Lemon Raspberry Celebration Cake

This past Friday we celebrated our little girl’s 2nd birthday!

I made this cake for her.

Yes, I went overboard… but this is really due to the fact that I love decorating cakes , and my daughter loves looking at cakes like this one: you know, the kind with plenty of glitzy things going on. She’s far too young to eat much of this tribute (in fact, I’m pretty sure she just ate the smallest chocolate heart on top); but for her, it’s much more about the “show” than anything else.

She’s really into “frilly” things: swoons at sparkly shoes and must be wearing a pair at all times, borrows my jewelry and has a hard time giving it back, loves wearing dresses, and has been caught on many occasions trying to sneak into my makeup.

I thought this cake celebrated her quite well. It’s laced with tart raspberries and sour lemon, encased in a super smooth vanilla bean buttercream, and topped with a hefty dash of glamour.

It’s actually just a simple tweak on one of my favorite recipes: the cinnamon donut cake. A few chocolate garnishes really make it sparkle.

This given recipe yields a double layer cake, rather than the triple one shown, but for you ambitious bakers out there, I’ve also included the breakdown for a third cake* at the bottom.

Lemon Raspberry Celebration Cake ~ Vegan & Gluten Free

makes two 9″ round cakes


  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1 1 /2 cups potato starch
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup very cold water
  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 recipe vanilla bean buttercream (below)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two 9″ cake pans with a parchment circle, and lightly grease and flour the sides of each pan.
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Sift together very well.
  4. Add in sugar until well combined.
  5. Stir in olive oil.
  6. Gradually mix in almond milk and water until all liquid has been used.
  7. Stir in lemon extract and zest.
  8. Stir in vinegar, one tablespoon at a time, and mix on high speed, or mix vigorously by hand.
  9. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake cakes for about 30-35 minutes, or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. The cakes will be ever so slightly golden brown.
  10. Let cool and make buttercream icing. You’ll need lots of it for this. ;)

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Icing Ingredients

(I made two batches of this to cover my 3 layer cake [I know!!])

  • 6 tbsp vegan margarine (cold)
  • 6 cups organic confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or use 1 to 2 actual vanilla bean pods, scraped)
  • 6 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 additional tbsp vegan margarine (softened)

Icing Directions

  1. Cream together the cold margarine and about 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar.
  2. Gradually add in other ingredients, except the softened margarine.
  3. Once all the other ingredients have been combined and are fairly smooth, add in softened margarine.
  4. Mix on very high speed, whipping until fluffy.
  5. Use immediately on cake, or chill in fridge for later use. If refrigerated, make sure you let it warm up slightly by setting on counter until softened enough to spread onto cake. If you find the icing too thick, add a touch more almond milk to thin.

Cake Assembly – – Requires 2 cups fresh rasberries

  1. Once cakes have cooled, invert them once onto plate and then reposition them so that the top of the cake is facing up. Basically, you’re flipping both cakes out of the pans and just making sure the bottom is on the bottom and top is on the top.
  2. Use a long serrated knife to slice the tops of the cake off so that both cake rounds appear very level. Use excess cake for crumbs… or just eat it!
  3. Use a small portion of the icing to create a crumb layer on the each cake… meaning, apply the first layer of frosting without worrying about keeping those crumbs out of the icing; that’s what this step is for!
  4. Chill briefly in freezer until the crumb coating has hardened.
  5. Now, place one of the cakes onto a steady cake dish or icing plate.
  6. Top liberally with frosting and arrange fresh raspberries on top of the frosting. Place second round cake on top of frosted cake and press gently to set the filling in between cakes.
  7. Frost again with a second layer of frosting, and garnish with any fancy piping that you can dream up.
  8. Garnish with fresh raspberries, lemon zest, and of course, chocolate decorations!

To make the chocolate decorations, simply melt some vegan chocolate in a double boiler. Place into a piping bag with small round tip and pipe shapes onto parchment paper. Let harden at room temp, and then chill in fridge. Carefully place onto cake.

Voila! Celebration cake. <3


*Measurements for third cake:

  • 3/4 cups sorghum flour
  • 3/4  cups potato starch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cups olive oil
  • 1/2 cup very cold water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1  tsp lemon extract
  • tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Cooking time (duration): about 35 mins

Diet type: Vegan

Diet (other): Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 12

Meal type: dessert

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45 Responses to Lemon Raspberry Celebration Cake

  1. Melissa says:

    Wow! That cakes looks phenomenal. It’s clear that you love your daughter. Wish I had an occasion to celebrate cake with just so I could make it. :)

  2. Josie says:

    This cake is so gorgeous. I’ve never decorated a cake with frosting and this has inspired me!

    I’m baking for my mom who recently started living gluten free (except family gatherings). For once, she will be happy to eat her birthday cake without having to suffer. When she sees the “Mom” on top, she’s going to cry.

    I have made the cakes and find they are very dense, your picture looks light and fluffy, but mine didn’t rise, what went wrong? I tasted some crumbs and it is so delicious. She will be the only one to know it’s everything free. Oh and how long before tonight should I ice the cake?

    Thanks for sharing :)

  3. aubrey t says:

    thank you so much, i just made the layers to freeze and frost later! can’t wait! :)

  4. aubrey t says:

    hi, wondering if there is another flour i could use instead of tapioca? maybe all purpose Gf or white rice or more brown rice? it looks incredible i have to make this for my birthday this coming week!!! thanks!

    • allyson says:

      Hi Aubrey,

      Sweet white rice flour + maybe a little extra liquid (2 to 3 tablespoons almond milk) should work okay. Orrrr… it may work okay to just sub all the flours for a good basic gluten-free flour mix (make sure it includes xanthan gum, such a bob’s red mill).I can’t say how well it will work, but it seems like it should do just fine. Best wishes and happy birthday!

  5. […] because I’m lusting after sweets this week, I found this yummy looking Lemon Raspberry Celebration cake that is vegan and gluten-free.  I’ll have to sub out the almond milk, but it looks […]

  6. Liz says:


    I think the cake is lovely, but it has xanthan gum.

    I’ve been researching, and it seems xanthan gum is very dangerous, specially for celiacs.


    “Some people develop an allergy to xanthan, with gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Even consumption of a very minor amount can lead to days and days of recovery.

    A xanthan reaction can also precipitate migraine headaches, skin itchiness, and for those exposed to large amounts, such as bakery workers, nose and throat irritation. Symptoms of xanthan sensitivity become more prevalent with increasing exposure, so that can be one important clue. If you’ve suddenly started baking alot, or become addicted to a new brand of gluten-free cookies, and you start to have increased gastrointestinal symptoms, you may want to consider ruling out an adverse reaction to xanthan gum.”


    For what other ingredient can I replace xanthan gum??


    P.S. Sorry for my English. I am not a native speaker. =P : )

  7. […] with jam the next day but not spongy at all. I think I may have over-cooked it. I sort of based it on this recipe and then freestyled the gluten-free flours cause couldn’t find sorghum flour. Her recipe […]

  8. RockStar says:

    I want this cake for my birthday!

  9. abengarts says:

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU WE ARE GOING TO MAKE IT FOR MY 40th (shhhhhhhhh) : )

  10. Marcella says:

    I am so excited about this cake. I’m working on my daughter’s 2nd birthday party cake and I always make 2 flavors. I have a vegan, gluten free chocolate cake that is awesome but I wanted lemon for the other flavor. This is perfection. Thank you thank you!

    I go crazy decorating cakes too. I think I’ll have to try the chocolate writing this time :)

  11. mandiscandal says:

    I made this cake almost exactly for my friend’s 30th birthday on Thursday. He is allergic to Raspberries as well as about a billion other things (hence the gluten free, dairy free, soy free cake) so I substituted with blueberries. Everyone thought I was a genius for whipping up this cake. I had a party full of people all hesitant to take a bite because even though it LOOKED delicious….none of us knew what a “everything free” cake would taste like. IT.WAS.AMAZING. i will definitely be making it again! who knew? Thanks so much for posting this recipe. It definitely was a hit of the party and it meant so much to my friend to actually be able to eat a birthday cake!

  12. […] Desserts Sweet Potato Soul: Banana Brownies Happy Healthy Life: 10 Vegan Shake Recipes + Coconut-Lime Custard Pie with Fresh Papaya Sauce Pure 2 Raw: Mint Chip Chia Pudding My New Roots: Raw Cashew Dream Cake Affairs of Living: Vegan Custard Tart with Oatmeal Lavender Crust and Blueberry Sauce (Note: Oats in this recipe are GF, but they don’t have to be.) Golubka: Strawberry Shortcake + Multigrain Ginger Pear Cakes with Macadamia Whipped Cream Manifest Vegan: Lemon Raspberry Celebration Cake (Gluten-free) […]

  13. Gina says:

    Hi Allyson!

