Flourless Lemon Almond Cake


A gluten-free, light and airy lemon cake make with almond flour, eggs, and sugar. Perfect for a holiday dessert!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Holiday meals can be so heavy, it’s refreshing to have a dessert that is relatively light, like this flourless lemon almond cake. This is a classic cake recipe, if I’m not mistaken, from southern Spain.

The basic ingredients are simply almond flour (finely ground blanched almonds), eggs, sugar, and lemon zest. No butter or wheat flour. The cake behaves a bit like a soufflé in that it gets most of its rise from the eggs in the batter, and then gently falls as it settles.

I’ve included a bit of baking powder to help the cake maintain a bit more structure as it cools. The result is a light and tender crumb, softly sweet and lemony. You could easily twirl some raspberry sauce around it, or add a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!

Flourless Lemon Almond Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

It helps to separate the eggs first, while they are cold, and then let them sit to come to room temperature as you prep the other ingredients.  Eggs are easier to separate when cold, and they perform better as leavening agents when at room temperature.

When whipping egg whites, make sure your equipment is perfectly clean. Any fat (or even bits of egg yolk in the whites) can keep the egg whites from properly whipping up.

If almond flour is not available at your market, you can grind up blanched, slivered almonds in a food processor until very finely ground.  I would start with a little more than 1 1/3 cups. Our local Whole Foods carries a Bob's Red Mill brand of finely ground blanched almond flour which is what we used for this recipe.


  • 4 eggs (large), separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature (see how to separate eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest, packed
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar, divided 1/4 cup (50 g) and 1/4 cup (50 g)
  • 1 1/2 cup lightly scooped (144 g) finely ground blanched almond flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure your baking powder is fresh!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Special equipment:

  • 8 or 9-inch springform pan


1 Preheat oven, prepare pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 °C).  Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 8 or 9-inch springform pan, and grease it and the sides of the pan with butter or cooking spray.

2 Beat egg yolks, lemon zest, 1/4 cup sugar: In a large bowl, beat together with a wooden spoon the egg yolks, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.

3 Whisk almond flour, baking powder, cardamom, beat into egg yolk mixture: In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, ground cardamom, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until well combined. The mixture should resemble a thick paste.

4 Whip egg whites to soft peaks: With an electric mixer with a very clean bowl and clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed.

whip egg whites until they start to foam

When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of vinegar (both the salt and the vinegar will help the beaten egg whites maintain better structure, as will the sugar in the next step).

As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, a little at a time, as you continue to beat the eggs whites. Beat until soft peaks form.

5 Fold beaten egg whites into almond mixture: Stir a third to a half of the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture to loosen it and make it lighter.

Then gently fold the remaining whipped egg whites into the batter, a large scoopful at a time.

6 Scoop batter into pan, bake: Gently scoop the batter into a the prepared springform pan and place in the oven. Bake at 350°F (175 °C) for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake helping it to separate from the side of the pan.

Release the springform pan sides, and gently move the cake (on parchment) to a cake serving plate. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar before serving.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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211 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Paris

    I made this for my partners family over Christmas. Majority of them have a gluten intolerance so this recipe seemed like a good one to try out over the Australian summer. I doubled the recipe and made it as more of a layer cake. I had a whipped cream in between the two cakes and on top. I then decorated the top with candied lemons. No one has stopped talking about it! I am going to try incorporating a raspberry swirl through this year for Christmas to change it up a bit.


  • Hanna

    i made this twice now. as per recipe. 1st time with lemon. 2nd time today with Orange zest.
    its fluffy and smells delicious. the 1st time i gave to my gluten free friend who devoured it and was suprised how simple it is with few ingredients. perfect with some whipped cream!


  • Carol

    Just made this and it is soooo good!!! My husband and I ate half of it for dessert after lunch. I didn’t have cardamom so I used cinnamon and ginger and it was delicious!


  • Lisa

    delicious cake! I changed the recipe a little bit. I creamed 1/4 Cup of sugar with a stick of butter, added in the 4 egg yolks one by one and beated til creamy. Then I added the almond flour(which I weighed – honeyville) and baking powder and lemon zest. I set this mix aside and beat the egg whites as directed. No problem folding in. It was light and fluffy. I baked at 350 for 15 minutes and 325 for 15 minutes and after 30 minutes a toothpick came out of center clean. I made a batch of sugar free lemon curd from “All Day I Dream About Food” blog. I topped the cake with a layer of curd then a layer of fresh whipped cream. Diabteic friendly and absolutely delicious!


  • Mavis

    I made my cake as per method, experienced similar to others with the egg and almond meal batter but was very careful not to mix the second half of the egg white mixture too much and just lightly folded it in. Cake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 mins but just happened to notice the top suddenly went brown as lo
    Ike meringue. I took it out, turned the oven to 300 and waited to put it back in for the remainder of the time but with alfoil over the top. It looked cooked on the top at 15 mins but i was nervous it wasnt cooked in the middle. Cake out at 30 mins, looks ok on top but a little dry around the sides. This was to be my contribution for dessert for our family fathers day tonight. I am a bit nervous about the outcome when I cut it. I am wondering if I should have stirred in the egg whites more thorougly and cooked the whole cake at 300 degrees for 30 mins. What do you think. Perhaps I should have a bought dessert as backup for tonight. I have made this once before but i was less particular and it turned out.

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