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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I made this cake on the weekend. What can I say – delicious! I have to confess though that I did use almond meal, which worked a treat. I also used A LOT more lemon (zest and juice of three lemons, however no lemon extract and no limoncello), as I don’t do subtle either, ever :)
I covered the top of the cake with slithered almonds, which added a nice crunch.
Thanks for this great recipe!
That’s awesome that almond meal worked out! I like your style – more lemon is always better. ;) I’ll have to try using slivered almonds on top as that sounds really good. Thanks so much for your tip and your feedback!
hi! i am under the ketogenic diet, and i am wondering if i can do this recepie without sugar (using liquid stevia instead)
keto diet, in gran free and lugar free…
Hi there! The problem is the sugar in the white chocolate. There’s no sub for the white chocolate and it can’t be omitted since there’s such a large amount. Sorry about that!
this one is an absolute winner! It turned out beautifully and ‘disappeared’ within minutes at the work function I made it for. Thanks so much!
I’m so happy that you and your co-workers enjoyed it! It’s always a good sign when it disappears like that. ;) Thanks so much for your feedback!
I made this exactly as the recipe stated & thought it was excellent. I am not gluten free but have tried several recipes for friends & this is one of the better. I got many compliments & served with a nectarine compote. No sifted icing sugar needed.
I’m so happy that it came out well for you and that everyone enjoyed it! I also don’t eat gluten-free but when GF recipes are just as delicious as their gluten-containing counterparts, I certainly don’t mind them. :) A nectarine compote sounds like it’d be great with this cake! Thanks for the tip and for your feedback.
Looks delicious. I’ve never baked with nut-based flours before……. is a 10 inch pan necessary? Can I get away with a 9 inch pan?
I haven’t tried it but I think it may work – although I have no idea how long you’d need to increase the baking time! If it were me, I’d probably put about 1/2-3/4 cup in a small greased ramekin and leave the bake time as is. It’s just a guess, though! I hope it turns out well. :)
This is everything. A beautiful texture, the perfect amount of lemon.
Having worked in bakeries and also been meddling in gluten free baking for years this is on the money. Typically I hate cakes once they have been refrigerated, but after my dinner party last night the one sliver that remained accidentally ended up in the fridge. Upon first bite, I realize that it only enhanced everything I loved about it – especially the moist, nearly underdone texture that is so hard to achieve with most gluten free goods.
I’ve never ever left a comment after a recipe, but this newest discovery spurred me into action. Brava!
Wow, thanks so much for your feedback! It absolutely made my day. :) It’s great to know that the cake does well refrigerated! I don’t think I tried that but I can see how it’d improve the texture. Thanks again for your comment!
so excited to try this recipe and we use coconut sugar all the time so i’m not afraid to try it here, but i am looking for a substitute for the white choc chips. i know you posted that you didn’t know of a sub the last time someone asked, but i wondered if you’ve had any time to revisit that or come up with any ideas?
if not, it will just be trial and error here… ;)
still excited to try it! thanks!!!
I hope that you’ll enjoy it! But I still don’t know of a good sub for the white chocolate. Sorry about that. :( I’ve tried homemade white chocolate but it’s just not very good. And because it’s a whole lot of white chocolate (more than a cup!) I don’t think a sub will work very well. Sorry! I’ll just have to try to come up with a grain-free + dairy-free lemon cake at some point. :)
made this last night. Amazing!!! Used coconut sugar. Didn’t have lemon extract so just used a l.5 t. lemon juice instead. so lemony. wondering if there could be a sub for the white chocolate? thinking maybe coconut cream. husband is diabetic…
thank you for such a wonderful treat. looking forward to trying out the lemon bars ;)
I’m so happy that you liked it! And awesome that you tried the coconut sugar version. :) I think a sub for white chocolate may be possible but would probably be very tricky and require a lot of experimenting. I think white chocolate is pretty important to both the flavor and texture of the cake. Maybe cocoa butter and some honey would work? But to be honest, I think it sounds like a very expensive experiment likely to fail. Sorry I couldn’t be more of a help! Thanks for your feedback. :)
what do you think about using coconut oil instead of the olive oil or butter?
