This lemon almond layer cake with a luscious vanilla cream cheese frosting is vegan, gluten free and insanely delicious! It’s absolutely perfect topped with fresh berries and makes for a stunning Spring or Summer dessert.
My apologies in advance for the number of cake photos you’re about to see in this blog post. We usually try to limit the number of images to keep our posts short and sweet, but I’m making an exception for this cake. Just look at it…can you blame me? I’m craving it all over again just looking at these photos.
The actual cake has a perfect texture, especially considering it’s both vegan and gluten free! Freshly squeezed lemon juice and aromatic lemon zest add a distinct tang that we can’t get enough of. Almond extract and almond flour add a slight nuttiness that pairs perfectly with vanilla frosting. Fresh berries are quite literally the cherry on top – they add just the right amount of freshness! Fresh chamomile flowers are an optional, but encouraged garnish. (We actually grow them in our garden!)
A quick note on the cake: we used our homemade gluten free flour blend in this recipe. We highly suggest giving the recipe a try, especially if you bake a lot of gluten free goods. We created our own recipe because we found that many store-bought blends differed widely in final taste/texture. Some blends end up making your cake gummy/undercooked, while others are too dry. Our blend worked perfectly in this recipe, but just to be safe, we also tested it with our favorite store bought blend and it still worked well. Just please note that we can’t guarantee the exact same texture with every store bought blend.
The frosting is a favorite in our house: vegan vanilla cream cheese frosting. It’s slightly tangy and packed with vanilla bean; we have a pretty hard time not eating it by the spoonful! When it comes to vegan cream cheese, there are actually plenty of great options on the market. We’ve tried just about every brand out there, and they’ve all worked well in this frosting! We use the same frosting recipe with these carrot cake cupcakes, which are another Spring favorite!
We’ve already made this lemon almond layer cake a few times since we perfected the recipe. Both times, we devoured it within hours! We made a slightly altered version just this past weekend for my brother’s birthday and it was a hit! Travis is allergic to tree nuts, so we had to omit all almond products. We’ll be sharing a nut free version soon – be sure to let us know in the comments if you’d be interested in seeing the recipe.
This cake would be the perfect centerpiece for Easter, Mother’s Day or any Spring/early Summer dinner party. I can’t imagine a better way to surprise your mom than with this cake (and maybe a bouquet of flowers)! I may just have to make it again for my mom, although it won’t be a surprise since it’s her recipe. As long as there are no dishes to do, she’ll be thrilled!
Be sure to tag us on Instagram if you have a chance to make this cake (@crowded_kitchen, #crowdedkitchen). We love to see your recreations and we also love to hear your feedback!Print
This lemon almond layer cake with a luscious vanilla cream cheese frosting is vegan, gluten free and insanely delicious! It’s absolutely perfect topped with fresh berries and makes for a stunning Spring or Summer dessert. *NOTE: This recipe makes a two layer cake. If you’d like to make a single layer cake, cut all ingredient amounts in half. If you wish to make cupcakes, bake for 29-31 minutes. Will make 28-30 cupcakes.
- 2/3 cup vegan butter, softened
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 cups almond milk (brought to room temp)
- 4 cups gluten free all purpose flour blend*
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup oat flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Fresh raspberries and strawberries for topping
- 1 cup vegan butter, softened to room temp
- 16 oz vegan cream cheese, softened to room temp
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 335 F (we used convection bake cycle).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together gluten free flour, almond flour, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or regular mixing bowl), cream butter for about 1 minute.
- Next, add applesauce, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat until smooth.
- Slowly add in almond milk. The mixture may separate a bit if the almond milk is too cold, but don’t panic – it will be fine when you add in dry ingredients.
- When almond milk is incorporated, add dry ingredients in 3-4 increments. Beat until batter is smooth. Let batter sit for 20 minutes before transferring to cake pan.
- Line two 9 X 9 cake pans with parchment paper and pour batter in. Bake for 35 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. (Note: if using store bought gf flour blend, you may need to bake an extra 5-15 minutes.)
- Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
- While cake is cooling, beat together vegan cream cheese and butter until well incorporated. Add in powdered sugar (you can sift for an extra smooth texture, but not totally necessary), vanilla and salt and beat until smooth and creamy.
- When cake is completely cool, frost one cake with about 1/3 of the frosting, then add second layer and add remaining frosting. Top with fresh berries. Enjoy! Store leftovers in refrigerator.
*If you don’t make our gluten free flour blend, we suggest using this store-bought blend. We tested it with this recipe and it worked well. It may take a bit longer to bake – ours took an additional 10-15 minutes.
Xanthan gum is optional, but it vastly improves the texture of gluten free baked goods. You can find it at specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods (in the baking section).