Lemon-Vanilla Almond Cake {Paleo}

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Lemon-Vanilla Almond Cake {Paleo}

When I was younger, I hated any and all lemon-flavored desserts with a passion. Lemon bars, lemon meltaway cookies, and even lemon meringue pie were all on my list.

(But oddly enough, I was a big fan of super sour lemon-flavored WarHeads candy – does anyone else remember those? Incidentally, I consider this proof positive that there is no rhyme or reason to kids’ tastes.)

Lemon-Vanilla Almond Cake {Paleo} 2

These days, however, lemony treats are something I thoroughly enjoy. (I can’t say that my tastes have done a complete 180 though, because I haven’t had Warheads in years…so who knows, I might still like them!) Pairing lemon with vanilla in this cake is a sublime combo, made even more so by the addition of sweet-scented almond.

This cake is lovely; dense but not heavy, moist with a tender crumb, aromatic, and flavorful. I’d say it’s rustic (which I know is a term frequently used to cover up the fact that a dish is a bit of a mess to behold), but only because it’s quite moreish in a humble way.

It’s the sort of cake that’s perfect to serve to friends over coffee during a leisurely afternoon chat about nothing and everything. But be careful because before you know it, the afternoon will have passed and the cake and a couple pots of coffee vanished along with it.

Lemon-Vanilla Almond Cake {Paleo} 3

Lemon-Vanilla Almond Cake {Paleo}
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 (8-inch) round cake, about 8 servings
  • 4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 1 cup (192 g) coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 oz (227 g) almond meal
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Butter, for the pan
  • Almond meal, for the pan
  • Coconut “whipped cream” or regular whipped cream, for serving (optional; see Note below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch springform pan and add a sprinkling of almond meal; rotate the pan around to coat the inside and tap out any excess.
  2. Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks; set aside for now.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla bean paste, almond extract, and lemon zest about 3 minutes, or until it’s pale-colored and falls off the beaters in thick ribbons.
  4. Add the almond meal, salt, and baking powder to the egg yolk mixture all at once, and stir to combine (the batter will be very thick at this point).
  5. Add ¼ of the egg whites and stir to fully incorporate them. Add the remaining egg whites ¼ at a time, stirring the batter with a rubber spatula only in 1 direction and being careful not to over-mix. (Seeing some streaks of egg whites in the batter is better than over-mixing.)
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until it’s golden, and feels springy to the touch, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake.
  7. Cool completely; serve with a dollop of coconut “whipped cream” or regular whipped cream if desired.
Whipped Cream for Serving: To keep this paleo-friendly, be sure to use coconut "whipped cream".

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  1. says

    hehe. I know kids food choices are crazy! Having a two year old solidifies this for me. One day she will hate something, the next…love it! Your pictures are so pretty. Do you ever feel silly creating the shots? Like you’re having a cake party…but you’re not :) I

    • says

      Erica, Lol, I definitely felt that way at first! Now it’s my favorite part of what I do…I’m like a kid in a candy shop every time I open my prop closet! :)

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