The sweet taste of strawberries pairs perfectly with vibrant lemon in this gluten free and dairy free, easy to make loaf cake.
Berries and Lemons
Hands down the most popular recipe of all time on the blog is my Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake (it’s also dairy free, too). It’s a pretty simple recipe, but man, oh, man, is it amazing. So what makes it so good? Honestly, I think it is the combination of the blueberries and the lemon.
There is no denying that nearly any kind of berry pairs perfectly with lemon. You name it; blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries all taste so much more amazing when lemon mingles with a berry based recipe.
I love fresh strawberries. I can never keep enough of them in the house. But one thing I have never done with them is bake. I’m not sure why. But I wanted that to change. A friend of mine passed along a few containers of strawberries. I got thinking about that blueberry lemon bread and how yummy it was. I thought that the bread would be equally delicious if I substituted strawberries in the mix instead of blueberries. So with a little extra time on my hands, I gave it a go.
The results were amazing. I tweaked the recipe just a bit to account for the extra moisture that I thought the fresh strawberries would add to the batter. The changes actually make this recipe even easy than the original.
Cooling the Cake
One very important step that I highly recommend following is allowing the cake to cool completely before slicing. I actually prefer to chill this cake completely before serving. The flavor becomes intensified. The cake is given ample time to set, making the texture perfect. It’s like the best little slice of pound cake bursting with lemony goodness that anyone could hope for.
I recommend removing the fully baked loaf from the oven and allowing it to cool on a baking rack for several hours (3-4). Keep the cake in the loaf pan, uncovered. Once the cake has come to room temperature, loosely cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and chill. I like to chill the cake over night. When I wake up the next morning, I know that cake perfection is waiting for me.
It’s a process; I know. But, it is so worth it. If you cut the bread right out of the oven or even warm, the bread will not hold its shape well. Chilled, though? It’s a gamer changer!
Gluten Free Lemon Strawberry Loaf Cake
- 1/2 cup avocado oil – opt for mild flavored oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, zested (yielding 1 tablespoon zest)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, plain coconut milk (or milk or milk alternative of your choice).
- 2 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend with xanthan gum (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend)
- 1 teaspoon gluten free flour (to stir into the fresh strawberries)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh strawberries
- 4 large fresh strawberries, sliced into 1/4" thick slices
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ x 5″ glass loaf pan with enough parchment paper to overhang each long side by 1 inch. Set aside.
- Zest the lemon using a microplane; set aside. Juice the lemon. Add the zest and juice to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Add the oil and sugar to the mixing bowl. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until the mixture is smooth.
- Add in the coconut milk and mix.
- Add in the gluten free flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed just until the dry ingredients are incorporated then turn the mixer off. Using a silicone spatula fold the ingredients together until a smooth batter forms (this should only take a few turns of the spatula).
- Place the cut strawberries into a small bowl and toss with one teaspoon of gluten free flour. Spoon the berries (leaving any loose flour behind) into the batter. Fold the berries into the batter gently and only a few times. Over mixing the berries will create a pink-tinted batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Cut 6-8 center slices from the strawberries. Slices should be about 1/4" thick. Gently press the slices into the top of the cake. Slices should not be submerged into the cake.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 65-75 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. If the top of the loaf begins to darken too much, you can loosely cover the loaf with aluminum foil and bake until done.
- Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 30 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack by lifting up on the overhanging parchment paper. Cool completely. You can also place the loaf in the refrigerator to speed this process along.
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