The Best Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Cake

Written by: Ben Orkin

I’ve been working on this recipe for a quite some time now, maybe about a month. Not that I’ve been literally working on it for that long, I just got a little distracted from my baking due to school time constraints. Lately, my time has been filled with school projects or studying for tests, but they seem to have come to an end as the term closes for now. So it definitely feels good to get back into doing what I love and am passionate about – food.

The original recipe for this cake came from a friend. We were hosting a Friday night dinner and she brought it along with her. It was like no other Lemon Poppy cakes that I had ever tasted (not that I’ve tasted much to be honest).

It had a crisp and chewy crust, yet its inners were light and fluffy with little poppy seed speckles that gave it a crunchy texture. The flavour reminded me of some kind of tropical paradise.

I couldn’t quite work out at first what the flavour was, but then it hit me: Coconut. The coconut brings out the flavours of the lemon and poppy seeds together with its warm and sweet tang. And the best part was the topping – a luscious white chocolate ganache oozing in rich sweetness.

I had to make my version of the recipe a little more guilt-free. So what I did was I replace the flour with coconut flour, which adds even more coconut flavour, and I replaced the castor sugar with coconut sugar. This makes the cake both gluten-free and white-sugar-free (double score!). Yet one would never ever think so. The coconut sugar adds an almost caramel flavour and the coconut flour adds a subtle tropical flavour. One of the perks of using coconut flour is that it isn’t as expensive as other flour substitutes like almond flour (which is almost triple the price). I don’t think that you can come up with a good enough reason not to make this cake.


Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Cake

Serves 10-12 people


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cups sunflower/ vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 150g/ 5 ounces poppy seeds
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 250g/ 8 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 tbs butter
  • zest of half a lemon for decoration


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 20cm or 7 inch round baking tin.

Whisk the eggs and coconut sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the sunflower or vegetable oil a little at a time until all is incorporated. Next, gently mix in the lemon zest, desiccated coconut, and poppy seeds followed by the coconut flour and baking powder. Finally, add the plain yogurt and mix gently until well combined.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking tin. Place into the oven and leave to bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden on the outside. Test if the cake is cooked all the way through by poking with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Remove from the oven to cool completely before removing from the cake tin.

plain-lemon-poppy-cakePrepare your topping. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (filled 1/3 of the way), put in the white chocolate and stir until it melts. Next, remove from the heat and add the butter to the bowl. Blend until a smooth glossy mixture forms.

Place your cooled cake onto a serving plate and top it with your white chocolate cream and gently spread it out. Finally, sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve.



Happy cooking!
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