This Italian lemon almond flour cake (also known as torta caprese bianca) is full of lemon flavor and has a lovely texture! It’s also gluten-free and grain-free.
I posted this cake recipe six years ago and am reposting it today with new pictures (you can see the old one at the bottom of the post) because the old ones didn’t do it justice and because hardly any of my readers were around here back in 2012.
It’s gotten tons of reviews and everyone seems to love it so I thought you all needed to see it, too. :) It’s been a hit for gluten and non-gluten eaters alike.
If you’re tired of carrot cake for Easter, this would be a great option for Easter dessert! If you’re not tired of carrot cake, then I can highly recommend the gluten-free carrot cake I posted last week. Or these paleo carrot cupcakes!
One thing that people keep asking about this almond flour cake is if you can omit or replace the 1 cup + 3 tablespoons of chopped white chocolate. Unfortunately that’d be a no.
That’s a whole lot of something to omit from a recipe! It’s not an add-in. It’s needed for sweetness and the structure of the cake.
A few reviewers have experimented with it, but I haven’t. So please check out the reviews if you’re interested in that.
This almond flour cake really isn’t one of my regular healthy (or at least healthy-ish) recipes. If you’d prefer something without all the sugar, try my paleo lemon cookies or these paleo lemon bars. Both are also vegan! As is this awesome-looking vegan panna cotta, which I can’t wait to try.
The traditional Italian torta caprese, which I have yet to make, is made with semi-sweet 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. If you dislike white chocolate, I think you’d have no problem with this lemon cake!
And although I thought the cake 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.
If you cut into it and it looks a little underdone in the middle, don’t panic! That’s how it’s supposed to be.
You can see what that looks like in the bottom picture. You can’t really see it in the new pictures.
A few random things – you don’t have to refrigerate the cake, but it tastes much better that way. And this recipe halves wonderfully! Use a 7″ cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.
Also, since this almond flour cake recipe was converted from an Italian one, the cup measurements are a bit unusual. If you have a scale, I recommend using it! I know I always say this but it’s especially helpful for this recipe.
Want some more lemony goodness? Try these gluten-free lemon sugar cookies!
Questions about this Italian lemon cake?
- Can I omit the white chocolate? You unfortunately can’t just omit 19 tablespoons of an ingredient from a cake recipe and expect it to work. One commenter did that and said that original version is better.
Other commenters have tried out other things in place of the white chocolate so check out the comments if you’re interested. I’m not listing any of them here because I haven’t tried them and have no idea how they compare to the original!
- Can I reduce the white chocolate? I’m guessing a reduction down to 3/4 cup would be okay and not have a huge effect on the outcome but again, I haven’t tried it!
- Can I use semi-sweet chocolate instead of white chocolate? I’ve been meaning to try that but haven’t gotten around to it yet! I think it’d work but am not positive. If you try it out, please let us know how it worked out. :)
- Can I omit the eggs / use an egg replacement? Nope. You’re beating the yolks and whites separately for this recipe and it’s important for the texture.
- Can I use another type of flour? I’ve only tried this with almond flour. Another type of nut flour / meal might work but I can’t say for sure since I haven’t tried it. I don’t think any other nut flour, except maybe cashew, would go with the lemon very well!
All-purpose gluten-free flour, wheat flour, rice flour, etc. will not work here. If you want something with a different type of flour, try this gluten-free lemon pound cake!
- Can I use something else in place of the lemon zest, extract and juice? Lime sounds tasty! Or orange.
- Can I use a different sized pan? Yes, but you’ll just have to watch it and take it out when you think it’s ready. I have absolutely no idea of baking times until I try it myself. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! I do know that you can use a 7″ cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- Can I use something else in place of the sugar? The Italian recipe uses granulated sugar but I tried it out with coconut sugar. If you use coconut sugar, your cake will be darker than the pictures but will still be delicious! Liquid sweetener won’t work and as always, no idea how to make this low-carb (which isn’t even really a possibility anyway with all that white chocolate!).
- Can I use something else in place of the butter? If you want to use coconut oil, I’d recommend using 10 tablespoons coconut oil + 3 tablespoons water. This is because coconut oil is 100% fat and butter is only 80-82% fat. Using the full amount of coconut oil (13 tablespoons) would make this cake too oily.
I haven’t tried olive oil or any liquid oils and am not super optimistic about them.
If you’re in more of a cupcake mood, try these gluten-free lemon cupcakes from What the Fork Blog!
Italian Lemon Almond Flour 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, divided
- 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
- berries and powdered sugar as garnish, optional
- 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.
