These individual lemon pudding cakes have a secret. They might look modest on the outside, but as you dive your spoon through the fluffy, cake-like layer on top, you encounter a sassy lemon pudding on the bottom. A dollop of whipped cream dresses things up and ties everything together.

Close up of a spoonful of lemon pudding cake.

Easy Easter dessert

It’s hard to believe that Easter is around the corner, but let me tell you, I am ready. Easter always signifies the real start of the spring for me, even though I remember always freezing my ruffled tights off in satin leather shoes during the annual Easter egg hunt at my grandma’s house in Illinois. Regardless, there were flowers on the table and pastel eggs (of the chicken and chocolate varieties) to be eaten, and we’d pretend like it was warm and sunny, even if it was gray and drizzling.

Gluten free lemon pudding cake on a countertop with a bowl of whipped cream alongside.

Gluten free lemon pudding cake

No matter what the weather brings this year, we’ll have these cheerful and light gluten free lemon pudding cakes to add sunshine to our Easter spread. They’re adapted from my husband’s great-grandmother’s lemon pudding recipe, which my mother-in-law recently emailed me (along with the Oxford Dictionary definition of pudding—which, in British English essentially means dessert—because she has a PhD in English and knows everything). James never had the chance to meet his great-grandmother, but stories have it that she was a strict woman, hosting formal dinners where the positioning of plates and the arrangement of silverware was not to be messed with.

Gluten free pudding cake

Great-grandma Wick would serve the lemon pudding cake for luncheon on Thanksgiving weekend to a party of twenty or more in her elegant dining room with peacock-patterned wallpaper. While I’m not sure she’d entirely approve, I’ve tinkered with the recipe, cutting back on the sugar to allow more of the lemon flavor to shine through, as well as cutting out the gluten by using a ""gluten free flour blend (however, you can use regular all-purpose flour if you prefer).

Gluten Free Lemon Pudding Cake

Individual lemon pudding cakes

I also bake individual cakes instead of one large version, which shortens the cooking time (and prevents my kids from arguing over who has the bigger serving). That being said, while these lemon pudding cakes can be assembled and baked in under an hour, they do need an hour to chill before serving. BUT the trade-off is that you can make them ahead of time, so they’re perfect for holidays or entertaining!

How do you make lemon pudding cakes?

This is an easy recipe that anybody can master!

  • In a stand mixer or using hand beaters, beat softened butter and sugar until incorporated.
  • Add egg yolks, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, milk and salt. Beat until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
  • Fold the egg whites into the lemon batter.
Process shot showing how to mix the batter for the lemon pudding cakes.
Process shot showing how to fold the batter for the lemon pudding cakes.

Magic lemon pudding cake

As the cakes bake, a light cake layer forms on top, with a creamy lemon pudding layer on bottom. It feels like magic every time.

Close-up side view of a lemon pudding cake topped with whipped cream.

How do you serve lemon pudding cakes?

The lemon pudding cakes need to be chilled for an hour to set up (however, you can make them a day in advance!). You can serve the cakes just as they are, but I love to dollop them with whipped cream, which ties everything together.

Tips for making pudding cake:

  • You can use regular all-purpose flour in these cakes, or you can use a gluten-free flour blend such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour or Cup 4 Cup.
  • You’ll need a stand mixer or hand beaters for this recipe.
  • Be sure to use clean beaters when beating the egg whites (otherwise they might not set up). The whites should hold a peak when you lift the beaters. Avoid over-beating, which will cause the whites to separate and turn watery.

It’s amazing that recipes have the power to connect us to the past. This Easter, I can’t wait to introduce the girls to their great-great-grandmother.

Other easy Easter recipes to try:

Get the recipe!

Lemon Pudding Cakes (Gluten-Free)

These light but luscious gluten free lemon pudding cakes have a secret. They might look modest on the outside, but as you dive your spoon through the fluffy, cake-like layer on top, you encounter a molten, golden core in the form of a sassy lemon pudding on bottom. A dollop of whipped cream dresses things up and ties everything together. While the prep and cooking time for the individual cakes is under an hour, the cakes do need to be chilled for at least 60 minutes to allow them to set up. This is a perfect do-ahead dessert for holidays or parties!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Cooling time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy lemon pudding cake, gluten free lemon pudding cake, lemon pudding cake recipe
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for ramekins
  • ¾ cup (155 g) organic cane sugar (or regular sugar), plus more for ramekins
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour (such as Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour or Cup 4 Cup), or all-purpose flour
  • Zest from 1 lemon (2 scant teaspoons)
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Pinch salt
  • Fresh whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and sugar 4 8-ounce ramekins.
  • In a stand mixer (or using hand mixers), beat the sugar and butter until the butter is evenly incorporated into the sugar (it should look like damp sand). Add the egg yolks, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, milk and salt. Beat until smooth.
  • In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.
  • Stir a third of the egg whites into the lemon batter. Fold in the remaining whites. Divide the batter (t will still be a bit lumpy and liquidy, but that’s OK) evenly among the prepared ramekins—try to get the same amount of liquid and egg white in each.
  • Set the ramekins in a large straight-sided roasting pan or baking dish. Pour in enough warm water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins (a tea kettle works great for this). Carefully slide the dish into the oven, and bake until the cakes are golden in spots on top, about 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
    Do Ahead:
    The cakes can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.
  • Serve the lemon cakes with a large dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Notes

Tips:
  • You can use regular all-purpose flour in these cakes, or you can use a gluten-free flour blend such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour or Cup 4 Cup.
  • You’ll need a stand mixer or hand beaters for this recipe.
  • Be sure to use clean beaters when beating the egg whites (otherwise they might not set up). The whites should hold a peak when you lift the beaters. Avoid over-beating, which will cause the whites to separate and turn watery.

 

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