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I spent the day before we left clearing out the kitchen like I always do before a trip that’s going to be more than a couple of days long.  I promised myself I wouldn’t cook anything so I could focus my attention on cleaning up,  packing, getting the dog squared away with the pet sitter, and paying stray bills.  That all went out the window when I  saw I had four plump Meyer lemons sitting in the fruit bowl.  You can’t throw Meyer lemons in the garbage.  That’s a sacrilege.

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My Flourless Tangerine Cake was the inspiration here.  Cakes made with whole citrus fruit are a Mediterranean specialty; they’re made with the whole fruit, peel and all.  There is no wheat flour in this cake, just almond meal, so it has a fabulous moist dense texture and is naturally gluten free.  In addition to the 3 whole lemons in the cake  I added a touch of lemon extract and a super tangy lemon icing so this cake is really the essence of ‘lemony-ness’.

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This kind of cake is probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are a citrus fanatic like I am, I think you will love it.  The fruit is boiled before pureeing, and that takes away any unpleasant bitterness in the peel.  The combination of the whole pureed fruit and the almond meal makes for a very moist, but not soggy, cake.  Traditionally this kind of cake would be served plain, maybe with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, but I went over the top with a puckery lemon icing.  I originally added it because the surface of my cake was a little jagged and wasn’t very attractive for photographing, but I’m so glad I did, it makes the cake extra special.  It’s the kind of cake you can serve to guests, or eat, sliver by sliver, all week long.

Flourless Whole Meyer Lemon Cake

Flourless Whole Meyer Lemon Cake

What You Will Need

  • 3 or 4 large Meyer Lemons (approximately 12 oz, total to yield 1 cup of whole lemon puree)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • for the lemon icing
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 325F
  2. Wash the lemons and put them in a pot. Cover them with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the lemons and let them cool until you can handle them. Cut them open and remove the seeds, but keep everything else. Do this on a plate so you can retain all the juices. Once you have removed all the seeds, put everything into a food processor. Process until finely pureed. You may need to pulse the machine at first, and scrape down the sides as necessary to get everything smooth. This will only take a couple of minutes. You will need one cup of lemon puree for the cake.
  4. Beat the eggs and the sugar until pale in color. Add the lemon extract.
  5. Fold in the almond meal, baking powder, and lemon puree. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  6. Turn the batter into a greased 9" springform pan. Smooth out the surface so it is even.
  7. Bake for about 50 -60 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then gently release the sides of the pan and remove the cake to finish cooling.
  9. Make the icing while the cake is cooling. Combine the sugar with the butter and lemon juice. Beat until smooth and creamy. Adjust the texture by adding more sugar or more lemon juice. If you prefer a less tangy icing, use less lemon juice and add a little milk or cream. Spread the icing on the completely cooled cake.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/2013/09/flourless-whole-meyer-lemon-cake.html

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A note about flavor — I am a big fan of pure flavor extracts.  I’m talking about  pure natural extracts, not artificial flavorings.  I think they add a nice boost in certain cases and in this case the lemon extract just enhances the citrus flavor of the cake.  It’s handy to have a selection in your cupboard, especially as we go into the holiday and baking season.  In addition to almond and vanilla I keep spearmint, peppermint, lemon, orange, rum, and coconut extracts around.  I’m searching for maple extract, which is a little harder to find.  There are lots of varieties available, ranging from pistachio to watermelon  and cardamom.  Just remember to say away from anything with the words ‘artificial’  or ‘imitation’ on the label.   Olive Nation has a great selection if you’re interested.

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61 Responses to Flourless Whole Meyer Lemon Cake

  1. Sue says:

    I made this last Friday for Passover since it is flourless. My lemon extract had evaporated, so I used vanilla instead. It was yummy, but still a little bitter. But the bitterness completely dissipated by day 3 or 4. I think I will make this cake in advance from now on, but it will definitely be part of my Passover repertoire. Thanks so much for a new gluten free option.

  2. Lorraine says:

    My cake is in the oven right now, I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Using whole citrus is intriguing and I love the taste of Meyer lemons, so different than regular lemons. And I’m so jealous of all of you with Meyer lemon trees – wow!

    I subbed Swerve (erithritol) and stevia (20 drops) for the sugar, and same for the frosting only the powdered version. When you use erithritol, which is less sweet than sugar, you should always add stevia or another sweetener to make up the difference. Combining sweeteners also negates some of the stranger aspects of the individual sweeteners, like the coolness of erithritol or the bitterness of stevia.

    Also, I used 4 lemons and had some puree left over. I’m going to make coconut lemon popsicles with it using coconut milk. Yum!

  3. Sheri says:

    I am all ready to make this yummy sounding cake, but I am doing it for 140 people. do you think I can do it in large rectangular pans? Would it effect the cooking time?

    • Sue says:

      Honestly I’m not sure, Sheri. I think if you are making this cake for a large group of people your best bet is to make several cakes instead of trying to enlarge the recipe.

  4. deb says:

    This cake sound delicious and an excellent use for the lemons on my tree. Would it be possible to bake it and then freeze it? If so, what is the best way to defrost it. Thank you.

  5. Melissa says:

    Would it be possible to use coconut flour? I read that almond meal isn’t very good for you–it slows down your metabolism and encourages inflammatory responses in the body!! If not, I’ll make it anyway :P I LOVE dense cakes!

    • Sue says:

      Honestly I don’t know about using coconut flour, I know it’s extremely absorbent, so you may not need as much flour, and you may need to add more liquid. Sorry I can’t be more certain, I just don’t have a lot of experience with cakes and coconut flour, but please let me know if you do try it!

  6. Mike says:

    Baked the cake, spread a layer of lemon curd on it and then topped it with meringue. Came out fantastic. A lemon meringue cake.

  7. Cindy says:

    It’s in the oven and I’m very excited! I was a bit confused on the lemons as I wasn’t sure if you meant 3 (12 ounces each) lemons or 3 lemons =12 ounces total. I happen to have very huge Meyer lemons on our tree each weighing 12 ounces or more and one was perfect. Just thought I’d throw this out there for the next person who may wonder as well. I’m also excited that this cake is gluten-free, dairy free, chicken egg free (I used duck eggs) as well as sugar-free. I used xylitol (made from hardwoods) and I put some in the blender with arrowroot powder to make powdered sugar. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

    • Sue says:

      I clarified it in the recipe, Cindy, thanks, it’s 12 oz total. I’d love to see your massive Meyer lemons, what a fabulous tree you must have! I hope the recipe turns out for you with your adjustments, let us know.

      • Cindy says:

        I love this cake but it has a bit of a bitter aftertaste. I used Erithritol in the cake which is only 70% as sweet as sugar so maybe that’s the reason. Or perhaps the rind of our big Meyer lemons is more bitter than the normal sized ones. I don’t know but it’s delicious nonetheless.

        • Sue says:

          It’s been a while since I’ve made the cake, but I do remember that the flavor of whole citrus cakes is a little bit bitter, however that is supposed to be part of their charm. Substitutions can be tricky, so that could have had something to do with it. Meyers should be the least bitter of all, though, but I’ve never encountered ones as big as yours sound!

  8. […] to do with them? Look no further than picture-based social media site Pinterest, where I found this delicious recipe for a gluten free cake made with almond flour and. . .FOUR Meyer […]

  9. Amy says:

    I made your cake. OMG. It’s SOOO good!!

    https://heatcagekitchen.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/chocolate-meyer-lemons-and-sweet-potatoes/

    Many thanks for putting it on Pinterest where I could find it. I’ll be doing that again one day!!

  10. Daniela says:

    The cake sounds delicious, however in my country we only have “green lemons” (I guess it is what you call limes. Do you think it will work with limes? Thanks!

    • Sue says:

      I haven’t tried it with limes, Daniela, and I think that since limes are not only less juicy, but more bitter than lemons, you might not get a good result. I’m always up for a challenge though, so I support you if you want to give it a go — and report back, for sure!

    • Grace says:

      Anyone tried limes yet? I made the puree and added extra lime juice because it definitely came out drier than the lemon or tangerine puree. I’ll let you know how it comes out! I’m thinking I will add more sugar to balance the bitterness.

  11. Kristi says:

    Just wondering if you have tried a sweetner other than confectioners sugar (we stay away from refined) for the glaze? I’ll use coconut sugar for the cake, but it doesn’t work real well in a glaze even if I whirl it in my food processor to be ‘powdered’. Perhaps honey & lemon?

    • Sue says:

      Hmmm, not sure Kristi. As I recall the cake itself is not overly sweet, so to me the sweet lemony glaze was a big part of the experience. You could certainly try honey, it would just be a very different type of cake. let me know how it turns out!

  12. johnnie evans/thonas says:

    love your website !!!!

  13. Meg says:

    I plan on making this delicious looking cake tomorrow, but I don’t have a springform pan. Is it necessary, or would a standard 9″ cake pan work?

  14. Jayne says:

    Can I use rice flour instead of almond meal ?

  15. jaja says:

    Hi may I know if I can substittue the almond flour with whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour? thanks!

    • Sue says:

      I have to say that this cake is really made for the almond flour, Jaja. I don’t think regular flour would work as well, sorry!

  16. […] found this recipe at The View from Great Island, a wonderful blog that I stumbled across and bookmarked to savor in the future…so many beautiful […]

  17. Stephanie says:

    My daughter made the orange version during the holidays. Yesterday I made this one. YUM. I omitted the extract as I didn’t have it. Full of citrus goodness. My icing looked more like a thin glaze instead of white creaminess like your photo but absolutely delicious. A wonderful gluten-free dessert.

  18. I love citrus cakes – I can nearly taste this one as I read.

  19. Eileen says:

    This cake sounds so good! Now I know what to do with some of our backyard meyer lemons. But I also have a whole boatload of (exceptionally seedy) tangerines in the kitchen right now…maybe I’ll tackle the million seeds and try it with those. Sounds like it would be great either way!

  20. grace says:

    i’m sick to death of seeing flourless chocolate cakes, so this is a refreshing change…even if it is lemon. :)

  21. Donna Baker says:

    I grow many types of citrus, including Meyer lemons. I thought I’d made everything possible with them, until I saw this recipe. Absolutely can’t wait to make this. My lemons won’t be ready until Nov. though, so it is going to weigh heavily on me till then.

  22. Sue says:

    My husband loves candied peel oranges and lemons. To rid the taste of bitter, I soak the peel in cold water and change the water several times , this really helps. I can’t wait until tomorrow when I can make this pie.

  23. Sue says:

    Thanks for the nice words, Mary. I have a cart started at King Arthur but don’t like the shipping costs! I’m going to bite the bullet and order it though, I have to have it for my Maple Oat Nut Scones!

  24. I love meyer lemons, such a pretty cake!

  25. Joanne says:

    Oh no you absolutely could NOT let those meyers go to waste! I can’t wait to make this when meyers are more available here. So much lemony goodness in one cake!

  26. Yes, please! Pour me a cup of tea because this cake is definitely my cup of tea too Sue. That icing looks the stuff dreams are made of!

  27. I saw Nigella Lawson make a cake this way with clementines. This one looks delicious and perfect for the end of summer.

  28. I can already tell that this will be amazingly moist, and so perfect with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea!

  29. Love that it’s flourless, dense, and packed with lemon flavor! And yes, it would have been sacrilege to throw lemons out! Great way to use them! Have fun on your getaway!

  30. Mary says:

    I couldn’t love this recipe more, Sue. I WILL be making it sooner than later. This cake sounds heavenly!

  31. Susan says:

    Another winner and my Meyer lemons are ripening on my tree as I speak.

  32. Dom says:

    beautiful.. I do love an almond flour cake, it feels so luxurious I think but in fact it really isn’t… we don’t get meyer lemons here in the UK (at least I haven’t seen them) and I would love to try one as I hear they’re superb… I can only but dream!

    • Sue says:

      Well, I guess the luxurious thing about almond flour is its price. This isn’t a super cheap cake to make, but a little does go a long way. I think regular lemons would be great to use, too. They might even give this cake more lemon flavor.

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