Gluten Free Lemon Birthday Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


This week I’ve been reflecting on the past two years of my life and how amazing it has been to watch Elijah grow into the boy he is today.  He turned two last week and my husband’s birthday was just a few days before so we did a birthday party for them on Sunday last week.

Over three years ago when I first felt like a baby was soon going to be coming into my life, I was excited and scared.  And when I felt my heart and what this child would bring, I remember feeling that this child would be a great blessing to my life.

What child isn’t a blessing?  They bring all the joy, excitement, and love that we are usually craving by the time we’re adults and have lost touch with the childhood magic.

But I never would have imagined the trials and hardships we ended up facing when he was a young baby nor how much my life would change for the better through raising him.  All of this has made me who I am today and I am grateful for all of it, even the hard stuff.  I know I’m not giving much detail here but I hope to elaborate on this subject sometime in the near future.

But for now, I want to share the birthday cake recipe that I made for my husband and son for their birthdays.  The original recipe is here, but I added the lemon zest and juice and adjusted some of the other ingredients.  It turned out to be a hit.


Gluten-free Coconut Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 1/2     sticks of butter or coconut oil, melted but not hot
  • 1             cup honey
  • 8             large eggs – at room temperature
  • 2             egg yolks – at room temperature
  • 2             cups coconut flour, sifted
  • 1             teaspoon baking soda (not GAPS legal)
  • ¼           teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3     cups coconut milk
  • 1             tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2             Tbsp lemon juice
  • zest        of 1 lemon
  • Coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two round 9 or 8 inch cake pans with coconut oil and dust with coconut flour.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and honey together until well combined.  Add the egg yolks into the mixture and beat together until well blended. Add the rest of the eggs in one at a time, beating mixture after each addition.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together. Add the vanilla to the coconut milk. With mixer on low speed, add the flour and milk to the butter and egg mixture, scraping bowl when needed. When all the milk and flour mixture is used up, beat the cake batter together for about five minutes, until the color is a bit lighter and the batter is light and fluffy.  Blend in the lemon juice and zest until well combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans and smooth out the tops. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  5. Place the cake pans on a wire rack and let it cool for about five minutes in the pan. Run a butter knife along the edges of the cakes before removing from pan. When cakes are completely cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Enjoy!!

Traditional Cream Cheese

Traditional cream cheese is made from either yogurt or whole-milk buttermilk.  This recipe comes from Nourishing Traditions and I used my homemade goat yogurt for this recipe.

“If you are using whole milk buttermilk, let stand at room temperature 1-2 days until the milk visibly separates into white curds and yellowish whey.  If you are using yogurt, no advance preparation is required.  You may use homemade yogurt or good quality commercial plain yogurt…

“Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dish towel.  Pour in the yogurt or separated milk, cover and let stand at room temperature for several hours (longer for yogurt).  The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer.  Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out.  When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready.  Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container.  Refrigerated, the cream cheese keeps for about 1 month and the whey for about 6 months.” Nourishing Traditions 87


Yogurt in towel a couple hours into drip process


Whey dripped from yogurt

I didn’t end up taking pictures of the end product but it looked very much like regular cream cheese, maybe a bit softer.

As for the whey, I plan on using it to make lacto-fermented veggies like sauerkraut and other recipes that call for whey in Nourishing Traditions.

Cream Cheese Frosting made from Traditional Cream Cheese

1 cup cream cheese (from about 1 quart of yogurt)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 – 2/3 raw honey, depending on taste

1.  To make frosting, place cream cheese, butter, vanilla and honey in food processor and blend until smooth.  Generously ice the middle, top and sides of cake.

I will say here, that my frosting had a few quirks in it. It still turned out okay, but I would do things a bit differently next time.  First of all, the honey I ended up using was buckwheat honey.  I had never used this kind before and didn’t know how different it tasted from other honeys.  It was very rich, dark and almost tasted like molasses.  Next time I would use a lighter honey.

The other “problem” is my GAPS style yogurt is quite tart because of the length of time it is supposed to ferment in order for the lactose to be completely “eaten up.”  So my cream cheese was also quite tart and even with adding extra honey, it was still a bit overpowering.  The good thing though is that it was a lemon cake and it actually ended up going well with the cake.

I also was out of vanilla so I am sure this would have helped with the recipe.  As for the butter, it wasn’t quite softened enough so it ended up making the frosting a little lumpy.  You can see a little bit of this in the picture.  Aside from all of this, it was still good, but will be better next time with some revisions.

The best part, aside from the cake, was watching Elijah blow out his candles for the first time.  Last year he was too young to understand the whole concept so it was so fun to see him this year “blow it,” as he would say.


tuesdaytwisterI am submitting this post to the Tuesday Twister Carnival that Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS.com holds every week.  Check it out for real and whole food recipes and other twisters!

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  1. Tomorrow is my little guy’s birthday. I love cream cheese frosting and this will be perfect. Do you think the cake would work with sprouted wheat flour instead of coconut?

  2. HI Millie,
    Coconut flour is pretty different from any flour I’ve used, even other gluten free ones. Most recipe with coconut flour call for many eggs and not that much flour in comparison. For this reason, I have never substituted other flours in coconut flour recipes. I would find a regular cake recipe or a sprouted flour one and use that instead. The carrot cake recipe that goes with the cream cheese frosting recipe in Nourishing traditions calls for soaking the flour. You may want to use this recipe or another one in NT. Tell him Happy Birthday!

  3. Thanks Sarah. I wondered about this when looking at the number of eggs in the recipe. I found a traditional lemon poppy seed cake that I’m going to see if I can adapt a bit for the sprouted wheat flour. I haven’t actually had the best of results using the sprouted wheat. The few things I’ve made have been dry and crumbly. Maybe extra eggs and oil would be key in that. I’m not much of a baker to start with so changing things is a bit of a challenge for me 🙂

  4. Sarah–Your cake looks amazing! I’d really like to try making it! Happy birthday to both of your guys!


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