she cooks…he cleans

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Lemon Blueberry Cake (grain-free)

James surprised me the other day with a copy of Wheat Belly, which I had just added to my reading list.  This book, written by a cardiologist , exposes the fallacies behind what we’ve been told for decades – that we should eat whole grains for better health.  Dr. Davis postulates that not only is it unhealthy to eat grains (particularly wheat), but consumption of grains is responsible in large part for the obesity crisis, diabetes, as well as inflammatory diseases, heart disease, osteoporosis, depression, and skin diseases.  I haven’t gotten very far in the book yet, but he appears to have good evidence for these claims.   Preaching to the choir, he is, at our house.

I’ve got tons of old recipes and I’ve been trying to adapt some of them to a more healthy, gluten-free (if not altogether grain-free) version.  This lemon blueberry cake was born from a lemon blueberry bundt cake recipe, torn from a Family Circle long, long ago.  On my first attempt, I tried to bake it in a bundt pan.  It started off promising, then fell under the weight of too many blueberries and too much butter.  The taste was good, but it was soggy and dense.  For version 2.0, I drastically cut the amount of fat and decided to make two thin layers that wouldn’t turn mushy with the blueberries.  That worked well and the layers, although delicate, turned out of the pans easily.  For the frosting, I used the same Maple Cream Cheese recipe from that I used for the Carrot Cake, except I added lemon juice to boost the lemon flavor in the cake.  After having a thorough taste testing (or two), we declared this cake a success and worthy of blogging!

Although this was prepared as a 2-layer cake, I think it would work very well baked as a single layer in an 8×8 square pan.  It could be served frosted, or simply drizzled with a little honey or lemony syrup.


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond oil or butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest (zest from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F.   Line 2 cake pans with parchment paper (OR one 8×8 square baking pan), and grease them up with butter or non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Using an electric mixer (or lots of arm power), mix together the palm sugar, honey, and oil until well blended and the palm sugar is pretty well dissolved into the mixture (it seems to be a bit grainier than processed sugars).  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the almond flour mixture and buttermilk; mix on medium high for a couple of minutes.  Mix in lemon juice, extract, and zest until well incorporated.

Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans (or pour into prepared baking dish).  If using 2 cake pans, these are very thin layers!  Sprinkle blueberries over the top of the batter.  Bake for 15-18 minutes for 2 layers (probably 20-25 minutes for one layer), or until edges of cake are pulling away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

If you baked 2 layers, allow pans to cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn cakes out on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter (preferably grass-fed), softened
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cream together cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Gradually add maple syrup and lemon juice; beat until well combined.

Labor Day is upon us, and to most it just means a long weekend. But the battles that unions have fought- and continue to fight- have improved the lot of anyone who works. Here’s a few testaments to the struggle! First up, Woody Guthrie. This collection, The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1-4 is full of his wonderful, common man tunes, from “This Land is Your Land” to “Farmer- Labor Train” and loads more. One of our greatest American songwriters, ever.

No mention of songs for the working man would be complete with Pete Seeger. From performing with Guthrie in the ’40s to playing the Obama inaugural concert with Bruce Springsteen, he just keeps on going. Here’s a good collection of his protest music- back when people used to do that sort of thing…If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope & Struggle.

9 comments on “Lemon Blueberry Cake (grain-free)

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    September 3, 2011

    Such a classic pairing!

  2. Sasha @ The Procrastobaker
    September 4, 2011

    This looks beautiful 🙂 Such a gorgeous combination and your cake looks stunninnnggg!

  3. Elle Marie
    September 4, 2011

    This looks great, your new reader, can’t wait to read your next post.

  4. myFudo
    September 5, 2011

    Such a perfect combination. The cake won’t last one sitting in my house, we love lemon and cake 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  5. Christie @ Fig & Cherry
    September 5, 2011

    Sounds and looks amazing. Love the addition of sour buttermilk.

  6. (what runs) Lori
    September 7, 2011

    Wow. This looks beautiful. And delicious! I love anything lemon and blueberry.

  7. Pingback: Orange Primal Cake | Purely Primal

  8. Making this right now. It looks so yummy!

  9. Donna
    October 22, 2012

    As mentioned in the first comment…”Great pairing!”…not just for the lemon/blueberry…but the Guthrie/Seeger selections!…Love how you tantalize our tastebuds AND our eardrums…Thanks ever so much!

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