A tangy gluten free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake (or loaf cake) that is naturally flavoured. With options to either add lemon raspberry syrup for a Drizzle Cake and/or icing. Optional dairy free.
This post uses Affiliate links from which I may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I also earn from qualifying purchases. Commission earned is at no extra cost to yourself. Thank you for supporting this blog.
Originally posted 5th December 2014. Updated 18th August 2022
Don’t lose this recipe… PIN it for later…
The inspiration for gluten free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake – An old recipe updated
This gluten free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake dates back to 2014. However, when I recently remade it, I was reminded of just how wonderful it is to eat… A sweet and naturally fruity cake with a sharp and tangy citrus-raspberry edge from the drizzle or icing that is a must addition.
But making it again, I was also reminded of its roots… Because sometimes inspiration to bake new things comes from the most poignant and unexpected places. Originally created as a Lemon Raspberry Loaf Drizzle Cake, it was made for a ‘pink tea’ raising money for breast cancer awareness and research. I also made a batch of very pink Strawberry Cookies with White Chocolate at the same time.
Cake or no cake, breast cancer is a huge issue… In the UK around 50,000 women are diagnosed each year, with many deaths of both women and men from the disease. And it will directly affect one woman in eight during her lifetime.
The making of my very pink Lemon Raspberry Cake is most definitely a tribute to the friends I have known and lost to breast cancer as well as those who have survived. All of them brave and courageous in their battles…
What ingredients are in my gluten free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake?
The first question when making any cake is always ‘what do I need?’… So here’s the ingredients lowdown to help you prepare for making the most perfect Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake (or tray cake or loaf cake):
The gluten free dry mix
- A good Gluten Free Flour Blend. It MUST be a blend of gluten free flours as individual flours (such as rice flour or buckwheat on their own) do not generally work in gluten free baking (unless a recipe specifies it’s okay). I used Gluten Free Alchemist Flour Mix A, which can be found at the bottom of my page ‘What is Gluten Free Flour?’. Other balanced gluten free flour blends (such as Doves Freee plain white flour) will also work fine in the recipe. For preference use a white flour blend (as this will allow the pink colour to shine).
- Polenta (fine ground) – Otherwise known as cornmeal (a yellow-coloured ‘flour’ that is widely available in supermarkets). If you can only find coarse-ground polenta, give it a quick whizz in the blender to grind finer.
- Ground almonds – I love using ground almonds (sometimes known as almond meal) in gluten free cakes… They give extra structure, texture and moisture and seriously enhance the shelf-life too!
- Xanthan Gum, Baking Powder and a little salt – For binding, rise and enhancement of flavour.
- Freeze-Dried Raspberry powder – Another favourite ingredient of mine. Naturally pink and intense in flavour, it is superb in baking. Freeze-drying locks in nutrients too! And since you want the best flavour for your Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake, it’s absolutely worth getting.
- Caster Sugar – Balanced so that the cake is not over-sweet. Use white caster sugar (also known as super-fine sugar) to allow the pink to shine.
- Butter – Make sure to use block butter (for better stability). And allow to soften to room temperature before using (as it will be creamed into the sugar).
- Eggs – 4 UK large size… Remember that eggs are not sized equally around the world… So if unsure whether your eggs are the same as UK large size, have a look at my Egg Size and Weight International Guide.
- Vanilla Extract – is probably optional, but does offer a better depth of flavour to the cake (in my opinion).
- Lemon – Both as zest and juice. I recommend zesting the lemon before juicing… That way you don’t waste anything!
- Icing Sugar – This is also known as confectioners or powdered sugar and is used to make the drizzle/icing for your Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake.
Making Lemon Raspberry Cake extra pink…
There is one final ingredient that can be added to your Lemon Raspberry Sheet or Loaf Cake sponge and that is a little red food colour. It is, of course, optional, but you can see the difference that it makes in the photographs…
My original loaf cake was made with red food colouring paste. (I would always recommend using colour paste (rather than liquid) so that the moisture stability of the sponge is not impacted). And my Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake was made without food colour. The difference is fairly obvious.
Either way… The cake will taste the same, so it is a matter of choice whether it is used or not.
NOTE: There is NO food colour used in the icing/drizzle… The colour here is entirely natural and comes from the use of freeze-dried raspberry powder.
Gluten free sheet cake vs tray cake vs loaf cake… A flexible recipe
As you can see, I’ve made Lemon Raspberry Cake both as a Sheet Cake (also known as Tray Cake or Tray Bake) and as a Loaf Cake. Both work equally well. However, bear in mind that because a loaf cake is deeper in the tin, it may need a little longer in the oven… About 10 to 15 minutes dependent on your oven. As such, be sure to use your baking experience of sight and touch (a golden top that springs back to the touch in the centre), as well as a cake tester (which will come out clean with a couple of crumbs attached).
Although I’ve never made the sponge as a Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake, I suspect it would work very well (given that it’s fine as a tray cake)… Perhaps sandwiched with raspberry, lemon, vanilla or white chocolate buttercream.
Is this wheat free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake safe for people with Coeliac Disease?
Providing it is made with certified gluten free flours and that other ingredient labels are also checked for hidden gluten and ‘may contain’ warnings, then my Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake is totally safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac). Be particularly careful when buying baking powder (which can sometimes have wheat in the ingredients list)… And of polenta, ground almonds and raspberry powder (which can be impacted by cross-contamination in production and packing).
