Luscious grain-free lemon cake

Hiiii. How’s your Monday going? We’ve had a lovely morning. Still tons of rain, a sweaty BODYPUMP class, and Livi’s gymnastics class, which is one of my favorite things ever. 

So, there are a few customs I wish the US would adopt. #1: the siesta. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE A NATIONAL SIESTA? My family is Hispanic, and it’s pretty normal for us to relax in the afternoon: we take a snooze, or just chill until we go for round 2 in the evening. When the Pilot and I were in Italy, all of the shops and restaurants closed in the afternoon. (It made for an awkward situation when we were starving at 2pm, meandering around the streets and everything was closed. We got the hang of it after the first day.)

Rome street  1 of 1

Everyone went home to nap or relax, and businesses reopened early evening to enjoy until late night.


SWOON. It was glorious (and I think about going back to Italy, or living there, on a daily basis).

I napped almost every day until a few years ago, but I’ve been trying to bring the siesta back. Even if it’s just eyes closed for 20 minutes, it makes a huge difference.

#2: afternoon tea. (Even though we do the “latte all day” haha.) Loooove a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon with a small, sweet treat. It’s comforting, and a lovely boost of energy. I tend to rotate between the types or tea and coffee (right now I’m back on the Tulsi Rose tea), but for the sweet treat, I’ll have some chocolate or whatever we have in the house.

Right now, it’s some of this. 

Paleo lemon bread  1 of 1 5

Cake is always a good choice. 😉

Paleo lemon cake

When we go out to eat, dessert is usually an easy choice for me. Don’t be mad but I despise creme brûlée, and I’m not really a fan of ice cream-type desserts. But if cake, cookies, or chocolate are involved, the answer is YES. 😉

It’s been fun to experiment with grain-free creations lately, using nutty almond meal. This particular cake has a rich and dense texture, similar to a pound cake, with a bright lemon flavor. It’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.. right after that siesta.

Paleo lemon bread  1 of 1 2

Let me know if you give it a try!

Here’s the recipe:



Luscious grain-free lemon cake

A dense and sweet Paleo bread with bright lemon flavor. Perfect for an afternoon snack or breakfast accompaniment.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 8 1x


  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • Juice and zest of 2 small Meyer lemons
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a standard loaf pan with nonstick spray or coconut oil.
  2. 2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, and then stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  3. 3. Spread the batter into the loaf pan evenly, and bake for about 35 minutes until golden and set.
  4. 4. Allow to cool completely in the pan before storing, covered, in the fridge.


Random: it’s SO delicious chopped up, and topped with almond milk and fresh fruit. 

Are there any traditions or customs you’ve experienced that you enjoyed? A ritual you do every day that you love? Favorite cake? 😉



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  1. Amy S on March 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    The siesta sounds like something the US NEEDS to adopt 😉 I absolutely love a quick afternoon nap and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one! I feel so much fresher and more alert afterwards. I certainly don’t get a nap in often, but when I do, it’s so lovely.

    As far as cakes go, carrot cake is near and dear to my heart. Have you ever made it and/or a lighter version of it?

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      i’ve made a raw version before, but not a lightened up one! LOVE carrot cake, too 🙂

  2. Taca @ A Side Of Dessert on March 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I agree, the siesta should be brought back as well as afternoon tea! I definitely enjoy having a cup of coffee with something sweet in the afternoons. It’s even more enjoyable if its nice and quiet 😉

  3. Alexandra on March 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    This sounds delicious! I have everything on hand except coconut flour. Is there anything else I can use as a substitute? Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      i think you could add a tablespoon of another flour. the coconut flour just helps soak up some moisture from the egg

  4. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on March 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I luuuuurve lemon baked goods! This looks awesome. I love how simple the ingredients are too!

  5. Les @ The Balanced Berry on March 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I would be all for having a national siesta. For real. How can we make that happen?

    Also, that cake sounds awesome – perfect for Easter! Poppy seeds would be a lovely addition as well 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      we need to start the national siesta petition haha
      totally agree that poppy seeds would be lovely!

