Lemon Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}

This Gluten-Free Lemon Raspberry Cake is a wonderfully indulgent cake for a special occasion. The very lemony sponge is made from ground almonds and plain gluten-free flour so it is incredibly accessible for novice gluten-free bakers. Fresh raspberries are baked into the sponge but also fill the cake along with a lemony mascarpone cream.

Cut Lemon Raspberry Cake on a cake stand with a slice in front

If you are new to gluten-free baking or just want a break from any complicated recipes using a multitude of alternative flours or weird gums then this is the cake for you.

Wonder why I don’t like to bake with xanthan gum? Then read this.

What makes this cake so brilliant

  • Beautifully moist and light texture.
  • Bright tangy flavour from lemon zest and raspberries.
  • Extra special gentle hint of Limoncello.
  • Easy to make – no special gluten-free flours.
  • No xanthan gum!!!
  • Creamy lemony mascarpone filling – so full of flavour.
  • Make ahead. This cake needs an overnight stay in the fridge right at the end of the process, making it perfect for advance baking.

Close up of Slice of Lemon Raspberry Cake

Two secrets of gluten-free cakes

The sponges are incredibly light and moist since they use two of my favourite techniques for successful gluten-free baking.

Want to know what they are??

1. Ground Almonds

Ground almonds are the secret weapon of any gluten-free baker. They add fantastic moisture and texture to gluten-free cakes and bakes. If you find certain brands of gluten-free flour lead to dry and crumbly cakes then swap in half of the quantity with ground almonds. You’ll be thrilled at the difference this makes.

Baker’s Tip

But I don’t like the taste of almonds. No? Don’t worry about it. If you use supermarket ready ground almonds from a packet then you can barely, if at all, taste the almonds. These packets don’t do a great job of preserving flavour. All the right texture is still there though to produce a gorgeous sponge.

However, if you love the taste of almonds and want to make the most of the flavour then grind the almonds yourself at home. The fresher the grind the more flavour.

Baker’s Tip #2

If you are grinding the almonds yourself then add in a few tablespoons of the caster sugar into the food processor along with the almonds. The caster sugar will help the almonds break down more finely without releasing too much of the almond oils.

For more detailed info on making your own ground almonds and using nut flours in gluten-free baking in general then visit this post.

2. Egg Whites

For this Lemon Raspberry Cake we add in 2 extra egg whites along with the whole 5 eggs.

This adds air and lightness into the sponge.

Sometimes gluten-free cakes are accused of being too dense or heavy. By adding in some extra egg whites we are lifting the cake. It works well here as the creamy raspberry filling needs a lighter sponge.

Baker’s Tip

Adding in the egg whites does add more moisture into the cake so be careful that you don’t just add egg whites into your cakes willy nilly. Start with one egg white in a cake batter you find particular dense and take it from there.

If you want more tips on how to make perfect gluten-free cakes with loads of tips and tricks, then visit the Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Cakes.

Lemon Raspberry Cake on a cake stand

How to make a cake more lemony

There is nothing more disappointing than a lemon cake which doesn’t taste of lemon. These are a few methods to add lemon flavour to a cake

  • Lemon zest and juice – These are the most obvious choices. Quite often you need a lot of juice though to really come through so I prefer lemon zest as too much juice messes around with the liquid ratio too much. In this Lemon Raspberry Cake we use the zest of 2 lemons in the sponge.
  • Lemon extract makes the most intense flavour as it is really distilled. If you go this route use a really good shop bought organic extract.
  • Lemon syrup or Limoncello (!) These are excellent flavour enhancers. In this recipe we use Limoncello to brush over the sponges fresh out of the oven which intensifies the flavour. We also use some Limoncello in the Lemon Mascarpone Cream but if you need an alcohol-free version then just substitute with homemade lemon syrup (see method in recipe card).

How to make Lemon Raspberry Cake

1. First whip the egg whites so they are stiff.

whipped egg whites in a mixer
2. Beat the sugar with the lemon zest and butter.

process images of Lemon Raspberry Cake
3. Add the whole eggs one at a time then the vanilla.

batter for Lemon Raspberry Cake in a food mixer
4. Whisk the gluten-free flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Then add into the batter.

dry ingredients for Lemon Raspberry Cake in glass mixing bowl
5. Fold in the egg whites.

batter being mixed for Lemon Raspberry Cake in a food mixer
6. Divide into two cake tins and press in some fresh raspberries.

raspberries coated in flour in a mixing bowl
7. Bake for 50 minutes at 160°C fan assisted.

batter for Lemon Raspberry Cake in cake tins ready for the oven
8. Once cakes are cool, cut in half to create 4 cake layers.

Lemon Raspberry Cake cut in half
9. Whip the double cream until thick but runny.
10. Add the mascarpone and Limoncello or lemon syrup.
11. Assemble the cake with sponge, then 1/3 cream then 1/3 fresh raspberries.
12. Smooth out the cream around the sides to create the naked look.
13. Wrap the cake in cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

Lemon Raspberry Cake wrapped in cling film ready for the fridge
14. Unwrap the cake, sprinkle over icing sugar and serve.

Baker’s Tips

  • Whisk the egg whites first. It saves washing up the food mixer. Egg whites require a good clean mixing bowl. So whisk them first, tip them into a bowl to set aside. Change the attachment on your mixer from a whisk to a paddle beater then start beating your sugar and butter right in the same mixing bowl, you don’t need to wash it out.
  • Make sure to add the whole eggs one at a time. It makes the sponge lighter. If the eggs are dumped in all at once you risk losing the air you just whipped into the butter and sugar.
  • By all means, if you can’t be bothered with Limoncello or lemon syrup then just add zest of a whole lemon. It won’t be as smooth but still delicious.
  • To cut the cakes in half I really recommend a cake leveller. These are also excellent for cutting the tops off of domed sponges.
  • Don’t skip the step of wrapping and resting the cake in the fridge before serving. This is so the raspberries have a chance to sink into the cream and the cake adheres together.

Slice of Lemon Raspberry Cake

How to store

The cake will keep up to 3 days wrapped up well in the fridge. Since the cake has fresh cream it should not be left out in the sun or a warm kitchen for any length of time.

Can I freeze Lemon Raspberry Cake?

You can’t freeze the whole finished cake. But you can freeze the initial two cake sponges once cooled. Double wrap well in cling film and tin foil. Remove from the fridge to defrost overnight. Then you can cut the cake halves and make the cream for assembling the cake.

Variations

  • Fruit – this cake is amazing with the raspberries but you can try any berry. Blackberries or blueberries are also particularly good. Or maybe a mixture?
  • Icing – I like this cake with a simple powdered icing sugar top but a raspberry drip, like in this Raspberry Pistachio Cake would look amazing!
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream – swap out the Lemon Mascarpone cream for a simple cream cheese buttercream. Use the recipe from this Carrot Cake.

Close up of Slice of Lemon Raspberry Cake

If you want more amazing lemon and raspberry flavoured gluten-free cakes, then have a look at these:

Whole Lemon Thyme Drizzle Cake
Raspberry Pistachio Cake
Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle
Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Raspberry Doughnuts

If you make this Lemon Raspberry Cake then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Lemon Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}

Gluten-Free Lemon Raspberry Cake is a wonderfully indulgent cake for a special occasion. The very lemony sponge is made from ground almonds and plain gluten-free flour so it is incredibly
accessible for novice gluten-free bakers. Fresh raspberries are baked into the sponge but also fill the cake along with a lemony mascarpone cream.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Resting Time4 hrs
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 480

Ingredients

  • 320 g caster sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 240 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 180 g gluten-free plain flour + 1 tablespoon extra
  • 180 g ground almonds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 300 g raspberries
  • 25 ml limoncello or Homemade Lemon Syrup

Homemade Lemon Syrup (optional substitution for the Limoncello)

  • 6 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • juice of 2 lemons

Lemon Mascarpone Cream

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello or lemon syrup
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C/gas mark 4 and line and grease a 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a very clean bowl and set aside.
  • Beat the sugar with the lemon zest and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions.
  • Add the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl then beat into the rest of the ingredients.
  • Finally fold in the egg whites.
  • Divide the cake between the two tins.
  • Sprinkle the extra tablespoon of gluten-free flour over the raspberries and shake the bowl until the raspberries are well coated in the flour.
  • Drop 75g of raspberries into each tin, smoothing the cake batter over the top.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven, leave in their tins for 5 minutes before inserting them out onto cooling racks.
  • Brush 2 tablespoons of limoncello liberally over the top surface of the cakes.

Homemade Lemon Syrup

  • Pour the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Whisk in the lemon juice and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove the lemon syrup from the heat and leave to cool.

Lemon Mascarpone Cream

  • Whip the double cream in a medium sized bowl until thick but still a little runny.
  • Add the mascarpone and limoncello (or lemon syrup) and mix in until smooth.

Assembly

  • Cut both cakes in half so you end up with 4 cake layers.
  • Place one of the cake layers on a round 8 inch cake card for support.
  • Take 1/3 of the Lemon Mascarpone Cream and completely cover the top of the cake to the very edges of the sponge.
  • Sprinkle over the cream 50g of raspberries, pressing slightly into the cream.
  • Lay the second cake layer over the top, pressing down gently so the cake layer is even. Cover with another 1/3 of the cream and sprinkle over another 50g raspberries.
  • Lay the third cake layer over the top and repeat with the last of the cream and raspberries.
  • Finally place on the last cake layer, pressing gently so the cake have an even straight top.
  • Using a palette knife, smooth the cream, which will have burst out of the sides of the cake, along the sides of the cake creating the ‘naked’ look.
  • Wrap the cake in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to overnight to settle.
  • Just before serving unwrap the cake, place on a serving plate and sieve some icing sugar over the top surface.

Notes

Limoncello or Lemon Syrup
  • If you don’t want to include any alcohol in this cake then you can substitute the Limoncello with the Homemade Lemon Syrup outlined in the recipe above. If you are using the Limoncello then you don’t need the Lemon Syrup
Lemon Mascarpone Cream
  • Use a balloon whisk to whip the double cream and always whisk by hand for maximum control. The cream can be overwhipped in a matter of moments. The double cream will continue to be whipped when you are mixing with the mascarpone so if anything underwhip the double cream at first.
Assembly
  • Use a sharp knife or a special cake cutting tool to cut the cakes in half.
  • It’s important to wrap the cake up and leave to rest before serving. This is so the raspberries have a chance to sink into the cream and the cake adheres together.
Store
  • The cake will keep up to 3 days wrapped up well in the fridge. Since the cake has fresh cream it should not be left out in the sun or a warm kitchen for any length of time.
Freeze
  • You can freeze the initial two cake sponges once cooled. Double wrap well in cling film and tin foil. Remove from the fridge to defrost overnight. Then you can cut the cake halves and make the cream for assembling the cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 117mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg