Lemon Poppy Seed Cake (grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, paleo)

Ali Segersten Apr 14, 2017 19 comments

Spring is finally here! I just want to soak up each and every moment of sunshine we have, as it's been a particularly dark and rainy last couple of months. This healthy gluten-free lemon poppy seed cake will surely brighten any day! Serve it for Easter brunch or as part of a Mother's day breakfast. It's not particularly sweet, but definitely bursting with lemony flavors. It's quite easy to make and free of many of the common allergens, except eggs. The lemon-honey glaze on top seals in moisture and adds even more lemony flavor. I think you and your family will enjoy it. My children just love this cake!

This grain-free, paleo cake recipe is actually an adaption of the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin recipe from my new Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. A few years ago (in 2014) I was asked by the Institute for Functional Medicine to create a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe for a special banquet dinner event held during the their annual conference that year. This is the recipe that I created and that was served to hundreds of IFM members that evening (in individual miniature bundt cake form with fresh berries on top)! My friends and family have been making this recipe ever since....and now I'm finally sharing it with you. Enjoy!


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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Oh yes, I forgot to ask-how long does this cake keep and is it best to room temperature or refrigerated? We don't have a large family so I was thinking about freezing some...?? Thank you!

Hi Ali, do you know much about substituting duck eggs for chicken eggs? I know they are higher in fat and the whites are smaller/yolks are bigger than chicken eggs. I'm sure in a regular glutinous cakes it does not make much of a difference but we all know gluten-free baking is very finicky. Not to mention the ingredients are expensive and you hate to waste them making a wrong move. Thanks in advance!

Hi there,

No, sorry there is not a replacement for the coconut flour. It absorbs a lot of moisture, so the recipe would need to be entirely reformatted using different flours.

Hi Deb,

Thank you for the feedback! I bet the cake was beautiful! :)

Hi Rita,

Thanks so much for your feedback! So glad your family enjoyed it so much. :)

I'd love to make those, but I cannot digest coconut products well. Is there a substitute for the coconut flour?

I made this cake as a layer cake on Easter. It was fantastic and beautiful! I places thinly sliced strawberries between the layer and added whipped coconut cream to top it off! Everyone loved it!!

Hi Ali! I made your cake and it turned out fantastic! My husband and children really enjoyed it. I only had about 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds, next time I will try more. My gluten-eating husband could not believe how good the texture and flavor of the cake was. No sugar? No gluten? Yes! Slowly I'm helping him to see that you don't need those foods, and can still eat delicious things. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. -Rita

Hi Leigh,

You cannot replace tapioca or arrowroot 1:1 for potato starch. You would need to use less potato starch as it absorbs more liquid compared to tapioca or arrowroot.

Can I use potato starch instead of the tapioca flour?

So glad to hear they turned out well as mini cupcakes too. Thank you for the feedback Barb! 😊

I made this into mini cupcakes and they worked out beautifully!

Hi JB,

Thanks so much for your feedback! Poppy seeds are not a necessary ingredient so they are easy to leave out (then you get a lovely lemony cake)! Yay! Thank you for giving feedback on the brands of flour and oil! I think Costco partnered with Nutiva so their oil is actually Nutiva's but labeled with their Kirkland brand (so it has the same great flavor)....but somebody correct me if I'm wrong!

I've never tried Trader Joe's coconut flour. Good to know it works. I found Bob's Red Mill gives the cake a strange texture.

Good idea on the glaze! I will have to try doubling it next time for the full 9x13 cake. 😊

Yes, arrowroot powder works very well in the recipe and is interchangeable with tapioca flour. 😊

Yes! You can make cupcakes using this recipe. You'll want to lower the baking time to approximately 20 minutes total. 😊

I had lots of fresh eggs and lemons so I made this tonight. Used 1/2 recipe in a 9" round metal pan with TJ's coconut flour and Costco coconut oil and no poppy seeds. It came out great!! I made the full amount for the glaze since I wanted lots of lemon flavor.

Can I use arrowroot powder instead of tapioca for the cake? Will arrowroot work just as good?

From above "
This grain-free, paleo cake recipe is actually an adaption of the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin recipe from my new Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook."

I wonder if this would work well as cupcakes?

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