Today’s gluten-free Lemon Sponge Cake recipe comes from my friend Steve, who now writes at Grateful Celiac. He had shared the recipe on his first blog, Gluten Free Steve, a long time ago.
I made it immediately after he posted it, making the slightest changes to it, and serving it to my support group members–who all raved over it! Then, with Steve’s permission, I shared the recipe here on gfe.
However, the recipe was buried in a long and busy post and was competing with another outstanding recipe, so I decided this Lemon Sponge Cake recipe really needed its own post. Better yet, I decided to make that happen today on National Sponge Cake Day.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this food holiday than with Steve’s lemon version! So I’m very grateful to him for allowing me to share this recipe—with a few slight gfe tweaks offered–with you today! (Note: You can also find Steve’s excellent Peach Upside Down Cake recipe here on gfe.)
I first made this gluten-free Lemon Sponge Cake cake long ago, for a spring meeting of the support group that I used to lead. It was a nice light dessert that everyone really enjoyed. In fact, I remember that my support group members were still talking about this cake several months later.
Sometimes you want dessert to round out a meal, but you don’t want anything heavy. This sponge cake is the perfect solution for those times. The original recipe called for potato starch, which I don’t use, so I substituted cornstarch, and that worked just fine, but feel free to use either.
Steve’s recipe didn’t call for greasing the pan (and other similar recipes I found online didn’t either), but I recommend greasing the pan as this cake can definitely stick. Perhaps when it’s made with lemon or orange oil, which was an option in his original recipe, the cake would have been easy to remove from the pan. (I’ve become a fan of citrus oils in cooking, so I definitely want to try this recipe made with one of those one day—as much for the richness that these oils impart as for testing the “non-stick” factor when they’re included.)
Luckily for me the first time I made this cake, one of our very kind support group members, Angie, patiently extracted it from the pan while I continued preparing another dish for our meeting. I had found a glaze recipe online and wanted to dress the cake up a little because of the signs of my own attempted “extrication.”
I hadn’t been sure I’d use the glaze recipe. But I was glad I had it and the ingredients on hand for Angie to mix up and pour over my slightly battered cake.
A little whipped cream would also make a great topping for this cake—extrication issues or not. Plus, I think this cake would be lovely served with some fresh fruit—like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
I’ve made this cake twice since its original gfe debut, but I didn’t get new photos either time. Honestly, even being a food blogger, often I don’t want to stop to take photos, I just want to eat and enjoy favorite recipes with my friends and family.
This gluten-free Lemon Sponge Cake is that kind of recipe. Make this cake and get on to the enjoying part!
Gluten-Free Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe
Gluten-Free Lemon Sponge Cake
Sponge cake is a lighter delicious dessert that usually only gets made on very special occasions. The lemon factor and glaze for this cake make it very special indeed! Note that when this cake is made using potato starch and the glaze is made using potato starch or arrowroot, this recipe is also grain free and ideal for Passover.
- 7 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon rind
- 3/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch, sifted
- dash of salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch (or potato starch or arrowroot starch/flour, plus more if needed for thickness)
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- water to desired consistency
- Separate six of the eggs. Beat the six yolks with the one whole egg until frothy.
- Gradually add in the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon rind and beat thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated. Gradually add the cornstarch, stirring constantly to ensure all is mixed through.
- Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff, but not dry (Steve notes that if you have a free standing mixer, you can have the egg whites beating while you mix the yolk mixture, as a timesaver).
- Fold the egg white mixture gently, but thoroughly into the egg yolk mixture. (Folding is not my forte, but I managed. LOL)
- Pour into a greased 10-inch tube or Bundt pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched.
- Invert pan and cool thoroughly before removing cake.
- If you want to use a lemon glaze, mix together powdered sugar with lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl until you get a good consistency. Drizzle over the cake and let glaze set up before serving.
Originally published August 23, 2016; updated August 22, 2018.