Coffee Cake Friday: Lemon Buttermilk Snack Cake, Gluten-Free

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I look out of my window this morning, the sky is overcast and grey. The air is cool. But yesterday was gloriously sunny and warm.  I spent much of the afternoon in the garden, writing and soaking up the sun.  Such is Seattle springtime. One day it’s hot and sunny and feels like it could never be anything different. And then it rains and rains for days. But, Seattleites have learned to be grateful for the sunshine we get and to dream of the sunshine yet to come.

Our little family has had a bit of a cloud pass over us. dAhub was laid off from his job of 12 years last week. His (former) company is always laying folks off to make their budget projections and it was only a matter of time. He’s been lucky that he’s been there for as along as he has been.

To be honest, I think this is a good thing for him and for us. He’s not been happy there for a long time. And with each layoff, the powers-that-be just gave more work to the remaining folks. It’s not a good atmosphere in which to work. In fact, he had been talking about looking for a different position for the past few months, so this kind of feels to me like the universe telling him it was time for a change.

It’s so odd to think of him as no longer being at that particular company.  He started there when Girlfriend was a baby–so he’s worked there for most of her life.  I keep thinking of earlier times when his company was more friendly and convivial.  Folks who worked there used to give parties and hold gatherings for the excuse to have fun and hang out with each other.  But, over the years, as more and more people got laid off, the friendly nature of the company slowly eroded and it became just another job that was super stressful.

So, this is a good thing.  But, no matter how good it will be ultimately, the present is a bit stressful and unsure. We are fine—please don’t worry about us. But, something like this is always a bit of a blow to the gut. We are in need of a little extra comfort these days. Of course, I turn to baking in times like these. Not only is baking my comfort and haven, but it produces things that are comforting to the people around me. I wanted to share with you a cake I’ve been baking a fair amount lately as a pick me up.  It is a lemon buttermilk snack cake. This cake is simple and so easy to make on the spur of the moment. And it is fresh and lemony and tastes like happy sunny days and hopefulness. So, it’s our favorite treat at the moment.

I will keep you updated on how dAhub’s job search is going. Again, we’re not too worried–we are lucky that computer programmers are always in need. But, if you think of it, send good job-finding thoughts to dAhub as he embarks on this journey of change and following new paths.

Lemon Buttermilk Snack Cake, Gluten-Free
-inspired by The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book, by Marilyn M. Moore

Yield: 1- 8 in x 8 in cake


For the cake
1 ½ cups (210 g)  Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour mix
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, soft
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
zest from one lemon (you pick the size—larger=more zest=more lemony taste)
1 extra-large egg
½ cup buttermilk (120 ml) or ½ cup milk of choice mixed with 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
extra butter and tapioca flour for pan

For the icing
1 cup (112 g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4

Grease and flour an 8 in by 8 in/20 cm by 20 cm pan with extra butter and tapioca flour

In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy. I use a hand mixer to do this, but you can use a whisk. Add the egg and beat until fluffy—about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and beat until combined.

Add the flour mix and buttermilk alternately in several batches, beginning and ending with the flour mix.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake at 350 degrees F until tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing.  In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until creamy.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Then spread icing over entire surface of warm cake and allow to cool. Cake may be served warm or cold.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Jeanne Sauvage

Get More Updates!

Sign up to get exclusive updates & tips!

Pre-Order Gluten-Free Wish List


  1. Robin L. Martinez says

    Just made this cake today. Absolutely lovely! As good, or better, than anything you could get in a bakery or Entemann’s box. Tangy and sweet. The cake is light and soft. Excellent recipe!

  2. says


    I found your blog after a friend gave me your book last week, and I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. Just found out I’m gluten intolerant (and pregnant) a few months ago and it killed my enthusiasm for baking. Not any more! Made this recipe last weekend and it is soooo delicious!!! Even my gluten tolerant friends at work loved it! I added lavender petals to the lemon juice and heated it in the microwave and strained out the petals before adding it to the icing (I stole this from another recipe). The lavender adds another yummy flavor to the icing. This recipe is going into regular rotation. Can’t wait for this weekend so I can try a few more of your recipes. Thank you soooo much for all your hard work and best wishes to the hubs and your family!

    • says

      Amanda: Oh, I’m so glad my site is helpful for you! And your idea of adding lavender petals to the icing is awesome. Thank you so much for your kind words!

  3. says

    Hello from a windy UK with sporadic sunshine, Jeanne! 😀

    So very sorry to hear that your husband’s been laid off! :( Sending positive thoughts and a prayer that he will find something soon.

    I found your wonderful blog through Tartelette – she refers to it often and I can certainly see why!

    I was very excited to find your soda bread recipe and it’s in the oven as we “speak”. If there’s anything I’ve missed since discovering that was/am gluten intolerant, it’s certainly been bread – you know, the crusty kind we used to enjoy once upon a time.

    My little girl is off school today with a bad cold so this “happy sunny day” on a plate sounds like just what the doctor ordered. Thank you so much for sharing it and for all the tireless research that you do! 😀

    • says

      Chi: Thank you so much for the kind words and good job wishes! And I love Helene (Tartelette)! Sending your daughter “get well soon” thoughts!

  4. Marjy says

    My husband and I both came out of layoffs into much better situations. Even though it was terrifying each time, the jobs we lost were stressful to the point of health issues. Your recipes and stories inspire me and made my first post gluten breakup Holiday season much easier to handle. In return, I hope for a great outcome for you husband. In the meantime, take advantage of that extra family time together!

  5. Michelle says

    Best wishes for your husband to find a new and better position!
    I made this cake today, and it is so, so good. The cake has a great flavor and delicate crumb, and the lemon glaze makes it so refreshing! I will definitely be making it again. The cake reminds me somewhat of a buttermilk cake my granddaddy’s wife used to make. It had a white frosting and coconut, and I always made a beeline for it at family gatherings. I wish I had gotten the recipe before she died, but I may try to recreate it using this cake. Thanks so much!

  6. says

    This cake looks and sounds glorious, Jeanne! I love a good coffee cake. :-)

    I’d say I’m sorry about your husband’s job, but with you believing that it will be a good thing, I’ll just say that I hope that the stress will be minimal. Having been laid off at the end of February though, I have firsthand experience with the mix of emotions during the transition.

    All the best,

    • says

      Shirley: Aw, thank you so much. And yes, I know you know what we’re going through. So many emotions tied into this. Bleh. Thank you, as always, for your support!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *