Strawberry Lemonade Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


A lemon-scented low carb, grain-free layer cake with the most delicious strawberry cream cheese frosting. This sugar-free creation will win over your harshest critics.

Low Carb Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake

Strawberry season is drawing closer and closer and I am so excited I can taste it. I can taste those sweet berries in my mind, freshly picked out of a sun-warmed New England field. I can smell the straw they put down around the beds, and hear the high-pitched lisping of little ones clamouring “I found one, Mummy. I found a big one!”. My own children come out of those fields weighing significantly more than they went into them, and I probably do too. Those pick-your-own strawberry farms must add a premium to the price per pound, knowing that people will eat their weight in berries before they ever fill up their green quart baskets. It’s hard to resist, there is nothing like a strawberry freshly picked and popped into one’s mouth.

Low Carb Grain Free Layer Cake with Strawberry Frosting

But we still have a few months to go and until then, I suffer through the big, less flavourful store bought berries. I don’t actually buy fresh berries in the off-season much, because they just don’t live up to that dreamy berry flavour in my mind. We do usually keep a big wholesale-club sized bag of frozen strawberries in the freezer because my husband is a smoothie man. The man loves his smoothies and his “strawbs”, as we call them. So if I am inclined to make a strawberry recipe in the middle of winter, I am likely to skip the fresh and grab a few of the frozen kind. And I was very much inclined to make this recipe. In fact, from the moment I saw it, I knew I had to make it.

Sugar Free Low Carb Lemon Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

This, my friends, is my healthy low carb take on a gorgeous Strawberry Lemonade Cake I saw on the cover of Southern Living while visiting my parents in Florida. I hadn’t even opened the magazine to look at the details, I just held it up to my husband and said “I am going to make this”. His response: “No arguments from me!”. And I knew just exactly how I would make it too. I did actually refer to the article to see how the frosting was made. As I had hoped, it was cream cheese-based so I knew I could easily replicate it in low carb form. And let me tell you, it’s the frosting that made the cake, without question. The cake itself was good, but the frosting was absolutely divine. It wasn’t overly sweet and the lemon juice and zest gave it the perfect tang. I could have easily eaten a bowl of the frosting all by itself.

Low Carb Gluten-Free Strawberry Lemonade Cake

Now, I will say that I recently bought some beautiful new round baking pans from USA Pans. They are amazingly non-stick but they are also 9 inches, instead of the old 8-inch pans I used to have. So my layers turned out lower and wider than I originally anticipated. In fact, I first only made enough batter for 2 layers and since I was bringing this to Easter brunch at some friends’ house, I felt it wouldn’t be enough. So I quickly whipped up batter for a 3rd layer. You could do this in 8-inch pans as well, but expect taller layers and longer baking time.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: 20 servings

Strawberry Lemonade Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

A lemon-scented low carb, grain-free layer cake with the most delicious strawberry cream cheese frosting. This sugar-free creation will win over your harshest critics.


  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup unflavoured whey protein powder
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 12 tablespoons butter (1 & 1/2 sticks) softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated Swerve Sweetener
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp liquid stevia extract
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Frosting:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener, divided
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and chopped, juices reserved
  • OR 1 & 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 & 1/2 cups whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 325F and grease three 9-inch cake pans well (line bottoms with parchment if you are worried about it sticking). You can also use 8-inch pans but your cakes will need to bake longer.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein, baking soda and cream of tartar.
  3. In another large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Beat in granulated sweetener, lemon zest, lemon extract and stevia extract until well combined.
  4. Beat in eggs, then half of almond flour mixture. Then beat in almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Finally beat in remaining almond flour mixture.
  5. Divide batter between prepared baking pans and smooth the top with a knife or offset spatula. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool in pan at least 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Frosting:
  8. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/3 cup of the powdered sweetener until smooth. Beat in strawberries, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.
  9. In another large bowl, beat whipping cream with remaining sweetener until stiff peaks form. Fold carefully into cream cheese until combined.
  10. To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving platter and spread top with about 1/4 of the frosting. Repeat with second and third layers, and then spread remaining frosting over sides of cake.
  11. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.


Serves 20. Each serving has 13 g of carbs and 6 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 7 g.

344 Calories; 29g Fat (74.5% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 120mg Cholesterol; 322mg Sodium

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  1. says

    Gimme that cake! This cake is SO gorgeous…I LOVE the combo of strawberries and lemon (and my hubby requested that I make him lemon strawberry muffins…I think he’ll like cake better!) Plus, I can sneak healthy food into him. WIN.

    • Carolyn says

      It’s going to matter at least somewhat, particularly in the frosting. Powdered Swerve is truly finely powdered, just like icing sugar.

    • Carolyn says

      And considering that most of my cakes are only 2/3 of this recipe and make 12-16 servings, I felt that 20 servings was appropriate.

  2. Melanie says

    This is absolutely gorgeous! It just got bumped to the top of my cooking list of things to make. Thank you for all the amazing recipes you share, Carolyn!

  3. Diane says

    This looks delish – thanks for the recipe! I’m thinking I’d like to make cupcakes. Any idea how long to bake cupcakes and do you think the cake would freeze well? Truly enjoy seeing all your delicious creations but must wait to try them as I’m a super low-carber right now. This looks like another keeper!

    • Carolyn says

      Yes, this would make great cupcakes. I can’t say how long for sure, but I would set the timer for 15 minutes and check every few minutes after that.

