Lemon Yogurt Cake

California lemons at the Farmer's Market

Luscious Lemon Cake...

From deep in the Gluten-Free Goddess archives, a lemon cake you may have missed... Ever since I saw Ilva's sumptuous Almond and Ricotta Cake I've been jonesing for something with lemon. The odd thing is- her cake doesn't even have lemon (strange the way our mind works and sweeps us away along memory traceries of scent and flavor) but I started craving a cake laced with citrus- not too sweet and not too light. A cake with character and heft.

The day I decided to bake, of course, I had no ricotta, but I did have organic plain yogurt and plenty of blanched almond flour. Inspired by Ilva's recipe, I tweaked her ingredients with those I had on hand and baked up a lovely simple cake that reminds me of a coffee cake I remember liking as a child, a bakery cake called Louisiana Ring made by Freihofer's- yet in truth, that cake featured a hint of orange rather than lemon.

There's that memory glitch again.

Some intuitive leap from taste to taste. An image, a smell can trigger a remembrance as vivid as the day you experienced it, enhanced, I imagine, by hindsight. This ability sharpens as you get older.

Time seems to condense into the senses (invoking forgotten details). You start believing the Buddha's theory about ten dimensions. You start savoring the smallest moments. Your husband hands you a mug of green tea, the steam rising in the late afternoon sun slatted through the bamboo window shade, and a loss from the past heals for a moment.

Next time I make this recipe I think I'll use oranges.

Karina's Gluten-Free Lemon Yogurt Cake Recipe

Recipe posted February 2006.

For this recipe I used blanched almond flour which is slightly softer and more flour-like than straight almond meal processed from raw almonds. I've made cakes with both. I thought the blanched almonds worked well in this cake. The lemon peel imparts a little chewiness.


1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup packed organic light brown sugar
5 medium free-range organic eggs
4 oz. light cream cheese (or butter or vegan margarine), softened
1/2 cup organic plain or lemon yogurt- low fat is fine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest (fine grated peel) from 1 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of a 9-inch Springform or cake pan with buttered parchment paper.

In a bowl whisk together the almond flour, sweet rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and sugar.

Beat the eggs in separate large mixing bowl until they are light and foamy. Beat in the cream cheese and yogurt until combined.

Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla; beat to combine.

Add in the flour mixture a bit at a time and beat on medium speed for a minute or two.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the center of a pre-heated 350ºF. oven for about 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake emerges clean.

Cool on a wire rack; and release from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 10 servings.

This cake freezes well. I just ate a piece warmed slightly. It's moist and tender.

 photo Print-Recipe.png

xox Karina


Jennifer said...

Beautiful! Sounds like the perfect accompaniment for my afternoon almond tea (a habit that keeps me from nose-diving into my books at the 3:00 hour)!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I was just thinking sadly about Clotilde's yogurt cake on C&Z, and how my new gluten free world would not be the same without it. And voila, I check out your site, which has made attempting a gluten free diet seem more than do-able, and here is a yogurt cake recipe. I have most of the ingredients on hand... guess I'll be busy this weekend. Thanks for a great site!

karina said...

Jennifer~ I'm with you on the need for tea at three. ;-)

Anon~ You'd never guess this is a gluten-free cake. And it freezes well [I froze extra slices to have with my morning coffee this week].

KateC said...


I posted as (unintentionally) anonymous, above. I just had to rave some more about this cake. I made it last night and it is great! My roommate, who has no dietary restrictions, said it was the best she'd ever had. We are having trouble resisting eating it all right now.

I just made a few changes - namely, I made it a maple cake, with Brown Cow maple yogurt, substituted 1/4th sugar with maple sugar and the lemon juice with maple syrup. Ok, yes, it is *rather* sweet (I'd decrease sugar in future), but the texture is lovely and the flavor... frankly, like pancakes when I was done with it :P. I'll be making this on a regular basis. Thanks!!!!

karina said...


I love the idea of a maple yogurt cake. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing your idea/changes with us! :-)

Anonymous said...

If I was going to make this lemon cake (I prefer not using rice flour like Ilva's recipe) but I did want to use ricotta, how would I do so? Just substitute for the plain yogurt? Or for the cream cheese or both?


karina said...

Sounds like Ilva's recipe meets your criteria; I'd follow her recipe.

Y.E. said...

Made this cake today and it was really wonderful! Such a nice texture. I used (fake)butter instead of cream cheese and goat's milk with lemon instead of yoghurt to make it cowmilk-free. :)

I halved the recipe, too, but it still made a decent-sized cake.

k a r i n a said...

Hi Y.E. ~

So glad it turned out well for you!

I enjoy hearing about substitutions, too. Thanks for sharing, because it gives readers additional alternatives and ideas.


Anonymous said...

Is blanched almond flour just almond meal made from almond slivers (or any almond without the brown skin)? And can the sweet rice flour/baking powder/baking soda be subbed with Pamela's? Also, what vanilla is GF?

karina said...

Blanched almond flour is almond meal made from blanched almonds [no skin]. It is slightly softer and finer than straight almond meal.

Yes, you could try subbing Pamela's - why not? :-)

There are several vanillas that are GF. Check mainstream grocery lists on-line for all the brands. I use Frontier Organic Vanilla.

Renee said...

Is the yogurt fat free, low fat or regular, sounds delicious but wanted to make it with fat free do you think that would work just as well? Renee

Karina Allrich said...

Hi Renee,

I used either whole plain, or low-fat. Both work. If fat is an issue for you and you cook with non-fat yogurt, why not give it a try?


jabclove5 said...


My beautiful daughter is turning 10 and she requested lemon cupcakes for her birthday. I didn't have a gluten free recipe on hand so I knew I could count on you. I know that you mentioned in your note that it freezes well. We need the cupcakes for Sat. and I'm contemplating making them either tonight or Thursday night. Will I have to freeze them if I make them tonight ? Any recommendations on how else to store the cupcakes ? Thanks a bunch. You are such a blessing to our family.

Much love,

Karina Allrich said...

Jo- Thank you for your kind words. And Happy Birthday to your daughter! I would freeze the cupcakes, unfrosted; wrapped individually for freshness. Then I would defrost them on the day you will serve them; and add icing- if you wish. Have a beautiful party. xox


sudu said...

Hi karina..your cake seems too fabulous. I have a husband who hates chocolate in all forms so I was thinking of making a yogurt cake and you have just given me the most wonderful idea- Lemon Almond Yogurt cake. I don't think I'll be able to get the rice flour, is it ok if I leave that out? Also I dont think you need the butter/cheese if you up the yogurt amount (check Chocolate&Zuchinni's yogurt cake ingre).

Karina Allrich said...

Sudu- Yes, I think it would be fine to substitute it with cornstarch, potato starch or tapioca starch instead of rice flour. Good luck!


Lauren said...

Karina, I've used this recipe with buckwheat flour (in place of rice flour) and erythritol (in place of sugar) multiple times and it always comes out WONDERFUL. Thank you so much for the best ever gluten-free cake recipe! This batter is so versatile, and has just the right texture. This formula is brilliant. No one EVER asks if it's gluten free!

Am going to post some cupcakes I made with it tomorrow. There is a Maple Bacon variation. I hope this does not offend your vegan sensitivities. :) Thank you again, Karina!!

angie said...

This sounds wonderful. My daughter has nut allergies though. Is there a flour that I could use instead of almond in this? We're good with buckwheat, millet, brown rice, sorghum, etc.. What do you think would be most similar?

Karina Allrich said...

Lauren- I'm so glad! Thanks for letting me know.

Angie- I have only made it with almond flour, unfortunately.

I imagine you could sub a hearty flour combo, but you may also have to adjust the moisture/liquid. If you have experience doing this with almond meal recipes, you might experiment.


Anonymous said...

Could you use plain organic milk Kefir instead of yogurt?

Teba said...

Dear Karina,
This is Teba from Spain. I thank your recipes which are very valuable for dietitians, celiac patients and his/her families.
I tried your recipe for an education session for parents of diabetic children. Three of the participants also have celiac disease. So, I looked for a tasteful recipe for special occasions for all of our children. I made few changes but, overall, the recipe remains the same. I must tell you that it has been a complete success and, all os us have enjoyed the cake.
Congrats for your blog and, I expect to "copy" some other recipes to help our patients.
Best regards,

Dee said...

I don't use refined sugar so I would need to substitute the brown sugar for either maple syrup, honey, etc. What would you suggest so that the liquid is not "off". Thank you.

Jessica said...

Use Coconut Sugar!! Looks and tastes almost the same as brown sugar.

Gluten-Free Goddess eBook on iTunes