Gluten Free Lemon Olive Oil Pound Cake
Citrus season is here in abundance and I don’t know a better way to celebrate the season than with this lemon olive oil cake. This cake is ultra-lemony, super moist and chock full of flavor. I’m so happy to finally be posting this recipe, as I’ve made this cake WAY TOO MANY times the past 2 months and I seriously need to detox from it. Steve has also asked me to stop making this, as he can’t stop eating it when it’s sitting on the counter.
This cake does not taste at all what you might think a gluten-free or dairy-free cake would taste like. It’s super light, moist, fluffy and chock full of flavor. Once you start with one slice, you won’t be able to stop. Steve makes fun of me because he can tell when I’ve gotten into the cake, as there are these random half slices. I will slice off half of a piece thinking that’s better than a whole slice, but then I will go back and take another quarter slice, so at the end of the day, I end up eating the whole slice and then repeat with another slice. I can’t stop! This is the BEST snacking cake and pairs beautifully with a cup of coffee or tea.
Another thing I love about the cake is that it’s a one-bowl cake, everything goes into one bowl and then gets mixed together. I love that fact that I can toss everything together at 2:00 in the afternoon and have a cake cooling on the counter at 3:00 when the kids (and by kids, that includes Steve and I) are craving something sweet after school.
To be honest, this cake does have some variability, as most gluten free cakes do. They can be finicky for sure. Sometimes this cake has come out AMAZING, like pure perfection, and then other times it has come out good, but a bit denser, so that’s why I’ve made it 10 times in the past 2 months. 8 out of 10 times it’s come out great, so that’s why I’m posting it.
This cake is a bit like life, it’s got variability, sometimes it’s amazing and other times it’s just plain good. It’s not perfect, just like we’re not perfect. I mean who wants to be perfect anyway? I would rather fail at something, and learn and grow from it, than to be perfect and not grow. Well, I’ve grown a bit by making this cake over and over in more ways than one, for sure!
Gluten-free dairy-free lemon olive oil pound cake
makes 1 loaf
Recipe from Cannelle et Vanilla Bakes Simple
Bakeware needed: 1-pound loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5)- I used this one from USA Bakeware
- 1 cup cane sugar – I recommend using regular cane sugar instead of coconut sugar, as I used coconut sugar on a batch and it made the cake dense and it lost some of the lemon flavor
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (roughly 2 large or 3 medium sized lemons)
- 1 cup (140 g) brown rice flour – The recipe called for superfine brown rice flour, but I couldn’t find superfine brown rice flour locally, so I used Arrowhead Mills organic brown rice flour and it worked great. I found this flour at Whole Foods.
- 1 cup (100 g) superfine almond flour, any lumps broken up – I used Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup plain non-dairy full fat yogurt – I used Oatly and The Coconut Cult – use dry measuring cup here
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan – use liquid measuring cup here
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a paper towel, grease the inside of a 1-pound loaf pan with olive oil, making sure to spread the oil on the bottom, sides and corners. I found that this cake has a tendency to stick the the bottom in places, so to remedy that I lined my pan with a sling of parchment paper. To make a sling, set the pan on a slice of parchment paper, then mark the edges of the long side, cut parchment paper as wide as the bottom of the pan and then long enough to overhang the edges of the pan by 2-inches (see below photos). Press parchment paper into the oiled pan.
In a large bowl, rub together 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon zest until fragrant (make sure to get all the zest incorporated into the sugar). This step helps release the natural lemon oil, and the smell is amazing!
Don’t let those zested lemons go to waste! When you zest a lemon it hardens quickly, so put those lemons to use and make up 2 batches of the best lemon vinaigrette. I use this vinaigrette daily, and it lasts in the fridge for a week, so not only will you have some amazing lemon cake to eat, but you will have a homemade and healthy dressing ready to go when you want to whip up a salad.
Let’s chat about measuring alternative flour. If you have a digital kitchen scale, then I would suggest weighing the flour, as alternative flours can vary widely in consistency and are finer than regular flours, making them hard to pack evenly and consistently into a measuring cup. Weighing flours will give you consistent results each time. If you’re going to be baking using alternative flours, then I would suggest making an investment in a digital scale.
For those of you that don’t have a digital scale, you can still make this cake using regular old measuring cups and that’s honestly how I made this cake the majority of the time. I did the below method to measure out the flours, and it worked great.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter and set a measuring cup in the center (this is to catch any excess flour, so you can pour it back into the bag). Use a spoon to fluff the flour in your bag or jar. When flour sits in a bag or jar, it naturally settles, and can pack a bit and get clumpy. Fluffing it up helps redistribute the flour, so that you can get an accurate measurement.
Spoon flour into cup, occasionally shaking cup to settle flour, until flour is mounded over rim. Be careful not to press the flour into the measuring cup and do not tap cup on the counter, or pack flour.
Using a flat edge, (like a back of a knife) scrape away excess flour to level. Using the parchment, pour remaining flour back into the bag.
Add brown rice and almond flour to same bowl as the sugar. Add in 3 eggs, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Whisk the batter thoroughly until smooth and shiny (roughly 40 – 50 seconds). This helps to incorporate the eggs, yogurt and flours together. You can’t over-mix a gluten-free batter, as there isn’t any gluten, so whisk away.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Make sure to tap the pan a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles.
I also suggest investing in an oven thermometer, as there can be a big discrepancy between the temperature the oven says it at, and the actual oven temp inside the oven. I was never concerned about this until I had some issues with my oven taking longer to bake certain items, so I invested in a thermometer and found my oven was off by 25 degrees. We recalibrated it, but I still look at the thermometer when it hits 350 to make sure it’s at 350 inside.
Put the cake into the prep-heated oven, close the door and then press the temp keys again to 350, as sometimes when you open the oven the temp goes down. I always do this to ensure it gets back to the original temperature I set it to.
Bake cake for 47-50 minutes, until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake has started to pull away from the edges of the pan a bit. I found that my cake took exactly 48 minutes to cook to perfection.
Let the cake rest in the pan for 15 minutes. As I said earlier, this cake has a tendency to stick to the pan in places, so take a knife and run it along the edges of cake to make sure it’s not sticking, and then grab the ends of the parchment and pull the cake from the pan. Let cake cool on a wire rack.