A Stunning Gluten Free Lemon Cake

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Glute Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

Though this cake may seem difficult to make, I’m here to tell you that you (yes you!) can make a stunning Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream. This gorgeous confection is dense and moist like a pound cake, but has a light crumb thanks to the addition of sour cream. The rosy pink frosting gets both color and flavor from hibiscus flowers in the form of tea, which is more widely available than the flowers themselves. This is the perfect gluten free cake to serve your Valentine, but it would be equally fitting for Easter or Mother’s Day!

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Glute Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

How to make this beautiful lemon loaf cake

It’s citrus season in California and there is no better time to make a gluten-free lemon cake. It’s bright and zesty and tastes as golden as our beautiful California sunshine. I add a touch of turmeric to make the batter an even deeper golden color, but that’s optional.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • zest from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each baking soda, sea salt, ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (or non dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

For the Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 hibiscus tea bags
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water (optional – but it makes it taste so delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a standard 8×4 inch loaf pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment so it overlaps the sides.
  2. Beat the butter with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and eggs and beat again until light and evenly mixed. Beat in the lemon zest.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and ground turmeric to the bowl and beat for about 3 seconds to combine the dry ingredients. Add the milk, lemon juice, sour cream and extracts and beat until the batter is smooth.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully lift the loaf out of the pan using the parchment as a handle and set on a rack to finish cooling completely.
  6. Make the buttercream. Heat the heavy cream in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Drop the tea bags into the hot cream and let it steep for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cream will begin to take on the most beautiful pink hue. The longer you let the tea steep in the cream, the darker it will become.
  7. When the cream is as pink as you’d like, remove the tea bags and discard them. Beat the butter until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cream and vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and if it needs additional salt, add a pinch.

How to pipe fancy rosettes on top of a gluten free cake

To decorate this cake, I used two different piping tips; #9 French tip and #849 closed star tip. Snip the corner off of two piping bags and insert the tips securely in bag into the hole. Evenly split the frosting between the two bags. To fill a piping bag, first insert the tip, then fold down the sides and scoop the frosting into the bag. Fold the sides back up and twist the top of the bag to seal, squeezing the frosting down into the bag towards the tip.

Use the closed star tips to swirl the frosting around into rosette shapes. This same tip can be used to stamp “hydrangea” shaped flowers to fill space. Use the French tip to create the ridged drops of frosting. We’re not going for perfect here – it’s fun to have a variety of shapes and sizes of frosting flowers and drops! Finish decorating the cake with fresh (organic) edible flowers like roses, chamomile and mint. The cake will keep well in at room temperature (in a cool room) for a day or two. You can also freeze the cake (decorated or undecorated) for up to one month.

Glute Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

What is the best flour for gluten free cakes?

In the “olden days” before gluten free flours and flour blends were widely available, keeping gluten free cakes moist was a real issue. To ensure that your cake isn’t dry and crumbly, it’s important to have a blend of whole grain flours and starches. I used to blend my own flour but I’ve found that Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 is so much easier, and uses all the same flours in my own recipe.

How do you keep gluten free cakes moist?

Beyond the flour blend, it’s important to use whole fat milks and other dairy products and large eggs. Both of these add moisture and the eggs add loft to gluten free baked goods. Dairy and eggs should also be at room temperature. In addition, you could consider adding a fruit puree such as prune puree, pumpkin puree, applesauce or mashed bananas.

Does gluten free cake taste different?

I don’t like to brag, but people (including gluten eaters) have told me that my gluten free cakes are among the best cakes they have ever eaten. Generally, gluten free cakes can taste exactly like their glutenous counterparts. Using a bean-based flour can make baked goods taste “off” so I generally don’t recommend it. I also think that all sweets and baked goods benefit from balance. One way I achieve this is by almost always using salted butter and adding sea salt to the batter and any frosting.

Can this gluten free lemon cake be made dairy free?

Yep! You can make this cake dairy free by using your favorite non-dairy butter (mine is Myoko’s Salted Organic European-Style Cultured Vegan Butter, milk and sour cream substitute. Just be sure that you aren’t using a “low fat” version of the dairy substitutes.

A Slice of Glute Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream
Glute Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

Love gluten free cake? Same! Here are a few more recipes to try:

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and post a picture and tag us on Instagram using the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! Thank you!

Glute Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

Gluten Free Lemon Cake with Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

Alison Needham
It’s citrus season in California and there is no better time to make a gluten-free lemon cake. It’s bright and zesty and tastes as golden as our beautiful California sunshine. I add a touch of turmeric to make the batter an even deeper golden color, but that’s optional.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 606 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Hibiscus Rose Buttercream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a standard 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment so it overlaps the sides.
  • Beat the butter with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and eggs and beat again until light and evenly mixed. Beat in the lemon zest.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and ground turmeric to the bowl and beat for about 3 seconds to combine the dry ingredients. Add the milk, lemon juice, sour cream and extracts and beat until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully lift the loaf out of the pan using the parchment as a handle and set on a rack to finish cooling completely.
  • Make the buttercream. Heat the heavy cream in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Drop the tea bags into the hot cream and let it steep for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cream will begin to take on the most beautiful pink hue. The longer you let the tea steep in the cream, the darker it will become.
  • When the cream is as pink as you’d like, remove the tea bags and discard them. Beat the butter until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cream and vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and if it needs additional salt, add a pinch.
  • To decorate this cake, I used two different piping tips; #9 French tip and #849 closed star tip. Snip the corner off of two piping bags and insert the tips securely in bag into the hole. Evenly split the frosting between the two bags. To fill a piping bag, first insert the tip, then fold down the sides and scoop the frosting into the bag. Fold the sides back up and twist the top of the bag to seal, squeezing the frosting down into the bag towards the tip. Use the closed star tips to swirl the frosting around into rosette shapes. This same tip can be used to stamp “hydrangea” shaped flowers to fill space. Use the French tip to create the ridged drops of frosting. We’re not going for perfect here – it’s fun to have a variety of shapes and sizes of frosting flowers and drops! Finish decorating the cake with fresh (organic) edible flowers like roses, chamomile and mint.

Notes

The cake will keep well in at room temperature (in a cool room) for a day or two. You can also freeze the cake (decorated or undecorated) for up to one month. Store any leftover frosting in a tightly sealed ziptop bag in the freezer for up to one month. It tastes amazing on sugar cookies.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 606kcalCarbohydrates: 88gProtein: 5gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 496mgPotassium: 62mgFiber: 2gSugar: 71gVitamin A: 903IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Gluten Free Lemon Cake
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