Italian Lemon Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca – grain-free, gluten-free)

This grain-free Italian lemon cake (also known as torta caprese bianca) is made with almond flour and is full of lemon flavor!

This post is dedicated to a fellow blogger friend who is going through a hard time. She can’t have gluten so here we have a grain and gluten free lemon cake. And it’s yellow. Not just slightly yellow, but “Did you use food dye in that?” yellow. Is it weird that yellow things make me happy? I hope this makes her happy too! And there’s lemon involved. How could anything lemony not cheer you up? I dare you to eat this cake and frown. Or cry. You just won’t succeed.

Grain-free Italian Lemon Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca) - made with almond flour and full of lemony goodness!

In continuing with my, “It’s my birthday (week) and I’m going to post naughty things” theme, I give you this Italian lemon cake. It has butter. I normally use olive oil instead of butter but I just didn’t want a cake that tasted like olive oil and lemon. But it seems that butter is not really this evil thing I perceive it as. I just prefer olive oil. Nobody disputes the healthful properties of that!

And then there’s white sugar. I originally made this cake with white sugar because again, I thought coconut sugar with it’s slightly caramel-like taste might be strange with lemon. But my pal doesn’t use white sugar, so I remade it today with coconut sugar (and she’s coincidentally the one who told me about coconut sugar), just to make sure it’d work. And the verdict? Tastes the same, but the cake is brown and not yellow. No funky taste. And I just realized that the egg yolks over here are normally pretty orange and not yellow. Maybe that helped with the nice color.

And because almond flour appears to be expensive in the US and I had a feeling people would ask if they had to use almond flour, I made the second cake with blanched almonds ground up in the food processor. The texture isn’t as fine as with almond flour, but it’s still nice. And you don’t get the yummy crunchy crust-like stuff on the side of the cake, but maybe that had more to do with the coconut sugar. I also used lemon juice in place of limoncello and I couldn’t really tell a difference.

Italian Lemon Almond Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca) - made with almond flour, this light and delicious cake is grain-free! | texanerin.com

So the traditional torta caprese, which I have yet to make, is made with chocolate. This one uses white chocolate but weirdly enough, the chocolate flavor isn’t really apparent. I can’t really even tell it’s in there. And although I thought this was lemony, it wasn’t extremely lemony. Normally I don’t do subtle. If I want something lemony, I want the lemon flavor to punch me in the face and not just be hanging around in the background. But it worked here.

Both my version and the original version look a bit underdone in the middle, but I liked it that way. It was great. :) You could leave it in there a little longer if you like. And you don’t have to refrigerate the cake, but it tastes much better that way. People LOVED this cake and didn’t even realize it was grain-free (although I’m pretty sure it’d be clear to anyone who bakes). Just saying. :)

This recipe halves wonderfully! What you see above is only half the cake. And the edge of the cake is SO yummy. Kind of crispy / chewy. Since this recipe was converted from an Italian one, the cup measurements are a bit unusual. If you have a scale, I recommend using it!

Italian Lemon Almond Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca - grain-free, gluten-free)

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Rated 5.0 by 11 readers
Italian Lemon Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca – grain-free, gluten-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: One 10" cake

Ingredients

  • 320 grams (this is about 3 cups + 3 tablespoons) almond flour (not almond meal) or blanched almonds, ground into almond flour
  • 200 grams (1 cup + 3 tablespoons) white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk (I used 1.5% milk)
  • 180 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
  • 130 grams (about 2/3 cup) granulated sugar or coconut sugar1
  • zest of 4 lemons, about 2 tablespoons
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 40 grams (about 2 tablespoons) of limoncello or lemon juice
  • powdered sugar as garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 176°C and grease a 10" / 26cm pan or line it with parchment paper. If using blanched almonds instead of almond flour, process them in the food processor until they're pretty finely ground. If you grind them too much, they'll release oil and become almond butter.
  2. Combine the white chocolate and milk / cream in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Heat in 30 second increments and stir after every 30 seconds. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest. Beat the butter with 100 grams of sugar and beat until fluffy.
  4. Add the lemon zest, egg yolks and lemon extract and beat until well combined. Then add the almond flour / ground almonds and the melted chocolate. Add the limoncello / lemon juice and beat until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl with spotlessly clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 30 grams of sugar to the egg white mixture. Fold the egg whites into the almond batter until well combined. Spoon the batter into the greased pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. If making half the cake, use a 7" / 18cm pan and bake for 30 minutes. The cake will puff up in the oven, but when cooling, it'll fall back down.
  6. Let it cool completely in the pan and then invert the cake onto a plate, and then flip that back into the pan or onto another plate (so that it's not upside down). Sprinkle on some powdered sugar if desired, but only before serving.