You can read more about label checking on my page Coeliac Disease + Food.
Best of all though… THIS Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake is SO deliciously moist and wonderful, that no one will ever guess it’s gluten free… And that’s a promise x
Can I make Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake dairy free as well as gluten free?
Yes! The only dairy ingredient listed in my Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake is the butter… And that can be easily switched for a good dairy free butter alternative with no impact on the final bake. I would always advise using like for like however… In this case a good BLOCK butter alternative such as either Stork Baking Block or Flora Baking Block.
Lemon Raspberry drizzle or icing… How much liquid to add
Regardless of whether you are making a Lemon Raspberry Loaf Drizzle Cake or a Sheet Cake with icing, the recipe for the syrup or icing is the same… with one very small tweak! If making a drizzle syrup, you’ll need a drop more water (or a little less icing sugar)… If making a thicker icing, you’ll need less water or more icing sugar.
Bear in mind that the water and icing sugar listed in the recipe are approximate! You’ll need to add water literally drop by drop (or icing sugar a teaspoon at a time) and judge when enough is enough based on the consistency required. For a drizzle syrup, the consistency should be quite liquid so that it can be easily absorbed by the sponge.
How to get drizzle inside a Lemon Raspberry Loaf Drizzle Cake
In the past, I’ve had success and failure when drizzling cakes. But the best way I’ve found to get the drizzle right into the cake sponge is this…
While the cake is still warm… Poke plenty of holes over the surface, using a skewer or chopstick. Quickly mix up your drizzle syrup to a nice liquidy consistency that will be easily absorbed into the cake. Then drizzle across the surface, being careful to specifically target the holes first.
For a deep drizzle, use a squeezy decorating bottle, large syringe or a squeezy (picnic) Sauce Bottle for accurate drizzling right into the holes. Then finish with either a good spread of the syrup across the whole surface of the cake. OR… add a little icing sugar to thicken the syrup before icing the cake.
For other amazing gluten free drizzle cakes, check out my recipes for:
- Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Lime and Blackcurrant Drizzle
- Raspberry Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake
- The ULTIMATE Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Chocolate Loaf Cake
Plus… You can also use my Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake to make the most divine Raspberry Lemon Trifle!
Ready to make gluten free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake?
I hope you enjoy my gluten free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake. It is (I think) a triumph of a gluten free cake. Superbly fruity, balanced for sweetness and not at all ‘gluten free’ in either texture or shelf-life. As always… I share with you wonderful people, with my love.
Please comment at the bottom of the post and rate the recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ to tell me what you think… And if you make it, do remember to tag me in to social media with your photos so I can see what you’ve baked. Find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
For lots more gluten free baking and cake inspiration, head over to our extensive Gluten Free Recipe Index…
Gluten Free Lemon Raspberry Sheet Cake (Tray Cake) Or Loaf Drizzle Cake
- 9 inch (23 cm) square non-stick baking tin loose-bottomed
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- skewer/chop stick
Lemon Raspberry Sponge Cake
- 200 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA Blend A (see NOTES), but an alternative flour blend will work fine.
- 50 g fine ground polenta (yellow cornmeal)
- 120 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1½ tsp xanthan gum
- 2 tsp baking powder gluten free
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 15 g freeze-dried raspberry powder
- 300 g white caster sugar
- 250 g unsalted butter softened (or comparable dairy free alternative)
- 4 large eggs room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 lemon (finely grated zest AND sieved juice)
- red food colouring paste optional
Drizzle Syrup or Icing
- 1 lemon sieved juice
- 10 g freeze-dried raspberry powder
- ½ tbsp water approximate amount – Please judge drop by drop based on the consistency required
- 200 g icing sugar (approx) – aka confectioners/powdered sugar
- Base line an 8 or 9 inch/23 cm square loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, polenta, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and raspberry powder, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously. Set aside.
- In a large bowl (using an electric whisk), cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
- Lightly beat the eggs together in a small bowl and then add a little at a time to the creamed butter mix, beating between each addition until smooth.
- Add and beat in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest (and food colouring if using).
- Using a large spoon or spatula, fold the flour mix into the batter until evenly combined.
- Spoon the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.
- Remove from the oven. If making a drizzle cake, leave in the tin. If icing just the top, remove the cake and set aside while making the icing.
Drizzle syrup & Icing
- While the cake is still warm, mix the juice, raspberry powder and water in a small microwavable heat-proof bowl or a small saucepan.
- Add about 130g of the icing sugar (for drizzle syrup) and stir to blend.
- Heat in the microwave (medium setting for a few seconds only) or a saucepan, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is liquid. Adjust the consistency by adding literally a drop of water if too thick.
- Use a skewer or chopstick to make holes across the surface of the sponge (if drizzling) and then drizzle some of the syrup over the surface and into the holes (use a squeezy decorating bottle or syringe for accuracy).
- Add the rest of the icing sugar to the remaining syrup, stir and reheat to dissolve. This will ensure a thicker icing for the topping. Adjust with an additional drop of water or with icing sugar if too thick or thin.
- Spoon and spread the icing over the surface of the cake and leave to cool completely and set.
- Remove the cake from the tin and serve.
© 2019-2024 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