birthday happy: cake deliciousness

delicious lemon birthday cake-6

Don’t you just love birthdays?

I do.

Especially since I decided a couple of years ago that you’re not old until you’re 80 (and I reserve the right to change my opinion on that when I become an octogenarian).

So today is my birthday and do I have a treat for you.

My gorgeous, not-so-little pirate brother came to stay last week and was kind enough to do a few building jobs around the house. So I repaid the favour in my brother’s favourite currency – Lemon Meringue Pie.

And while it wasn’t quite as good as my Mum’s… I had a bit of a realisation of how much I love lemony sweet things and made a mental note to come up with LMP in cake form for my birthday cake.

And here it is. The secret is using almond meal to keep it super moist. Then the double hit of lemony goodness. First we add the zest of 2 lemons to the cake batter. And then when it comes out of the oven we double up with a liberal dosing of nothing but freshly squeezed lemon juice. Which keeps the whole thing fresh and zingy.

It’s certainly a celebrational cake.

delicious lemon birthday cake
takes 10 mins prep + 45 mins baking
serves 6-8

I love baking with almond meal because it keeps things lovely and moist AND gluten-free. But it can be expensive, so feel free to substitute in half or all self raising flour. The texture will be different but you’ll still be getting all the lovely lemony goodness.

I normally don’t bother with cakes that call for creaming the butter and sugar, but have made a special exception here.

250g (8.5oz) butter
250g (8.5oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
250g (8.5oz) almond meal
zest of 2 lemons + 1/2 cup lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a loaf pan with baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time.

3. Stir in almond meal and lemon zest.

4. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.

5. Punch holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over the lemon juice. Cool in the tin.


video version of the recipe


More Birthday Cake Love!

With love,
Jules x


  • Well, Happy Birthday to your e-cookbook Jules. Love your idea, and logic, of a 72 hr sale. Gosh, you are so young! I graduated from high school during the 70’s. You made me feel old tonight. However, that just means I’ve had even more years to enjoy cooking for my family :)

  • Thanks for the Birthday wishes Paul, Megan & Katie!

    I have a feeling this is going to be a great year for me! And thanks for your wishes.

    You are so sweet. Remember you’re not old until you’re 80 :)

  • Happy birthday!!!
    I’m really glad you came out with a recipe for 5 ingredient lemon cake because it’s my mom’s favorite.

  • Happy birthday Jules! Hope that Irish man of yours is spoiling you today. LOVE the photos of your birthday lemon cake, and I’m going to try it tomorrow. Really looking forward to having a birthday drink with you over dinner on Saturday xxx

  • Happy Birthday!!! I will celebrate your birthday from London trying your almond meal cake! I hope this new year is full of new recipes !

  • happy birthday dear
    i love to read your blog love to cook your recipes
    and started to create my minimalism kitchen
    thank you for all your inspirations
    my best wishes

  • Happy Birthday Jules! Between the 6-ingredient lasanga dish and this 5-ingredient cake, you’re stumbling into genius.

    I’d like to make one of these cakes for my mother, but even the smallest sliver of almost will make her vomit. What’s the best substitute for almond meal?

  • Yay for Sept birthdays! Happy birthday Jules – it was mine on Monday and I have friends – all girls – who have had birthdays on Thursday, today and tomorrow! Love the fact we start spring with cake and bubbles! Hope you do what I do and have a birthday week – would be rude not to. Off for a girls weekend to celebrate the virgos – so will make your cAKe and toast you to. Cheers!!!!!! and yay for the special – will go order it now – must say your recipes are staples at our place. All are winners ad have talked up your lentil balls to anyone and everyone!

  • Happy Birthday Jules from another ’72 girl. There’s only one slice of your carrot cake left in the tin so i’ll have to make this one tomorrow for a refill.

  • just discovered you via rythm of the home. can’t wait to try your salted choc chip cookies! and the many delicious looking 5 indgredient recipes. the concept you have going here, not to mention the stunning photography, is so exciting! thanks so much for the free downloads. i’ve been wanting to make a homemade version of my favorite childhood campbell’s soup – bean with bacon. i just can’t justify eating or feeding all the additives to my children anymore. a few of your recipes have given me ideas of what to try in order to recreate the soup in a healthy manner. looking forward to exploring a lot more with you soon.

    best wishes on your venture here!

  • Crap, I just missed the sale! Oh well, at least I’ll have this recipe. I’m drooling looking at my computer screen and am going to make this tomorrow for sure!

  • Doh! I missed the sale too! But this recipe looks delish! :D I keep meaning to try a orange and poppy seed style cake with lemon instead, with this recipe to inspire me, I might just get on that!

  • Happy birthday Jules (although it’s a bit late). Hope you had a lovely day! And I love your little brother’s favourite currency!! I have a (not so) little brother myself, and he loooves LMP and a lemon mousse our mom used to make. It’s so zingy (sour?) it makes your salvary glands curl up and pray for mercy. Fiddly, but divine. :-)

  • Happy Birthday Jules!
    Looking forward to trying this cake! Is that just normal whipped cream you have served it with or something special?

  • Happy Belated Birthday! I just had to let you know that I made this yesterday for my grandmother’s 77th birthday and it was divine! My whole family enjoyed it- thanks so much for sharing.

  • Billie
    Good spotting – it’s actually whipped cream mixed with an equal amount of full fat yoghurt… but cream would be just as lovely

    And a massive THANKYOU everyone for the birthday wishes. I really appreciate it!

  • Wow.
    I only had one lemon and so I made half the amount and baked them in fairy cake cases. I also used self raising flour and melted the butter as you suggest instead of creaming it.
    They came out amazing – The texture of little lemon puddings rather than cake.

  • It looks so wonderfully dense, and I just adore anything with lemon and butter. I really like cooking with almond meal compared to flour.

  • This looks like a really lovely cake. Any idea if the likes of splenda can be successfully substituted for the sugar?

  • Help: I tried this cake and ended up with a soggy, gooey mess. More like custard than cake, only very oily. Any idea what I might have done wrong?
    PS: Love your site and now the daily posts!

  • oh no Jenni!
    Did you add the almond meal? And what did the butter and sugar look like when you creamed them?
    Am sure we can figure out what went wrong

  • My cake also turned out an oily gooey mess. It looked like I had more than twice the amount of butter that I needed, but I followed the recipe exactly. My loaf tin had such a giant pool of butter that I ended up turning out the cake on a stack of paper towels while it was still warm. My cake was soggy and gooey.

  • Hi Andi

    I’m really sorry your cake didn’t turn out.. and thanks for letting me know… really appreciate it… it’s important to know when recipes don’t work out.. even more so than when they do..

    It is meant to be a moist cake with the lemon juice but not meant to have a pool of butter. I feel terrible.

    If you had butter separating out, I’m wondering if your eggs were large eggs? And did you bake it until it was golden? If it was gooey and soggy it sounds like it was under baked?

  • I used large eggs and I left it in the oven until it was quite brown. I pulled it out when it was a little jiggly in the pan because I was afraid that it would burn if I left it in any longer. Strangely, my skewer came out buttery but free of batter as if it was done cooking. We did eat it and it was quite tasty, but it had the texture of lemon bar filling instead of being cake like.

  • I just made this using regular flour and it turned out gorgeous! The lemon juice on the top really does make all the difference in the world. It’s lovely and light and tastes like sunshine, perfect to brighten up an otherwise blah day.

  • Andi
    I think I figured it out!

    I made the cake last weekend and served a small slice for my Dad when it came out of the oven.. it was exactly how you described above even though I’d overbaked it by 10 minutes.

    I then let it cool to room temp and served for dessert that night.. and had transformed itself into the cake I was expecting. Still supermoist but not ‘lemon bar filling texture’.

    Also. I checked it after 30 minutes and the skewer came out clean even though I could tell from the feel that it was underbaked.. a good lesson that almond based cakes don’t respond in the same way as flour-based.

    Thanks for giving me a reason to make the cake again!

    And Alecta
    Thanks for letting us know it works with flour too

  • Hi again.
    Yes, I used the almond meal, not wheat flour, and creamed the sugar and butter til light and fluffy. Eggs were large eggs. Like Andi’s, my finished product seemed to have twice as much butter as something like this needed. Once things cooled down, I ended up eating it out of the bread pan with a spoon (around the pools of cooled butter, which I scraped out for toast), but it didn’t seem like it’d slice very well: still pretty gooey .
    Maybe it was undercooked, though I watched the time closely; skewer did come out clean, but cake was golden though not overly brown.
    If I try it again, maybe I’ll use half the amount of butter? Or maybe half almond meal and half flour? The almond meal makes things too costly for many more experiments.

  • Nikitha
    I think you’ll have problems with a blender getting the butter and sugar to cream. Better to use a stand mixer or cream the butter and sugar by hand using a whisk or a fork. The other option is to melt the butter and mix everything by hand and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to help it rise.

  • Hi Jules, Found this recipe on Tastespotting. I was very excited to make this because Myers lemons are available now. So I followed the directions and when I was making the batter I thought seems like alot of butter. When I finish my cake was in a puddle of butter. I am from the US so when I converted I figured 1 cup of butter but now I think 1/2 cup might work better. Next time I will try the 1/2 cup and see how it goes. Thank you for the recipe.Suzanne

  • Hi Suzanne
    The cake would have been lovely with Meyer lemons..
    Sorry it didn’t work out for you. If you like baking, I’d highly recommend investing in a set of scales because it’s much easier and more accurate than converting to cups. Interested to hear how you go with the 1/2 cup butter?

  • I got the gooey lemon bar texture in a pool of butter too :( It was golden on top, and starting to burn on the edges, but a gooey mess in the middle. Your almond meal chocolate muffins (I make them into cupcakes) turn out perfect for me every time though.

  • I LOVE THIS. :) I wanted to let you know that I put a little less butter in it and made it with Grapefruit zest and Grapefruit juice because I was craving citrus, out of lemon, and didn’t wanna leave the house. It is pink and pretty and oh so delicious. Thanks for this easy recipe!

    • Also thinking of doing it again when I get lemon and add in sliced almonds and the actual amount of sugar. B/c I ran out of Stevia and put only 75% of what it called for I think.

  • Wow. This is the first GF recipe I have seen that is not excessively complicated with ingredients like xanthem gum and tapioca starch. Lemon is my favorite. Can’t wait to make this. Thank you!!!

  • Hi jules; Hoy he llegado a tu blog, y encuentro que es muy bueno, he llegado aquí por mi hija que te sigue desde hace tiempo y a hecho esta receta en particular. para regalarla, y a sido todo un éxito, incluso le pidieron la receta. Mi opinion, es que es antisaludable por la cantidad de grasa animal (puro colesterol) y exeso de azúcar, mi hija lo hizo solo con 180GRS. de azúcar, entiendo que es cuestion de gusto; en Europa, mas bien somos de ricos dulces, pero nunca relajante.
    Jules, siendo tú experta en alimentación, gustandote la sencilles , la comida veggie y etc, etc, etc…… me gustaría saber si estoy equivocada y porqué. Estoy casi segura que estoy equivocada porque no creo que pongas cosas que no sean saludable. Encantada de conocerte y Besitos

  • Wanted to say thanks so much for this one! I have about a garbage bag full of lemons at the moment and this recipe is a favourite!
    I ran out of butter and panicked so I used Greek yoghurt and it turned perfectly so maybe that can be a healthier alternative?

    Thanks again :D

  • Wow….Just made this…waiting fot it to cool…..looks perfect…i baked at 350 degress for 45 minutes, i substituted natvia for sugar, and added 1tsp baking powder….oh i also used orange zest and orange juice…can’t wait to try it….thank you so much!!

  • I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. I made it yesterday for my daughter who requested a lemon cake for her 11th birthday. It was my first time using almond meal or making a grain-free cake at all and I learned something– almond meal where I live (California) has the skins and is coarser than something called almond ‘flour’ which does not include the skins. So my cake wasn’t beautifully yellow like yours. It was brown!

