Moist Almond Lemon Easter Nest Cake (Gluten Free)


An extra moist almond lemon cake shaped like a nest for Easter. Drizzled with lemon syrup, decorate with macarons, chocolate eggs, sugared edible flowers and French mendiants (chocolate disks). Moreover, the recipe just so happens to be gluten free.

lemon drizzle cake like a nest topped with chocolate hen and macaron eggs

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 Almond Lemon 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, however, 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 my previous Parisian chocolate Easter displays (which I shall update shortly).

Lemon Almond Easter Nest Cake

Why French Easter Hens, Bells & Fish?

What are some traditional shapes for Easter in France? Plus, who brings chocolate for Easter?

Here’s a quick summary:

HENS: As hens continue to lay their eggs even during the 40-day Christian tradition of Lent when meat or eggs are not allowed to be eaten, Easter’s arrival signalling the end of Lent means that there are a lot of eggs to be used.

BELLS: Tradition has it that church bells fly to the Vatican in Rome on Good Friday (bells therefore don’t ring for 2 days) and return with chocolate to distribute on Easter Sunday after joyfully ringing in the Mass to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

FISH: Easter falls around 1st April, April Fool’s Day. Known as Poisson d’avril (April Fish) in French, any decently duped April Fool in France will probably be sporting a school of colourful paper fish taped to their back.

arial view of chocolate hen sitting on a nest cake with lemon macarons

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.

What’s more, I used my silicone macaron mat (see my macaron mat review how I use it best) to make them.

Add little candy Easter eggs and some Parisian macarons too.

close-up of a lemon drizzle cake with flowers and Easter eggs

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!

Almond Lemon Easter Cake Method

Almond Lemon Easter Cake Recipe Method

Gluten Free Extra Moist Lemon Cake

This recipe uses cornflour instead of flour, making the cake extra light – and gluten free. The addition of ground almonds or almond flour makes this cake extra moist.

I used a cake mould of 23cm diameter but any similar-sized cake tin will work well.  Ensure that your lemon is unwaxed before grating the zest.  If not, pour over boiling water and brush off the wax with a clean kitchen brush and pat dry on kitchen paper.

Please do use the best quality lemons you can find.  If yours don’t have much zingyness to them, then make this cake using 2 lemons. Best are large unwaxed or untreated lemons – even better, organic.

lemon cake shaped like a nest with eggs and chocolate as decorations for Easter

Moist Lemon & Almond Easter Cake (Gluten-Free)

lemon drizzle cake like a nest topped with chocolate hen and macaron eggs
5 from 7 votes

Almond Lemon Easter Cake

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course : Breakfast, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine : French, British
Servings : 12
Calories : 350kcal


An extra moist lemon cake with ground almonds and drizzled in tart lemon syrup that is gluten free. Decorate it for Easter with chocolate mendiants, mini Easter eggs and lemon macarons.


  • 175 g (6oz) butter, unsalted (softened)
  • 150 g (5.25oz) sugar
  • 4 eggs (organic)
  • 250 g (9oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp 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) 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 shaped mould, 23cm diameter, although a normal cake tin is good) and 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 over the syrup all over the cake and decorate as you wish.


Can keep for up to 5 days if kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  Freezes well.
350 Calories per serving; 7g protein; 26g lipids; Gluten Free.

This post was originally published in March 2018 but is now updated and refreshed after a Spring clean.


From the market

From the kitchen

24 responses to “Moist Almond Lemon Easter Nest Cake (Gluten Free)”

  1. 5 stars
    Reminds me of my grand mother Easter cake
    Thank you for this great post

    • 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

  2. 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!

  3. Luscious Lemon Desserts (Recipes to Use Fresh Lemons) - Christina's Cucina says:

    […] Moist Almond Lemon Cake ? – make it for Easter or simply for dessert (gluten free). […]

  4. Sicilian Whole Lemon Cake (Using an Entire Lemon: Peel, Juice and Pulp) - Christina's Cucina says:

    […] Almond and Lemon Easter Cake […]

  5. 5 stars
    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!

  6. 5 stars
    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

  7. 5 stars
    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.

  8. 5 stars
    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.

  9. 5 stars
    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.

    • 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 Geni. Glad these recipe cards are worth doing, then! Have a most wonderful Easter weekend and enjoy the cake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating