Lemon Blackberry Wedding Cake (Gluten-Free)

My Aunt Mona zested A LOT of lemons

This is a recipe for a 3 tier gluten-free wedding cake to feed 70 guests.  We had 100 people at our wedding so we also made a grooms cake as well…basically a separate bottom tier so that there would be enough for everyone.  All of the cake was eaten so I guess that we got the amount right!

In addition to being gluten-free, the cake and the first layer of icing are dairy-free and we decided to forgo the second layer of icing on the grooms cake so that folks who didn’t eat dairy could eat it.  You could choose to use the vegan icing for both layers of icing, but be forewarned that the vegan icing melts a bit at room temperature so keep the cake cool until the last-minute!

I spent a couple of months testing and developing this recipe.  My mum and Aunties were baking the cake and they are excellent bakers, but gluten-free baking is a different sort of picky beast so I wanted them to have a solid recipe to follow.     I suggest that you learn from my mistakes (listed as warnings below) and  follow the recipe exactly!

  • If it says the water is boiling hot won’t work.
  • Lemon juice won’t work in place of lemon extract and it helps if you can find high quality lemon extract with no yellow food dye.
  • Agave won’t work instead of sugar.
  • An oven thermometer is very helpful.
  • Do not refrigerate your cake without icing.  It will become as hard as a hockey puck.  Also, make sure that the cake is in a sealed container or wrapped in Saran wrap while in the fridge.
  • If you have time to make home-made blackberry jam with less sugar it’s totally worth it!  My mum made the jam and it was really, really good.

UP TO A WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING

Make some home-made blackberry jam (optional).

It is a good idea to make both of the icings well in advance.  The vegan recipe is  picky and you do not want to be struggling with it at the last minute.  It will keep well in the fridge in a sealed container until you need it.  You will use the vegan icing for the crumb layer, or the first layer of icing.  It is crucial that you use the vegan icing (not the cream cheese icing) for the crumb layer because the coconut oil in the vegan icing will keep the cake fresh in the fridge for a couple of days as long as it is sealed with a cake lid or Saran wrap.  Without the coconut oil, your gluten-free cake will be stale!

The cream cheese icing is for the second (prettier) layer of icing.  It also tastes a bit better (to my palate) than the vegan one.  It is easy to make and will also keep well in the fridge in a sealed container until you need it.

COCONUT LEMON ICING (FOR CRUMB LAYER)

I am not sure how many batches of this you will need…maybe 2?  My mother figured out the trick to making this icing work (when it fails it really fails).  Two pieces of advice…

  1. dry soy milk powder and soy flour are NOT the same thing.  You must use dry soy milk powder, if possible the Better-than-milk brand.
  2. The coconut oil must be cold but not too cold.  If  it is too cold you will not be able to measure it.  If it is melted the icing will never set up.  It should be cold enough to be almost impossible to scoop out.
  • 1 and ½ cups Unsweetened soy milk
  • ¾ cup dry soy milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut flour
  • ¼ cup Agave nectar
  •  1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest from 3 lemons
  • 1 and ½ cups coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Combine soy milk, dry soy milk powder, coconut flour, agave nectar, lemon extract and lemon rind in a food processor or blender.  Blend for 2 minutes.
  2. With the machine running slowly add ½ cup coconut oil and blend until fully incorporated.
  3. With the machine running add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and blend until fully incorporated.
  4. Add another ½ cup coconut oil and blend until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the final  1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and blend until fully incorporated.
  6. Add the final ½ cup coconut oil and blend until fully incorporated.

LEMON CREAM CHEESE ICING

I am not sure how many batches of this you will need…maybe 6?

  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. With an electric mixer on medium, beat the cream cheese until softened.
  2. Slowly add the sugar, zest, and juice and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes.

TWO DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING

BIG BOTTOM TIER

  • Make one recipe of lemon cake (recipe below) in a 12 inch spring form pan, four times.
  • As each layer cools remove it from the pan and set it aside.
  • When all of the layers are cool place a 12 inch cardboard cake base on an even larger plate and pile all four layers on top of each other with blackberry jam in between each layer.
  • Trim the outer circle of the cake where the layers are not matching perfectly.
  • Ice the bottom tier with the crumb layer of coconut lemon icing and then with a pretty layer of cream cheese icing.
  • Cover the cake with a sealing lid or saran wrap and store in the fridge.

