an early summer: gluten-free almond + lemon ricotta cake

summer has come to australia early this year – what do you call the opposite to an indian summer? – which is bad for the vineyards, but good for the orchards.

this is also great news for me (!) as berries and stone fruits are already plentiful and cheap.


this weekend, I hit the road to Sydney to see my parents. I wanted to bring something sweet to enjoy with an afternoon tea, so I whipped up this little gluten-free number.

I chose this cake because not only is it deliciously light and summery, but it’s also pretty quick to bake and consists of mostly pantry staples. whilst I love a good complex recipe (I once spent seven hours in the kitchen making a Taiwanese beef broth) I just don’t have the time to be faffing about at the moment.


if strawberries aren’t your thing, or they aren’t in season, you could easily sub in different berries or other fruit like cherries. I think this would also be lovely with a rhubarb compote drizzled over the top.

whatever you choose, I’d definitely serve slices of cake gently warmed, maybe with a touch of natural yogurt or high-quality double cream.

to make, you will need:

  • 150g softened butter
  • 125g sugar (sweetness to taste, you could use caster sugar if you wanted)
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced (keep zest and juice separately)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup ricotta (250g)
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract/essence or 2 vanilla pods, scraped
  • ½ cup gluten-free self-raising flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds
  • icing sugar, to dust (optional)
  • 2 punnets of strawberries, hulled and halved
  • a little extra sugar to make a lemon syrup with the juice
  • to prepare the pan: 1 tbs of butter+1 tbs of sugar


  1. preheat the oven to 180°C. line a 18cm-20cm cake pan and grease with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  2. beat egg whites until stiff, pop to one side.
  3. beat the butter with the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until fluffy, add the yolks until well combined, and then fold in the ricotta, flour and baking powder until combined.
  4. carefully fold in the egg whites, nice and gently, do not over mix.
  5. pour the mixture into the prepared pan. place strawberries halves evenly around the top of the mixture and sprinkle almond flakes.
  6. bake 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. whilst cake is still warm, mix lemon juice + sugar together and using a cocktail skewer, poke holes in the cake and fill with syrup. this makes it extra moist and lemony!
  8. you may want to dust with icing sugar and top the centre of the cake with fresh strawberries. serve warm. delish!


3 thoughts on “an early summer: gluten-free almond + lemon ricotta cake

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