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 I originally made this cake with white sugar because again, I thought coconut sugar with it’s slightly caramel-like taste might be strange with lemon.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! |

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!

If you’re in more of a cupcake mood, try these gluten-free lemon cupcakes from What the Fork Blog!

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

Rated 5.0 by 19 readers
Italian Lemon Cake (Torta Caprese Bianca – grain-free, gluten-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: One 10" cake


  • 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


  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.


  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  |

Pin post on Pinterest Share post on Facebook Share post on Twitter Share post on Google+

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

2 comments are awaiting moderation!

  • Vinny says
    January 18, 2018 @ 3:23 am

    When incorporating the 30 g of sugar into the soft peaked egg whites, do you then beat them into stiff peaks?

    • Erin replies to Vinny
      January 21, 2018 @ 11:02 am

      Hi there and so sorry for just now seeing your comment! And no – no stiff peaks. Just add the sugar and mix until combined. :)

  • Amy
    January 12, 2018 @ 1:45 pm

    Just tried this we all loved it! This a keeper! Plan to use this recipe for my sister’s birthday.

    • Erin replies to Amy
      January 14, 2018 @ 5:28 pm

      I hope she’ll enjoy it! So happy you liked the cake. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • Jade says
    December 6, 2017 @ 11:34 pm

    I am so excited to bake this cake! :)
    I was just curious though, so you think I could make this cake in a bundt tin?

    • Jade replies to Jade
      December 6, 2017 @ 11:35 pm


    • Erin replies to Jade
      December 8, 2017 @ 5:43 pm

      I haven’t tried it but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work in a bundt pan. I think it’s too dense and delicate for that. Sorry about that (and for my slow reply!).

  • Kim Scott says
    November 12, 2017 @ 4:28 pm

    Hi, I am making this for my brother that cannot have any grain or corn. His diet has led me to trying a lot of recipes that otherwise would never even know about. His favorite is lemon so I hope that it turns out great. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Erin replies to Kim Scott
      November 13, 2017 @ 10:10 pm

      You’re welcome! Hope he’ll enjoy the cake. :)

  • saru says
    November 11, 2017 @ 9:55 am

    This recipe is life:) I have made it several times and turns out perfect every time. I have even done a chocolate version of this and it beautiful.

    • Erin replies to saru
      November 13, 2017 @ 9:56 pm

      So happy to hear that! Do you just the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate? Thanks for the tip! :)

      • Aarti replies to Erin
        January 18, 2018 @ 5:51 pm

        Hi, This recipe sounds fab, but I’d rather not use chocolate, or use semi-sweet regular (since I have it at home). Can I omit it all together? Seems like some folks have. I’m okay with cakes not being too sweet. Or should I sub some brown sugar/honey for the chocolate?

        • Erin replies to Aarti
          January 21, 2018 @ 10:59 am

          Hi there! I’ve still only tried this recipe as written. You can try out what the others have in the comments, but like I told them, it’s not possible to just omit an entire cup of chocolate from a recipe. You’d need to add additional fat and sugar, not just for the taste, but for the texture. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you!

  • Beatriz Flatt says
    November 10, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

    Erin I forgot to also comment and this go for Beth that this cake can be freeze as I have done it, just make sure it is in good freeze paper and bag and since the cake is just for my self, I divide it in 1/2 and the part I freeze, I took it out one months later, still was delicious with some heavy cream on top and of course at room temperature, can not say enough about this cake.

    • Erin replies to Beatriz Flatt
      November 13, 2017 @ 7:25 pm

      Awesome! That’s great to know. Thanks again for the great feedback. :)

  • Beatriz Flatt
    November 8, 2017 @ 8:44 pm

    I am Gluten Free and this is one of the best cakes I have found so far, I do love it, love it, love it, thank you so much for share it, I do need a cake because of my low sugar and this one can not be better, it is a WINNER .

