An extra moist, flourless lemon almond cake that's gluten free, drizzled with fresh lemon syrup. For Easter, shape like a nest and decorate with macarons, chocolate eggs, sugared edible flowers and French mendiants (chocolate disks).
Lemon Easter Nest Cake
Who loves lemon? We've been seeing such gorgeous lemons at the market recently, bringing their springy southern sunshine to Paris, that this moist Lemon almond cake is giving us a bit of much needed zest at this time of year.
Bake the cake in a savarin or bundt tin and it's an Easter nest!
What fun it has been to put this simple, sticky cake together and decorate it with sugared edible flowers, macarons and Easter chocolates. It's festive to celebrate Spring, as we traditionally welcome Spring with Macaron Day in Paris.
However, take the decorations away and it's still a luscious lemon cake in its own right at any time of year.
French Easter Chocolate Traditions
Why is there a chocolate hen nesting on the cake?
In the UK, we're used to mainly chocolate eggs and Easter Bunny sculptures. In France, there are many more added to the traditional chocolate Easter parade - from supermarkets to the high-end Chocolatiers. These are hens, bells and fish.
For a more detailed explanation and a seasonal online tour around Paris,
see our typical Parisian chocolate Easter displays.
Flourless Lemon Cake with Almond Flour
French Easter Chocolate Decorations
You'll see all sorts of bags of dark, milk or white chocolate fritures, a mixture of fish, seafood and shell shapes. As I previously made French chocolate Mendiants, I couldn't resist melting some white chocolate and sticking on some of these fritures with candied orange peel and toasted almonds.
Add little candy Easter eggs and some Parisian macarons too.
How to Make Edible Sugared Flowers
To make edible sugared flowers, it's easy.
- Pick some untreated, clean edible flowers such as primroses, primula, winter pansies or violas.
- Lightly brush with egg white from back to the fronts of the flowers, then sprinkle lightly with caster sugar.
- Leave to dry in a cool, dry place and use within a month.
Is Almond Flour Good for Baking Cakes?
This flourless lemon cake recipe is primarily made with finely ground almonds or almond flour instead of wheat flour. Baking with ground almonds gives the cake a delicious taste together with the lemon. It's a wonderful combination - just try my lemon macarons from my recipe books).
It also adds texture and makes this cake extra moist with the addition of eggs.
What's more, almond flour is one of the healthiest flours to bake with. It makes the cake lower in carbohydrates and is a low glycemic index food.
The lemon in the cake? (There are no cherries on this cake!) It also uses cornflour instead of wheat flour, making the cake extra light - and gluten free.
If you love almond flour in cakes, try my easy recipe for French teacakes, Financiers. They contain a little wheat flour but this can easily be replaced by coconut flour or hazelnut flour.
Is Baking Powder Gluten Free?
If you are following a strict gluten-free diet, however, do check the label of your baking powder. Most baking powders are gluten free but there are some sneaky ones that may contain wheat starch.
Tip for Waxed Lemons in Cakes
The best lemons to use are large unwaxed or untreated lemons - even better, organic. Especially as we're grating the zest.
If your lemon is waxed, steep it in a bowl of boiling water for a minute or two and brush off the wax with a clean kitchen brush. Pat dry on kitchen paper.
If your lemons don't have much zingyness to them, then make this cake using 2 lemons.
Flourless Lemon Almond Cake (Gluten-Free Recipe)
I used a cake mould of 23cm diameter but any similar-sized cake tin will work well.
Lemon Almond Cake (Gluten Free)
- a non-stick savarin or bundt deep tin, 23cm diameter or a regular greased cake tin
- 175 g (6oz/ ¾ cup) butter, unsalted (softened)
- 150 g (5.25oz/¾ cup) sugar
- 4 eggs (organic)
- 250 g (9oz/ 2¼ cups) ground almonds (almond flour)
- 2 tablespoon cornflour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large lemon, finely grated zest unwaxed/organic
- 50 g (1.75oz) lemon juice (from the rest of the lemon)
- 40 g (1.5oz/3 tbsp) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan/Gas 4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, either using a balloon whisk or mix together in a mixer until pale, smooth and creamy.
- Continue to mix together, gradually adding the eggs, ground almonds, cornflour, baking powder and lemon zest until the batter is smooth.
- Transfer to a cake mould (I used a non-stick shaped savarin/bundt deep mould, 23cm diameter, although a greased normal cake tin is good). Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until golden and when a knife inserted comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the syrup: squeeze out the juice in a bowl via a strainer to sift out the pips then weigh the juice and sugar together in a saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until it thickens slightly for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Cool the cake in the mould for about 10 minutes then take out of the tin and cool on a wire rack. Pour the syrup all over the cake and decorate as you wish.
This post was originally published in March 2018 but is now updated and refreshed after a Spring clean.