Gluten Free Lemon Loaf

Gluten Free Lemon Loaf that is tender, moist and packing a citrus punch! Made with fresh lemons, the zesty cake is topped with a glossy sweet glaze. This cake is a love letter to all the citrus lovers out there!

Slice of gluten free lemon loaf on blue plate with fork

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This Gluten Free Lemon Loaf is technically a Pound Cake. The traditional method for making a pound cake involves combining one pound of each of the following ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and eggs. This ratio of ingredients can often lead to a heavy, dense loaf that dries out rather quickly. Because of this, modern pound cake recipes tend to be more forgiving and include ratios that are similar but not equal. Resulting in a pound cake that is much lighter and more moist.

Now obviously because this is a gluten free recipe, the wheat-flour is replaced with a gluten free flour blend. This actually works to our advantage when baking pound cakes because gluten free flour helps lighten everything up, creating an airier cake crumb.

Sliced of gluten free lemon loaf on wood board

Ingredients for Gluten Free Lemon Loaf

This recipe for Gluten Free Lemon Loaf is a classic and one of my favourites for many reasons. The method for mixing this cake is so simple and it all comes together quickly. The Ingredients are pantry staples making this cake super easy to whip up anytime the craving hits!

Here’s what you need to make this bright gluten free lemon Loaf:

  • Lemons: for a zesty, bright lemon loaf you will need about 2 or 3 fresh lemons that are both juiced and zested.
  • Butter: this technically wouldn’t be a pound cake without butter! Butter adds a distinct rich flavour and provides that classic tender cake crumb.
  • Vegetable Oil: pounds cakes are already on the drier side so when we then try to make a gluten free version you are essentially doubling down on the dry factor. The small amount of oil added to the recipe compensates for all that dryness and produces a softer, moister cake crumb.
  • Sugar: granulated sugar or caster sugar (berry sugar) both work well in this recipe as it provides sweetness while allowing the lemon flavour to take centre stage.
  • Eggs: three whole eggs are needed for this gluten free lemon loaf. The eggs will provide structure and leavening so the cake gets a good rise when baked.
  • Buttermilk: buttermilk in a pound cake recipe adds extra moisture and a tangy flavour that pairs well with this sweet lemon cake.
  • Gluten Free Flour Blend: I like to use my own recipe blend of All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend. The recipe for the blend can be found here. If you want to make things a little easier then I recommend store-bought blends such as Cup4Cup, Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1 to 1 or Better Batter.  
    • SIDE NOTE: If you are new to gluten free baking or are unfamiliar with the different variations of Gluten Free Flour Blends, check out this article I wrote for Food Bloggers of Canada, where I explain how to pick the right Gluten Free Flour.
  • Xanthan Gum: when it comes to cakes, xanthan gum helps build and hold the cakes structure while also keeping it fresher longer.  Gluten free flours absorb a lot of moisture, but they also dry out must faster when compared to wheat flours. Which is why adding just a pinch of xanthan gum can be a real game changer.  Not that this cake ever lasts more than a few hours in my house 😅!
  • Baking Powder: Using a reliable leavener like baking powder is needed for heavy cake batters, like this pound cake base.
overhead view of Sliced of gluten free lemon loaf on wood board

Pastry Chef Tips for Making the BEST Gluten Free Lemon Loaf

Converting traditional cake recipes to be gluten free may seem intimidating but it’s actually much easier than you might think! This is because cakes rely very little on gluten for texture and structure so adapting a cake recipe to be gluten free is an ideal starting point for anyone new to gluten free baking. 

Food Science Fact: If you look at most traditional cake recipes that use wheat flour, they often call for cake flour instead of all-purpose flour or a combination of the two. This is because cake flour has the lowest amount of protein (approx. 5-8%), compared to all-purpose wheat flour (approx. 10-13%). The lower level of protein reduces gluten development which helps to create a much lighter more delicate cake crumb.  

Find more tips and information about how to make the best gluten free cakes here.

With just a few tips you will be making this bakery-worthy Gluten Free Lemon Loaf at home.

