The gluten-free lemon drizzle cake recipe is an easy everyday cake that is perfectly moist, soft, and absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s a budget-friendly Starbucks copycat! Exploding with lovely lemon flavor and an easy drizzle topping, this cake is tasty enough for special occasions and easy enough for a weeknight! Complete with instructions to make a loaf cake or cupcakes. 

gluten free lemon drizzle cake on parchment paper with the loaf in the background and 3 slices in front

What Makes This Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe Great

If you’ve ever had my gluten-free lemon bars, you know that I don’t mess around when it comes to making a delicately sweet, perfectly tart, and boldly lemon dessert! And this gluten-free lemon drizzle cake is my newest favorite! It’s a gluten-free copycat of the beloved lemon loaf from Starbucks, and I might say that it’s even better (and way more budget-friendly!) than the original!

A moist, gluten-free sponge meets zesty lemon, subtle sweetness, and a lemon drizzle icing that adds flavor and texture! No matter the occasion or your skill level, this cake is versatile, easy, and can be made any time of the year! 

I made this into a loaf cake which is a great way to slice and serve, but you can turn it into a cupcake recipe with a muffin tin and liners and serve it for a party, gathering, or easy snack! It’s gluten-free with easy dairy-free & nut-free swaps to make it even more lifestyle friendly! 

Recipe Highlights

  • Super easy to make
  • Bright lemon flavors
  • Starbucks lemon loaf copycat!
  • Delicately sweet and perfectly lemony!
  • A sweet lemon drizzle icing that hardens for a delightful crunch.
  • Moist, gluten-free, with a nut-free & dairy-free option!

Ingredient Notes

ingredients for lemon drizzle cake in nesting bowls

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake

  • vegan butter: You can also use regular salted butter if you aren’t dairy free. I like Kite Hill brand for vegan butter. If you only have unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • granulated sugar: I like to use the Wholesome Organic brand. They have tons of sugar and sweeteners that you can find at Sprouts and many other grocery stores. 
  • large eggs
  • almond extract
  • unsweetened almond milk: You can substitute this for a different dairy free milk if that’s what you have on hand. 
  • lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon: Zest the lemon first, then cut and use for the juice. 
  • gluten-free flour blend: I use a 1:1 gluten free flour blend. My favorite is from King Arthur Brand. Bob’s Red Mill also makes a great one. If you use a “measure for measure” or 1:1 flour, you don’t need to add additional xanthan gum because it’s already included in the blend. 
  • gluten free baking powder: Check the labels to make sure your baking powder is gluten-free. 

Lemon Drizzle Topping

  • organic powdered sugar: Sometimes called “icing sugar”. Again, Wholesome Organic makes a great option for this! If you want to make your own, you can add granulated sugar to your food processor and blend it into a powder! I like to use organic powdered sugar because it’s gluten free and does not contain corn starch. Usually it has tapioca starch instead.
  • lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • salted butter: Or vegan butter. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

steps to make gluten free lemon drizzle cake in 4 quadrants

Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan, then line it with parchment paper.
  2. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer to cream them together until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until creamy. Add the almond milk, almond extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix to combine. 
  3. In a separate large bowl, add the gluten-free flour and baking powder. Mix, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix to combine.
  4. Add the cake batter to the bread pan and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. 
  5. During the last 10 minutes of baking time, make the lemon drizzle. Combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a microwave-safe small bowl, and whisk together until smooth. 
  6. Add in the butter, then microwave the mixture for 40-50 seconds. Whisk again to combine until smooth. Add in the lemon zest and mix a final time. 
  7. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes once it comes out of the oven, then remove it to a plate or cutting board. Pour the melted butter drizzle mixture over the top of the cake. The drizzle will harden as it sits. Slice and enjoy!
the last 4 steps to make lemon drizzle cake in 4 quadrants

Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. Line 12 cup muffin pan with liners, then divide the batter evenly amongst the liners.
  3. Bake for 18 – 20 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Let the cupcakes cool completely to room temperature, then pour the lemon drizzle over each cupcake. The drizzle will harden as it sits. 

