This citrus-sweet gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake is light and tender, deliciously fruity and perfectly decadent. Layered with Mascarpone Cream and topped with ‘Eton Mess’, it makes a perfect celebratory dessert… Or ‘dress down’ the sponge to make a simple Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.
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Gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake with Eton Mess topping – Fit for a Queen
Oh my!!! You are going to love my gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake with ‘Eton Mess’ topping. It’s INCREDIBLE. Every forkful is sheer deliciousness. Indeed, it’s surpassed all expectations I had for it…
A light, tender and gently-sweetened gluten free lemon sponge, rich with citrus and dotted with beautiful fruity blueberries… Layered with a touch of berry jam and rich and decadent Mascarpone Cream… Slathered with lightly whipped cream and meringue ‘Eton Mess’ topping… All crowned with glorious fresh berries. It’s divine! And without doubt, fit for a queen… Or even the queen!
Honestly… I’d have this over the ‘7 -layer Jubilee trifle’ any day. It’s definitely as yummy… Way easier to serve… And while I adore a trifle, cake is still the ultimate offering for any celebration (IMHO)!
Oh… And just in case you were wondering… No! This cake was not deliberately decorated to be ‘red, white and blue’. It was an inadvertent detail that came about with a late addition of raspberries (because they were in the fridge). But hey… It looks great… So why not adopt this one for all the patriotic gluten free celebrations!
What is ‘Eton Mess’ topping?
I did debate whether to call my gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake an ‘Eton Mess Cake’. But decided against it for two reasons…
- First and foremost, this particular offering was always meant to be a Lemon and Blueberry Sponge Cake… The Eton Mess topping was a bit of an ‘extra’ to decorate.
- Secondly, it only has an ‘Eton Mess’ topping… I didn’t put any meringue in the middle layer. I don’t know whether that makes a difference in the grand scheme of ‘Mess’ things, but it felt a little deceptive to call it something it might not be.
However… It does have an ‘Eton Mess’ topping… and it is very delicious! So, what’s in it?
Basically, it’s the combination of all the ingredients that go into an Eton Mess, but thrown on top of the cake instead of in a bowl! For this particular cake, I’ve whipped the expected cream into soft peaks… Smashed the required meringue and mixed it in with the cream… And topped the whole lot with tangy berries.
On the other hand, you could go the whole hog… Throw some meringue in the middle layer too and then it will definitely be an ‘Eton Mess Cake’!
Is this gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake safe for Coeliacs?
Yes! Absolutely. We only do ‘safe for Coeliacs’ at Gluten Free Alchemist. So whether you have Coeliac Disease (Celiac) or another gluten/wheat-related health condition, my Lemon Blueberry Cake recipe is safe. Just make absolutely sure to use certified gluten free flour… And check ALL ingredient labels for any risk of hidden gluten or ‘may contain’ warnings.
But don’t keep this one to yourselves… My Lemon and Blueberry Cake may be gluten free, but you would never be able to tell. So, don’t worry about sharing with the wheat-eaters at the party… Because this gluten free cake is at least as good as theirs!
Can I make this cake recipe dairy free as well as gluten free?
Yes. The Lemon Blueberry Sponge itself is super-easy to convert to a dairy free recipe, as the only dairy ingredients listed are butter and milk. Simply sub the milk for a favourite dairy free alternative. And switch to a good, dairy free block ‘butter’. I recommend Flora or Stork baking blocks.
Dairy free ‘Mascarpone’ cream and whipped cream
If you are a regular baker, then you probably already have a favourite recipe for dairy free whipped cream. There are now a variety of dairy free ‘double’ and ‘whippable’ creams on the market (such as this Elmlea Double Cream). But I’ll be honest, as I am not dairy free myself, I have not explored all the options for robustness on whipping.
There are also a handful of dairy free cream cheese and ‘Mascarpone’-type alternatives now available. As above, I haven’t tried them myself, but I’ve heard from others that they work well in cheesecakes… And if they can do that, then they should also provide the qualities needed for a dairy free ‘Mascarpone’ Cream.
My personal favourite whipped cream option however, is whipped coconut cream. And I think this will be lush in my Lemon Blueberry Cake…
- Chill a couple of cans (each 400g) of coconut milk (minimum 70% coconut extract) in the fridge overnight.