  1. Use Fresh Lemons: The flavour from fresh lemons is brighter, zestier and just can’t be compared to the bottled stuff.
  2. Use a Kitchen Scale: The importance of accurately measuring your baking ingredients can make or break your recipe. This is especially true for a recipe like this Gluten Free Lemon Loaf because if too much flour is added then the cake will turn out dry and crumbly. If you really want to ensure your success when baking gluten free, I highly recommend a digital kitchen scale.
  3. Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Room temperature ingredients reduce the chance of your cake batter separating (becoming curdled). Smooth batters produce cakes with a much better texture and even bake. 
  4. Bake in a Metal Loaf Pan: Metal is a much better thermal conductor when compared to glass or ceramic materials. Using a metal loaf pan will result in an evenly baked cake. For more info on choosing the right baking pans click here.
  5. Bake your cake AS SOON AS THE BATTER IS READY: Letting cake batter hang around after it’s been mixed will lead to a flat, sunken cake.
  6. Bake at a lower temperature. Pound cakes have a fairly thick heavy batter due to the ratio of butter and sugar. Because of this the cake needs extra time to ensure a nice even bake.
  7. Avoid Overbaking: There are three ways you can confidently check that your cake is fully baked and ready to come out of the oven.
    • Insert a cake tester or a wooden skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean with just a few bits of cake attached.
    • When the cake is browned around the edges and has begun to pull away from the sides of the cake pan.
    • The cake is ‘Springy”. If you gently press your finger against the centre top of the cake it should spring back without leaving an indent.
  8. Cool the Cake Before Slicing: When gluten free cakes come out of the oven, although fully baked, will still be slightly gummy in the centre. As the cake cools, it will release steam. As the moisture continues to evaporate as it cools, the cake will become dryer. Resulting in a lighter crumb structure.
  9. Add Glaze to Cooled Cake: If you are adding a glaze or frosting to this loaf then wait until the cake is fully cooled. If added too soon and the cake is still warm, then the glaze will melt and seep into the cake.
Sliced of gluten free lemon loaf on wood board

Storing Gluten Free Lemon Loaf Cake

You can store this Gluten Free Lemon Loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Refrigerating

If you need to store Gluten free Lemon Loaf longer than 3 days its best to keep it in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. Any longer and I recommend freezing the cake.

Freezing

Frozen Gluten Free Lemon Loaf (without the glaze) will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Allow the lemon loaf to cool completely before wrapping it in plastic wrap. Then wrap it in aluminum foil and place it in a resealable freezer bag. When you are ready to thew the loaf, remove it from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 6-7 hours.

Sliced of gluten free lemon loaf on wood board

The tart, vibrant lemon flavour of this Gluten Free Lemon Loaf is balanced by a thick layer of sweet glazed frosting. This cake is incredibly easy to make and perfect for any occasion!

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Slice of gluten free lemon loaf on blue plate with fork

Gluten Free Lemon Loaf


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  • Author: Kira McMullan
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 1 Loaf 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

The tart, vibrant lemon flavour of this Gluten Free Lemon Loaf is balanced by a thick layer of sweet glazed frosting. This cake is incredibly easy to make and perfect for any occasion!


Ingredients

Scale

Gluten Free Lemon Loaf

220g or 1 3/4 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend (ie; Cup4Cup or Bob’s 1 to 1)

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (sub ‘Pinch’ if using table salt)

200g or 1 cup Granulated Sugar

115g or 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, Soft

2 Fresh Lemons, Juiced and Zested

3 Large Eggs, Room Temperature

100ml or 1/3 cup Buttermilk, Room Temperature

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Lemon Glaze

120g or 1 cup Powdered Sugar, Sifted

1 Fresh Lemon, Juiced

1 tbsp Whole Milk

Pinch of Salt


Instructions

Gluten Free Lemon Loaf

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F degrees. Prepare a 9″ loaf pan with grease and line with parchment paper.

Step 2

In a medium bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or by hand with a wooden spoon, cream the room temperature butter, sugar and lemon zest just until light and fluffy.

Step 3

In a bowl or measuring jug, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and lemon juice. Gradually stream in the wet mixture to the creamed butter and mix until well blended. Remember to scrape the sides and bottom on the bowl with a spatula. 

Step 4

Add in the dry ingredients all at once and mix until just combined

Step 5

Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or spoon.

Step 6

Bake the lemon loaf for approx 1 hour. Test the loaf for doneness by inserting a into the centre of the loaf, if the toothpick comes out clean with just a few crumbs, it it fully baked! 

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack. Allow the lemon loaf to cool completely before glazing or slicing

Lemon Glaze

Step 1

In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk and salt together until smooth.

Step 2

Pour the glaze over the cooled lemon loaf. Use a spoon to spread the glaze so it covers the whole loaf.

Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour

Recipe questions? I’d love to help!

Connect with me @kirabakesglutenfree or info@kirabakesglutenfree.com

Gluten Free Pastry Chef Kira McMullan, eating slice of cake

Ready to try another Gluten Free Recipe? Why not bake my Gluten Free Butterscotch Pecan Tarts or The Best Gluten Free Flaky Pie Crust.



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