  6. kristin | W [ H ] A T C H on March 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I would 100% back the adoption of siestas. I was just in Honduras and my colleague has a couch in her office for naps. I was extremely jealous!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      that is amaaaazing

  7. Liz on March 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    This recipe sounds lovely and perfect for spring time. I don’t usually cook/bake paleo but I am excited to try this out at some point soon! Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      thank you! hope you’re enjoying the night <3

  8. Taylor DuVall on March 2, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    OOO! I will have to make this recipe this weekend! I love cooking/baking with almond flour!
    And I’m all about the siesta!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      awesome- let me know how it turns out!

  9. Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out on March 2, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    This looks amazing!!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      thanks, friend!

  10. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on March 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Yum! I love lemon muffins. I’m sure this must be good!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      let me know if you give them a try! <3

  11. Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift on March 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    “latte all day” –> Yasss. Downing iced coffee as I type! Lately I’ve been trying to balance the coffee with some more hydrating herbal iced teas, but balance never was my strong point. 😉

    One ritual I love – and am trying to get back into – is reading before bed. I did it my whole life until moving away to college and it’s the best feeling when I make time for it!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      reading before bed is the best. i’ve been trying to make more time for it, too. usually i’m so zonked, i crash after a couple of pages though haha

  12. Crystal on March 2, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I think studies have shown that a little mid afternoon nap increases productivity during the other parts of the work day. I should tell my boss that haha. That lemon cake looks sooo good!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      haha i love it

  13. Sarah @ on March 2, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I wish I could try this – but I can’t do nuts. Any recommendations on alternatives or do I just stick with the “regular” non-paleo version?

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      i wouldn’t be able to tell you without trying it! sorry about that!

  14. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on March 2, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Mmm this cake looks great. I’m enjoying some Irish Soda Bread this time of year!

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      the best <3

  15. Jill @ Champagne for Everyday on March 2, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I love lemon in all baking, it really ups the flavor especially when it’s something “super healthy”. I can’t wait to go to Italy for the first time in May!!!! 😀

    Latest Post: DIY Distressed Denim – Can You Tell Which Pair Cost $200?

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      totally agree! AHH I AM SO JEALOUS. where are you going?

  16. Kelly on March 2, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Oh my goodness, YUM!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  17. Jeana on March 2, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Tulsi Rose tea is one of my favorites.

    You need to try Pukka Love- it warms the heart and just relaxes you.

    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      ohh i can’t wait to try it!

  18. Annalisa on March 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I lived and worked in Italy for a few years and the two hour lunch break was glorious. It would be good for the US, we need to slow down a bit! I loved your grain free banana bread and will definitely be giving this one a try as well.

  19. Jenna @ just j.faye on March 2, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Yes to siestas! And yes to this cake! Both of these things sound amazing.

  20. Sarah on March 2, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Favorite cake: Spice w/ cream cheese frosting. I like it in cupcake form, rather than cake though. Ohh, and I eat my cupcakes with a fork :/ It feels more lady like to me, lol.

  21. Sasha M on March 2, 2015 at 10:49 pm
    • Fitnessista on March 2, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Omgggggg. So so good. I’m cracking up- thank you for posting!

  22. Emily @ Glitz Glam Gluten-Free on March 3, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Ohh I think I’d be all about the siesta as well, and leaving the city to summer in the south of France… I mean, how amazing would that be? This bread looks so delicious and the perfect combo of sweet treat and yummy snack!

  23. Katie on March 3, 2015 at 3:31 am

    I live in Italy, and let me tell you Italians not only need a nap but about 10 shots of espresso just to make it through the day. I think it’s why they are so animated when they talk (i.e. hands flailing with gestures) and how they stay up so late (restaurants don’t even open for dinner until 8pm).

    Please please please come to Italy. We could do some pilates in the piazza. And then you could write it off as a business trip!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      hahaha that is awesome 🙂
      and yes, i can’t wait to go back!!!!

  24. Sarah F on March 3, 2015 at 4:18 am

    A siesta would be amazing in the middle of the day. It seems like corporate offices are realising this, sometimes having a “quiet room”, and I have heard that google has a napping area.