- Once thoroughly chilled, open and carefully drain off the liquid coconut water.
- Scoop out the coconut cream into a large (preferably chilled) bowl.
- Add about 60g icing sugar (for 2 cans milk) and a tsp vanilla paste or powder (because these won’t add extra liquid).
- Whisk until thick.
- Note: For the ‘Mascarpone Cream’ – Take about half of the whipped cream, add 100 to 150g dairy free cream cheese and whip again to combine and thicken.. I’ve not tested this, but it should work. Let me know if you try it… Or play safe and just use the straight coconut whipped cream.
- Chill the creams for at least an hour before layering and decorating the cake.
Is it possible to make gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake nut free?
I know that some of you will need to ask this question… So yes. It is possible to make gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake nut free.
While I love to use ground almonds in my cakes (both to add structure and moistness), it’s fine to switch weight for weight with some extra gluten free flour blend. I would advise however, adding an extra tablespoon of milk to the recipe, to compensate for the higher hydration needs of the flour.
Making a perfect gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake sponge – Frequently asked questions
What gluten free flour is best for making this sponge recipe?
When baking gluten free, always make sure to use a gluten free flour blend (unless a recipe instructs otherwise). Individual gluten free flours need to be combined together to give similar baking qualities to wheat.
For this recipe, I used my Gluten Free Alchemist white Blend A, which can be found at the bottom of my Flours and Flour Blending Page. It is fine however, to use a good, alternative ‘free from’ flour blend, such as Doves Freee Plain White. Either way… As this Lemon Blueberry Cake looks ‘prettier’ with a light-coloured sponge, it may be better to use a white gluten free flour blend when making it.
Can I make Lemon Blueberry Cake without Xanthan Gum?
Using xanthan gum when baking cakes offers better binding and structure and helps avoid a crumbly mess. For that reason, I wouldn’t advise making this particular recipe without using either xanthan gum or an alternative. (Check the ingredients in the flour blend being used first, to make sure it doesn’t already have xanthan gum added… If it does, add just an extra ¼ teaspoon).
For those who can’t tolerate xanthan gum, use your usual alternative. If using psyllium husk, sub at 1½ times the amount stated and add an additional drop of milk to compensate for its greater absorbency.
Why toss the blueberries in flour?
The reason for tossing the blueberries in a little flour before adding to the cake batter, is that the coating supports them within the baking sponge and helps avoid their sinking to the bottom…
Ok… Confession time. I didn’t remember to toss my blueberries in flour! And yes… They sunk. But actually… There is something quite fun and very fruity about those blueberry bases meeting in the middle of the cake.
So, it’s up to you… For better distribution, coat the berries in flour… For a fruity blueberry layer, don’t coat them in flour… Either way, your gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake will still be outrageously good!
Why is my Lemon Blueberry Cake taking longer to bake?
When I made Lemon Blueberry Cake in my kitchen, I noticed it took a little longer to bake than many other basic sponges I’ve made. That’s fine! But you will need to use a bit of ‘baker’s instinct’ (and some basic tests) to check whether it’s done… (See below).
The reason for this particular cake taking a bit longer, is that (apart from natural variations from one oven to another) the blueberries release extra moisture, which then needs a bit longer to work its way through. Rather than reducing the moisture in the batter, I have gone for a slightly longer bake. That way, I could be sure the sponge would be (and stay) perfectly tender of crumb throughout.
How will I know when the sponge is done?
To check whether your Lemon Blueberry Sponge is ready to come out of the oven, use the following tests…
- Sight – Is the sponge beautifully risen and a gorgeous golden colour?
- Touch – When you gently push the very centre of the sponge with a finger, does it spring back to the touch? (Be careful not to burn yourself when you check).
- Tools – Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the middle of the sponge (in a couple of places)… If it comes out clean, you should be good to go!
If at any point you are worried that the sponge is browning too much, simply cover very lightly with a piece of foil.
What equipment do I need to make a Lemon Blueberry Cake?
You should have most of the equipment needed to make my gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake already to hand. But here’s the list of essentials to get you prepared.
- Kitchen Weighing Scales – accuracy is important when baking.