Notes

  1. If using coconut sugar, blend in a coffee grinder first so that it's basically like powdered coconut sugar. I'd be worried about how well non-grinded coconut sugar would do with the egg whites. I'm guessing not well. And please note the above comment about how using coconut sugar turns the cake the brown! It's just not possible to make a bright yellow cake with this dark sugar. Also, this recipe originally used 200 grams of sugar. I used 200 grams in the first cake and only 130 in the second and didn't notice much of a difference, but I'm used to not using so much sugar. Feel free to use up to 200 grams.

Adapted from Dolce Mania - Torta Caprese Bianca

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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91 comments on “Italian Lemon Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca – grain-free, gluten-free)” — Add one!

  • Ali Southward says
    July 6, 2016 @ 11:08 am

    Hurray. weights given – so much more accurate for baking!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Ali Southward
      July 6, 2016 @ 10:21 pm

      Haha. Agreed! I hate making recipes without metric. Especially when I see a measurement like, “2 bananas.” Ugh! Hope you’ll enjoy the cake. :)

      Reply
    • sheila replies to Ali Southward
      August 2, 2016 @ 2:36 am

      Made this cake already according to directions.Great reaction from everyone,but rich. Could I substitute some of the butter for applesauce or another suggestion????
      Thanks…

      Reply
      • Erin replies to sheila
        August 3, 2016 @ 9:40 pm

        I’m happy you enjoyed it! I’m not so sure about recommending applesauce (or any other sub) in this. I think this recipe is a little more finicky when it comes to subs than regular cake recipes. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you!

        Reply
  • Kyra says
    June 28, 2016 @ 6:53 pm

    I made this cake for a family party over the weekend and it was an absolute hit! The cake is light and moist- perfect for the summer. I was thrilled with how it came out- thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kyra
      June 28, 2016 @ 9:34 pm

      Awesome! I’m so happy that it turned out well for you. Thanks a bunch for your comment! :)

      Reply
  • KareninStLouis says
    April 6, 2016 @ 11:37 pm

    I’d like to test this by baking it in a 7 inch pan, as you suggested. The only one I have that size is a springform pan. Do you think that will work?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to KareninStLouis
      April 6, 2016 @ 11:45 pm

      It’ll work but place a piece of parchment paper over the pan to line it to prevent the batter from leaking. So not just a piece over the bottom, but a piece that goes up the sides, too. I hope that makes sense and that you’ll enjoy the cake!

      Reply
  • Suzanne
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    March 20, 2016 @ 7:18 pm

    I made this last Thanksgiving for my Italian family and they loved it! I’m making it again for our big Easter celebration. Buona Pasqua!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Suzanne
      March 20, 2016 @ 9:10 pm

      I’m so happy that your family loved it and even happier that you want to make it again for Easter. :) Happy Easter to you, too, and thanks for your feedback!

      Reply
  • Judy Rhoades says
    March 14, 2016 @ 5:53 pm

    You had me until I saw the cup of white chocolate, I have found that if you are living the grain free lifestyle, (and I am) you are also living the sugar free lifestyle. It sounds good though.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Judy Rhoades
      March 15, 2016 @ 6:04 pm

      Aww. Too bad about the cup of white chocolate! It’s an Italian recipe that just happens to be grain-free rather than a grain-free recipe developed for a grain-free audience so I guess that explains the white chocolate.

      Reply
  • Monica says
    February 23, 2016 @ 3:53 pm

    Does this cake freeze well? How about refrigerate? I want to make it for a brunch, but want to be able to make it ahead of time. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Monica
      February 23, 2016 @ 9:58 pm

      It would be fine in the fridge for a few days but I’m not sure about freezing it. I’m thinking it may not do so well. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

      Reply
  • Judie
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    says
    January 28, 2016 @ 5:05 am

    Delizioso and thank you for sharing this receipe

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Judie
      January 29, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

      So happy you liked it! Thanks for your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Jurgita says
    January 20, 2016 @ 3:31 pm

    Hi there, is it possible to use coconut flour? The texture of flour seems to be the same…

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jurgita
      January 20, 2016 @ 11:46 pm

      I’m afraid it’s not possible. Coconut flour isn’t interchangeable with any other flour as it requires a lot more liquid. Sorry about that!

      Reply

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