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Sarah Randell's really lemony gluten-free cake

by Sarah Alcock

Here in the office, everyone agrees that our food director Sarah's lemon cake is the best we've ever tasted. And, if that isn't enough to persuade you to bake it, it's also gluten free, so even those of us avoiding gluten can have a slice. It's easy peasy lemon squeezy to make, too – enjoy!

Lemon, coffee, carrot, chocolate... what's your favourite kind of cake? Tell us in the comments box below.

Recipe taken from Weekend Baking by Sarah Randell (Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99). Photographs by Kate Whitaker.

Serves 16


  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150g gluten-free self-raising white flour blend, sifted
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 50g polenta
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 75g icing sugar
  • finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 3 lemons
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 lemons


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Lightly grease a 6cm-deep 18cm square baking tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, polenta and lemon zest and juice in an electric mixer (or use a large mixing bowl and an electric hand whisk) and beat until combined.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 45 minutes or until risen, firm to the touch and golden.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the lemon syrup, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and whisk in the lemon zest and juice with a balloon whisk. Set aside to allow the sugar to dissolve.
  5. To make the candied lemons, put the sugar and 250ml water into a pan. Gently heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Slice the lemons and remove the pips. Add the slices to the liquid in the pan – you want them to cook more or less in a single layer.
  7. Bring to a simmer, then gently cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and make holes all over its surface with a fork.
  9. Spoon the lemon syrup over the cake, allowing it to seep in between spoonfuls – it will seem like a lot, but gluten-free flour is very absorbent.
  10. Let the cake and candied lemons cool completely.
  11. Turn the cake out on to a plate and arrange the candied lemon slices on top, discarding the liquid they were cooked in.

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