This delicious keto lemon cake is a low carb copycat of the famous Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake. Delicious layers of almond flour cake with a lemony cream filling and a tender crumb garnish. How can you resist?
I am absolutely delighted to re-introduce you to my Keto Lemon Cream Cake. It’s been a long time coming, but trust me, the wait was worth it!
I created this recipe back in the good old days, when keto was hardly a twinkle in people’s eyes. While I was firmly low carb at the time, I hadn’t even heard the word ketogenic. And it certainly wasn’t the wildly popular diet it is now.
But 10 years ago, a reader asked for a low carb version of Olive Garden’s Lemon Cream Cake. It was no longer on their menu but I was able to find other copycat recipes upon which to base my sugar free version.
And it quickly became on of my most popular keto cake recipes.
Keto Lemon Layer Cake
This really is a perfect cake for lemon lovers. It features two tender layers of vanilla sponge cake, with a creamy lemon filling and a lemon scented crumb pressed into the sides.
For the updated version, I simplified the cake layers, eliminating some unnecessary ingredients like xanthan gum and stevia extract. I also baked it in two 8-inch cake pans so that I could skip the step of splitting one layer with a knife. I’ve never been very good at that and my layers always end up uneven.
The filling is similar to my original recipe as well. But this time, to stay true to the original Olive Garden version, I put my crumb garnish around the outside of the cake and sprinkled the top with powdered sweetener.
It really is the perfect keto lemon cake!
How to make keto lemon cream cake
This cake isn’t difficult to make, although it does have several individual components and dirties more than a few bowls. It’s a great baking project for a day off. Here’s how it’s done:
- Bake the cake layers. This is an almond flour vanilla cake, and the execution is quite simple. I used only egg whites so that the cake would be lighter in both color and texture.
- Prepare the lemon cream filling. The filling is a combination of cream cheese frosting and whipped cream to make it light and airy. It uses both lemon zest and lemon juice for flavor.
- Prepare the crumb garnish. The crumbs on the outside of the Olive Garden cake is what makes it so unique. I used lemon zest to give them a little more tanginess.
- Assemble the cake. Make sure to reserve some of the cream filling to spread on the sides of the cake so that the crumbs stick. The dust the top of the cake with some powdered sweetener.
- Slice and serve!
Tips for the crumb garnish
Use your hands when adding a garnish like sprinkles, nuts, or crumbs to the sides of a cake. Set the cake on a serving platter over a clean work surface.
Turn the cake as you gently press handfuls of the crumbs into the frosted sides. If you happen to have a cake turntable, you can use that to help you turn the cake evenly.
Scoop up any crumbs that fall onto the work surface and gently apply those to the sides of the cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you would prefer to use coconut flour, try making the cake layers with my Keto Chantilly Cake. Simply spread the batter in two cake pans, rather than three. It will take a little longer to bake through.
Yes, you can but your cake will be a little more dense and yellow in color. Use only 3 eggs to replace the 4 egg whites.
The cake layers will work with any granulated sweetener but do be forewarned that allulose can make them very dark on the outside. The frosting requires a powdered sweetener, and some of them are 2 times as sweet so please read your labels.
You can make this cake a day or two ahead of serving it, but I wouldn’t recommend any longer than that. The cream filling is best when fresh.
I can’t see why not! It will make 10 to 12 cupcakes.
Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve, as the cream filling softens easily.
Store any leftovers in the fridge and cover the cut sides with plastic wrap to keep the cake from drying out.
More delicious keto lemon recipes
- Sugar Free Lemon Curd
- Easy Keto Lemon Muffins
- Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- Keto Lemon Cream Pie
- Sugar Free Frosted Strawberry Lemonade
- Keto Lemon Sugar Cookies
Keto Lemon Cream Cake
- 2 ¼ cups almond flour
- ⅓ cup unflavored whey protein powder or egg white protein powder)
- 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup Swerve Granular
- 4 large egg whites room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ to ⅓ cup water
Lemon Cream Filling
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener divided
- 1 ½ tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- 3 tablespoon powdered Swerve Sweetener
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325F and grease 2 round metal 8-inch cake pans. Line with parchment and grease the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sweetener until lightened and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites and vanilla until well combined.
- Beat the almond flour mixture into the butter mixture in two additions, alternating with ¼ cup water. If the batter is very thick, beat in the additional water.
- Divide between the prepared cake pans and spread to the edges. Smooth the tops and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and the tops are firm to the touch.
- Remove and let cool completely in the pans.
Lemon Cream Filling
- Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat in ½ cup of the powdered sweetener, the lemon zest, and the lemon juice and until well combined.
- In another bowl beat the cream with the remaining sweetener until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, and lemon zest. Add the melted butter and toss until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Place 1 layer of cake on a serving platter. Set aside ½ cup of the cream filling and spread the remaining filling over the cake.
- Top the filling with the second cake layer, then spread the ½ cup of reserved cream filling over the sides of the cake.
- Using your hands, gently press the crumb garnish over the sides of the cake. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sweetener and refrigerate 1 hour to firm up.
Hello Caroline. I want to make this cake but don’t think I can finish eating it in a few days. I was thinking of making it and slicing it, then freezing individual slices. Do you think the cream will be ok after it’s thawed?
Yes, it should be fine. It’s a sturdy frosting that holds up to freezing.