- Measuring Spoons
- A Lemon Squeezer
- Mixing bowls
- An Electric Whisk – I have a KitchenAid hand mixer which is fabulously flexible, light and the best hand mixer I have ever owned.
- A large, flexible mixing spoon for folding and scraping the bowl – Check out this silicone spoon-spatula.
- Good-quality baking paper (I always use Lakeland baking paper)
- Baking tins. The recipe makes a 9-inch layer cake. Or if you prefer smaller, use two-thirds of the ingredients for a 7-incher.
- Wire racks to cool your cakes. These stackable ones are great.
- A flat knife or Palette Knife for spreading the cream.
- Piping Bag and a nozzle. I swear by these Lakeland ‘Get a Grip’ Piping Bags.
- A Cake Scraper for scraping off the excess cream from the sides of the cake (aka a ‘naked’ cake)
Tips for filling and decorating your Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Cake
Don’t spread the jam too close to the edge
The thin layer of jam in the middle of this Lemon Blueberry Cake adds extra fruitiness and interest. However, if it seeps to the edges of the cake, it will inevitably discolour the cream and get smeared around the sides when scraping the crumb coat… And that won’t be nice! So… to ensure the sides of your cake stay pale and beautiful, aim to keep the jam in the middle of the sponge… To do this:
- Spread the jam from the middle outwards, leaving a ‘clean’ edge about 1 to 1½ cm wide, around the whole outside circle of the bottom sponge.
- Pipe blobs of Mascarpone Cream around the ‘clean’ rim to form a barrier that will prevent the jam from ‘escaping’.
- Finally, top the rest of the jam layer with blobs of cream, working in circles from the outside in.
Use Mascarpone Cream for stability
Layering cakes with cream is always delicious. However, it is important for the stability of the layers, that the cream is robust enough to hold the weight of the upper sponge(s). One of the easiest ways to do this without adding a ton of icing sugar and to preserve the natural decadence of the cream, is to whisk in a little Mascarpone. It’s smooth and rich with a natural, neutral flavour and importantly, it has a high-fat content that thickens and stabilises the cream.
It’s not essential, but it’s perfect for this cake.
Keeping a little crunch on your ‘Eton Mess Cake’
The whipped cream topping of the cake is lighter than the filling. But it is also mixed with meringue which brings little ‘melty pops’ of sugar sweetness. The thing is this though… That once the meringue gets mixed with the cream, it takes on the moisture and loses its crunch.
Now I personally don’t have a problem with that, as the taste is still wonderful… But if you want to maintain crunch for as long as possible, the following will help a little…
- Don’t crush the meringue too small. Break it into bigger chunks that will take a little longer to take on the moisture.
- Whip the cream ready, but don’t fold in the meringue or top the cake until just before it is being served.
- Reserve a good few chunks of meringue to sprinkle on top of the cream and cake so that it stays crunchy and fresh.
How to store and serve this gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake
Because this Lemon Blueberry Cake contains whipped cream and Mascarpone, it needs to be stored in the fridge. This will ensure it stays fresh for two to three days.
Although the chilling will firm up the sponge, it will quickly soften again if the cake is brought out of the fridge for 20 minutes or so before serving.
Although I have yet to test it, the cake (with cream) should freeze well. It should be good frozen for 2 to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature completely before serving.
Have you made this recipe?
Thank you for reading…Hopefully, that’s all you need to know about making my gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cake. I hope you love it too. Just shout if you have any other questions via the comments section at the bottom of the post, by emailing me or through direct message/tagging on social media. You’ll find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest (#glutenfreealchemist). And don’t forget to tell me what you think!
For lots more big cake inspiration, take a peak at our Gluten Free Big Cake and Celebration Cake Index. Or grab a cuppa for the full inspirational works… Our massive photographic Gluten Free Recipe Index… With hundreds of recipes, you’re sure to find something tempting.
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Lemon and Blueberry Cake with ‘Eton Mess’
- measuring jug
- 320 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA Blend A (see NOTES), but an alternative flour blend should work fine.