  • I made this and I wonder if the measurements for the butter if off. It was waaayyyy too much butter with led to the middle being semi soggy after I cooked the cake for almost an hour. I think with half the butter, the cake will be delicious!

  • I’m going to surprise my nephew with this cake. We’re traveling to Ohio for his graduation and I think I’ll make it at home and carry it in a tin.

  • Anxious to try this recipe. I love lemons and have a lot right now. However, after reading the comments I am not sure I want to try it. The comments about too much butter have me wondering. Maybe the conversion from weight to cups is off. It does sound like a lot of butter, 1 1/2 cups. Anyone try it with US measurements?

  • Thank you so much for the Lemon Cake recipe. I absolutely LOVE lemon and this is the best lemon cake I have ever eaten, hands down!! You would never know that there is no flour in it! My hubby asks for it now too. We don’t need to eat gluten free but I do like to cook and eat healthy so this works for me that way too.

  • I have an addiction to foods with lemon in them. I came across your recipe and thought it looked awesome. You were correct though about how expensive the price of almond flour was and to be honest I was too cheap to get it. Instead of doing the alternative that you mentioned I substituted coconut flour for the almond flour and it still came out awesome. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • I opened a coffee shop a few months ago, all my cakes, scones & some breads are homemade. I only learnt how to bake about 8 months ago & turns out I’m pretty good. Customers kept asking me for a gluten free option, I thought I’ll never be able to make a nice gluten free cake. So I googled easy to make Gluten Free Cake & this one came up. It is a best seller, even men go crazy for it where normally they hear gluten free & say no straight away. The cake has becoming famous locally. I do bake it for longer, I know now by the look of it if it needs to be baked longer. I batch bake 3 or 4 at a time so times can vary, I have burnt the odd one but I send the burnt one into my husbands work & the lads fight over it LOL. Thanks so much for the fab recipe Jules:-)

  • Hi Jules! I haven’t tried the recipe yet but watching your video I so have to know what brand of zester you have. I so want one!

  • i got lemon bar filling as well. :-( i was careful with the ingredients and measured them and creamed them fully and baked till the top was golden brown. and waited 12 hours to slice it.
    it was also very buttery.

  • The flavor was good, but after baking mine for 1.5 hours and then pouring on the lemon juice, it was so wet. I put it all into a mixing bowl again and added 1/2 cup coconut flour and put in the oven to bake again, Didn’t come out at all nice enough to even cut. I Threw it away. Next time I will cut back some on the butter and do 1/2 almond flour and 1/2 coconut flour. Coconut flour absorbs liquid so it should help. Also wanted to let people know the best almond flour I found is Wellbee’s Super Fine Blanched Almond Flour. I bought mine on eBay. It is better in my opinion than Honeyville.

    • Sorry you had problems Sherry! And thanks for sharing your experience. I’m not surprised the coconut flour wasn’t nice. Just curious did you Cream the butter and sugar or melt the butter and mix it in? Jx

  • Jules, I just saw your recipe through Pinterest, the cake looked yummm and it sounded easy. Loved your video – thank you so much for showing that I could use my food processor to do all the work.

  • Jules, what size loaf pan did you use ? It looked like a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan in the video.

      • Hi Jules, am baking your delicious lemon birthday cake now, my second attempt. Will post pic if it turns out right. It’s truly easy – must be patient this time round. Fingers crossed. How do I post pic ?

        • Sorry Len… I don’t have that sort of option on my site… you can tag me on Instagram if you want to share a pic… Would love to see it.

          Curious why the second attempt?

  • Sounds great but can I substitute the white sugar for cane/coconut sugar, knowing it will look different. Thanks

  • Really enjoyed this recipe. I did replace 100 gram of almond flour with cassava flour since so many comments mentioned batter that was too moist. Great flavor and very lemony. Next time I’m going to reduce the butter by 50gm and increase cassava flour to 150 gm. You do need to cook it until the top is brown, this makes the end pieces so delicious!- chewy, buttery, sweet and lemony.

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