    • Erin replies to Beatriz Flatt
      November 9, 2017 @ 9:01 pm

      I’m very happy to hear that you loved the recipe so much! Thanks a ton for your nice comment. :)

  • Diane says
    September 21, 2017 @ 10:40 am

    I have made this cake multiple times and it’s always amazing. I decorate it with an Italian meringue buttercream for more formal occasions and everyone loves it. Thank you for the recipe

    • Erin replies to Diane
      September 21, 2017 @ 9:27 pm

      I’m so happy that you’ve been enjoying it! I never thought about decorating it. I’ll have to try that next time! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Lorie Cotton says
    September 18, 2017 @ 3:43 am

    Is it possible to substitute coconut oil for the butter?

    • Erin replies to Lorie Cotton
      September 21, 2017 @ 9:18 pm

      I’m actually not sure. Butter is 80% fat and coconut oil is 100%. I’m thinking it may actually come out too greasy! And sorry for my slow reply. I just got back from a vacation where I didn’t have any reception.

  • Beth Lamonda
    August 23, 2017 @ 3:46 pm

    Hi–can I freeze this and then serve it later—I have made it before and it was amazing…just wondering about freezing it


    • Erin replies to Beth Lamonda
      August 24, 2017 @ 3:11 pm

      I’m not actually sure about that. I’ve never tried! Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  • Claudia
    August 21, 2017 @ 3:49 pm

    Haha! In spite of my wrong almond flour, the cake tastes great! The outside appears to be a bit hard and dry, but the inside is soft and nice.
    Next time I’ll try the “original” recipe! :)

    • Erin replies to Claudia
      August 24, 2017 @ 3:10 pm

      Yay! I’m very happy to hear that it came out well, anyway. I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to let me know that it ended well and sorry for my slow reply. :)

  • Claudia says
    August 21, 2017 @ 1:58 pm

    To all german readers! There can be a big misunderstanding if you try german almond flour. This is a very fine and extremely DRY flour with all the oil extrated! When you take this flour (like I unfortunately did), your cake will be very dry an hard….
    An alle deutschen LeserInnen: Wenn Sie Mandelmehl nehmen, statt geriebene, blanchierte Mandeln, wird der Teig extrem zäh und trocken! Es sind hier gemahlene, blanchierte Mandeln gemeint!

    • Erin replies to Claudia
      August 24, 2017 @ 3:09 pm

      Thanks for the warning to the German readers. :)

  • Chris says
    June 16, 2017 @ 12:35 am

    I’m looking forward to making this for a party tomorrow where 2 of my guests are gluten free. Can I make it a day ahead and store it at room temperature?

    • Erin replies to Chris
      June 18, 2017 @ 10:12 am

      I’m so sorry I didn’t see your comment until now! This cake keeps well for a few days so making it a day ahead is definitely okay. Sorry again!

  • Laura Araujo
    June 12, 2017 @ 4:59 pm

    Can i replace sugar for Xylatol

  • Wayway says
    April 10, 2017 @ 3:26 am

    i just tried the cake today. Its good but too oily. I think I can adjust the sweetness to my taste. Its sweet enough for my family that I think I can reduce the sugar to 100 g. Also the cake was too oily, I can taste that I was eating a lot of butter., I used 3 sticks butter + 1tbs per recipe (1 sick = 1/4 cup). This is a lot of more than regular cakes. May be reduce the butter or substitute with more healthy ingredient next time

    • Erin replies to Wayway
      April 11, 2017 @ 8:40 am

      Hmm. Nobody has mentioned this cake coming out too oily (and there have been quite a few reviews). Are you sure that the sticks are 1/4 cup each? I’ve never heard of anything other than 1/2 cup sticks.

      • Nina replies to Erin
        January 16, 2018 @ 11:42 pm

        3/4 cup of butter is 1 and 1/2 sticks and that is why the cake was oily. I just know this because I am measuring out the recipe right now. I plan on using paleo custard instead of white chocolate. Wish me luck!

        • Erin replies to Nina
          January 21, 2018 @ 11:04 am

          That’s true for the US but it’s not always the same amount around the world. But if she’s in the US, that would definitely explain why her cake came out oily! I hope your cake came out well. I would have never dared using custard in place of chocolate. You’re brave. ;)

  • Jayne says
    April 6, 2017 @ 11:20 pm

    Can anything be substituted for the lemon. Another fruit maybe lemon bothers my stomach

    • Erin replies to Jayne
      April 7, 2017 @ 8:34 pm

      Orange zest and orange juice. :)

  • Sonia says
    December 23, 2016 @ 6:36 am

    Has anyone made this without the white chocolate? What might I sub? 😬

    • Erin replies to Sonia
      December 23, 2016 @ 9:41 am

      The third commenter below you has a sub listed but says it’s not as good as the version with white chocolate. I just don’t think there’s a good sub for white chocolate in this recipe. Sorry about that!

