Savor the Taste of Summer With This Gluten-Free Citrus Cake

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Sweet and tangy citrus desserts scream summer. And even if you eat gluten-free, fear not: you can still relish the zest of this gluten-free citrus cake, courtesy of Alison and Jay Carroll.

Our team recently gathered with Alison and Jay at their Joshua Tree home, and by the end of the evening, we enjoyed this delectable cake, topped with strawberries and coconut cream. It’s light, fluffy, and you’d have no idea it’s gluten-free (unless, of course, you read this in advance). Alison provided us with the full recipe for this cake so that we could enjoy it all summer long.

Alison Carroll’s Gluten-Free Citrus Cake with Strawberries and Cardamom Coconut Cream

Along with her recipe, Alison shared some tips and tricks for baking the best citrus cake. She notes that adding citrus zest to your sugar and massaging briefly before adding it to your batter is key to bringing these delicious citrus flavors forward.

“Add the zest to the sugar and massage with your fingers for a few minutes—it’ll stain the sugar the color of the citrus and really brings out the oils from the zest, amplifying the flavor. And it’s a nice thing to spend a few minutes doing. You’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing this all along, and what other things could you apply zesty sugar to. Pancakes? Toast? Oats? Yes! But I digress…”

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Description

Topped with sweet cream and strawberries, this citrus cake is the summer dessert of your dreams.


  • 3 tablespoons citrus zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick room temperature butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I used coconut)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • strawberries, trimmed and quartered
  • extra sugar
  • 2 cans coconut cream, full-fat
  • powdered sugar
  • cardamom powder

  1. The night before, put the cans of coconut cream in the fridge overnight so the fat on the surface solidifies and is cold.
  2. Heat oven to 350 F. Start with hulling the strawberries with a heavy pinch or two of sugar in a bowl on the counter. This will draw out juices and make them soft and flavorful.
  3. Next, start zesting the citrus. I used a blood orange, a pomelo grapefruit, a tangerine, and a Meyer lemon. Any citrus works! But I would use a grapefruit or lemon in the mix for the tartness.
  4. Add the zest to the sugar and massage with your fingers for a few minutes—it’ll stain the sugar the color of the citrus and really brings out the oils from the zest, amplifying the flavor. 
  5. In a bowl of a standing mixer (or with a bowl with a whisk), cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk so the batter is shiny.
  6. Add the olive oil, vanilla extract, and yogurt. Stir to combine.
  7. Add in the flours and baking sodas and powders. If I were a proper baker, I’d tell you to mix them first to ensure they are well combined, but I’m not that kinda baker and this isn’t that kinda cake so just give it a little extra whisking.
  8. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until done with tester in the center. Cool in the pan.

Let’s make some icing, it’s delicious and vegan!

  1. Take the fat from those cans of coconut. You won’t need the liquid so save for something else.
  2. Add a pinch of cardamom and start with two tablespoons of powdered sugar and whisk away. An easier job for an electric mixer if you have it.
  3. Taste once it starts setting and adjust the sugar. I don’t like mine too sweet, but you do you. Keep going until it’s a fluffy whipped cream.
  4. Take the cake from the pan, top with cream, and spoon over the juicy strawberries. Serve. 





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