Gluten-Free All-Day Lemon Cake (With a Choice of Two Toppings) Recipe

This lemon cake is as good with a morning cup of coffee as it is as an after-dinner treat. . Elizabeth Barbone

The light texture and not-to-sweet lemony flavor of this cake make it perfect for breakfast, dessert, or whenever the mood strikes. The recipe gives you two choices for toppings: an easy simple-syrup glaze, or a tart lemony icing. You can also vary the cake by adding whatever berries are in season when you make it.

Why this recipe works:

  • Rice flour and tapioca starch combine to create a cake that's delicate and that does not rely on xanthan gum for structure.
  • Lemon zest in the batter and lemon juice in the glaze add a strong lemon flavor without overpowering the cake.

Recipe Details

Gluten-Free All-Day Lemon Cake (With a Choice of Two Toppings) Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 50 mins
Serves 6 servings


  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) brown or white rice flour

  • 3/4 cup (6 ouncesgranulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup (1 ouncetapioca starch

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest from 2 to 3 lemons

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 large eggs

Option 1: Simple Syrup Glaze

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons zest and 6 tablespoons fresh juice from about 4 to 6 lemons

Option 2: Powdered Sugar Icing

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk together rice flour, granulated sugar, tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and lemon zest. Pour buttermilk mixture over dry ingredients. Whisk in vegetable oil and eggs until smooth.

  3. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

  4. Option 1: Simple Syrup Glaze Meanwhile, if making the Simple-Syrup Glaze, combine granulated sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring gently until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and cook syrup until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

  5. While cake is still warm, poke it all over with a fork. Brush top of cake with syrup and allow to absorb fully, about 5 minutes. Repeat until all syrup is absorbed.

  6. Option 2: Powdered Sugar Glaze If making Powdered Sugar Glaze, allow cake to cool completely. In small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Stir with a fork until smooth. Icing should be thick but spreadable; if the icing is too thick, add a little more lemon juice. Spread icing on cake and allow to set for 15 minutes before serving.

  7. Store cake, covered, on the counter for up to 3 days.


Select one glaze to finish the cake. The simple syrup glaze changes the texture of the cake a little, making it damp, while the powdered sugar icing leaves the coffee cake-like texture intact. If desired, toss together 1 cup washed berries, like blueberries, with 1 tablespoon white rice flour. Stir coated berries into the finished batter and bake as directed.

Special Equipment

8-inch square baking pan

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
535 Calories
20g Fat
84g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 535
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 64mg 21%
Sodium 441mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 84g 30%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 56g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 156mg 12%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 134mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)