The problem with coconut oil instead of butter is that coconut oil is 100% fat and butter is only 82% fat. This normally doesn’t create an issue in cakes but this one is already so incredibly moist that I don’t know how well it’d do. Sorry about that! Let me know how it works if you do try it out. :)
Hello- is there any substitute for the eggs. I’m allergic. Thanks! I’d love to make this cake.
Hi, Lauren! Unfortunately there isn’t a sub. You have to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then fold them into the batter. If you used flax eggs (which I wouldn’t recommend doing for a recipe with 4 eggs), then the cake’s texture would be very off. I’m sorry about that! I looked for a grain-free eggless lemon cake and didn’t find one but if you can have grains, here’s an eggless lemon cake and a vegan Tuscan lemon cake. I hope that helps!
Is it possible to use regular flour instead of alomond flour? How many cups would you use? I want to make this for my sister but she’s allergic to nuts in general.
I’m afraid not. Nut flours just aren’t interchangeable with non-nut-based flours. I’m sorry about that! I tried finding you a different Italian lemon cake without nuts and found this one. I hope that helps!
I discovered a sweetener Natural Mate which is a combination of Erythritol & Sucralose sold by Netrition.com. This sweetener looks, feel, taste and bake up like regular granulated sugar. No aftertaste or cooling effect. I did a sample baked good and cannot tell the difference. The only thing is because it is sweeter than sugar, I will have to use just 1/2 cup for your cake recipe. I am looking forward to making it and I cannot wait. Just wanted to let you know of the sugar alternative for your readers who are not only watching their gluten but sugar intake as well.
Thank you! I hope that using less sugar or sweetener doesn’t affect the structure / texture of the cake. I hope you’l like it. :) Let me know how it comes out and thanks so much for the tip!
One more question. Is the cake in the photo baked with coconut sugar or regular white sugar? I will be baking this cake for Thanksgiving for those of us who are watching our wheat and sugar intake.
The cake in the picture was unfortunately done with granulated sugar! It’s just as good with coconut sugar, but doesn’t have the bright yellow color. If you want to use coconut sugar, make sure to read the note at the bottom of the recipe about grinding the coconut sugar first!
Ok, great. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks!
No problem! I hope you’ll enjoy it. :)
forgive me, I looked on the Honeyville bag and 28g is equivalent to 1/4 cup. So, 11.5 1/4 cup servings will give 322g (320g called for in recipe) which comes out to roughly 3 cups of almond flour (for this brand). If my numbers are off, please advise. Thanks, much.
Yes, I also got 2.875. So 2 cups + 15 tbsp + 1 teaspoon (or 3 cups minus 2 teaspoons).
I will be using Honeyville brand almond flour. How many cups for this recipe? Thanks in advance!
I don’t have that brand but with my almond flour, it’s 3 1/5 cups. Check on the back of the bag for the nutritional label and see if it lists something like “Serving size 1/4 cup (25 grams).” Then you’ll be able to calculate it. :) Hope that helps!
Oh, das sieht aber lecker aus. Das werde ich bald mal backen, ich liebe Mandelkuchen. Vielen Dank für das Rezept.
Lieben Gruß aus Bonn,
P.S.: I assume a Texan living in Germany can read this comment ;).
Hi, Martina! So sorry for my slow response. I hope that you’ll enjoy the cake if you try it! And yes, I understood your comment. :) I think that in almost 3 years of blogging, it’s my very first comment in German so thank you for that! Sorry my German isn’t good enough to reply in German. ;)
I searched a recipe for this following a delightful holiday on the Amalfi coast last September. Most recipes were in Italian and then I found yours. Thank you very much – I made it for a summer party we were holding and it was much loved. I had to make it when several people were coming round as otherwise I would have eaten the whole lot myself.
I have linked it back to you after writing about it myself :-) http://annescott.co.uk/torta-caprese-bianca/
So happy to hear that you and your friends enjoyed the cake! Thanks for the feedback. :) I’m off to check out your post!
