Make Ahead

Candied Lemon Sheet Cake

July 29, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Serves 9 to 12
Author Notes

I wanted something that reminded me a favorite candy from my childhood, Lemonheads and this works really well. The lemon slices, which wind up being like a slice of marmalade, contrast nicely with the sweetness of the icing. The cake, because of the bean flour, is very moist, much like a lot of Hostess cakes, but be forewarned when you dip your finger into the batter and taste, it will taste raw and vegetal. Not to worry once it cooks it cleans up nicely and tastes amazing and wonderful. This recipe is based on the classic Texas sheet cakes of my youth. They traditionally come in the form of chocolate or white cake and this is nothing more than a gluten free variation of the white cake. It would not be complicated to make the cake with wheat flour if you so choose. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • Candied Lemon Slices
  • 13 1/8-inch lemon slices, seeds gently removed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • strips of zest from 2 lemons
  • Sheet Cake
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons candied zest, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, each gently melted in its own bowl and kept warm, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3 tablespoons powdered dry milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Pour the sugar into a saute pan large enough to hold the lemons in a single layer. Place the lemons and zest in a single layer on top and then add the water. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer.
  2. Simmer the lemon slices until the sugar syrup has reduced by half or more and the pith and rind of the lemon appear transparent. Carefully remove the slices and zest to a piece of parchment being sure not to let the pieces overlap. Let them cool.
  3. Grease a quarter size sheet tray (9 x 13 inches) with butter. To make the cake heat the oven to 375 ? F. Combine the flour, dry milk powder, sugar, xanthan gum, baking soda, minced candied zest, and salt. Combine half the melted butter with the eggs, milk, and extracts. While whisking add the dry to the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet tray. Make sure the batter is evenly distributed so it rises evenly. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is baking, make the icing. Combine the powdered sugar, cream, and remainder of the warm butter in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Keep the icing luke warm.
  5. When the cake has finished baking remove it from the oven and let it cool right in the sheet pan for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off pour the warm icing over the top and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Lay on the slices of lemon and let the cake cool. Refrigerate or serve cold.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mrslarkin
  • Laurie15
  • Regine
  • caroberts77
  • thirschfeld

27 Reviews

Sofia May 3, 2015
I'm confused, what bean flour?
[email protected] March 21, 2023
There’s no bean flour! Gluten free.
violingirl August 4, 2013
Hi,I really don't care for sorghum--do you have a different GF flour to recommend In this recipe? Thanks!
[email protected] March 21, 2023
Where does it say shorgum flour? It says Gluten free!
mrslarkin August 2, 2013
Made this cake this morning. It's so delicious. Mine was done in about 20 minutes, so watch your baking time. For me, it didn't rise much, but the texture is perfect, and it baked to a beautiful golden brown. I went light on the icing, and omitted the stick of butter, and just used the juice of a lemon. I'll be making this often. Thanks, Tom!
thirschfeld August 4, 2013
Thanks for making it MrsL!
Laurie15 July 31, 2013
This looks delicious but seems like a very small amount of volume of batter for such a large pan! Are you sure it shouldn't be doubled or is the cake super thin?

WouldbeChef August 4, 2013
Recipe states a 9x13 sheet TRAY, not 9x13 baking dish. Guess since it doesn't rise much, that all that's needed.
Laurie15 August 4, 2013
Thank you! I missed that. Much appreciated.
Regine July 30, 2013
Oh I see. Thanks. 3 tbsp heavy cream for the icing. Happy though to see that I was not the only one asking. LOL You must have fixed the recipe afterwards. Thanks. Will make it soon and let you know.
Regine July 30, 2013
Patmagcr, the other 1/2 of the butter is for the icing. The only thing though is that Thirschfed needs to specify how much MILK needs to be used for the icing. Recipe says 3/4 cup milk but does not say if all is for the cake or if a portion is for the icing. Thirschfeld?
thirschfeld July 30, 2013
there is no milk in the icing it calls for heavy cream.
[email protected] March 21, 2023
Look at step #4. No milk for the icing!
patmagcr July 30, 2013
Sorry, but i have a question. Does the other 1/2 of the butter (the 1/2 not used with the eggs, milk, etc) get added as well to the dry mixture?
thirschfeld July 30, 2013
Not to worry patmagcr. You use half the melted butter for the cake batter and the remainder is used for making the icing. Does that make sense?
Regine July 30, 2013
I researched Xantham Gum and read that it is used in conjunction with the gluten free flour; so I am assuming that if you use all purpose flour instead of the gluten free flour, you don't need the xantham gum.
thirschfeld July 30, 2013
Xanthan gum is a replacement for gluten. If you are going to make this cake with wheat flour then, yes, you do not need to add the xantham gum.
caroberts77 July 30, 2013
Do you just sub regular flour for the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix and omit the xantham gum to make it non-gluten free?
thirschfeld July 30, 2013
I often switch recipes from wheat to gluten free so I am no sure why doing the opposite wouldn't work. As noted above you would not need xanthem gum if you make this recipe with wheat flour. Just a note, I have not made this with wheat flour so I can't promise the switch would work.
mlschless July 30, 2013
Looks delicious! I'm anxious to make this, but have a question please. So powdered sugar, cream, and warm butter only for the icing? No milk there? In the comments below you mention the amounts being listed now, but I don't see any mention of milk in the icing. So there is none there? Also, I assume in "combine the half the butter, eggs, milk and extracts" - the "half" refers only to the butter. Thanks much!
thirschfeld July 30, 2013
Hi mlschless, the icing is made with cream, and yes, half the butter with the eggs, milk and extracts. Sorry for any confusion.
Regine July 30, 2013
Yes, as MrsLarking wrote, how much powdered sugar, and most important, what portion of the 3/4 cup milk in your recipe should be used for the cake versus icing - unless you just forgot to specify the additional milk needed for the icing. Thanks!
Regine July 30, 2013
Where not wheer. D) I meant where can I get the xantham gum.
Regine July 30, 2013
Wheer an I get Xantham gum? Just curious, what does it do to the batter/cake? Not that I want to change your recipe, but do you think I can get away with use the flour that I have at home, all purpose flour, rather than buy the gluten free?
thirschfeld July 30, 2013
Lots of groceries carry it, Whole Foods for instance and most groceries that have gluten free section.
mrslarkin July 30, 2013
Looking forward to trying this one, Tom. How much powdered sugar and milk for icing? (I'd probably just eyeball it.) thx.
thirschfeld July 30, 2013
thanks, the amounts are posted now.