A tender low carb lemon poke cake baked in your slow cooker. This is the perfect sugar-free, grain-free dessert to welcome Spring!
So here we are, another instalment of the low carb slow cooker cake series. It’s been four months since my last slow cooker cake and it was high time to create another one. Now, I will be honest that this particular flavour would never have occurred to me if not for a suggestion by a reader. Lemon cake certainly occurred to me, but not lemon poke cake. In fact, poke cake was an altogether foreign concept for me until a few short years ago. I’d never heard of them and then suddenly they were everywhere. Every. Where. Well, everywhere on Pinterest, anyway. As with anything in Food Blogger Land, they seemingly came out of nowhere and overnight everyone and their dog was making them, photographing them and posting about them.
Still, I never really thought about making one until a reader emailed with her request. And not only was it for lemon poke cake, but more specifically for slow cooker lemon poke cake. Which presented its own set of challenges, I have to say. If you’ve never heard of poke cake, it is as the name suggests: you poke holes into your cake and then pour something gooey and delicious over it so it sinks down into the holes. Normally, such cakes are simply spread in a pan and baked in the oven, then poked and prodded and filled and frosted. And often it’s served right from the pan after that. But a deep slow cooker makes that a little more complicated and I didn’t want this to come out in messy pieces with the frosting smeared all over. So the ever useful parchment paper to the rescue for lifting the cooled, poked and filled cake out of the slow cooker, to be frosted on a serving platter.
My second challenge was deciding what to pour over the cake to fill the holes. Some research on lemon poke cake yielded two possibilities: lemon jello and lemon curd. As much as I love lemon curd, it’s a far sight more time consuming to make, so I opted for lemon jello. But of course, I wasn’t about to go buy the commercial sugar-free lemon jello, all chemical-laden as it is. No, no, no, that would simply not do. Making your own healthy Jello is easy enough, thankfully. And to make it stand out a little more in the cake, I added a few drops of yellow natural food colouring. Then a simple whipped cream frosting and there we had it: low carb slow cooker lemon poke cake.
There’s no reason you couldn’t do this in the oven too, although you might lose a little of that amazing tenderness that comes from baking in your slow cooker. I’d recommend a 9×13 well-greased pan at 325F. I am not sure how long it would take to cook, but start with 25 minutes and check on it every 5 minutes after that.
Slow Cooker Lemon Poke Cake
- 3 cups almond flour
- ¾ cup Swerve Sweetener
- ¼ cup unflavored whey protein powder
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
- ½ cup butter melted
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- ¼ teaspoon liquid stevia extract
Sugar-Free Lemon Jello:
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grassfed gelatin (Great Lakes orange can)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3 tablespoon powdered Swerve Sweetener
- 3 drops yellow vegetable-based food colouring (optional but helps boost yellow colour)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 6 quart slow cooker with parchment paper with enough parchment coming up the sides for easy removal. Grease parchment paper (I like to use Kelapo Coconut Oil spray).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, protein powder, baking powder, and salt. Beat in eggs, nut milk, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and stevia extract until well combined.
- Pour batter into prepared slow cooker and cook on low for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Let cool completely in the slow cooker, then take a skewer and poke all over about ½ an inch apart, twisting skewer to make holes.
Jello (make this while the cake is cooling):
- Combine lemon juice and grassfed gelatin in a bowl and let sit until thickened. Add boiling water, sweetener and yellow food colouring, if using and stir until sweetener and gelatin are completely dissolved. Let cool until beginning to thicken.
- Pour all over the top of the cake, letting jello sink down into the holes of the cake. Lift the ceramic insert out of the slow cooker and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours, to set.
- Using the edges of the parchment, lift the cake out gently and place on a serving platter (if you want to remove it from the parchment, place it on a flat surface and gently work a sharp knife underneath it, then use two large spatulas or flippers to move it to your serving platter).
- Beat whipping cream with sweetener and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread all over top and sides of cake.
Saturated fatty acids: 10.95g
Total fat: 29.65g
Calories from fat: 266
Total dietary fiber: 3.17g
Sodium: 247mg Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I provide nutritional information for my recipes simply as a courtesy to my readers. It is calculated using MacGourmet software and I remove erythritol from the final carb count and net carb count, as it does not affect my own blood glucose levels. I do my best to be as accurate as possible but you should independently calculate nutritional information on your own before relying on them.
Annette Mahoney says
So I made this cake for a friends daughters 7th birthday.Since finding out she cant have gluten she has not been able to have a birthday cake. She was so over the moon with happiness with it. The whole family loved this. Carolyn thank you for coming up with such a healthy and delicous cake. I did bake it in the over for about 33 min in my oven. You helped make a little girl happy……
Wonderful, I am glad to hear it! Celiacs, diabetics and everyone deserves cake on their birthday!