Thank you for the lovely recipe.
You’re welcome! I hope you get a chance to try it. :)
thanks for suggesting the cups amount of almond flour…i am terrible at figuring the translation…making this tomorrow..looks wonderful!
No problem! And thank you. :) Hope you’ll enjoy the cake!
As a diabetic, I’ve learned you can halve the sugar in any recipe, and if you combine a small amount of stevia with a small amount of sweetener (any kind), you can’t really tell the difference.
Hello in Germany,
I want to make this Italian Lemon Almond Cake for my daughter’s 40th birthday. I am not sure how many cups of almond flour to use. The conversions I found vary greatly. A gram is weight a cup is volume is what I am understanding. If you could just tell me ? cups I would be greatful. Thank you, Sue Ann
Hi Sue Ann! That’s why I didn’t list the cup measurements. The different brands vary greatly so I’m afraid if I tell you the cup amount, your cake might not come out. But here you go – 3 1/3 cups. I hope it comes out well and happy birthday to your daughter! :)
I made this today and it was so good. All thre of my picky eater kids kept stealing pieces! Making it again this weekend. Thanks for this great recipe!
I live in Italy now and had tried this cake at a friends house. I looked up the recepie mentioning some of the main ingredients and your recipe popped up. I am so happy to have found it. One question I have is how deep should the pan be?
I would appreciate a response.
My pan was 5 centimeters but the cake isn't really so tall. A smaller pan (any typical cake pan) would work! I hope the cake works out for you. I'd love to hear how it comes out. :) And if you speak Italian, you can view the original recipe at the source (at the bottom of the post). Good luck!
Hi! So happy that you tried and liked the cake. :) It is pretty dense and not fluffy, but I don't think this type of cake is supposed to fluffy. But you could be right about the butter. I'm happy that you and your boyfriend were able to have this as a lower carb goodie! Thanks for leaving feedback. Comments like this always make my day. :)
This is the first time I have ever baked with anything other than regular flour. My boyfriend and I are on a low carb diet and were craving baked goods. Then I came upon your blog and saw this cake. I made it exactly how you said except I accidentally melted the butter and I also used Splenda instead of regular sugar. The cake turned out so yummy! It ended up having a pound cake/ cheesecake texture to it. It was very dense, I think it was the melting of the butter. Thank you do much for turning me on to this type of baking. Keep the recipes coming!!
Georgia – Thank you!
Baltic Maid – Yay, a happy cake! That's what I was going for. :)
Michael – Thank you very much! I don't have many grain-free recipes but I throw one in every now and then. I quite like them. :)
I keep scrolling through recipes on here and they all look so good! Happy to see this is grain free!
Ohhh, such a happy cake!!! I love it!
This is such a beautiful summer cake, Erin! Can't believe it's grain free, too. Very impressive!
Helen – I hope you like it! And I hope you're able to cope with your gluten intolerance. I used to think, "Yuck… why would I make something without normal flour?" but it turns out that most of the stuff has been really good! At least with almond flour. I've never used those special GF flours.
What a nice thing to do for your friend! I recently discovered I am gluten intolerant, too. I can't wait to try this!!
Brandi – Thanks! :)
this looks so delicious! that color is just gorgeous.
Sarah – You have to get some! It's good stuff. It doesn't taste like coconut at all but if you read up on it, it seems to be "healthier." Or at least be lower on the glycemic index. :)
I love the crunchy edge of this cake…and its bright yellow color! I've never baked with coconut sugar before, but definitely want to try!
liloudublin – Oh, then I'll try it like that next time! I just don't want people to try with oil and then it comes out a disaster. Almond flour is so expensive and it seems so finicky, unlike wheat flour where using oil is no problem instead of butter. Thank you for the tip and I hope you like the cake!
In Italy they often make this cake with butter AND olive oil (a third of oil instead of the butter) just to help.
I have to try with the coconut sugar i have in my pantry Thank You!
Miryam – Sorry I didn't see this until now! And I think it's way too heavy to eat all at once. Some normal wheat flour cakes have that problem, but I guess the almonds just make it impossible to chow down on a whole cake. I hope you like it! :)
Oh I did not know about that. Great advice. In that case I will just use butter then. Since I will be only making half the cake that would be fine, plus is not like we eat so much butter all the time anyways or like one of us is going to eat the entire cake all at once :-)
I will definitely use butter then! Thanks.
Monsterscircus – Mange tak! :) Jag bodde två år i Sverige men talar no Danish. I'm happy you like the cake. :)
Miryam – I'm happy you're so enthusiastic about this cake but I'm really, really worried about using olive oil in it. Almond flour, at least for me, hasn't been like wheat flour. With wheat flour, I sub olive oil for butter all the time and it's fine. But if an almond flour recipe calls for butter, and I use oil anyway, it doesn't seem to work. I'm guessing the cake will be a soggy mess. :( Maybe even 1/4 cake would be better if you want to try olive oil? I hope you get your almond flour soon! I just don't want you to waste it on something that might not work, especially since almond flour is so expensive! Or how about this: I'll make this again in the next few weeks with olive oil and let you know if it works. Yeah? :)
Heidi – Thanks! It is dense but not really fudgy.
Chung-Ah – Thank you. :) I kind of wish the white chocolate was more obvious. That's the only thing I'd change!
Kris – Thank a bunch! But I usually make things 100% whole grain so I'm not exactly a good place for gluten free desserts. But there are soon!
Becca – You really can't taste it. It's not really like a brownie, but a really dense cake. That's kind of gooey, but not gooey like a brownie. It's so difficult to explain! I'm happy this cake makes you smile. Thanks. :)
I'm not a fan of white chocolate at all, but this cake looks so sunny and yellow and happy. You're right, imjust want to smile when I see this cake. It looks more like a brownie than a cake, so ooey and gooey :)
Love your blog and your recipes :) It is the perfect place to find all sort of gluten free desserts recipes :)
I seriously love EVERYTHING about this cake, especially those added white chocolate chips!
Oooh, I love how this looks. I don't even know how describe it, except maybe fudgy? But in a non-chocolate way obviously :P It looks dense and delicious. I love lemon desserts!
This cake looks really yummy!! I love the fact that it has almond flour. I am on the hunt to bake things with almond flour so I went to purchase some at amazon, because I want to get it in bulk so that it is cheaper, and they run out :-( So I am going to wait until they get it again and this cake is going to be on my to do list.
I am glad you noted about the cake being under done a tad because by looking at the pictures you can really tell and I was going to ask you about it. I like my cakes baked all the way :-) so I will bake it for an extra 10-15 minutes when I do and half the recipe like you suggested and just make one smaller cake, and for sure I will use olive oil….sorry…you know me!!
What a Big heart you have! Very lovely cake, I also love to use almond flour when I bake, it makes the cake more yummy I Think. But it's also expensive here i Denmark, so I also does your trick with grinding. Thanks for the recepie it sounds amazing
Katrina – Thanks!
Kathryn – Thank you so much for that comment. When I sat down to write this post, I thought it'd take about 30 minutes but I somehow spent three hours on it. Ridiculous. But I'm happy someone actually spent the time to read it! Thanks again. :) Oh and I've found coconut sugar in Asian food shops but I've read that they sometimes add white sugar to that. The stuff I found looked a bit… dodgy. I also found it in organic shops at a laughable price. I think 26 euro/kg. I recently found it in what I think you call a cash and carry for a lot less. I quickly looked up the shipping price to the UK but it looks too expensive just for some sugar. Ah well. I tried! I suppose you're also headed to bed soon so good night. :)
Amy – Good to hear that I'm not alone! I mean, brown is boring. And so normal. But yellow? It's perfect for a bad day. :)
this looks just delicious! i love anything with lemon, so i know i'd adore this. hello things make me happy too!
Such a fascinating post, thank you! You explain all your choices so well and it's fascinating to hear how they affected the final cake. I'm on the hunt for coconut sugar here but haven't had any luck yet :(
This cake is stunning! Love this idea!