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An easy to make, super-lemony and moist cake you can mix up in one bowl without an electric mixer! This snack or tea cake is gluten-free, dairy-free and has a satisfying rustic crunch from cornmeal and pine nuts.
When you want to make an easy lemon cake without fussing around, this one is for you!
This recipe whip ups in 10 minutes, using just one bowl — no mixer, no need to soften butter (there’s no dairy at all) and no wheat flour in sight.
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I find this cake tastes so good it’s really hard to have just one slice. Okay, let’s be real — when I make this cake we often don’t even bother to slice it!
This cake is definitely more humble-looking than other cakes. What it lacks in the beauty department is paid back a thousand times in taste and texture, and it’s perfect for all your casual cake needs.
I love to break off pieces and enjoy with a cup of tea.
Rustic Italian-style cakes are my thing. Lemon Polenta Cake is another of my cake recipes that readers rave about.
The next best thing about this cake is the texture. It has a moist, lemony crumb that melts in your mouth (I credit the almond flour for that).
Plus, the pine nuts baked on the bottom of the cake add that little extra crunch.
Note: You can sub the pine nuts with sliced almonds if you prefer.
Or leave the nuts out entirely for a plain cake that is just as delicious! If you decide to omit nuts, try topping the cake with a creamy lemon glaze.
Ingredients to make the cake:
- Fine blanched almond flour
- Granulated sugar
- Pine nuts or sliced almonds
- Olive oil or lemon-infused oil
- Lemon zest from a fresh lemon
- Cornstarch and baking powder
- Spray an 8-inch cake pan (round or square) with cooking spray or lightly coat with oil. Line with parchment paper and line with nuts.
- Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk in the oil, then stir in the dry ingredients.
- Transfer to the baking pan.
- Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Cool in the pan 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
A note on measuring ingredients for cake baking:
I develop recipes professionally, so I rely on an inexpensive digital scale to get accurate measurements. I appreciate that a lot of large mainstream sites like New York Times Cooking have started to include metric conversions in their recipes. This is the scale I use.
You certainly don’t need to run out and get one to make this cake. But if you do a lot of baking I cannot recommend a digital scale enough! It will change how you bake without having to rely on measuring cups, which are notoriously different from brand to brand.
Tools I used to make this cake:
- Mixing bowl: Use a large, sturdy glass bowl. I like it for baking because it’s microwave and dishwasher safe.
- Whisk: A medium or large size is best.
- Digital scale: Not necessary, but makes measuring so much more accurate.
- Spatula: Silcone spatulas scrape out every last drop of cake batter and clean up easily.
- Parchment paper: Buy pre-cut cake circles or make your own from a sheet.
More simple cake recipes to check out:
Easy One Bowl Lemon Cake
- ¾ cup (96 g) pine nuts or sliced almonds
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1 lemon
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cups (165 g) fine blanched almond flour
- ½ cup (65 g) fine yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 (175 C) degrees. Spray an 8-inch round or square cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a piece of parchment.
- Arrange the pine nuts evenly over the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar.
- Grate the lemon over a large bowl to remove all the zest. Add the eggs and remaining sugar to the bowl. Whisk until the mixture looks pale and creamy. While whisking, pour in the olive oil and mix until emulsified.
- Add the almond flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until smooth. Scrape the batter over the pine nuts into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, until the top feels springy and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack 15 minutes.
- Invert the cake onto a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature.