Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Cake with Olive Oil is a huge treat during Meyer lemon season! Next to chocolate, lemon desserts are a family favorite at my house — and I’m hoping at yours too. I’m really in the mood for a delicious brunch. Truthfully, I’m usually in the mood for a delicious brunch. Who isn’t?
Most weekends seem to lend themselves to brunch. Lazy mornings, no rushing to work or school, coffee brewing, friends and family. Especially around the holidays!
When I saw how many lemons had turned yellow on my Meyer lemon tree, I had an idea. A delicious and pretty idea.
Enter, Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Cake with Olive Oil.
Not only would my Meyer lemons flavor a cake, but they would decorate and “frost” it as well. And the cake would be brilliant for a holiday brunch, or dessert, of course.
Typically we use the juice and zest of lemons in baking, but sometimes I love keeping some of the fruit whole. And with the sweetness of the cake, it’s not too tart or sour.
It’s the perfect serious lemon lovers treat!
I just love it in the winter when the green lemons turn yellow.
Suddenly my tree has such an abundance of beautiful, yellow lemons. I always get some sort of cooking or baking inspiration, when I see it out my window.
When are Meyer Lemons in Season?
- Meyer Lemon season can vary, depending on the climate where they’re grown. There’s a tree in the back yard at my parents’ house that thrives in the summertime, while mine thrives in the winter.
- Generally though, Meyer Lemon Season peaks between November and March.
How are Meyer lemons different from regular lemons?
- And by “regular” I mean the more common lemons, which are usually Eureka or Lisbon lemons.
- Meyer lemons are generally thinner skinned and smaller than regular lemons. The thinner skin usually means a super juicy lemon.
- Thought to be a cross between a regular lemon and a Mandarin orange, Meyer lemons are a bit sweeter and less acidic.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know by now that older son has Celiac Disease, and is therefore gluten-free.
So whenever I can swing it — in a most delicious way — I bake gluten-free goodies. He loves lemon desserts, and loves when I make him something new, scrumptious and interesting.
This Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Cake with Olive Oil is all that!
The coolest part about this cake is that the lemon slices function almost like frosting. Especially the inside layer of lemons, where they become slightly creamy during the cooking process.
This Meyer lemon cake would be lovely as a brunch centerpiece, or served slightly warmed with a scoop of of vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for an after dinner dessert.
Some of my other favorite Meyer lemon recipes . . .
- Meyer Lemon Thyme Spaghetti
- Meyer Lemon Basil Pizza
- My Mom’s Meyer Lemonade
- Fried Meyer Lemon Caesar Salad
- Vanilla Meyer Lemon Hot Milk Cake
- Whipped Meyer Lemon Vanilla Butter
- Marinated Meyer Lemon Garlic Croutons
- Meyer Lemon Red Chard Risotto with Pancetta
- Meyer Lemon Basil Salad Dressing
If you try this cake, or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments below. You can also follow on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more of my mouth-watering recipes!
Enjoy every last slice!
Update, December 2018: This recipe was originally published in 2012 and has been updated with new photographs.
This pretty, gluten-free cake is the essence of Meyer lemon season!
- 3 to 4 medium-sized Meyer lemons, washed and dried (once sliced, you want about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup fine almond meal (or almond flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line the inside of a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 3-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Lining this sort of pan with parchment can be tricky.
Lining this sort of pan with parchment can be tricky. Turn the loaf pan up side down and use a pencil to lightly outline the bottom and sides -- using a piece of parchment slightly larger than you think you'll need. Cut along the pencil lines and insert it into the pan. Then repeat this process in the opposite direction. (I like to use two separate pieces for each direction. so that it fits quite snugly.)
After zesting a few of the lemons (to get 1 1/2 tablespoons), slice all of them as thinly as you possibly can. Remove seeds as you go, and don't worry if you can't slice the entire lemon (it gets hard to hold and slice as it gets smaller).
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the olive oil, vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Blend until it's smooth. Then add the eggs and mix until they are fully incorporated, and the batter is once again, smooth.
Now gently fold in the flour, almond meal, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until smooth and set aside.
Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar over the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Then in a single layer, line the bottom surface, and about 1/4 of the way up the sides of the pan with lemon slices. You will need to slice some of them in half for the sides -- placing the flat edge at the bottom edge of the pan.
Evenly spread about half of the batter over the lemon slices, and carefully press another single layer of the lemon slices over this first layer of batter, and sprinkle them with the last 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Finally, evenly spread the remaining batter on top.
Bake in the preheated 350°F oven until the cake is golden brown, is beginning to crack, and will no longer jiggle when you move the pan -- about 45 minutes.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes or so. Then invert it onto a serving platter and very slowly and gently, peel away the parchment paper. Let it cool for at least another 45 minutes before slicing.
Yes, of course you can use a lemon other than a Meyer -- though, if you can get your hands on Meyer lemons, you'll appreciate their slightly sweeter taste and much thinner skin!
Bob's Red Mill has great Brown Rice Flour and Almond Meal.
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