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.
For the macarons, use the recipes that are in either of my books, Mad About Macarons or Teatime in Paris!
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.
I don’t make cakes often, so was wondering if the Bundt pan should be greased?
If your cake tin is non-stick then there's no need to grease it. Otherwise I'd recommend doing so if you're not sure. Thanks for your question, as realise I had forgotten to mention this on the recipe card. Now updated for you. Have a delicious Easter weekend and happy baking!
Reminds me of my grand mother Easter cake
Thank you for this great post
You are very welcome, Ange. Thanks for popping in and Happy Easter!
You're a star - thank you so much this and for your previous review, Elena. Very proud that you've made this during your graduation from UCL. Congratulations and very best of wishes x
Easy recipe to follow with amazing results! My mum is intolerant to gluten and she really enjoyed it! Super soft and moist with a perfect balance of tangy and sweet, went down a treat!
I'm so happy to hear your lovely words, Elena and glad you enjoyed the cake. Perhaps the stars are not evident on the review form but if you can hit the stars to let google know next time, then I'd be most grateful. Thanks so much for taking the time to pop in and tell us!
I love this recipe Jill and I love that you can freeze the cake. Love the idea of edible flowers too. Definitely a treat for Easter.
It's an easy but particularly handy recipe as it's even better next day and the next, too!
I made this for a party over the weekend and it was a huge hit! Adapted it slightly by using the zest and juice of two lemons, which helped to make it even more moist and lemony. Only thing I'd say is watch the oven time and temperature - my oven is clearly rather powerful so even baking at 160F, the cake was done within 30 mins. Thanks for sharing a great recipe Jill! Rana
Thrilled to bits you love it too, Rana, and thanks so much for your valuable feedback. Of course, if you love it even more lemony, use 2 (depends also on the quality of lemons) and of course, all ovens are slightly different. That's why I say about 40 minutes or until golden. I think ovens are always a bit tricky to completely generalise so glad you know yours well and kept an eye on it! Great idea for a party - can you decorate it, Christmas style too! Jill x
Love the cake display Jill. Thank you for the explanation of the French Easter Chocolate Traditions. I've printed the recipe and I WILL make this. Easter still goes on here in spite of the weather.
So glad you'll make this, Thomasina. Best compliment ever!
Christina | Christina's Cucina
Delicious looking and sounding cake, Jill! I'll have to make this for my GF friends; I'm sure they'll love it! Thanks so much. I love all the traditions you described, and I didn't know about the bells! How cute! Hope you had a lovely Easter with your family! xx
Thank you! Isn't that so funny with the bells, Christina? The girls just couldn't get their head around that tradition and preferred the Easter bunny story when they were little.
What a gorgeous cake! I made this today and we only have half of it left 🙂 I used a 9 inch round tin and cooked it for an extra 5 mins. It was moist and light with a beautiful texture so I'll be making it again and thanks for sharing this one!
Thrilled to hear you made it, Deborah. Spent a while developing this one so much appreciated. Enjoy the rest of your Easter weekend.
Jill is that 50g sugar for the syrup? The cake has just gone in the oven!
Hi Fiona, luckily I'm at my computer this minute! Thanks for noticing it was missing from the recipe - I've updated it. It's 40g sugar for 50g of lemon juice. Enjoy the cake! Thrilled you're making it. Best compliment ever. Have a wonderful Easter!
Thanks for the speedy reply. It smells wonderful. I'm hiding it until tomorrow! Joyeuses Pâques!
Happy Easter to you, Fiona!
I've just printed this so I can make it. It looks and sounds delicious!!
Thanks Geni. Glad these recipe cards are worth doing, then! Have a most wonderful Easter weekend and enjoy the cake.