This gluten-free lemon loaf is so soft and fluffy, that you would never guess that it’s gluten-free, vegan and oil-free! A moist, lemony sponge, with a sweet yet citrusy drizzle topped with some lemon icing, is the ultimate summer cake recipe!
Lemon cake is such a nostalgic treat! I will never forget visiting my grandparents during the school holidays – they lived in a quiet little village in Wolmeransstad, South Africa. To be honest, it wasn’t the most exciting place to spend the summer holidays, but my Ouma (that’s “Grandmother” in Afrikaans) would always be baking and cooking up a storm and her food was so good that it made the holidays VERY enjoyable.
We would have tea and cake at around 11 o’clock and then again at around 4 pm. EVERYDAY. It was bliss.
One of her specialities that have been imprinted in my heart and mind was her Lemon Cake. It was always perfect. And now, ten years later, every time I eat lemon cake I think of her.
My gluten-free lemon drizzle cake will never be as good as hers (I don’t think anyone’s will in all fairness), BUT it is still very very good. It’s also gluten-free, vegan, oil-free and refined sugar-free and extremely easy to make!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This healthy lemon loaf is made with nourishing, gluten-free, plant-based ingredients making it socially acceptable to have for breakfast! All you need is:
Ground Almonds: (Almond Meal) This is the main source of fat in this cake, making it soft and moist without having to use any oil! It also adds an incredible fluffy texture. Alternatively, you can use Almond Flour or another type of ground nuts.
Plain Flour: Also called All-Purpose Flour or Cake Flour depending on where you are in the world. You can use gluten-free plain flour or just regular flour!
Baking Powder and Baking Soda: You will need both to make this gluten-free lemon cake rise to perfection and make it incredibly soft.
Yoghurt: Where you would traditionally use eggs in the cake – this recipe calls for yoghurt instead, making it very easy to make vegan! You can use soy yoghurt, coconut yoghurt or even just Greek yoghurt if you don’t need it to be vegan.
Agave: To add sweetness to the cake without using refined sugar I like to use agave or maple syrup. This also makes it more suitable for diabetics (I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, so please don’t quote me on that!).
Lemons: This is a LEMON loaf after all! We will be using the juice and zest of lemons. Make sure to use unwaxed lemons if you are making this cake for a vegan! Waxed lemons are usually made of beeswax, making them unsuitable for vegans!
Milk: To keep this cake dairy-free and vegan, make sure to use plant-based milk like Almond, Soy, Oat or Cashew milk. You can use regular cow’s milk if you want to.
How to make a gluten-free lemon loaf
This easy lemon drizzle cake recipe comes together in under an hour! I’ll walk you through the steps here, but you can find the instructions in the recipe card and a video at the bottom of this page!
Make your cake batter. Start by combining your dry ingredients in a bowl. I recommend mixing this all up first before adding the wet ingredients as this ensures that your leavening agents are evenly distributed and you won’t get a mouthful of baking soda! Next, add in your wet ingredients and gently fold until just combined.
Bake your loaf cake. Pour the batter into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper. Make sure that the paper just hangs over the edges as this will make it easier to remove from the tin once baked.
Make your lemon syrup. A couple of minutes before your cake is baked, mix together some syrup and lemon juice to make a lemon syrup. This takes your lemon loaf from lemony to LEMONY! Once your cake is finished baking, use a fork or skewer to poke holes all the way to the bottom. Pour over your syrup and leave to soak for around ten minutes.
Top with lemon icing. As the rest of the cake is rather healthy, a drizzle of icing won’t do you any harm – after all: balance is key! You can use normal icing sugar or use powdered erythritol. If you decide not to add icing, you can top this cake with some vegan yoghurt. YUM!
- A common misconception is that gluten-free cake is dry. I promise – this one isn’t! The trick is to bake the cake a few minutes less than you would think. Check the cake after 45 minutes of baking – the exterior should be golden brown, but the inside should be still slightly gooey. Insert a skewer to check, it should come out with some moist crumbs on.
- Use ripe lemons! You don’t want to use lemons that aren’t ripe yet as they tend to be quite bitter!
- Leave the cake to cool COMPLETELY before adding your icing.
- After adding your icing, place your cake in the fridge for a few minutes so that the icing can set and THEN slice your cake using a sharp knife.
Make sure to use RIPE lemons! There should be no greenness to the lemons and they should be slightly squishy. If you can find Meyer Lemons use those as they tend to be sweeter. Remember to use unwaxed lemons if baking for a vegan!
Yes! Slice the cake and then wrap each slice individually with parchment paper, and place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to three months.
This lemon drizzle cake is best served at room temperate as it can go a bit tough in the fridge. It’s at its best within the first three days. Store in an air-tight container. If you’ve not eaten the cake within the first three days (haha!) pop it in the fridge – it will last for up to a week.
To freeze the cake, slice it and then wrap each slice individually with parchment paper, and place it in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to three months. Leave to thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours.
Here are some more vegan and gluten-free desserts you may enjoy:
BAKING IN GRAMS
All of the recipes I create are tried and tested a few times until it has been perfected. My goal is to develop recipes that are simple to make and easy to follow so that anyone can make them – even if you’ve never baked before!
One very important thing that will ensure that you get the best results is to measure your ingredients by weight! I recommend purchasing a kitchen scale, they are very affordable and it will honestly change your baking game for good! Not all measuring cups are made equally – for example, a cup of flour to me weighs 120g, but for you, it may be anywhere between 100g and 200g – that’s a BIG difference!
If you don’t have a kitchen scale yet, you can use this Ingredient Weight Chart as a guideline to convert the ingredients to help you!
Now – dust your apron off and get baking! X
Hey! If you make this recipe, I would love it if you could leave me some feedback and a rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ in the comment section at the bottom of the page! Also let me know on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and see your photos!
The EASIEST Gluten-free Lemon Drizzle Loaf
- 2lb Loaf Tin around 10cm x 20cm
For the Lemon Loaf
Lemon Drizzle Syrup
- ¼ cup Agave or Maple Syrup
- ½ Lemon, juice around 1 tbsp
Lemon Icing (optional)
- 40 g Icing Sugar
- ½ Lemon, juice ½ to 1 tbsp – adjust for consistency
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F / 160°C fan and line your loaf tin with parchment paper leaving an overhang for easy removal.
- Add your ground almonds to a large mixing bowl then sift in your flour, baking powder and baking soda. Use a whisk or spatula to combine.
- Next, add in your yoghurt, lemon juice and zest, syrup, milk and vanilla and fold to combine.
- Pour the cake batter into your loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown in colour and a skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Mix together the ingredients for the lemon drizzle syrup and poke holes all over the cake all the way to the bottom of the loaf tin. Pour the syrup over the whole cake and leave to soak for around 10 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Once the cake has cooled, make your lemon icing by mixing together with a fork. Start with 1/2 a tbsp of lemon juice – if the icing is too thick add some more lemon juice, if it's too runny add some more icing sugar. OR you can serve with some vegan yoghurt!
- Drizzle the icing over the top and put the cake in the fridge for a few minutes so that the icing sets. Slice with a sharp knife.