Lemon Walnut Cake with Berries [gluten-free]

Flourless Walnut Cake with Lemon Frosting and Fresh Berries
Adapted from Simply Recipe’s Flourless almond cake


  • 4 eggs, separated into 4 yolks and 4 whites
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, divided into 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 cup ground walnut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (freshness counts!)
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh berries

  • 1 8-ounce package of neufchatel cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Separate the eggs directly from the refrigerator; they separate better then cold. You need the egg whites to be room temperature when you use them later, so separate them first, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in a large bowl. 
  2. Preheat over to 350F. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9″ cake pan. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
    **Using a springform pan can help make removing the cake from the pan much easier. I did not and my cake wouldn’t come out in one piece 😦
  3. walnut cake2Add lemon extract and 1/4 cup to the egg yolks. Beat well until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, and baking powder. Add to the egg yolk bowl and beat until smooth. Your mixture will be thick (see picture).
  5. With clean beaters that are room temperature, begin beating the egg whites on low speed. Slowly increase the speed to medium until you see bubbles. At this point, add a pinch of salt and the vinegar. Continue to beat, but now on high. The egg whites with now appear white instead of clear and will start looking thicker. As they increase in volume, sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar to help stabilize. Continue to beat until “soft peaks” form. These are when you stop the beaters and lift them out the egg white mixture will peak up and then fold back on itself. I tried to take pictures, but this is a much better resource.
    walnut cake - egg whiteswalnut cake - egg whites 3walnut cake - egg whites 6

walnut cake - egg whites 9













  1. Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture, one large spoonful at a time. After a few spoonfuls you will notice the egg whites are “lifting” the dense batter you started with.
  2. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool. To help remove the cake from the pan, use a knife around the edges.
    walnut cake - baked
  3. To make the frosting, beat neufchatel cheese, powdered sugar, lemon extract, and lemon juice. If the batch makes more than what you need, you can store the extra in the refrigerator.
  4. When the cake is cool, frost with lemon frosting and top with fresh berries.

walnut cake - mini (3)

Unfortunately, my cake crumbled to pieces when I tried to remove it. My solution? Press the nice, light cake into cupcake paper, add lemon cream, and top with berries You could eat it like this, but I wanted to see if I could get it to form together, so I baked it at 350F for 15 minutes. It worked well, but the cake is fine, so be sure to eat it with a fork, even though it is a cupcake.

Looking for some other ideas to use up your summer berries? Check these out:

White balsamic custard tart

Strawberry shortcake shooters

Roasted Summer Fruit Pizza

Summer Berry Tartlets


Have your cake and eat it too!

Buttermilk Berry Cake
(adapted from 101cookbooks.com)
Serves 12

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup fine-grain sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
zest of 2 lemons
1 cup of dried cranberries (more if you like)*
3 tablespoons large grain raw sugar (use regular if that is all you have)
1 teaspoon large grain salt (use regular if that is all you have)

*the original recipe calls for raspberries, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I used dried cranberries. You can use any berry fruit you have. I noticed some cranberries burnt a little on top, so if you use dried fruit, you may want to mix them in after step 5…be sure not to over mix!


  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees, racks in the middle.
  2. Grease and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) a 9” square baking dish. You could also use a pie or tart pan.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together the eggs and the buttermilk, whisk in the melted butter, and the lemon zest.
  5. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until just combined – try not to over mix.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, pushing out toward the edges. Now drop the berries across top. You can smush them a bit between your fingers before letting them fall to the cake – no so perfect looking and the juices meld with the sugar.
  7. Sprinkle with the large grain sugar and then the salt.
  8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cake is set (or a toothpick in the center comes out clean), and a touch golden on top.

*Be sure to store in an air-tight container. I just stored it on the counter in the pan with tin foil on top and the cake was dried out in 3 days. Instead of throwing it away, we just warm it up in the microwave for about 20 seconds and that seemed to make it a little softer. The other day I had it warmed up with ice cream, and the creamy ice cream offset the dryness quite a bit.