cake is baking, bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add lemon slices and reduce to simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the lemon slices and set aside; stir 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into the syrup.

Using a toothpick, poke holes into the warm cake while it is cooling. Pour lemon syrup over top and into the holes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Add the cooked lemon slices to the top of the cake for decoration after frosting. Frost only when fully cool.


Gluten Free Lemon Buttercream Cake - moist, tart & sweet, all in one!


58 thoughts on “Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I made this cake for my daughter’s horses birthday party (I know, I know)… but we have a few people at our barn that are gluten and dairy free. Most didn’t realize it wasn’t a “regular” cake and all raved about it. I have passed on the recipe to many. My only notes would be:
    1: Don’t panic when the batter is really thick and sticky. Spread it as smooth as you can in the pan because it will not smooth out during baking. If it’s still lumpy after baking, just trim off the top before frosting.
    2: I lined my pan with parchment so I could lift it out when cool, cut it in half with a serrated knife and put some triple berry preserves in the center as a filling. Just a thin layer. Then put the top back on and lifted the cake back into the pan for transporting. Would also be great with a lemon curd I think.
    3. We found we liked this cake even better the second day and right out of the refrigerator. It’s amazing day one… but day two, somehow it’s even better!

    Question — Has anyone made this into cupcakes? Cooking temp and time would be appreciated!

    • Hi Lisa – what a cool idea to have a horse’s birthday party at the barn and share the cake. I love it!!!
      So glad everyone loved this cake, too. Great addition with your notes – thanks so much for sharing! I have wanted to try this with a lemon curd filling — you may have just pushed me over the edge to do it next time! Or the berries … either one sounds amazing! To make these as cupcakes, start checking with a toothpick after 20 minutes of baking. Same temp. Happy baking!

  2. Love this recipe! The cake is wonderful and is a staple in my baking now. Could you provide time/temps for cupcakes and rounds?

    • Not sure, Dot. It’s more of a layer or sheet cake consistency, but you could give it a shot. If you really want a lemon cake in a bundt, give my pound cake a whirl!

  3. My 4 year old grandson requested a lemon cake with lemon icing for his birthday party today. I made your recipe (with his help, he loves to cook) and the cake turned out so delicious, everyone at the party thought it was amazing. I made it dairy free as well and since his party theme was Batman, I used yellow food dye in the icing and drew the Batman symbol on top with black gel icing. It looked and tasted awesome. Thanks for the great flour and recipes Jules, I couldn’t have done it without you!

    • Wow Cheryl, that sounds like quite the cake! And how fantastic that you let your grandson help you with the cake – that’s a memory both he and you will treasure for years to come. I’m so very happy to hear that the cake turned out deliciously and that it was a hit at the party. Successes like those should be celebrated, so congratulations! I’m happy to have had any part in that victory!
      Happy baking, Cheryl!

  4. Help! Every time I make a gluten free cake, the batter is so thick that it clumps into a big blob and there is no way it can be poured into the pan. What am I doing wrong? I was looking forward to this lemon cake with the glaze, which reminds me of a lemonade cake I used to make before being diagnosed with celiacs. I fear U am unsuccessful again.

    • Hi Susan, lemon cakes are the best!!! Can you tell me whether you are using my gfJules Flour and if you are making any other substitutions for ingredients? What kind of milk/liquids are you using? Are you using a hand mixer or stand mixer or mixing with a spoon? Also, do you measure with measuring cups or are you weighing your dry ingredients? Have you tried baking the batter out or did you just toss it when it was difficult to mix?
      I’m hoping with a little more information we can get to the bottom of this so you can have a yummy lemon cake again!

  5. THIS CAKE IS DA BOMB! I tried it out this weekend and I halved the recipe since I am the only one in the household…..wouldn’t want to gorge myself on lemon cake..HAHA! Anyway I used 3 egg whites and 1 1/2 TBSP of sour cream for the (eggs +1yolk) and turned them into cupcakes. The taste of lemon is indescribable! So light and fluffy! I WILL be making these again! Thanks Jules for creating this incredible flour!

    • SWEET!!!! So happy you made it, Heidi, and that your subs worked! And even though I can totally see gorging myself on lemon cake … glad to know halving the recipe worked out just fine! HAPPY BAKING! So happy you’re having fun again!

  6. Pingback: wedding cake gluten free

    • Hi Pat, thanks for letting me know that link didn’t work. I’ve fixed it now. If in the future you’re trying to find a particular recipe, just type it into the search bar and it should pop up for you. Happy baking!

    • Hi Erin, I assume you’re talking about my homemade flour blend recipe from Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten Free Eating? If so, yes, this will work. I have improved upon that recipe markedly in recent years, by using some different ingredients you can’t find in the store and modifying proportions, so it likely won’t be quite as light and airy with the homemade blend as it is with my gfJules flour, but it should still be yummy. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Lemon Coconut Cake {Gluten-free, dairy-free}

  8. So using scratch recipe, I cream the additional two cups of sugar with the butter, or do I cream the two cups from scratch recipe to the butter?

    • Hi Autumn, cream the butter and the sugar together and whisk the dry ingredients from the scratch recipe up separately. Then follow the directions for the lemon cake’s liquid ingredients, adding the dry ingredients at the end. Hope that makes more sense!

      • I’m unable to find a scratch recipe to use. It redirects me to a blank page. Can you list what specific recipe for me to use? I don’t have time to order a mix to make a cake for a party this weekend! HELP!!

        • Hi Amy,
          So sorry that link wasn’t working. When we migrated all of our site over to the new platform, some links were lost and a lot of formatting was off. I’m still trying to go back and fix the problems as I find them, so thanks for pointing this out! I have fixed the recipe for you, so have fun at your party this weekend and enjoy this yummy cake!

  9. I’m all out of your cake mix so I followed the link to the birthday cake recipe. I see the birthday cake recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar and this one calls for 3 cups. Do I use 3 cups or combine the two recipes?

    • Hi Lisa, they both call for 2 cups of sugar. Perhaps you were looking at the number of eggs instead? Hope it worked out for you!

  10. Made this cake today for my son. Can’t wait to try it out tomorrow! I put a few drops of yellow food color in the Lemon Buttercream Frosting and it turned out looking real nice. Thanks for the great recipe!!

    • That’s fantastic, Londa! So glad you tried it and I’m sure with the yellow food coloring, it was gorgeous, too!

  11. I made the cake and understand why Julie thought it tasted like flour. The cake was very dense, like a bread. I used the Jules A-P Flour (scratch) and Stevia Baking Mix (to reduce the calories). Not sure if this is what caused the dense final product. I used the “cake” as shortbread with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. It wasn’t bad, but was not a light fluffy cake.

    • Hi Karen, I haven’t worked with the Stevia for baking in a while, and I’ve never used it in this recipe. I can imagine though, at these proportions, that it would definitely have an effect. Creaming real sugar with butter or Earth Balance gives lift and adds a lighter cell structure to the cake. If you can swing the calories, next time try real sugar and see how it goes. :)

  12. Hey Jules

    This is my first cake after chandler was diagnosed on August 14. It tasted like flour to me but I sweetened up the glaze and put it on when it was warm. He liked it. What did I do wrong? Also, I didn’t see a temperature. I am legally blind I could have missed it. I didn’t do the icing.

    He also likes your glaze on chicken. We call it lemonade chicken.

    Plus, chandler says your oats are the best in the world! He has never said that about anything. We need a bulk deal on them! Thanks Julie

    • Lemonade chicken?! What a great idea, Julie!! And that’s great to hear about my oats – I love them too. They’re so soft and wonderful to bake with or for breakfast! I’ll suggest a bulk deal on those, as I’m sure you’re not the only one who would appreciate that! As for the cake, did you add the sugar? Did you use the cake mix or make it from scratch? I’m not sure why it would have tasted like flour. Why don’t you send an email to and we’ll walk through the recipe with you to see where it might have gone wrong.

  13. Hi Jules,
    I’m from canada too and would like to try
    your lemon cake recipe but the birthday cake
    recipe doesn’t have any flour ingredients to blend.It only lists your packaged mix which is not available here :-(

    • Hi Maggie – there’s a link in the recipe from the cake mix (look for the asterix) for a scratch recipe in place of the cake mix. Hope that works for you!

  14. Made this cake today with my daughter for my birthday celebration tomorrow. I am having trouble NOT digging in. But, if I take it to my mother-in-law’s tomorrow with a small corner missing, that would NOT be good! So, I will be a good girl and wait. :-)

  15. Hi, I don’t quite understand how to make this ‘from scratch’ using your flour. Are you saying to use your birthday cake recipe, plus add more milk, eggs, sugar and the lemon? I’ve been trying to use the flour rather than the cake flour, but it might be easier to get the cake flour? HELP! Thanks

    • Sorry for any confusion, Gina. If you’re making this cake from scratch, mix up the dry ingredients from the scratch recipe with the liquid ingredients from the Lemon Cake Recipe. Hope that helps!

  16. Hi,

    I would like to make this it sounds yummy, how would I go about incorporating the lemon cake recipe with the from scratch cake recipe. I am from Canada and cannot get your cake mix here. Thanks!

    • Hi Marilyn, sorry if the recipe wasn’t clear. If you’re making this cake from scratch, mix up the dry ingredients from the scratch recipe with the liquid ingredients from the Lemon Cake Recipe. Hope that helps for you!

  17. I am GF but am diet conscious! Do you have the calorie count on this? How long is baking in mini loaf pans or cupcake pans? Does it freeze well? In other word, I can’t wait to try the recipe, but I need smaller portions! Thanks!

    • Hi Karen, I don’t have the calorie count on this recipe, unfortunately, but if you want to make into cupcakes to mete out portions, bake them for approximately 30 minutes, but start testing them at 25. Enjoy!

      • In regards to cupcakes out of this lemon cake recipe, mine took less than 20 Minutes…large cupcakes. I used cupcake papers ( silver foil outside) made the mistake of trying to take them out( of course to quality control sample!Lol! Seemed to come out better after cooled. I tried some in a mini pan sprayed with Pam, they didn’t come out at all. Question about baking as cake. I usually grease and FLOUR pan, they didn’t come out as easily as most cakes I have made as I just oiled as instructed? Could I FLOUR as well? If so which flour would I use? Kim From Canada

        • Hi Kim, I agree completely about the quality control sample! 🙂
          Were you able to use my gfJules Flour? That makes a big difference in most recipes. As for greasing and flouring, you can absolutely do that, especially in pans with lots of ridges to stick to; I use more of my gfJules All Purpose Flour when I flour pans but if you don’t have it you could use a gluten free starch like cornstarch. Also, allowing the cakes to cool some first does help the crumb to set and they turn out better than diving in while warm, although there’s nothing like that first warm bite only the cook can sneak!
          I hope that helps – check into my gfJules Flour next time if you haven’t used it yet – it makes recipes turn out light and fluffy and no grit at all!

  18. Oh, yeah, that’s what I’m wanting….maybe some ginger, too as I still miss those ginger cookies with the lemon filling…(hint, hint…)

    • Hey Jules – 

      So…egg substitue for the eggs? That is about my only option for my egg-free little dude who would gobble up this cake. 

      Thanks for all you do! Seems like your wedding was a hit! Congratuations. 


  19. Can’t wait to try this one, Jules. My husband is not GF like I am, but he LOVES lemon cake. This one might actually convince him that GF baked goodies can not only be good, but better than their flour-based alternatives! :)

  20. Jules, I’ve been drooling over this recipe since you posted your sneak peak photos on Facebook and Instagram. This cake looks and sounds so delicious! I can’t wait to try it!