Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake

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A simple, no junk, Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake treat that is free from gluten, egg, dairy and soy!

You might wonder if it’s even possible to bake a cake without gluten, eggs or milk? Well, get excited because it is with this Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake!

Fresh is Real is all about transforming recipes to plant-based versions that are also free of the top allergens which make them safe for many that live with food sensitivities or allergies.

As for the gluten-free sourdough starter part in this recipe, it’s just a great way to combine simple and better for you ingredients to prepare a yummy treat!

Oh, and if you love organic maple syrup and lemon, this will be a great recipe for you to try! And, please don’t get intimidated by the long post, a lot of details were included to show you how simple it is to make.

A simple, no junk, Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake treat that is free from gluten, egg, dairy and soy!

Many Baking Options

A simple, no junk, Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake treat that is free from gluten, egg, dairy and soy!

The one-layer dish version of this Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake is the simplest to make. However, this post will show you three baking options;

  • a 2-layer round cake,
  • a springform pan version, and
  • a square baking dish.

The square baking dish is the easiest to make as you can serve it right from the dish. Keep scrolling to see more process photos.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

Gluten-Free Sorghum Sourdough Starter by Fresh is Real

This photo is a perfect example of what a happy, active gluten-free sourdough starter looks like once ready to use in a bread recipe and or in this case—a cake recipe.

Gluten-free sorghum was the flour used to create this specific starter. Although, many other gluten-free flours such as brown rice, white rice, buckwheat, teff, etc. can create amazing starters.

Sorghum and brown rice tend to be great ones to start with. For the cakes in this post, a sorghum starter was used in the square cake and a brown rice starter in the two other versions.

My favourite cake was the one made with a sorghum starter with buckwheat flour and no rice flour. It seemed less dense and fluffier, but it was a little more crumbly than the two other rice versions.

All the cakes were tasty but choosing which one to make will depend on the ingredients you have that are safe for you and your family to consume and the ones you prefer to bake with.

7-Day Process

To make a new gluten-free sourdough starter, you will need up to 7 days.

3 Recipes to Help You

The GF sourdough starter recipes listed below are all very similar. The first one is the newest and creates the smallest zero-waste portion. You can use any GF flour to make a new starter. Although, sorghum and brown rice flour are great to start with. Other examples would be oat, millet, buckwheat, and teff flour. 

YouTube Videos to Help You Troubleshoot

Step-by-Step Printable Guides

Here are three 3-page pdf guides for you to reference. Print one out and keep it with you in the kitchen.

Ready to Bake?

Firstly, print out the recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients before you start. 

Feed an already established gluten-free sourdough starter first thing in the morning or before going to bed the night before. It will be important to have it active and ready once you’re preparing the ingredients for step 1 in the recipe instructions.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter yet, then you will need to make one before making this cake. 

Sourdough Related Posts

Facebook Group

The Gluten-Free Vegan Baking Facebook Group was created to help baking enthusiasts learn more about baking without gluten, dairy, eggs, top allergens, etc. It’s where Fresh is Real shares recipes in development before they are posted on

If you have recipes that you love, that fit within the group guidelines, please share them with the group! We love seeing new creations and especially love learning new baking tips. A great place to ask questions! Join us!

Previous Recipe

A beautifully coloured gluten-free vegan vegetable loaf, filled with an abundance of fresh produce like beets, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, peas, corn, red pepper, herbs with a few additional ingredients. Delicious served with homemade gravy, potatoes and a side of greens!

The latest recipe on Fresh is Real, was a very bright coloured veggie-packed Vegetable Beetloaf! Serve it with delicious homemade gravy and mashed potatoes to make it a perfect plant-based meal!

Baking Options

The one-layer dish version of this Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake is the simplest to make. However, you have three baking options;

  • a 2-layer 8-in round cake,
  • a springform pan version, and
  • a square baking dish.
A simple, no junk, Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake treat that is free from gluten, egg, dairy and soy!

The square cake version is the easiest to make as you can serve it right from the dish. 

Questions Before You Start?

The best way to ask your recipe questions is in the comments of this post (scroll to the bottom) or the Facebook group.

The group is a great place to ask allergen-friendly baking questions, get tips, inspiration and share recipes! Join our amazing and friendly Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Fresh is Real Facebook Group

Did You Make This Recipe?

Once you try this recipe, remember to take a picture and share it with us on Instagram Tag it @Freshisreal_ #freshisreal

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A simple, no junk, Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake treat that is free from gluten, egg, dairy and soy!

Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake

  • Author: Chantal | Fresh is Real
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes + 5 hours (resting time)
  • Cook Time: 20-40 minutes
  • Total Time: +- 6 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Oven-Baked, Fermentation
  • Cuisine: Allergen-Friendly, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Vegan
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Inspired by my mother’s upside down vanilla maple cake this Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake is a light treat that will satisfy your dessert cravings. If you have a brown rice or sorghum gluten-free sourdough starter, you can use it for this recipe!

This sourdough cake prepared with local organic maple syrup and lemon is unique because it’s also free of all top allergens. So no eggs, gluten, soy or dairy! See option A in Step 1 for the rice-free option.

Note: If you are making this cake for a special occasion make sure to plan ahead, as the first step requires 5 hours of resting time.

Inspired by Cultures for Health. Many of the sourdough recipes on their site are wonderful but are not all free of gluten, dairy or eggs.



