Almond, Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake (Gluten-free)

This gluten-free double layer cake is sweet, earthy, nutty and zesty – all at once! The beautiful combination of sweet almonds, earthy buckwheat and lemon zest with the crunch of poppy seeds is a wonderful backdrop for the creamy, sweet frosting and juicy blueberries.

This double-layered cake, piled high with blueberries, positioned on top of a tall cake stand would command attention on any celebratory table.  Dress it with some dried or edible flowers and it would be suitable for any special occasion or gathering.


If you like this recipe, you may also like my recipe for my Upside-down Orange, Almond & Coconut Cake or this Carrot, Ginger & Almond Cake with Mascarpone Maple Frosting so take a look at those too 🙂

About this recipe for Almond, Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

  • This cake is free from gluten which is a protein which helps to give baked goods their structure.
    • Some people cannot eat gluten due to being celiac or gluten sensitive and others believe that gluten is not good for health.
  • There are ways in which to bake cakes without using gluten and one way is to swap the wheat based flour for a gluten-free option such as buckwheat flour or a nut flour such as almond flour/ground almonds (as I have used in this recipe).
  • Ground almonds can be a little crumbly so the addition of the buckwheat flour, plus the binding, raising and moisture giving properties of eggs, help to give this cake the structure it needs.
  • It is not a light and fluffy cake.  It is more dense in texture than you would get with a traditional white plain flour, white caster sugar and egg based cake.
  • I personally do not like to eat a cake which tastes like a sugar bomb! I find that cakes which use all white, refined ingredients taste far too sweet.  I always try to reduce the sugar AND use un-refined brown sugars for a more caramel flavour and at least a little of their nutrition from the molasses.  NB: Some brown sugar is actually white sugar with a caramel brown flavour and colour added back to it.  It is essentially white refined sugar dyed brown! Look for un-refined brown sugar and experiment with the range of flavours from light brown to dark molasses – each gives a wonderful unique depth of flavour plus some added benefits of the retained nutrition.  You may need to sieve the brown sugar or use a fork to break it up before using as it tends to be packed tightly and clump together.  If left like this in the cake mixture, the sugar can become hard during baking so avoid this by ensuring the sugar is loose and no clumps.
  • You could make this cake and omit the frosting.  It would serve as a less indulgent but equally as delicious bite of something sweet with a cup of tea!

Top Tips & Variations for this Almond, Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

  • The cake will easily serve 8 due to it being a double layer cake, each slice has 2 layers of the cake crumb and 2 layers of luscious whipped cream and berries! It’s enough to satisfy any sweet craving!
  • You can make the cake crumb and freeze it for later use.  Just fully defrost it before adding the frosting and serving.
  • You can make the cake and keep it at a cool room temperature but the frosting needs to be kept chilled in the fridge to keep it fresh as it contains dairy.
  • If you do not eat dairy, swap the frosting for a whipped coconut cream option.  Just use 2-3 cans of coconut cream (thick cream only) and add the powdered sugar and maple syrup as per instructions below.
  • It is easier to pipe the frosting when the frosting is cold so keep it chilled in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  • Use scales to weigh the cake mixture you add to each baking tin before you bake it.  It helps to ensure even cake layers!
  • You can decorate your cake with any berries that are in season.  Buy a large punnet of berries and take time to decorate the cake working from the middle with larger sized berries and reserving the smaller ones for the top of the pile.  A mixture of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and red currants…. so many delicious options to choose from and they are the eye candy of the fruit kingdom! They never fail to make any cake look pretty.
  • TOP TIP: Use tooth picks to secure the berries in place for decoration purposes but be sure to remove them for serving!


What you will need to make this cake:


  1. 2x 6inch spring form cake tins.  Line the bottom with baking paper and grease and flour the sides with olive oil and a little buckwheat flour.
  2. 2 bowls for mixing.
  3. A sieve.
  4. A stand mixer or a hand held electric mixer or a non-electric balloon whisk.
  5. A spatula.
  6. A pipping bag with wide nozzle (or just use a spatula).



  • Ground almonds
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Bicarb of soda
  • Poppy seeds
  • Salt
  • Soft brown sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon – juice and zest
  • Mascarpone
  • Thick Whipping Cream
  • Maple Syrup
  • Powdered sugar – optional and to taste


Reserve some extra berries to add to the cake when serving; those little bursts of blueberry juice with each bite add to the whole experience of enjoying this wonderful cake.

Have fun! x

Almond, Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake (Gluten-free)

The Balanced Kitchen
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 8 slices


  • 2x 6inch spring form cake tins



  • 200 g almond flour
  • 100 g buckwheat flour plus extra for dusting
  • 150 g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 2 TBSP poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt


  • 4 large eggs
  • 60 mls extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra for greasing the tins
  • 1 lemon - unwaxed - juice and zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 250 g mascarpone cheese
  • 150 mls thick whipping cream
  • 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • 2-3 TBSP fine powdered icing sugar



  • Begin by weighing and assembling all of your ingredients together.
  • Line the bottom of 2x 6inch, spring form cake tins with baking paper and grease the sides with a olive oil and a clean kitchen roll. Sprinkle the inside of the tin with the extra flour for dusting so that the flour clings to the sides. This will help to release the cake more easily after baking.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C (fan).
  • Set a sieve over a large bowl and place the dry ingredients - almond flour, buckwheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder and bicarb of soda into the sieve. Sieve the ingredients into the bowl. Then add the poppy seeds and salt. Use a whisk to quickly combine the ingredients together, ensuring there are no clumps of flour or sugar.
  • Next, add the eggs to another bowl and whisk. While continuing to whisk, drizzle the oil into the eggs, followed by the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and use a spatula to fold everything together until the 2 mixtures are completely combined, leaving no clumps of dry mixture.
  • Pour half of the mixture into one tin and half into the other tin. It is useful to use scales for this to ensure equal amount of mixture in each tin.
  • Place the tins into the preheated oven on the middle tray and bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 5 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edge of the cake and the tin to release and remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.


  • Once the cake has completely cooled and you are ready to serve, you can assemble the cake with the frosting and berries. (The frosting can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until you are ready to use).
  • The easiest way to make the frosting is by using a stand mixer. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can use a hand held electric mixer. Or, you could do it by hand with a whisk, but this will take longer and require a bit of muscle!
  • Ensure that the mascarpone cream and whipping cream are at the same temperature. It will be easier to whisk if they are both at room temperature but you can still make the frosting when the ingredients have just come out of the fridge, it might just take a little longer to become smooth and fluffy.
  • Place the mascarpone cream into the bowl of the mixer and use the balloon whisk attachment to gently whisk, turning up to a medium power for a few minutes.
  • Gradually pour in the thick whipping cream with the motor still running and continue to whisk for a further few minutes until it all becomes light and fluffy and increases in volume.
  • Drizzle in the maple syrup and then stop the motor to taste for sweetness. Add a TBSP of powdered sugar, whisk and taste again. Continue doing this until you reach the level of sweet you prefer depending on how much sugar you want in the recipe. Stop the motor once the mixture is light and fluffy and fully combined at the level of sweet you prefer.
  • Add half of the frosting to a pipping bag with a wide open nozzle and squeeze on top of the bottom layer of the cake until it is evenly covered.
    If you do not have a pipping bag, simply use a small pallet knife to smooth the mixture on top.
    Add a few blueberries around the edge of the cake (optional).
  • Place the 2nd layer of the cake on top of the frosting and repeat with the frosting for the finishing layer.
  • Pile the cake high with blueberries! If you find some of the blueberries start to topple, you can fix a few of them in place using tooth picks - but you need to warn your guests of them or simply remove for serving.
  • Store any leftover cake in the fridge in an airtight container with a piece of kitchen roll in the bottom. It needs to be stored in the fridge as the frosting must be kept chilled for it to remain fresh. Eat within 3 days.
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