  4. Alice B. says

    Carolyn, I almost wrote you to request a LC version of that cake on Southern Living’s cover!!! Oh, I am so excited to see this! Thank you, a million times over!!!


    • Carolyn says

      Ha, isn’t that funny. I didn’t follow them to the letter, they used some strawberry lemonade jam. I skipped that bit and just went all cake and frosting.

  5. Barb says

    Would this work in a 9×13 pan! If so what would baking time be? Thanks for sharing your great recipes with us.

    • Carolyn says

      Yes, but I don’t have a clue on the baking time. I would start with 15 minutes and check every few minutes after that.

  6. Deb says

    Carolyn, Can you think of a reason why you couldn’t make this into a 2 layer cake instead of 3?

    Thanks, Deb H.

    • Carolyn says

      Nope, you absolutely could do it and I almost suggested it the body of my post but decided it was too much info. Personally, I would make 2/3 of the batter (should work out easily because I made the 3rd layer at the last moment). But I’d probably keep the frosting amount the same, because it is SO good. But you could cut that down to 2/3 as well.

      • Deb says

        Thank you so much. My husband and I started eating low carb and gluten free about a year a go and we have really enjoyed your recipes!
        Deb H.

    • Carolyn says

      Yes, you need some sort of dry protein to help it rise properly but you can use hemp or even powdered egg whites.

  7. Penny says

    I made this for my husband’s birthday. It ended up looking and tasting great but the recipe should say “use parchment paper on the bottom of the cake pan”. My layers stuck to the pan so bad and I tore it up quite a bit trying to get it to come out. It was like cornbread stuck to a pan that wasn’t greased. It just kept crumbling! I did use coconut oil on the pans but no flour like I would with “normal” cake recipes. I kind of pieced it back together and made all three layers but when I sliced it up many of the slices fell apart before I could put them on a plate to serve. I also had a medium sized bowl of the frosting left over. I may use it in a smoothie later.

    • Carolyn says

      I think it’s going to depend on how good your pans are. I just purchased some new USA pans and they are so non-stick, the cake layers fall out of it. But I will amend the recipe for parchment too.

  8. Vivian says

    I plan to bake this for my Birthday Cake this week, but I must respectively ask why would one go to the trouble of eating healthy and yet use a non-stick pan to bake in? I mean this respectively and I genuinely do not understand why one would… considering the dangers of using non-stick cookware? I do not use aluminum or any non-stick cookware at this point. Am I missing something? I am very grateful for the recipe. Your recipes look fantastic but I do not get the nonstick pan thing at all!! :)

  9. Darlene says

    Hello Carolyn!! I have a problem….this doesn’t really concern a certain recipe, but some of my cake recipes, no matter if mine or someone else’s that I’m making, sometimes have an off taste. Almost bitter. The best way I know to describe it is that it has a “green” taste. I know that don’t make a lot of sense. Green is a color, not a taste. Its just an odd taste and odor. I’ve tried narrowing it down to one certain ingredient by making small batches and leaving out different ones, but still can’t pin point it. Would flavoring that contains alcohol cause this? Do any of you other ladies have this problem?

    • Carolyn says

      Hmmm. It could be anything, that’s the problem. It could even be the almond flour. Do you know if you experience this with regular almonds? What brands of sweeteners are you using?

      • Darlene says

        I use Erythritol and sometimes splenda, which ever I have on hand at the time. I have experienced this with Bob’s red Mill Almond flour and as well as slivered almonds that I grind myself. Its not everytime, but more often than I want to have happen. I know that old baking powder or baking soda can make it taste like rotten eggs, but this is a total different taste. I even bought new baking powder for this particular cake to make sure that didn’t happen, as it was for my daughter’s birthday. If you let the cake sit overnight, I’ve noticed the taste will become less noticeable, but still there.

        • Carolyn says

          Strange! Could be the erythritol, some people are very sensitive to it and detect an aftertaste.

  10. Melanie says

    Made this for my 2-year-old’s birthday! Everyone loved it! I used fresh strawberries and my frosting didn’t get quite as pink and lovely as yours (frozen, thawed strawberries still have more juice in them, I think), but it was still delicious! YUMMMM.

  11. BethH says

    Looks like I’m going to have to try this one out. I’m not into chocolate and love love love lemon… thanks for the recipe.

    • Carolyn says

      Yes but it will definitely have more vanilla flavour…you may need to up the lemon in the cake to get it to stand out a bit more.

  12. Sue says

    Recipe looks so yummy. Your site is my go to always for desserts. Question on frosting, can I make this the day before and does this frosting freeze well?

  13. Kate says

    Made this for Easter. I reduced the recipe to 2/3 to fit a 9″x13″ pan. Baked at 325ºF for 22 minutes in my oven. I made the full amount of frosting, but had about a cup or so left over 😀 Absolutely delicious…and my grain and sugar eating relatives all loved it with many going back for seconds.

  14. Alexandria says

    I made this cake for Easter. Neither the cake nor the icing were sweet. :( I followed the recipe faithfully, except I did not add the strawberries. We threw the cake out.

  15. Katy says

    I made this for dessert on Easter, so good! The family liked it as well. The only thing I would do differently would be to make a double batch of frosting, so good! Thank you for sharing this with all of us! :)

  16. Denise says

    Carolyn, thanks so much for this recipe. This cake turned out fabulously! I think this would be an excellent blank canvas cake that can easily be adapted with other flavours. With 8 inch pans, it really wasn’t necessary to add a third layer, so I’ve got a spare cake to boot!

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