- Combine the white chocolate and milk / cream in a microwave safe bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and top with berries, but only before serving. Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated (I think it's best that way) for up to 5.
- 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. Please note that your cake will be brown and not yellow! It's unfortunately not possible to use coconut sugar and have the cake come out yellow.
Adapted from Dolce Mania - Torta Caprese Bianca
250 comments on “Italian Lemon Almond Flour Cake (grain-free, gluten-free)” — Add one!
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FYI In the recipe Your link for Almond Flour is for Almond MEAL. Looking forward to making it!
Thanks! It’s actually almond flour. The bag says almond flour and is clearly blanched, but the product title is incorrect. I’ll change it to a different brand to avoid confusion! I hope you’ll enjoy the cake. :)
Hi. With the lemon zest and juice, I wonder why you included lemon extract?
I have yet to make this; it’s sitting in my Pinterest account.
Hi there! I used it for extra lemon flavor. :)
This is a great cake true to is recipe. I really enjoy the density of it. I used 2 very small round 6” cake pans. Turned out perfect. 🙏🏻🧚♂️
I’m so glad that it worked out well and that you enjoyed the density of the cake! I normally like fluffy cake, but this one is a nice change sometimes. :) Thanks a bunch for your feedback!
Can I please get the nutritional breakdown for this?
Hi! I don’t have that info but you could use this recipe analyzer for the nutritional profile.
What about a 8″ or 9″ round instead of 10″? Any suggestions for time-doneness allocations?
I’m so sorry for just now seeing this! I just found it with a ton of comments mixed in with the spam. :( I really have no idea of the baking time without trying it, sorry. I think the bigger problem is that the cake might be too tall and be too dense with you use a smaller pan. You could try using a smaller pan, but put some of the batter into maybe 2 muffin liners or a tiny cake pan? It’s just an idea. Sorry I’m not more helpful!
Can I substitute “Monk Sugar” for the
granulated sugar? My daughter is
diabetic, so I try to lower her ‘refined’
Sugars as much as I can.. Oh and, just a
‘btw’, I recently discovered my own gluten
issues, so Thank You for ALL your GF
You’re welcome for the recipes! :) I haven’t tried it but I don’t think that monk fruit would work in place of the granulated sugar. The texture and taste would be affected too much. Sorry about that!
Oh, gosh this was a comedy of errors. Most of it my fault but I will say that I had such a panic when I got to the part where I was meant to add 30g of sugar to the egg whites (which didn’t stand up) and I had used it all in the first part of the recipe. How about rewording the directions and say, “Beat the butter with ONLY 100g of sugar, (reserve the rest for later), and beat until fluffy.
BTW, my coconut oil didn’t get fluffy. As I’m writing this I realized I forgot the 3 tablespoons of water to go with the oil, yikes!
I could go on, like I dropped an egg into the whites and ruined three of four room temp. eggs (!), but this comment would be even longer.
Anyway, it’s in the oven now. We’ll see how it goes….
I’m sorry for just now coming across your comment! And I’m sorry you had such issues with it. I personally thought that writing “Beat the butter with 100 grams of sugar” was clear. For the full amount of sugar, the recipe would have just said “Beat in the butter with sugar.” But I added “divided” to the ingredient list after sugar. :) I hope it came out well! Sorry again.
the 7″ pan for 30 min is if you’re going to halve the recipe, correct?
Hello! Yes. Check out Step 5. “If making half the cake, use a 7″ / 18cm pan and bake for 30 minutes.” :) Hope you’ll enjoy it!
This was fantastic and easy to make! It was dessert with our Italian Easter dinner this past Sunday. (Full disclosure: I messed up and had only saved 1 lemon to use to make the cake, so I tripled the lemon extract in place of the zest I lacked and this worked out deliciously.) Thanks for the amazing recipe!
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! An Italian Easter dinner sounds amazing. :) I’m especially happy it worked out with only 1 lemon! Thanks a ton for your feedback and sorry for my slow reply.
Hello. I made this recipe the night before my dinner party . It was excellent everyone loved it . Thank you .
You’re welcome! I’m glad everyone loved it. :) Thanks for your comment!
Thank you for a delicious gluten free dessert! Our guests were so impressed.
I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! I’m really glad that your guests enjoyed the cake. :) Thanks for your feedback!
I’m looking for an ITALIAN ALMOND TORTE GF of course using ALMOND EXTRACT AND ALMOND PASTE!! THAT IS MY FAV FLAVOR (like marzipan!!! but hate white sugar) I’m going to subsitute the Chocolate with almond paste and use ALMOND EXTRACT!!! Hopefully will be just as good!
I hope it’ll work out but that’s a huge sub! I’m really not hopeful that it’ll work. :/ Did you try it out? If so, I hope it was delicious! Would love to hear the results.
Can I use a 10 inch tart pan instead of a 10 inch cake pan?
I don’t think so because the cake is taller than the sides of a tart pan.
And don’t use a tart pan! The batter will leak through.
It makes me a little nuts, when people give a recipe 5 stars based on the photos and how it looks, rather than what it actually tastes like. When here is a true review from someone who made this…It is awesome!!!!! Even my non GF family members love day it. I loved the addition of the white chocolate, it was a subtle flavor enhancer. Thank you for sharing,
You’re welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. :) And I agree the white chocolate is great! Thanks for your review and sorry for just now seeing your comment.
I have made this several times for my sister’s birthday -she is gluten intolerant. It is absolutely fantastic and gets rave reviews. Never any leftovers – 5 stars!!
Yay! I’m so glad it gets rave reviews. :) Thanks for your comment and sorry for my super slow reply!
Fantastico! Absolutely delicious and amazing and easy to make. Served after an Italian dinner, and everyone lost their minds over how good it was – adults and children alike. I also added a small dollop of fresh whipped cream.
I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! It got stuck in the spam folder for some reason. I’m really glad that everyone enjoyed the cake! Thanks for your feedback and sorry again for the slow reply.
Fantastic recipe! Didn’t have Almond flour so substituted for Ground almonds.
It was still absolutely delicious! Thank you
You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it. :) Ground almonds are the same thing as almond flour (at least in the US!). Thanks for your comment!
I substituted Erythritol for sugar, orange for lemon and dark chocolate for white chocolate. The flavour is awesome!
When you suggest the oven temperature, are you suggesting a convection oven or bottom heat only oven please?
Hello! That’s awesome to know that it worked well with dark chocolate. Thanks for the tip! The oven fan should always be off unless specified (you can also turn it on and lower the temperature a bit, but I don’t like experimenting with that!). My oven is a convection oven with heat at the top and bottom.
I’m in the U.K. , and I made this today ( completely understand grams and can’t do cups to weigh out )
Used ground almonds and caster sugar , didn’t have lemon extract , so I poured the remaining lemon juice over the cake as it cooled
Delicious ! lovely texture , definitely one to make again
I’m all about grams for baking! Then you can be sure the recipe comes out properly. :) I’m glad that you liked the cake! Extra lemon juice sounds tasty. Thanks for your comment!
What a great recipe! You’ve covered just about every “what if” and it is just beautiful. I too like the lemon to sock me in the face!!!!
Haha. Right?! It’s definitely the best way!
This cake was amazingly good. Almond flour is one of the flours that doesn’t have a nasty taste like some of the GF mixed flours. Also it seems to keep things moist. We have a GF daughter and we will most definitely make this again. Everyone loved it at Easter dinner.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it and will be making it again! Thanks for your feedback. :)
This looks divine! And the pictures look beautiful. What a great dessert to take to a party!
Thanks so much! :)
I would like to know what height pan to use. Can I use a spring form?
I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question! I’m traveling and can’t measure my pan but think it was about 2″ high. A springform is great. Sorry again!
Sorry for all the questions…no baking powder needed in this I see?
No problem! Yes, the recipe is correct. :) No baking powder!
Hello, this cake looks so moist and delicious, is the texture a moist and dense crumb?
Hello! Thanks. And yes, it is. :)
Thanks so much, have a nice holiday… :)
You’re welcome! And same to you. :)
May I ask what the difference in texture is as compared to the version with ricotta?
I haven’t tried a version with ricotta so I don’t know. Sorry about that!
I really want to make this, sounds and looks so delicious!! But I have a question; I and my family are dairy free, so would it be possible to use some kind of plant based milk or whip cream? And for the white chocolate, could I make my own and would it work?
I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! Making your own white chocolate might work (and a plant-based cream would work) but I can’t say for sure as I haven’t tried it. I’m working on a version using cocoa butter and haven’t got it right just yet. Sorry I don’t have a more definite answer for you!
Can you use ground almond
I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! Hopefully you found the answer in the recipe. :) Check out step 1!
I made this tonight and it’s delicious. I substituted granulated Swerve for coconut sugar and dusted it with Swerve confections sugar. I might of added more sweetener than necessary because it was very sweet. Otherwise I’ll definitely make this again and just cut back on the sugar! Good stuff. Can’t wait to share!
Hi Shawn! I’m very sorry for just now seeing your question from the other day. I’m really glad to hear that it came out well with Swerve! What a fantastic tip. Thank you very much for coming back to let me know how it turned out (and sorry again!).