Naomi L says
Looks fabulous & I LOVE lemon! Is there something you could substitute for the wheyy the only thing I have on hand is strawberry. I do have some psyllium powder though, would that work and how much would I need to use? Also can I substitute Splenda for the swerve and what amounts would use?
Thanks for the great recipes!!!
Oh, yeah, don’t add the strawberry whey here. You can forego it altogether but the cake may not rise quite as much. Don’t add psyllium, it will get too gummy. Not sure about the Splenda as I don’t use it but Swerve measure like sugar so I am sure you can figure out how much Splenda to use from how much they say is equivalent to sugar.
This looks fabulous and so easy. Saving the recipe and would like to try it in a few weeks. Thank you so much. My crock pot is only 2.5 quart. Do you think that I can just use half of the recipe?
Yes, I think halving the recipe should work just fine.
Great. Thank you so much. Can’t wait 🙂
Perfect summer cake. Made it last night and added a few fresh strawberries and blueberries. It tasted like a lemony strawberry shortcake.
Next time, I plan to try your lemon curd in lieu of the jello. I remember the poke cakes I had as a kid were yellow cake with chocolate pudding poked in it. Now I’m thinking I can make this as a yellow cake with vanilla in it instead of lemon and use your death by chocolate ice cream custard base as the pudding. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
We don’t care about the poking and the filling, so if we eliminate that part will it still come out moist or do you need that filling as part of the flavors?
It’s still really great on its own!
Angela, I used a standard springform pan lined with parchment paper.
I agree with everyone that this cake is fantastic. I am slow cooker-less so I’ve made it twice in the oven at 325….only takes about 15 minutes to bake. When making it the first time I tried the bit of the cake before pouring the gelatin over it (impatience to taste the lemony deliciousness) and was surprised at how good it tasted on its own. The recipe was so quick, easy and tasty that I soon wanted to make it again but could not find sugar free jello (yes I phoned it in with the gelatin…..) so I decided to make the cake without it. I simply added 1/4 cup more sweetener, doubled the zest and extract (to get the sweetness and lemon flavor that would have come from the gelatin soak) and voila! Turned out tender, moist and delicious! This will be my go-to lemon cake recipe from now on….thanks Carolyn!
what size pan did you use?
I LOVE this cake! I made it for Easter dessert. I cooked it Saturday and planned to do the rest on Sunday. I totally forgot and ran out of time so I skipped the gelatin part and added about 1/4 tsp lemon extract to the whipping cream. Everyone loved it! Thank you so much for all your recipes! You’ll just never know what a difference your recipes make to me and my family!
Ashley B says
This looks wonderful! I was wondering if you could use the THM lemon pudding as the Jello? Thoughts?
I can’t see why not!
Hi Carolyn, For the whipping cream, do you use heavy whipping cream? Since my daughter was diagnosed T1D this year we have been told to do all low fat things for her, but low fat whipping cream isnt really working for us. I’ve done a couple recipes in the last few weeks with regular heavy whipping cream and I didn’t see her spike. I just wanted to get your thoughts on the low fat vs. regular fat.
Thanks so much!
Full fat, heavy whipping cream. I don’t do anything low fat and I don’t believe it’s healthy for anyone to eat low fat because that usually means more carbs (sugar) to fill the gaps. I am not a doctor or a medical professional, so please do your own research but I think you should investigate the low carb high fat diet for your daughter as the healthier option. Please check out Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution and you can get great support and info on this Facebook group as well: https://www.facebook.com/groups/660633730675058/
Thank you so much for getting back to me on that and sharing the link for support! I am really glad to hear that full fat is what you are doing. I will continue to move forward in this direction and research since her levels are staring to speak for itself with low carb and full fat. I feel like we are in the right track. Now off to find more yummy food on your site!
Good luck, Helen. I am sure you know this but she should eat to her meter. Keep a close eye on her food and her levels and then you will figure out what works for her.
Made this yesterday, but too late to taste test. My daughter and I had it for breakfast. Yum! (The aroma while baking was heavenly. All family members wanted to know when it would be done.)
After laughing my head off from the 1st (ridiculous/ignorant) comment. . I went to my cupboard & took all the ingredients out to put this wonderful cake together! Lol! Thanks Carolyn for this awesome recipe! We all appreciate your hard work coming up with these delicious recipes so we can live a healthy successful low carb life! I don’t think I could do it without your genius-ness cooking/baking skills! 😀