This Gluten Free Sour Cream Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting is bursting with citrus flavor, coated in a smooth and tangy frosting, and topped with the most delicious crunchy toasted almonds. It’s a party indeed!
I just chopped my hair!!! I actually did it. After repeatedly telling Ben over and over for the past few years to NEVER let me cut my hair short again, no matter what I say, I disregarded all good intentioned advice and chopped it off.
Do I regret it???
Not yet. But ask me in a few weeks, after the novelty has worn off, and you may find me hunched over in a corner crying, mourning the hair that will take years to grow back.
But here’s the thing. I went into this decision knowing that I may not like the look of it better, but nonetheless it would be worth the sacrifice. I’m telling you, do you know what it’s like to live in Phoenix in the middle of the summer with long hair??? It’s brutal. BRUTAL.
I literally had tangles 24/7, and my hair was brittle and dry from the heat, AND it was in a bun or a ponytail almost all of the time. What fun is long hair if you can’t even wear it down? None at all.
Now when I first sat down in that salon chair I was mentally prepared to have a full on panic attack. Like heart racing, heavy breathing, seeing stars type panic attack. But even when those scissors first met contact with my hair and that initial snip was made, all I really felt was a sense of relief. No emotional pain at all. Now that was unexpected.
And what was my first reaction when the haircut was all said and done???
“Wow! It feels so fresh!”
There’s nothing like feeling fresh. It’s like you’re being born again into this same old world with newly invigorated life and energy. It felt magical! Is it weird that hair can make you feel so passionate??? Perhaps.
But hair isn’t the only inanimate object that brings me a strange sense of happiness. Food does the same thing to me. Certain aromas stir up long lost memories. Other times tastes, either subtle or strong, create a specific feeling. And then even the look or ambiance of beautiful dishes can create a distinct emotional reaction inside.
Such is the case with this beautiful and aromatic Gluten Free Sour Cream Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. This cake just makes me happy.
This dessert is a combination of two layers of moist lemony yellow cakes blanketed in the most perfectly tangy lemon cream cheese frosting. Basically this cake is heaven. And it only gets better the next day.
Each layer of cake packs a punch of lemon flavor from not only the use of freshly squeezed lemon juice, but also from two full tablespoons of lemon zest mixed throughout the batter. This is lemon cake at it’s finest. And on top of the tang from just the lemon, you get an extra punch of tartness from the sour cream in the batter. The sour cream keeps the cake moist, while also giving it a pound cake type flavor without all the heaviness. It’s a delightful balance.
Now let’s talk about this frosting. Oh this frosting. If lickable became a word, this frosting would be the definition. It’s so smooth and creamy, which makes it easily spreadable on the cake. But really, who cares about a frosting’s spreading quality??? All we care about is the taste. Well, let me tell you, this tastes FANTASTIC!
This frosting is like a dreamy pillow. A light, fluffy pillow made of cream cheese and butter. And then you thought, “Let me add some powdered sugar and lemon juice to this pillow…” and it was even better. And then before you woke up you said, “Lemon juice and vanilla sure would be nice…” And it was! Yeah, that’s pretty much this frosting. Your dream come true of buttery, cream cheesy, lemony, vanilla-y goodness. Doesn’t get much better.
Oh, but it does: toasted almonds.
This cake just wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t cover it in toasted sliced almonds. The nutty crunch brings this cake to the whole next level. And, well, this cake makes it right to the top story. As my children would say after eating a delicious meal or dessert that I’ve made, “You’re going straight to the balcony!” They get that saying from MasterChef Junior where once someone wins the cooking/baking challenge they are safely sent “straight to the balcony”. Basically, in my children’s eyes, it’s the highest compliment to be paid. Yes!
And before I forget to tell you, I actually made this cake for myself on my birthday. You know when a food blogger picks something to make herself on her birthday, it must be good. It was a stellar birthday celebration. That’s all I’m saying.
So if you’re in the need for some freshness and happiness of your own, go ahead a chop your hair off too. Or, you know, you could just make this cake and call it a day. Either decision will change your life, at least for a few moments.
Are you a long hair or a short hair type person?
- For the cake:
- 1½ sticks butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1½ tablespoons lemon zest
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1¾ cups preferred high quality gluten free all-purpose flour*
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (if your blend doesn't already contain a gum)
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1½ cups toasted almonds
- For the frosting:
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- dash of salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8" round baking pans with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper. Lightly flour sides of pans. Set aside.
- Begin making cake. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, sift together salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and gluten free flour. Add half of the dry mixture to the wet and mix on low until combined.
- Add sour cream and mix on low until combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Add lemon juice and mix until well incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly between both pans. Smooth out the tops. Bake cakes for 30 mins or until tops spring back at the touch of a finger and toothpick inserted into center of cakes come out clean with few moist crumbs.
- Remove cakes from the oven and set on a cooling sheet. Run a sharp knife along the edges to loosen sides of cake. Allow cake to cool for 30 mins. Once cooled, flip cake out onto cooling racks to completely cool.
- While cake is baking, begin making frosting. In a large bowl, whip butter and cream cheese together until pale and fluffy. 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on medium until well combined. Add vanilla, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until well incorporated. Add more lemon juice if preferred.
- To assemble cake, spread ⅓ of the frosting on bottom layer. Gently place second layer of cake on top. Use additional ⅓ frosting to top the cake. Use remaining frosting to frost edges of cake. While frosting is fresh, sprinkle and pat cooled toasted almonds on top and around the edges.
- Serve cake at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the up to 3 months, an