    I always crave something sweet immediately after lunch. I grew up with always having a cookie in my lunch, and I find I still enjoy something like that. The only problem is that my mom is too far away to bake for me anymore 🙁

  25. Cara's Healthy Cravings on March 3, 2015 at 4:28 am

    Yay lemon cake!
    I love how simple the ingredient list is, must make 🙂

  26. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on March 3, 2015 at 5:10 am

    We recently booked our flights to Italy for September! I’ve never been before and I’m so excited. We’re even going to stay in Positano 🙂

  27. Addison on March 3, 2015 at 5:49 am

    This looks delicious! And I’m the same way with desserts–it’s easy to pass on the creme brulee type dishes, but cakes and cookies, give it alllll to me.

  28. Courtney Violet Bentley on March 3, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Living in Bangkok I get a mix of cultures and many of my friends have different ways of living which I find quite nice! Aussies and Brits alike do afternoon tea and it is quite popular to invite someone over for wine and cheese platters before dinner! I love siestas although I try not to make them over 20 minutes because then I ruin my day and just end up wanting to sleep! xo C

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      that sounds like EVERYTHING

  29. Melissa on March 3, 2015 at 8:29 am

    My dad is from Palermo, Italy (came to the U.S in his teens) and to this day he always takes a nap. He has his own business here in the U.S and EVERY afternoon you can always catch him with his feet propped on his desk after lunch and a towel over his eyes! He is retired now, but whenever i bring my boys to my parents’ home for babysitting, they know Papa is going to take his nap! and they nap too when their there! LOL. TRADITIONS, gotta love em!
    That lemon dessert looks FABULOUS! will be trying it this weekend! And I love the minimal ingredients -REAL FOOD!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      haha i love that so much 🙂
      let me know what you think of the cake! xoxo

  30. Kerry on March 3, 2015 at 8:51 am

    This looks delicious! Definitely going to make this, I love a sweet afternoon treat too! 🙂 and an evening one…. haha! x

  31. Autumn (@Beautifully Gray) on March 3, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I have really been into lemony things lately, so this looks like a perfect recipe to try! Thanks 🙂

  32. Erin @ Erin's Inside Job on March 3, 2015 at 9:39 am

    That sounds awesome! I have been craving some kind of lemon thing lately which is why I have been adding it to my smoothies in the morning, but this sounds amazing. I may throw some poppyseeds in there too bc you can never go wrong with lemon poppyseed anything. Thanks for sharing!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      let me know how it turns out! xoxo

  33. Amalia on March 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

    These look fantastic! On another note, I found out that today is National Pancake Day. In honor of that, I made your protein pancakes for the first time. I was a little concerned when I put that batter into the pan, but OMG they turned out freeking fantastic! And so filling! Woop! Thanks for sharing… 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      national pancake day!! so so glad you liked to recipe 🙂

  34. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on March 3, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I love the afternoon nap one, as well as tea. But I also think long late dinners are fun too, which are much more of a regular occurrence in Europe than here.

  35. Tracy on March 3, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Oh my gosh this sounds sooo good! Pinning and will be making this in the very near future as lemon dessert is my favorite!!! Thank you!

    I take a nap almost every day at 3:30. I get up realllllly early by choice (i love to) so my nap is vital! My kids know not to bother me and it works 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      that is AWESOME

  36. Tracy on March 3, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Also, I really hope your family gets a chance to live in Italy!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      me toooooo

  37. Julia G on March 3, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    the cake is SO GOOD!! Just made it. Super dense, lemony, and moist, and also not too sweet. Totally hits the spot! It reminds me of Huckleberry’s lemon pound cake, but a much healthier version! (a bakery/restaurant in Santa Monica where I live). having a hard time stopping myself from going back for another slice. thanks for the recipe <3

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      yay, i’m so glad you’re enjoying it! our loaf is pretty much gone (just one sad sliver left) 😉

  38. nickee on March 3, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    So I grew up in a country that had the “afternoon siesta”. While I love an afternoon nap on the weekends, i’m SO SO glad we don’t have to go back to work at 4pm or whatever it is. My dad used to have his lunch break from 1:30-3:30 and then he was back at work until 8 or 9pm. It pretty much took up the entire day and it felt like he worked the entire day! Here I like the fact that (for the most part when things are crazy) I can get off at work at 5pm and don’t have to go back and have the entire evening to do what I want 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      haha that is very true! great point 🙂

  39. milania dela cruz on March 3, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I LOVE cakes so I will try this one this week! I have all the ingredients already!! wonder how it would be like if I added shredded coconut to make it lemony-coconut… :))

  40. Sarah V on March 4, 2015 at 5:37 am

    I made this cake and LOVED it- pretty much finished the entire loaf myself 😉 Still trying to get my huz and 2 munchkins on board with paleo treats 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 4, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      <3 so happy you liked it!

  41. Wenchypoo on March 4, 2015 at 11:30 am

    That shot of Italy above–it wouldn’t happen to be Gaeta, would it? We lived there for 4 years (military), and had trouble getting used to reposo (siesta), too. We also had trouble with the lack of vacuum cleaners (we took carpets with us, and my cleaner needed some repair work), window screens, full-size appliances, and no hot water tap for the washing machine.

    • Fitnessista on March 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      that is from rome. i’m so jealous you lived there!

  42. Mary on March 6, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    This cake was great! I only had about a cup of the almond meal so just added about 3 tbs extra of coconut flour and it turned out great. Thanks so much! I love grain free baking recipes that don’t require so many crazy ingredients.

  43. Sam on March 8, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I made this today and it was AMAZING. I absolutely love anything lemon, so it was right up my alley. I didn’t realize that I only had 1 cup of almond flour left, so I had to get creative for the 1/2 cup remaining. I actually used ground flax seeds, and it worked just fine! I also had an abundance of strawberries on hand, so I put a layer of sliced strawberries on the top. It came out awesome! Great recipe, as usual : )

    • Fitnessista on March 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      so awesome!! loved seeing the instagram pic too 🙂 so glad you enjoyed! xoxo

  44. Jessie on March 8, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    My great-grandparents are from Spain and always took a nap as well after lunch. Unfortunately, I am not a napper. I can never fall asleep even when my son was a newborn and I was sleep-deprived ha. I’d lay down and rest but could never sleep during the day.

    I can’t wait to try this lemon cake! I just need to buy the Meyer lemons:) thanks for the recipe!

    • Fitnessista on March 8, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      that happened to me when livi was a newborn, too. i was too anxious to sleep!
      let me know if you try the cake <3

  45. mikelle on March 8, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Made this today…very good. Lemon flavor is strongly perfect. Great cake. Id recommend milk of choice or ice cream of choice to help ease down…not dry but dense so a milkish product would balance it nicely.

    • Fitnessista on March 8, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      so happy you like it! and yes, would be perfect with some ice cream on top. we love it with strawberry jam too 🙂

  46. Shaina Anderson on March 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    um, this looks amazing. our neighbor just brought us 4000 lemons so I’ll be making a few of these PRONTO

  47. Sarah on March 9, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I tried making this tonight. This is my first time baking with almond meal. The cake came out with just the right amount of lemon. I couldn’t wait for it too cool in order to test a slice. It’s lovely nice and hot. The sides of my cake browned a bit more than I would like. I’m wondering if cooking it at just slightly a lower temperature might help. I’m also now sad I didn’t pick up any fruit preserves to put on top. I bet blueberry would be amazing!

    • Fitnessista on March 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      so glad to hear you liked it!! a lower temp would probably work; let me know how it goes next time. and yes, so good with fruit preserves on top

  48. Lise on March 18, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Gina, took your advice and tried this with almond milk, strawberries & raspberries (even threw in a sprinkle of maca & homemade seed granola). Um…AMAZING. I thought it was a wee bit crazy to put almond milk on a bread, but NO, so, so good! Thank you!!

  49. Amy on March 22, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Great recipie! Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve lost over 100lbs on low carb/paleo. I’ve been doing it for over 2 years. It was rough to get started, but I used a 21 day sugar detox program which helped a lot. Check out the reviews of it

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