Amazing Lemon Cannellini Cake

I thought I would share this cake as it is made without flour, which some people are finding tricky to get hold of. Instead it uses something a lot of us have in the cupboard – a tin of white beans. If you don’t have honey, you could use maple syrup. If you don’t have ground almonds but you do have nuts you can grind them up in a blender until they are a flour-like consistency. This recipe does use eggs though – but I have an egg-free cake recipe coming up for you next week.

You can make the icing as suggested with tofu, but if you don’t have it any icing (a little lemon juice and icing sugar) or no icing will do.

I make a candied lemon topping. It’s pretty easy, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, a good grating of lemon zest will do. To make the candied lemon peel, peel the zest off a lemon, drop it into boiling water for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a pan and add a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup. Place over a high heat for a couple of minutes, until the peel becomes translucent. Transfer to a greaseproof-lined plate and don’t touch until it’s cool.



2 × 400g tins of cannellini beans
150ml set honey
the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
4 free-range or organic eggs
100g ground almonds
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
100g melted coconut oil
a good pinch of sea salt


200g silken tofu
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
the juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
2 tablespoons set honey
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5. Get all your ingredients together, and grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin. Drain the cannellini beans.

In a food processor blitz the drained beans, honey and vanilla seeds until smooth, then add the eggs
one by one, pulsing as you go. Tip the whole lot into a mixing bowl and gently fold in the ground almonds, baking powder, melted coconut oil and a pinch of salt. The batter may be a little looser than you’d expect from a cake batter, but don’t worry.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30–40 minutes. The cake is ready when it is golden brown on top, firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.

For the icing, put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth and shiny, scraping down the sides from time to time if you need to. This will take about 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and pop into the fridge to set while the cake is cooking and cooling.

Once the cake has had its time, take it out of the oven, leave it to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then cool completely on a rack.

Once cool, top with the icing and either grate over more lemon zest or finish with the candied lemon (see the introduction).



Posted: 25.03.20 14 Comments


Posted by Jen at 1:12 on the 26.03.20

Thanks for the reminder of this amazing recipe Anna. I have made this before and it was delicious. Would this work if made into muffins?

Posted by Katrin at 1:39 on the 26.03.20

Dear Anna,

this sounds like an amazing recipe and I would love to try it out. However, as a vegan I was wondering if you have any recommendations for replacing the eggs? I know of many substitutes but maybe you have a favorite one that would work nicely with this particular recipe?

All the best,

Posted by Linda Greening at 6:00 on the 26.03.20

I am allergic to nuts, what can I use in place of the almonds?

Posted by Emily at 12:00 on the 27.03.20

Looks really delicious will definitely give this a try!

Posted by David Weiner at 12:06 on the 27.03.20

If I have beans I have cooked myself, how much should I use. This recipe looks especially good, but I usually use beans I have cooked, not canned beans. Thanks.

Posted by Stephanie at 3:01 on the 02.04.20

Worked well and is delicious. So nice to have a flour-less cake recipe at present. But my candied lemons turned brown from the maple syrup. How did you manage to have yours come out such a bright yellow?

Posted by Chantal Bairle at 4:57 on the 05.04.20

Dear Anna
This sounds so yummy and thank you for posting, I would love to make this! I’m also wondering how to make this recipe vegan and wonder what you think the best egg replacer might be? I hear a lot about ORGRAN No Egg Egg Replacer for baking but I haven’t used it yet myself. I thought 4x flax eggs might be a bit too much. Thank you!

Posted by Rachel at 12:14 on the 11.04.20


I am super excited to try this recipe. Would using coconut cream instead of tofu work for the frosting?

Thank you

Posted by Carmel Reilly at 9:34 on the 16.04.20

HEllo! looks fab, also wondering how many gms of beans if cooking your own from scratch. thanks

Posted by patty at 10:01 on the 19.05.20

This was incredible, thank you so much! I loved it. We used almond ‘cream cheese’ for icing and it was lovely.

Posted by Sarah at 4:34 on the 09.11.20

Dear Anna,
I cannot count the number of times I have made this delightful cake. It is truly magnificent! People have paid me to make it for them, so I’m just so grateful to you for sharing this with the world. Thank you so much!

Posted by Heather at 8:06 on the 14.03.22

Hi, I’d like to know how this cake will be if made a day ahead of serving.
Thanks so much!

Posted by tina at 1:23 on the 04.03.23

Two questions please: 1. there’s no lemon IN this cake? 2. you call for “ground almonds” – is that the same as almond flour?
Thank you Anna!

Posted by Tina at 8:15 on the 13.03.23

this sounds lovely, I assume I can substitute almond flour for the “ground almonds”?

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