Step 1 (option A – rice-free):

Step 1 (option B):

  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour (or replace with more oat flour)
  • 1 cup homemade hemp milk*
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup active GF brown rice starter

Step 2:

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder**
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract***
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup for the batter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons water****
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/31/2 cup maple syrup for the base layer (or 1/4 cup x2 if making a two-layered cake)*****
  • Plus: Additional maple syrup for serving


Step 1:

1.    To a large glass bowl, combine flours, hemp milk, lemon juice and starter.
2.    Mix well, cover and place the bowl in a warm area of your kitchen for 5 hours.

Step 2:    

  1. Once Step 1 is complete, preheat your oven to 425° F.
  2. To make a 1-layer cake, the easiest version, grease one 8-inch square oven-safe dish with coconut oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients: lemon extract, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, coconut oil, water and salt.
  4. Sprinkle baking powder** overtop the dough mixture bowl in Step 1.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the same large bowl, gently fold in until combined, the batter should be light in texture.
  6. To bake the cake with maple syrup, pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of maple syrup to the bottom of the dish.*****
  7. Add cake batter on top of the maple syrup.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes until edges are golden.
  9. Cool cake for 10 minutes and serve directly from the dish.
  10. Drizzle each slice with extra maple syrup if you wish. Enjoy!

Additional baking options:

Please note that for either of these following methods options using parchment paper is very helpful but optional. It will make removing and flipping your cake(s) onto a plate much more manageable.

Using two 8-inch pans (for a 2-layer cake):

  1. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with unbleached parchment paper and grease with coconut oil.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup of maple syrup in both pans as the base layer.
  3. Add cake batter on top of the maple syrup.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until edges are golden.
  5. Cool for at least 30 minutes, with a butter knife or other straight tool, gently separate the cake edges from the pans. With the help of the parchment paper remove cakes from the pans and flip them onto each other on a serving plate. Be careful not to break them. Spread the top of the cake with more maple syrup, if you wish, or drizzle each slice with a little syrup when serving.

Using one 6-in springform cake pan:

  1. Line the base of the springform pan with unbleached parchment paper and grease with coconut oil. You can also do a ring of parchment paper with oil, for the contour of the ring.
  2. For one cake, pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of maple syrup as the base layer.
  3. Add cake batter on top of the maple syrup. TIP: place your cake pan onto a baking sheet just in case the maple syrup leaks out a bit. You can also place or cover the base (see pic) of your springform pan with foil in case the syrup leaks.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes (up to 40 minutes) until edges are golden.
  5. Cool the cake for at least 1 hour. Once completely cooled release the clip on the springform pan. With the help of the parchment paper remove the cake from pan. Flipping it over is optional depending on how the cake looks. If the cake is very rounded at the top, you could leave it upright. Spread the top of the cake with more maple syrup if you wish, or drizzle each slice with a little syrup when serving.


This cake is best enjoyed on the same day or the next. For day old cake, you can warm up each slice in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.
I’ve tested this recipe with only 3 hours of fermenting, and it wasn’t enough. The cake bakes up denser. Ideally, you want to wait until you can see airiness to your dough. Noticeable bubbles will appear as the dough ferments. Five (5) hours is best. Longer fermentation will result in a sourer cake, not my personal favourite.
The Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake is baked at a higher than average cake baking temperature. When I bake this cake again in the future, I will test lower temperatures to see if yields a better texture.
* To prepare homemade hemp milk, combine 1/3 cup hemp hearts (seeds) with 1-1/4 cup water in a high-speed blender and blend until frothy and white. Pour the hemp milk through a nut mesh bag, cheesecloth, or superfine strainer to remove larger unwanted bits. You could try other plant-based types of milk, but I haven’t tested this recipe other than with fresh homemade organic hemp milk. Hemp milk is terrific as it is allergen-friendly (nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, etc.).
** Gluten-Free, Corn-Free & Aluminum-Free Baking Powder.
***As an alternative you could try with more fresh lemon juice and fresh organic lemon zest. Although the pure lemon extract works best.
**** Depending on your ingredients, how you measure your ingredients, etc. You might not need the extra 2 tablespoons of water. If your batter is very thin, leave it out. If your mixture is on the thicker side, then add it in.
***** The cake(s) can be baked without the base layer of maple syrup. You can always add maple syrup when serving.
******Consider leaving the cake in the pan if you don’t want to risk breaking it. Just note that it will be sticky and be careful not to serve the bottom piece of parchment paper. If you know that you will prefer to serve it from the cake pan, perhaps leaving out the parchment paper is best!

Keywords: Maple Lemon Sourdough Cake


  1. Jennifer Rairdan

    I made this cake and it was delicious! I hadn’t any sorghum so I decided to use white rice flour, brown rice flour, and buckwheat flour. I also didn’t have lemon extract. But I really wanted to make this! I was worried of the outcome but it was amazing even still!
    It was a little firm but seriously good. A nice simple cake that was cozy. My husband loved it too! Right out of the oven was amazing and from there we microwaved servings and still was good. Really simple cake since I already had the starter made! Would DEFINITELY do this again. Might be fun to play will some lemon frosting if it were a special event cake. Thank you Chantal!

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  2. Hey guys! Just wanted to ask you a quick question. When baking do you prefer seeing a long recipe post with many process pictures or do you like watching a video? Please let me know, I would love some feedback! Chantal

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Make sure the ingredients you purchase are prepared in a facility free from the top allergens YOU AVOID. Gluten-free products should be certified GF and clearly labelled. Consult your medical professional with your dietary questions.

Even certified gluten-free ingredients such as GF oats, corn, seeds, etc., can create health problems for individuals following a GF diet. Always consult a medical professional if unsure about ingredients for your needs.