MEDIUM MIDDLE TIER

  • make one recipe of lemon cake (recipe below) in a 9 inch spring form pan, 2 times.
  • As each layer cools remove it from the pan and slice it in half horizontally.  So the two batches of 9 inch cake become four 9 inch layers.
  • Place the 9 inch cardboard cake base on a larger plate and pile the all four layers on top of each other with blackberry jam in between each layer.
  • Trim the outer circle of the cake where it is not matching perfectly.
  • Ice the middle tier with the crumb layer of coconut lemon icing and then with a pretty layer of cream cheese icing.
  • Cover the cake with a sealing lid or saran wrap and store in the fridge.

SMALL TOP TIER

  • Make one recipe of lemon cake (recipe below) in a 6 inch spring form pan
  • When the cake is cool, remove the sides of the pan and slice the cake in half horizontally twice so that you have three layers.
  • Place the 6 inch cardboard cake base on a larger plate and pile the three layers on top of each other with blackberry jam in between each layers.
  • Trim the outer circle of the cake where it is not matching perfectly.
  • Ice the top tier with the crumb layer of coconut lemon icing and then with a pretty layer of cream cheese icing.
  • Cover the cake with a sealing lid or saran wrap and store in the fridge.

GLUTEN-FREE LEMON LAYER CAKE

  • 1 cup garbanzo-fava bean flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dry ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup mild oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon extract
  • about 1 Tablespoon grated fresh lemon peel (zest of 2 lemons)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (350 for the 6 inch cake)
  2.  lightly grease a spring form tin with oil.
  3. In a medium bowl mix the flour, sugar, potato starch, arrowroot, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and ginger.
  4. In another medium bowl mix the oil, applesauce, vanilla and lemon extracts and lemon peel and hot water.
  5. Quickly add the wet  to the dry ingredients and stir batter until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared spring form tin
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s center comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool entirely before removing the sides of the pan

1 DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING

Make the Grooms cake!  Make another of the bottom tiers (4 layers of 12 inch lemon cake with blackberry jam between the layers and two layers of icing).  Store in a sealed container or Saran wrap in the fridge.

DAY OF WEDDING

ASSEMBLY

  • Measure and cut 5 thin wood dowels so that they are just as tall as the bottom layer.
  •  Insert 1 dowel in center of 12-inch tier, all the way to bottom.
  • Insert remaining dowels in a circle about 1 1/2 inches from center dowel. The dowels will support the tiers.
  • Carefully put 9-inch tier (still on cardboard) in center of bottom tier.
  • Measure and cut 3 dowels to the height of the second tier and insert them into the middle tier in a similar manner.
  • Carefully put 6-inch tier (still on cardboard) in center of middle tier.
  • Ice the entire cake with the creme cheese icing (recipe above).
  • Fill in any gaps between tiers and any imperfections with some of reserved frosting.
  •  Transfer remainder to pastry bag. Pipe a decorative border around the bottom edge of each tier. Reserve remaining frosting for touch-ups if needed.
  • Decorate the cake with fresh blackberries.
  • Finish the grooms cake by applying  second layer of cream cheese icing or coconut lemon icing if you want a vegan cake.  Decorate with fresh blackberries!

About Big Sis Little Dish

This is a blog run by two sisters. Erin is the big sister who lives in New York, and Silvi is the little sister who lives in Vancouver. They both love to cook! They created this blog to share and store recipes for the food they make.

10 comments

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  2. Mona Banek

    – and it tasted SOOOO good!

  3. Glenda Berry

    Baking this wedding cake, for Erin and Chris, in my Gabriola house with my adorable sisters, Betty and Mona …Priceless!! This is a prime example of things I am willing to do for Erin, that I would not do for anyone else. Driving on LA freeways is another example…Wedding cake baking is much, much more fun!

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