- 160 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (use only ¼ tsp if flour blend already contains)
- 2 tsp baking powder gluten free
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 large lemon – zest Add more zest as preferred
- 250 ml/g milk dairy free as required
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 170 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) softened
- 360 g white caster sugar
- 3 large eggs At room temperature – lightly beaten – UK large size (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’
- 2 tsp natural lemon extract good quality
- 100 g fresh blueberries de-stalked
- Approx 1 tbsp additional gluten free flour to toss the berries
Filling and Crumb Coat
- 300 ml/g double cream (aka heavy cream)
- 150 g Mascarpone cheese
- 30 to 40 g icing sugar confectioners/powdered sugar (dependent on preferred sweetness level)
- 4 to 5 tbsp raspberry/strawberrry jam
'Eton Mess' Topping
- 220 ml/g double cream (aka heavy cream)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 4 meringue nests broken in largish chunks
- 100 g blueberries/raspberries/strawberries
- optional berry coulis/sauce homemade or shop-bought
- optional sprinkles or crushed meringue
- Base-line two baking tins (round, non-stick 9 inch) with baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 (170 fan).
- Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure the ingredients are fully combined and all lumps are broken down. (TIP: weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside.
- Using a zester/microplane or fine grater, grate the zest from the large lemon and set aside.
- Juice the lemon.
- In a jug, stir together the milk and 1½ tbsp lemon juice and leave to stand for 10 minutes (it will become clumpy and make 'buttermilk').
- Toss the blueberries in the additional tablespoon of flour and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and caster sugar with an electric whisk until pale, light and fluffy.
- Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat together with a fork to combine. Add a little at a time to the butter mixture, beating thoroughly between each addition until smooth.
- Add and beat in the lemon extract and lemon zest.
- Alternately fold the 'buttermilk' and flour mixture into the batter about a third at a time. Work gently but quickly, until just combined and even. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Lastly, shake off the excess flour from the tossed blueberries and gently fold the blueberries through the mixture.
- Divide the batter evenly between the baking tins and smooth the tops.
- Bake for approx 30 to 40 minutes (dependent on the oven and cake size) until golden, the top springs back to the touch and a skewer/toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the tins, before gently turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. (If necessary, carefully run a flat knife around the edge of the tin to release)
- Cool COMPLETELY before decorating.
Filling and Crumb Coat
- Weigh the cream, Mascarpone and icing sugar into a large bowl.
- Beat well with an electric whisk until thickened. Set aside
- Place one of the cakes top-side down on a serving plate (or board if you prefer to transfer later to a serving plate).
- Beat the jam with a spoon and dollop on the sponge in the middle.
- Spread the jam using the back of the spoon towards the edge of the cake, but leave a 1 to 1½ cm border clean around the whole edge (so that it won't ooze out).
- Using a piping bag and 1 cm nozzle (plain or open tip), pipe the Mascarpone Cream in blobs round the whole edge of the base sponge so that it forms an outer 'wall' to the jam.
- Continue to pipe in 'blobs' inwards, circle by circle (on top of the jam) until the whole of the base is covered with Mascarpone Cream.
- Carefully place the second sponge (top-side up) onto the sponge with cream, being careful not to push down.
- Place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes and to firm slightly.
- When ready, take the remaining Mascarpone Cream and (using a flat/palette knife) spread it over the surface and sides of the cake.
- Using a cake scraper held vertically, scrape the sides of the cake, all the way round a couple of times until you have a smooth, sheer layer of Mascarpone Cream (for a naked cake). Turn the cake as you scrape and remove the excess cream from the scraper frequently. (It will help if you have a cake turntable, although it is not essential).
- Smooth the top of the cake with the scraper and tidy up the edges as you feel the cake needs.
Eton Mess Topping
- Whip the cream and vanilla extract with a whisk to the point of 'soft peaks'. Be very careful not to over-whisk.
- If not serving straight away, set the cake and whipped cream aside in the fridge. It is best if the cake is topped just before serving to get a crunchier meringue. See NOTES.
- Break the meringue nests into chunks.
- When ready to add the topping to the cake, lightly fold about two-thirds of the meringue chunks into the whipped cream and pile onto the top of the cake.
- Pile fresh berries on top of the meringue-cream along with the rest of the meringue pieces and any other (optional) sprinkles/sauce and serve.
- Because this cake contains cream, it needs to be stored in the fridge until serving. Take from the fridge about 20 minutes before eating to ensure the cake returns to full softness.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist