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

4.7 from 7 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.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

Pin it for when you feel like some lemony goodness!

The light, fresh flavor of lemon really comes out in this yummy gluten free lemon cake recipe, and the glaze permeates the cake with extra lemony flavor!


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


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

  1. Jules you’ve done it again! Another amazing recipe. I LOVE this cake. I’ve made it both with and without dairy and both ways are soooo delicious! I am wondering if this cake would freeze well for frosting/decorating at a later time? And if so, would you recommend putting the glaze on after thawing or before freezing? I really think the glaze makes this cake extra amazing so I woken to want to leave that out!

    • I’m so happy to hear it, Bre! We sure do love lemon in our house, so this cake is definitely a favorite!
      As for the glaze before or after, that’s a great question! I usually do the glaze while the cake is still cooling, so I guess I’d say do it that way first and see how it goes. Freezing should be fine as long as it’s totally cooled first and wrapped really well. Let me know what you end up doing and how it works out! I’m super curious now!

    • Hi Kim, you could actually use either, depending on your taste for salt or need to cut salt down in your diet. I prefer to use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks which actually contain salt as a preservative, and I add a bit more, as salt enhances the sweet from the sugar. You can feel free to cut the additional salt ingredient or use unsalted butter. Great question – thanks for writing in!

  2. Hi Jules,
    I am new to gluetin and dairy free, not by choice, and have ordered your AP flour. Can’t wait to get baking again. Now, all I need to know is what to use as egg substitute if that is possible.
    Thanks so much for sharing all of your hard work with us! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    • Hi Kim, I’m excited for you to get back to baking! Check out my article on egg-free baking tips and substitutes. If you’re baking dairy-free as well as egg-free, you’ll definitely want it as a reference. As a rule I don’t recommend subbing for eggs in recipes calling for 3 eggs or more, but you should be able to make this cake pretty well with a mixture of subs. Perhaps applesauce for 1 egg and a gluten free commercial egg sub for 2 plus mayo for the yolk? That’s where I’d start. Also check out this article on dairy-free ingredients which should help you for future baking as well. Let me know how it goes!

    • Hi Magna, the butter is not to be melted, or that would have been specified. It may help to set it out for a little bit to soften it a bit, but it should still be solid or cold when creaming with the sugar. Enjoy!

    • The glaze is totally optional, Denise. It’s really up to you and how much you like some extra lemony flavor!

  3. I made this cake. And I loved the tart lemon… Omg. This is a lemon cake … But it was off the chart sweet. Wayyyyy to sweet was I supposed to glaze and frost ?? I also added in the middle a small about of lemon curd. I would love to redo but take out 1/2 the sugar Have you tried a cream cheese frosting ?? And what suggestions do you have to reduce the sugar?

    • Hi Debbie, if you like this cake already but it’s super sweet, then bonus points for you! Cut the sugar back to 1 1/4- 1/2 cup and enjoy!!! And yes, I have cream cheese frosting recipes on my site – use the search bar and you’ll find the ones I like. Lemon and cream cheese frosting is a match made in baking heaven. 🙂

  4. My daughter who has a gluten allergy requested a lemon cake for her upcoming birthday and this seems to be the winner! My one question, though, is about the milk powder in addition to the liquid milk. One of my other children has a dairy allergy so I was planning on using unsweetened almond or coconut milk – whichever is open at the time of baking. Instead of purchasing a powder dairy free version, do you think I could just use 1 cup of liquid milk? Thanks!

    • Hi Kathleen, I’m so glad you asked because the milk powder in the recipe is not supposed to be reconstituted, so it would not work to simply add liquid milk instead. We don’t do any dairy in our house either, so I either use coconut milk powder or Vance’s DariFree (potato-based). Of course for the liquid milk option, feel free to use almond or coconut milk. I hope this helps! Enjoy the recipe and happy birthday to your girl!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

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