      • Liz replies to Erin
        March 12, 2017 @ 3:11 am

        You could try cocoa butter. Not sweet but would give the white chocolate consistency maybe. Add a little more sweetener.

    • Denise King
      replies to Sonia
      February 15, 2017 @ 2:23 pm

      I made this cake per the recipe and it was delicious! I am thinking of trying it by subbing ricotta cheese lightly sweetened with honey. Then it may be similar to an Italian ricotta cake. If I try it I will let you know, or if you do, let us know. I will definitely be making this again!

      • Erin replies to Denise King
        February 15, 2017 @ 8:26 pm

        That sounds like a delicious and interesting sub! So you’re going to use ricotta in place of the white chocolate? I’m not very hopeful that that’ll work but I sure hope it will! Can’t wait to hear the results if you try it. Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Jelena
    December 9, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

    Hi! Got some almond flour this week from a friend, who couldn’t manage to bake ANYTHING with it (she used it instead of “normal” flour and it didn’t work). Now I found your recipe and – voila – still in the oven, but the cake looks (and smells) amazing. Thanks for the great idea!

    I split the batter into 2 small cakes, so I can give one to my unsuccessful friend, haha

    Jelena (from Germany, so greetings to your husband ;) )

    • Erin replies to Jelena
      December 9, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

      Hi there! And aww. That was nice of you to take over the flour from your friend! Haha. I hope the cake came out well. :) Greetings from Berlin!

  • Kim says
    November 20, 2016 @ 8:24 pm

    This was amazing ! I made a tart lemon glaze for it, which soaked in and made it even more moist and lemony. Very good on day 2 also. Could not tell it was grain free.

    • Erin replies to Kim
      November 20, 2016 @ 10:16 pm

      Yum! That sounds delicious. Would you mind sharing your glaze recipe? I’d love to try! Thanks for your comment.

  • Rhiannon
    October 18, 2016 @ 7:45 am

    Wonderful recipe!
    I have made this several times for friends and family, and they always love it! No one can believe it’s gluten free!
    It’s best the way the recipe is, the only thing I added was sifting the almond flour and sugar, that really helps make it lighter.
    I have made it dairy free and sugar free with a tablespoon of stevia or 1/2 cup of coconut nectar and almond milk and almond milk creamer in place of the white chocolate. It’s not as delicious. It really works if you need it to though!

    • Erin replies to Rhiannon
      October 18, 2016 @ 5:42 pm

      That’s awesome that you were able to convert this into a DF / SF cake! I wouldn’t have even attempted that. ;) Thanks a bunch for sharing your adaptation! I’m thrilled that you and your family have been enjoying the cake. :)

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

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

    • 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. :)

    • 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????

      • 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!

  • 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!

    • 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! :)

  • 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?

    • 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!

  • Suzanne
    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!

    • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • Becky replies to Erin
        October 18, 2016 @ 8:19 am

        I didn’t like the idea of the chocolate in it and it looked like a good recipe even without it. So, I just omitted the white chocolate and cream/milk, and it was really amazing. I loved this and so did my husband. It is hard to find grain free baking recipes that actually turn out like a real desert. This is a winner!

        • Erin replies to Becky
          October 18, 2016 @ 5:40 pm

          Wow! I’m amazed that that worked. What was the texture like? Was it really sweet enough? Did you change the baking time? Thanks a bunch for your tip!

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • Judie
    January 28, 2016 @ 5:05 am

    Delizioso and thank you for sharing this receipe

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

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

  • 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…

    • 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!


Comments? I’d love to hear from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *


Comments are moderated. If you don’t see your comment immediately, don’t panic… it went through! Thank you so much for taking time to leave feedback!

Please help others by rating the recipe: