A fluffy gluten-free Meyer lemon snack cake that’s loaded with poppyseeds and infused with bright lemon flavor in each bite.
When your neighbors give you lemons, make lemon cake! Some day we’ll have a thriving lemon tree in our backyard, but today is not that day. Fortunately we have generous neighbors with prolific Meyer lemon trees who gift us lemons every February. The girls and I often turn them into lemonade, and course I love to bake with them.
This cake makes great use of Meyer lemons. If you don’t have Meyers you could use any lemon here. You could also try swapping in lime zest and juice or orange zest and juice for an equally delicious and flavorful cake. The poppyseeds bring a nice crunch that offsets the sweetness of the cake.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
So lemony. Rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar before proceeding with the recipe infuses the cake with lovely lemon fragrance and flavor. This is a little trick that can be applied to any cake that calls for citrus zest.
Simple ingredients. Just two gluten-free flours, oat flour and arrowroot, are needed for the gluten-free flour base.
Fluffy texture and crumb. The oat flour is balanced by a bit of arrowroot to create a soft, fluffy crumb in the cake. I love a soft cake, and this one suits me perfectly!
Just sweet enough. I opted not to do a glaze on this cake because I felt like it’s sweet enough from the sugar and the light sweetness of the Meyer lemon zest and juice. If you wanted a bit more sweetness, you could sprinkle powdered sugar across the top before serving.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Meyer Lemon Cake
- Unsalted butter
- Meyer lemon zest
- Gluten-free oat flour: My favorite gluten-free flour, oat flour performs wonderfully in cakes.
- Arrowroot powder: Helps to bind the ingredients and create a sturdy crumb.
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Fine sea salt
- Whole milk
- Fresh Meyer lemon juice
What are Meyer Lemons?
Meyer lemons are small, sweet lemons that start coming into season in December. Unlike regular lemons (Eureka or Lisbon lemons), Meyer lemons have a shorter season (ending around May) and in my opinion are best in mid-winter! They are thought to be a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange.
What is the difference between a Meyer lemon and a regular lemon?
The biggest difference to me is their taste. While lemons are meant to be tart, Meyer lemons have less acidity and are almost sweet (so, great for lemonade and baking). They are also smaller and can be a darker yellow color than regular lemons.
How to Make Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Snack Cake
Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post for the full recipe.
- Prepare pan. Grease an 8 or 9-inch square pan with butter and line with parchment paper.
- Mix lemon zest and sugar together. In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar for about a minute until the oils from the lemon are fragrant.
- Add butter. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar-zest mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
- Whisk flours. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and lemon juice.
- Combine. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and milk muxture to the butter mixture in three additions. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to smooth the top.
- Rest batter. Let batter rest at least 10 minutes When ready to bake preheat oven to 350° F.
- Bake cake. Place cake in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Oat flour – try sorghum flour.
- Arrowroot – try tapioca flour.
- To make dairy-free – substitute coconut oil at cool room temperature or your favorite non-dairy butter for the butter. Substitute your favorite non-dairy milk for the whole milk.
- Refined sugar-free – use maple sugar in place of the sugar.
- Meyer lemons – you could use regular lemon zest and juice in this recipe if you can’t get Meyers.
How to Store Meyer Lemon Cake
Store the cake in an air-tight container or well-covered with foil in the fridge, for 3 days. It tastes best at room temperature.
Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Snack Cake
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons packed Meyer lemon zest
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups/281 g gluten-free oat flour
- ¼ cup/40 g arrowroot powder
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
- Grease an 8 or 9-inch square pan with butter and line with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, place the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar for about a minute until it is well integrated and the oils from the lemon are fragrant.
- Then add the butter. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar-zest mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and lemon juice. The mix will curdle slightly.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just until combined after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to smooth the top.
- Allow batter to rest at least 10 minutes, ideally up to half an hour. When ready to bake preheat oven to 350° F.
- Place cake in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, the top lightly springs back when pressed, and the edges are starting to gently come away from the edges of the pan.
- Remove cake from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cake cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely. You may dust with powdered sugar if you like or serve plain. Cake will keep in an air-tight container or well-covered with foil in the fridge, for 3 days. It tastes best at room temperature.