Semolina Almond Cake with Sweet Lemon Glaze (Gluten-Free Option)


Semolina Almond Cake w/ Lemon Glaze - Dairy-Free, optionally Gluten-FreeThis delicious semolina almond cake recipe comes to us courtesy of chef Levana Kirschenbaum. Levana is the author of several cookbooks, including Levana Cooks Dairy-Free and The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, and she is a well-known chef in the NYC area.

Levana’s cake is definitely an all-occasion dessert that can be easily adapted to suit a variety of special diets. It is naturally dairy-free and soy-free, and Levana even includes a tested gluten-free option. For Passover, Levana has the following recommendation: “Those of you who use Matza cake meal for Passover can substitute it for the cornmeal, and use potato starch instead of the flour.”

For an even more indulgent, Passover-approved dessert, see Levana’s dairy-free Chocolate Pecan Torte with Chocolate Glaze Recipe. But first, enjoy the recipe for this tender semolina almond cake below.

Note on Eggs: This recipe is pretty reliant on the eggs – I’d be hard pressed to try and substitute them here. If you are someone who confuses eggs with dairy, don’t fret, you’re not alone. See the explanation of eggs here.

Semolina Almond Cake with Sweet Lemon Glaze (w/ Gluten-Free Option)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is an incredibly moist and fragrant cake. Be sure to use a shallow mold that is no higher than 2 inches, like a pie plate, so the glaze reaches all the way to the bottom when it is poured on. Recipe and photo by Levana Kirschenbaum.
Serves: 1 10-inch cake or 12 servings
  • 4 Eggs, whites and yolks divided
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1-1/2 Cups Finely Ground Almonds (use a food processor or spice grinder)
  • 1 Cup Fine Semolina Flour (Gluten-free: Use fine cornmeal)
  • ⅓ Cup Flour, any flour (Gluten-free or all-purpose)
  • ¾ Cup Light Agave Nectar or Honey
  • Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
  • 1 Cup Sliced Almonds, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 °F
  2. With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and salt at high speed until soft peaks form.
  3. Add the sugar gradually and whip until stiff.
  4. Switch to low speed, and allowing only enough time to combine the ingredients, beating in one ingredient at a time, just a few seconds each time, the yolks, then the oil, etc… until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased 10 inch round baking pan, and bake 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. While the cake is baking, heat the agave or honey and lemon juice plus zest in a saucepan over a low flame until just warm (or microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute)
  7. When you remove the cake from the oven, immediately poke the cake all over with a toothpick or skewer, and pour the syrup all over the cake.
  8. If desired, sprinkle cake with sliced almonds.
This recipe is Vegetarian, Dairy free, optionally Gluten free, Peanut free, Soy free, and optionally Wheat free.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. My cake sunk in the middle. I haven’t tasted it yet, but it is a bit homely. Why do you think this happened? Happy New Year.

    • Ilene – I’m so sorry to hear this! Did it rise and then sink? My guess is too much leavener (baking powder). This recipe uses a lot of baking powder, and in a dry climate or higher altitude (particularly above 3000 feet) too much will cause a cake to rise too quickly and then collapse. I would use half the amount of leavener at high altitude. If it simply didn’t rise, it could be the opposite problem – sea level and too many heavy ingredients. Did you make an adaptions to the recipe?

  2. I already have ground almond flour. Can I use that instead? Should I use 1 1/2 cups or less, since it’s already ground?

    • Yes, you would use 1-1/2 cups of the almond flour – the recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups of finely ground almonds (measurement after grinding) or about 5.5 to 6 ounces. Sorry if this is confusing!

  3. How many eggs should this recipe call for? I really want to try it, but it just says eggs and I’m hesitant to guess.

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