Mini Gluten-Free Lemon Cakes Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling
Yes, you can make moist, tender gluten-free lemon cake at home! Bonus: This cake recipe also happens to be dairy-free.

Updated: Mar. 08, 2024

Pound cake is a classic dessert for a reason: It’s rich, dense and moist, but also wonderfully tender. When baking gluten-free, those attributes are tricky to get just right, but this gluten-free lemon cake recipe nails it.

Our recipe is based on a whipped pound cake, which gets both towering volume and richness from eggs carefully worked into the batter. Amazingly, this recipe is both gluten- and dairy-free!

Which gluten-free flour mix is best?

We rounded up the best gluten-free flour blends and found that several work well for all-purpose baking, including both cakes and savory bakes. Make sure to buy an all-purpose blend, not one specifically formulated for biscuits or breads. The recipe was tested with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, but any all-purpose mix will work well, including homemade.

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake Ingredients

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake ingredientsTMB Studio

  • Vegan butter-style sticks
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Grated lemon zest
  • Lemon extract
  • Gluten-free baking flour (with xanthan gum)
  • Dairy-free heavy whipping cream
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions

Step 1: Prep baking tools

Little Lemon Pound Cakes Showing greased fluted tubed pans.TMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Thoroughly grease six 4-inch mini Bundt pans.

Step 2: Cream the butter

In a large bowl, cream the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This will take longer than you’d expect, about 5 to 7 minutes. Beating well adds loftiness to the cake batter, so don’t rush this step.

Step 3: Add the eggs

One at a time, add the eggs to the bowl. Beat well after each addition. The beaten eggs will add to the volume of the cake, so be sure to mix at a medium-high speed to whip air into the batter.

Editor’s Tip: There’s no leavening or rising agent added to the recipe: All the volume comes from the way you beat the eggs.

Step 4: Finish the batter

Little Lemon Pound CakesTMB Studio

Add the lemon extract and lemon zest. Then alternate adding flour and dairy-free cream into the batter, beating well after each addition.

Step 5: Fill the pans and bake

Little Lemon Pound Cakes Showing filled pans.TMB Studio

Gently pour the batter into the prepared pans. Do your best to divide the batter equally between each pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes.

Step 6: Cool

Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes before attempting to remove them. (Here’s a full guide to removing cakes from decorated pans.) Set a wire rack over the cake pan, then invert. The cake should slide off cleanly onto the rack. If not, leave the cake pan upside down on the rack to cool; the cakes should drop out.

Allow the cakes to cool completely before serving. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar. You may also serve the cakes with ice cream, fruit preserves or additional whipped cream.

How to Store Gluten-Free Lemon Cake

After the cakes cool completely, wrap them well in plastic and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Refrigerating the cakes will dry them out.

You can also freeze the cakes. After cooling, wrap them well in two layers of plastic (such as wrap and a sealed bag) and freeze up to two months.

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake Tips

How do you make this recipe dairy-free?

This recipe is dairy-free as written! As long as you use dairy-free butter and whipping cream, the recipe won’t contain dairy. You may also use dairy ingredients if it isn’t a problem for you.

The recipe was developed using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter baking sticks and Country Crock Plant Cream heavy whipping cream alternative. However, you can definitely substitute other brands. We rounded up the best vegan butters, if you’re looking for recommendations.

How do you measure gluten-free flour?

Measure GF flour just as you’d measure any type of flour: lightly scoop your measuring cup into the container of flour, then level off the top of the cup with a knife. Don’t shake, spoon or pack the flour into the cup, or the measurement will be off.

How do you make your own gluten-free flour mix?

It’s easy to make GF flour mix at home. Our all-purpose gluten-free flour mix recipe calls for measuring white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour into a big bowl, whisking together and storing in airtight containers. When it’s time to bake, simply measure out the flour as you would with traditional all-purpose wheat flour.

Why do gluten-free bakes turn out gummy?

One major culprit of gummy cake is using the wrong balance of gluten-free flours and starches. If you use a store bought flour mix or make one at home, this shouldn’t be an issue with this recipe.

The other main cause of gummy GF cake is under baking. Keep a close eye on the cakes as they bake, testing frequently, so you take them out just as the tester emerges clean from the cake.

A third cause of gumminess is eating the cake too hot from the oven. Gluten-free baked goods will continue to cook and “set” as they cool off from the oven. Let them cool completely before slicing.

How can you keep gluten-free lemon cake from drying out?

It’s true that gluten-free baked goods don’t keep as long as traditional bakes, but these moist pound cakes will keep well for at least two days at room temperature. Store tightly wrapped and sealed in an airtight container. If you can’t eat the cake within a couple of days, you should freeze the baked cakes.

Can you use bottled lemon juice in place of lemon extract?

Lemon extract is not the same as lemon juice. Lemon extract is the pure essential oil of the lemon, so it’s extremely potent and full of flavor: sour, sweet and aromatic. Swapping out lemon juice will result in a less flavorful cake.

Can you make one big cake instead?

We don’t recommend making one big Bundt cake. Gluten-free batter is not as strong as its wheat counterpart. When baking one large cake, the extra weight will prevent the gluten-free batter from rising as much as possible. Smaller cakes will be lighter and baked through.

Mini Gluten-Free Lemon Cakes

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter-style sticks, such as Earth Balance
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten-free baking flour (with xanthan gum)
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free heavy whipping cream
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease six 4-in. fluted tube pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter-style sticks and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract and zest. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with cream, beating well after each addition.
  3. Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar.

Nutrition Facts

1 cake: 497 calories, 17g fat (7g saturated fat), 93mg cholesterol, 206mg sodium, 81g carbohydrate (50g sugars, 0 fiber), 5g protein.