    I’m getting ready to make this cake and I’m leery about using olive oil. Did you use extra virgin? Would canola be an okay substitute?

    • allyson says:

      Hi Gina!
      Yes, I used extra virgin olive oil with this cake.
      I would think that subbing in your favorite oil would work fine in this cake too… even melted margarine or coconut oil if that’s your thing (as it often is mine :) I hope it turns out great! <3

  14. Allyson

    Great celebration cake

    I recently shared Gluten Free Raspberry Buttercream Cake Recipe from ‘Sweet Vegan’ book ahead of Interview with Emily.

    Twitter: @theconcierge
    Facebook: sergetheconcierge

    • allyson says:

      Wow! That one looks magnificent! So wonderful that it is also vegan and gluten free. Thanks for sharing Serge :)

  15. […] Vegan: Lemon Raspberry Celebration Cake Dairy Free Cooking: Mardi Gras King Cake Urban Vegan: Make Your Own Natural Food Coloring Gone Raw: […]

  16. Mo says:

    Happy belated birthday to your baby girl. The cake looks and sounds amazing!

  17. Hannah says:

    Talk about a grand finale, that cake is stunning! Layer cakes are one of my favorite desserts to make, but I always fall down when it comes to decorating… You definitely knocked it out of the park on that one, too!

  18. Caren says:

    This looks too pretty to eat! One question: lemon extract is mentioned in the ingredients, but not in the steps. Do you add it in with the other liquid ingredients? Also, is the zest just for decor or could you add it into the cake? My mom LOVES lemon, but I don’t want to go overboard. Thanks, Allyson, for sharing!

    • allyson says:

      Thanks so much for catching that! The lemon extract and zest can be added in with the almond milk… and yes, the zest goes into the cake itself. For the photo I added the lemon zest rings for photogenic appeal. ;)

      I’ll be editing to make sure everyone understands where the ingredients should go!

      <3 allyson

  19. allyson says:

    Many thank you’s everyone for the sweet birthday wishes for Olive, and the cake love! <3 <3

  20. Gauri Radha गौरी राध says:

    Wow that cake looks gorgeous!!

  21. Mihl says:

    Happy birthday to your little girl! That cake is just perfect!

  22. Jesse says:

    Your cake looks sensational!! You are my baking inspiration!

  23. Jeannie says:

    So pretty, your girl is so lucky to have such a talented mummy!

  24. Katrina says:

    This cake is cause for a celebration itself. Yum!

  25. Sarah says:

    Looks great…I don’t think they do sorghum flour in the UK. Well, I can’t find it anyway. Maybe it is hiding lol

  26. veganlisa says:

    Happy Birthday to the lovely Olive!

    That is one spectacular cake. I appreciate having this amazing recipe for future vegan and gluten-free parties. I’ll try to find a good excuse to build a 3-layer cake soon. Impressing Olive sounds like the perfect reason to pull out all the stops.

  27. i just wanted to comment to say that is the prettiest cake ever! i bet your little girl loved it!

  28. OMG this looks beautiful and the three layers look so tasty…. yummmm
    I must bookmark and try this soon!

  29. Jacklyn says:

    Im definitely trying this recipe out! Thank you for sharing. I have to come up with a wedding cake for a friend this August. This flavor combination sounds like it would be wonderful. Love the little chocolate hearts too..so pretty!

  30. Amanda says:

    My you’re a great mama, this looks wonderful! I’ve been in such a bake-a-cake mood lately and this certainly helps the cause!

  31. Nina Herbert says:

    WOW! Olive is one very lucky little 2 year old. I think you went above and beyond the call with this cake. It looks absolutely DEVINE!
    Happy Birthday Olive!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe (not to mention the gorgeous photos) with us.

  32. Susan says:

    That is a thing of beauty! I’m quite awestruck by it.
    If you ever come to Australia, please come and make me such a cake! ;)

    Happy birthday Olive!

  33. Jennifer says:

    Happy Birthday to Olive!

    This is a dream cake. Outstanding!

  34. Um, gorgeous!!!! This is one of the loveliest desserts I’ve ever seen, seriously!! Nice!

  35. Mightyvegan says:

    This just may be the prettiest cake I’ve ever seen! Very inspiring.

  36. Vegyogini says:

    Aww…happy birthday, Olive! What a beautiful cake!

  37. Caitlin says:

    this is such a beautiful cake. my heart warmed when i saw in the last picture that you made an “olive” hard chocolate decoration. what a wonderful and loving mommy you are!