This Gluten Free Lemon Pudding Cake is so simple to make with 6 real food ingredients. A warm lemon cake sits atop a delicate custard-like middle in this light lemon pudding cake recipe. Delicious right out of the oven, it’s an excellent party dish. It’s equally flavorful and served chilled with coconut whipped cream, too. We’ve made this lemon cake healthier than your standard pudding cake by using gluten-free ingredients and Greek yogurt instead of cream. Dairy-free and sugar-free options!
Posted in honor of Celiac Awareness month, this easy gluten free lemon pudding cake recipe was the first dessert I ever attempted after going gluten-free! As a result, it holds a special place in my heart and remains one of my favorite treats today.
What Is a Gluten Free Lemon Pudding Cake?
If you haven’t heard of pudding cake, don’t be alarmed, it’s sometimes called ” self-saucing lemon cake“. Similar to my impossibly easy crustless sweet potato pie or a soufflé, the batter magically transforms in the oven (aka lemon magic cake). It’s a simple uncomplicated dessert that’s been around a long time. Gotta love those resourceful recipes.
There are actually several different flavors of pudding cake recipes like vanilla pudding cake, chocolate pudding cake, or our favorite lemon pudding cake. No matter which flavor you choose, there’s a reason they stand the test of time!
In this gluten-free recipe, the lemon pudding cake creates an airy layer of cake (similar to that of a soufflé or meringue ) on top and a creamy custard or pudding-like texture in the middle. Hence the word “pudding.” Believe it or not, no pudding is actually involved. It’s already a light dessert, due to the citrusy flavors, but we’ve lightened it up even more. Oh yes!
What’s In Lemon Pudding Cake, Anyway?
One of the best things about pudding cake is that it comes together with just a few simple ingredients. Of course, we made a few swaps to make the original recipe a little more allergy-friendly and better for you, too. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Large Eggs – The yolks and whites are separated and combined again to create a light, fluffy texture on top with a rich center filling.
- Butter – Unsalted butter or dairy-free butter helps form the custard center.
- Lemons – Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest are included to create the vibrant, refreshing flavor we love about this lemon pudding recipe.
- Greek Yogurt – This is our secret weapon to making this lemon pudding cake a little healthier while maintaining the tangy flavor and smooth, custard center we adore. We recommend using full-fat Greek yogurt. However, any percentage you have on hand can be used. Just make sure it’s plain or vanilla flavored!
Ingredient Swap: Replace the yogurt with coconut milk yogurt or a high-fat non-dairy yogurt for a dairy-free option.
- Gluten-Free Flour – We use a gluten-free 1:1 baking flour for this dessert. We don’t recommend swapping it out, because the taste and texture of your recipe just won’t be the same.
- Baking Staples – Vanilla extract, fine sugar or a sugar substitute, and salt combine to sweeten the batter and enhance the flavor of the rest of the ingredients.
- Toppings – We love to serve this lemon pudding cake topped with powdered sugar or a powdered sugar substitute, fresh berries, and extra lemon slices! Feel free to get creative, and mix and match whatever toppings you like best, though.
Pro-Tip: Use room temperature ingredients for easier mixing and to prevent the batter from being overworked.
How To Make An Easy Lemon Pudding Cake Recipe
Pudding cake recipes require a bit of time and patience, but they’re simple to make. Just follow the steps below, and don’t forget to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for the complete details!
- Prepare. Preheat the oven, and lightly butter or oil a baking pan. Or, if you prefer to make multiple, smaller cakes, grease 5-6 (6-ounce) ramekins instead.
- Separate the Eggs. Carefully separate the eggs and egg yolks into two separate bowls. Keep reading here to find 3 easy ways to separate your eggs.
- Whisk. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, Greek yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, ½ cup of sugar, and salt until smooth. Then, slowly pour in the flour, and combine until smooth. Set the mixture aside.
- Beat. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft foamy peaks form. Sprinkle in ¼ cup of sugar, and continue to beat until glossy peaks form.
- Combine. Fold half the egg white mixture into the bowl with the egg yolk and lemon mixture. Once smooth, add the remaining egg white, and continue to mix gently until a soft, airy, thick batter is formed.
- Bake. Transfer the pudding sauce mixture to the prepared baking dish or ramekins. Place the mixture in a large deep pan or casserole dish, and create a water bath by filling the pan roughly ⅓-½ of the way full with hot water. Carefully transfer the cake batter to the oven, and bake until set. Keep a close eye on the oven, and be careful not to let it burn!
- Cool and Serve. Remove the lemon pudding cake from the oven and from the water bath, and set it aside on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Add any remaining toppings, and enjoy warm or at room temperature!
How to Store
With a prep time of just 20 minutes and a total time under an hour, this gluten lemon pudding cake recipe is really best served fresh. However, if you want to make it in advance or happen to have leftovers, it can be stored for later.
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container, and keep them stored in the refrigerator for up to 3- 5 days. Then, when you’re ready to eat, reheat them in the microwave or set them out to come to room temperature before serving. Your cake will taste good as new!
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Gluten Free Lemon Desserts
Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!