Gluten-free Lemon Layer Cake

Ellen Silverman

The holidays aren't an easy time for those of us on a gluten-free diet. But this lemon layer cake is good enough to make you forget about that. Tart, fluffy and sweet, and made as cake or cupcakes, make or bring this to your next holiday party.

Reprinted with permission from The Epicurious Cookbook by Tanya Steel & the editors of Epicurious. Copyright © 2012. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Recipe Facts

Active: 40 mins
Total: 100 mins
Serves: 8 servings

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  • For Cake Layers
  • 2 1/2 cups Brown-Rice Flour Mix (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing pans
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • For Lemon Curd
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • For Lemon Frosting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • Brown Rice Flour Mix
  • 2 cups brown-rice flour (extra finely ground)
  • 2⁄3 cup potato starch
  • 1⁄3 cup tapioca flour


  1. For the cake: Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with canola oil. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or wax paper, then oil the paper.

  2. Assemble the flour mix: put all ingredients into a sealable airtight container and shake until combined well. Whisk together the flour mix, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum until combined well. Stir together the milk, canola oil, vanilla, and zest in another bowl.

  3. Beat together the sugar and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed just until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until just combined.

  4. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, smoothing the tops, and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

  5. Cool the cake layers in pans on racks 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of one cake layer and invert rack over cake pan, then invert cake onto rack. Repeat with the second layer.

  6. Peel off the paper and cool layers completely.

  7. For the Curd: Whisk together the zest, lemon juice, sugar, yolks, a pinch of salt, and the guar gum in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Add the butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of a whisk and the first bubbles appear on the surface, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the extract.

  8. Immediately pour the hot curd into a bowl, then cover the surface with wax paper and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

  9. For Frosting: Beat the butter with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, extract, and zest, then mix until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.

  10. Frost Cake: Halve each cake layer horizontally using a long serrated knife. Spread the bottom half of each cake layer with half of the lemon curd, then top with remaining cake layers to form two sandwiched cakes.

  11. Put one sandwiched cake on a cake stand or platter and spread a heaping 1⁄2 cup frosting over top, then cover with remaining sandwiched cake. Frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.

Special equipment

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

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