Mary’s Tips & Tricks

  • Lemon Glaze: You don’t need a piping bag for the lemon drizzle because it doesn’t need to be perfectly iced on the cake. It looks best when it’s a freehand drizzle!
  • Nut Free Option: If you need a nut free option, replace the almond extract with vanilla extract, swap the almond milk for oat milk, and make sure your gluten-free flour blend does not contain any almond flour or other nut flour. 
  • Room Temperature: Make sure to let the cake or cupcakes cool to room temperature before adding the lemon drizzle. Otherwise, it will completely melt and not get the hardened, crunchy texture!
  • Regular Flour: If you aren’t gluten free, you can swap the gluten free flour blend for regular all-purpose flour. Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust the baking times. 
gluten free lemon loaf topped with lemon glaze and lemon sliced with 4 slices cut

Serving Tips

  • Pour the lemon drizzle over the cooled cake, slice it, and serve it as a snack, dessert, or even a sweet breakfast treat!
  • If you made cupcakes, drizzle them with the lemon icing, then serve individually or bring them with you to any event!

Storage Tips

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 
  • Store in the fridge for even longer, up to 5 days.
  • To freeze, wrap the cooled loaf cake tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight freezer-safe zip-top bag. Store for up to 3 months, thaw, and serve!

Recipe FAQs

How do you keep a gluten-free cake moist? 

To keep this gluten-free lemon drizzle cake moist, be sure not to overbake. Also, make sure to store it properly, following the storage tips above! 

How do you thicken lemon glaze icing?

Add more powdered sugar and whisk until it reaches the desired texture.

Help! I only have unsalted butter!

That’s okay! For the 1 cup of unsalted butter this recipe calls for, add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

4 pieces of lemon drizzle cake stacked on top of each other

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

Carrot Cake with Walnuts

Healthy Chocolate Protein Mug Cake

Dairy Free Key Lime Pie Bars

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

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Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake (Starbucks Copycat)

The gluten-free lemon drizzle cake recipe is an easy everyday cake that is perfectly moist, soft, and absolutely delicious. Exploding with lovely lemon flavor and an easy drizzle topping, this cake is tasty enough for special occasions and easy enough for a weeknight! Complete with instructions to make a loaf cake or cupcakes. 
5 from 11 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan butter, or regular. I used salted butter.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp almond extract
  • cup unsweetened almond milk, or coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 ¼ cups gluten free 1:1 flour
  • 2 tsp gluten free baking powder

Lemon Drizzle Topping

  • 1 ⅔ cups organic powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salted butter

Equipment

  • Hand Mixer or stand mixer. You can also mix by hand, if preferred, but the batter may not get as smooth!

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 bread pan then line with parchment paper.
  • Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and use an electric hand mixer to cream them together until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until creamy. Add the almond milk, almond extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and and mix to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, add the gluten free flour and baking powder. Mix, then add it to the wet ingredients. Mix to combine.
  • Add the mixture to the bread pan and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • During the last 10 minutes of baking time, make the lemon drizzle. Combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, and whisk together until smooth.
  • Add in the butter, then microwave the mixture for 40-50 seconds. Whisk again to combine until smooth. Add in the lemon zest and mix a final time. 
  • Let the cake cool for 30 minutes once it comes out of the oven, then remove it to a plate or cutting board. Pour the drizzle over the cake. The drizzle will harden as it sits. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

Expert Tips

  • Lemon Glaze: You don’t need a piping bag for the lemon drizzle because it doesn’t need to be perfectly iced on the cake. It looks best when it’s a freehand drizzle!
  • Nut Free Option: If you need a nut free option, replace the almond extract with vanilla extract, swap the almond milk for oat milk, and make sure your gluten-free flour blend does not contain any almond flour or other nut flour. 
  • Room Temperature: Make sure to let the cake or cupcakes cool to room temperature before adding the lemon drizzle. Otherwise, it will completely melt and not get the hardened, crunchy texture!
  • Regular Flour: If you aren’t gluten free, you can swap the gluten free flour blend for regular all purpose flour. Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust the baking times. 

Serving Tips

  • Pour the lemon drizzle over the cooled cake, slice it, and serve as a snack, dessert, or even a sweet breakfast treat!
  • If you made cupcakes, drizzle them with the lemon icing, then serve them individually or bring them with you to any event!

Storage Tips

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 
  • Store in the fridge for even longer, up to 5 days.
  • To freeze, wrap the cooled loaf cake tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight freezer-safe ziptop bag. Store for up to 3 months, thaw, and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 342kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 225mg, Potassium: 34mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 809IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 72mg, Iron: 1mg