Flourless lemon cake with rhubarb compote

Not yet rated

A simple dairy- and wheat-free lemon cake that you'll return to again and again. You don't have to stick to lemons with Izy's recipe; orange zest and juice are also perfect here! Plus any seasonal fruit compote would work well as a topping.

First published in 2015

Over the years I’ve made many iterations of lemon cake. Pound cake with poppy seeds, snacking cake with streusel, layer cakes with buttercream and this flourless lemon cake. I do appreciate a nice towering lemon cake, generously frosted with tangy icing but this simpler, slightly rustic cake is one I return to again and again. Don’t think that you have to stick to lemons with this recipe though; orange zest and juice are also perfect here!

Using fine cornmeal adds a slightly toothsome texture to the cake whilst the ground almonds keep it moist. Folding in billowy egg whites ensures that the cake has a light texture but the soaking syrup (poured over post-bake) gives a slight sheen and lemony dampness to the crumb.

I served it with a bright and tart rhubarb coulis as the forced variety is just coming into season now and I couldn’t resist! If rhubarb isn’t your thing, go for blueberries or raspberries as they still have tartness which matches that of the lemon. Otherwise a dusting of icing sugar and maybe a dollop of whipped cream or yoghurt will suffice!






  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 100g of granulated sugar
  • 80ml of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 90g of polenta, or fine cornmeal
  • 90g of ground almonds
  • 1 pinch of salt


  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of water


  • 200g of rhubarb
  • 20g of granulated sugar, or more to taste
  • 2 tbsp of water


Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush a deep 25cm cake tin with vegetable oil
In a large bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk, gradually adding in the sugar until you get stiff peaks
In another bowl stir together the egg yolks, vegetable oil, bicarb, lemon juice, lemon zest, polenta/cornmeal, ground almonds and salt until well combined
Add half of the egg whites to this mixture and stir in well to loosen it. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently using a rubber spatula until no streaks of egg white remain
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake in its tin for the syrup
In a small pan combine all of the syrup ingredients and stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a boil and simmer for a minute
Poke holes all over the surface of the cake and pour the hot syrup over so that it soaks in evenly. Leave until fully cooled then turn the cake out onto a plate and dust with icing sugar
For the rhubarb compote, combine the rhubarb, sugar and water in a small pan. Stir over a medium heat and bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has cooked down
The compote can be served like this or blended for a smooth coulis
First published in 2015

Izy is a student living in London, who spends her spare time blogging and photographing. She recently finished writing her first cookbook, Top With Cinnamon.

Get in touch

Please sign in or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs.

You may also like

Load more