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.
Could you bake this in an oven? My 6 qt. slow cooker is too hot to bake cakes in, the edges overcook quickly.
Yes, I think I mentioned at the bottom of the post doing it in an oven at 325F in 9×13, but I don’t know how long it would take to cook (probably at least 25 minutes)
I’ve had my eye on this recipe since you posted it and am finally making it! It is cooling right now and smells divine! My T1D hubby, the reason we started this low carb adventure, doesn’t like lemon, but I couldn’t resist making this. I made him another treat and figured that’s just more cake for the kids and me! Thanks for sharing! I love the slow cooker cakes– yum!
Carolyn, this looks fantastic! Easter always makes me think of lemon cake. I’m so glad you took the time to develop this recipe. I’ll definitely be trying it!
Sarah G says
extract, that is!
Sarah G says
I asked the almost 5 year old if he wanted this lemon cake for his birthday. He said, “Wif chocolate frostin”. Would I just add cocoa powder and take out the vanilla exctract?
Hmmm. No, I don’t think just adding cocoa powder would work, it might make it way to thick and clumpy. Try this for a chocolate frosting (you may need to do 1.5 to 2 times the recipe): https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2010/07/coconut-flour-cupcakes-with-chocolate-buttercream-low-carb-and-gluten-free.html
Sarah G says
Whoa, that looks delicious! Are the stevia drops the only sweetener needed? Whenever I’ve used stevia alone with chocolate it’s so bitter. Maybe the whipped cream keeps that from happening?
Sarah G says
I just read the post and you say it’s not bitter at all. Yay!!
The cream cheese helps because it gives the frosting stability and you don’t need a lot of the stevia drops. But if you want to use powdered Swerve, you can use that too. I’d use at least 1/4 cup if you double the frosting recipe.
I love slow cooker cakes!!! I can’t wait to try this one! Can I use Jell-O brand sugar free lemon pudding instead of making from scratch? 🙂
Sure, although you may only need half of it.
How much fat is in it though, since that’s a lot of almonds to make 3 cups of flour?
Lots and lots of wonderful healthy fats. You can see the nutritional counts at the bottom of the recipe.
Thanks for the response
I can’t wait to make this! Do you think I can substitute egg white protein powder for the whey protein? Dairy allergies. I am wondering about the amount of extra egg in doing that.
Thank you for sharing your great recipes!
I think egg white powder would be just fine.
I did it!! The flavor is fabulous. Perfect. My cake came out a little on the moist side, though. Next time I’ll have to reduce the liquid a touch or add a tsp or 2 of coconut flour. It did rise completely but is a bit like steamed pudding. This has the best lemon flavor of any lemon cake I’ve ever tasted. I used NOW beef gelatin which I purchased in 5# bag….no problem.
I have all the ingredients on hand except the grass fed gelatin. Is there another gelatin or item I can use in its place ? I have been adding to my ingredients that I keep on hand – makes it easy to do your recipes and whip up a surprise for the family each week. Thanks, Sally
You can use a package of Knox gelatin.
My grandmother used to make poke cake, but she used the handle of a wooden or plastic stirring spoon to make the pokes. It made for serious amounts of “jello” in every slice. I think I’ll try this.
As to weird ingredients, the only thing I don’t have on hand is lemons, since I don’t keep citrus (high sugar) fruits on hand. But I can get them within a few minutes.
Who hunts down specialty food bloggers to complain about ingredients?
Um… not weird at all. These ingredients ARE our normal! And, I’m not tying to be snarky, but “severe health reasons”? How ’bout GREAT health reasons? Low carbing, typically, ensures lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increased energy, etc., etc. I will be making this cake SOON. It looks delish! Thank you, Carolyn.
Now that we are in CA for much of the year, slow cooker cakes, etc are the way to go. There’s no unwanted heat in the house. In fact, I’m trying out some of your other recipes in the cooker. I love lemon and will mix this up this afternoon. Thanks.
MMMMM this looks good. I just bought lemons today too so may have to give this a run soon. Speaking of cakes, have you tried to do a remake of angel food cake??? This is one cake I really miss and I have a divine high sugar/carb recipe that I still make for special occasions but I would like to see a healthier version if possible that still tastes good. Also, have you experimented with banana flour? I guess it’s the new paleo flour. I haven’t seen a lot of recipes using it yet but it’s supposed to be really healthy and an excellent source of resistant starch.
When I first became low-carb, I found an Angel Food Cake recipe by Matthew Meade posted on the Chicago-Sun Times website. I just tried that link, and they appear to no longer have it on their website.
I’ve posted his recipe here: http://www.springvalley.org/Angel_Food_Cake_lowcarb.pdf
Now that I’ve been low-carb a while, all of the ingredients are familiar and stocked in my cupboard. I do recall (at the time I found it) that the ingredients seemed quite foreign. Funny the difference a year makes!
I haven’t tried it yet, but my daughter’s birthday is coming soon.
Can you let me know how it was after you make it????
Stephanie KL says
Sorry, Susan, but I got an error message when clicking on the link saying that it could not be found.
Love all your recipes, Carolyn! This might be an option as a liner, too: http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Baker-Shark-Pre-cut-Parchment/dp/B00FW49GUE/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1426691866&sr=1-3&keywords=parchment+paper+rounds+9+inch
Carolyn, You have done it again! A lovely recipe with ingredients that all Low Carbers have on hand, no exotics. Thanks. One question: Can we use Slow Cooker Liners rather than the Parchment Paper??
Can’t wait to try this one! Your slow cooker chocolate cake is awesome!
OH MY ~ It looks wonderful! I made an oven baked almond flour poke cake for my daughter’s birthday. It was good, but this looks awesome. I will definitely try it again when I need a birthday cake. Nope not weird at all, for us low carbers, the ingredients are already on hand. 🙂 Thank you for doing this.
NJ Carol says
Slow-cooker lemon poke cake-
Too many “weird” ingredients for a normal cook/kitchen. I would never go out to seek all of this stuff unless I needed it for severe health reasons.
You do realize that this is a low carb food blog, right? And weird is only a matter of perspective. 🙂
These are the ingredients in my cupboard. There’s no sugar or grain flour at all!
hahaha…Funny how people view things so differently. There is nothing weird about this at all. These are normal, everyday ingredients in my home. We have no flour, sugar, jello etc. Everything is home made and “real”
Carolyn, you never cease to amaze me. I have made several of your recipes and love them all. Thank you for all your hard work