I’ve been making this low carb lemon pound cake for a long time. I’ve switched it up and tweaked it over the years to get it as close as I could to the real thing.
Is it pound cake? I will be sincere, not really. Real poundcake has a dense, heavy crumb. So does my pound cake recipe, but it’s a bit moister, and a tad cakier, but it does fit the bill.
The cake is sweet, with a soft lemon flavor, topped with sticky candied lemons that taste like old fashioned marmalade.
It’s all sugar-free, I promise!
A keto lemon poundcake with candied lemons
So if you don’t like marmalade or the bittersweetness of lemon rind, my advice is to leave off the candy lemons. But if you DO like marmalade, you’re in for a treat. The lemon topping adds a tart, soft, sticky contrast to the cake. It’s like smearing a big dollop of jam over a slice of pound cake.
It also makes for a beautiful presentation, and the candy lemons are a snap to make.
But with all that said, you could top this pound cake with a sticky lemon glaze, or your favorite low carb icing. The pound cake is also lovely all on its own with a smear of butter. Yeah, I’m a weirdo, I put butter on pound cake.
My point is the cake is delicious no matter what you decide to put on the top.
Low carb lemon Pound cake Baking Tips
So a few baking tips to make sure your pound cake turns out perfectly.
- Use room temperature ingredients, especially the cream cheese and eggs.
- Whip the cream cheese and eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Sift your dry ingredients to remove all the lumps. Sifting also helps with the texture.
- Wrap your pan in tinfoil before filling it. The foil helps to prevent serious over-browning on the bottom and sides. This pound cake needs to bake for an hour, and without the protection on the sides, the coconut and almond flours will turn a dark, dark brown that tastes slightly bitter. You will want to wrap your pan.
What sweeteners do I recommend for this low carb recipe?
For the pound cake: 1:1 sweeteners.
I used So Nourished powdered monk fruit erythritol sweetener in this pound cake because I feel it does not have any after taste. But you can use your favorite powdered or granular sweetener at a 1:1 replacement. Swerve, pure, allulose or monk fruit will all work perfectly fine. Use what you like.
Liquid sweeteners will throw off the balance between wet and dry ingredients, and I don’t recommend them because they will impact the texture.
For the Lemon Glaze, and Candy Lemons.
Allulose is the recommended sweetener. It will create a gooey sticky texture without crystallizing.
Should you use Real lemons or lemon extract?
I am all about the real lemons, and in this particular recipe, I used Myers lemons for the candied topper and the fresh juice added to the cake. Real lemons add a tart punch you don’t get with extracts. But I am all about using what you have on hand or what you want to use. If you have extract and you like it, go ahead and use it.
If you happen to have lemon bakery emulsion, this will add a very nice complimentary candy lemon flavor to this pound cake. It would also pair very well with the candy lemon topping.
Are Lemons low carb?
So lemon juice is low carb.
Only a few spoonfuls dramatically change a flavor profile for very few added carbohydrates. If you are on keto or any version of a low carb diet, you will usually find lemons and limes both on the approved food lists.
Now I used Myers lemons in this recipe, and they tend to lean a bit on the sweeter side, meaning they do have more natural sugars. Myers lemons will increase the carb count of the recipe but only negligibly.
Sugar-free Candy Lemons
Candy lemons come in all kinds of versions. You can make them crisp and hard, or soft and jam-like.
This part of the recipe requires allulose. I know I am going to get comments and emails asking if you can use X sweetener in place of the allulose. You can use products like erythritol or even monk fruit, but you will not get the soft, sticky texture that you get from allulose, AND the allulose will not crystalize like erythritol will when cold.
Allulose is the only sweetener I have used that even comes close to cooked sugar. You can make it sticky, truly sticky, syrupy, and gooey. It’s excellent in jams and sugary sauces like caramel, and it works perfectly for making these candy lemon toppers.
Meyers lemons are perfect for this because the rind is thin, and the lemons have less bitter pith (the white part of the lemon rind) than standard lemons. But you can make the candy lemons with regular lemons. The sour notes will be more pronounced.
The process is SUPER easy.
- Add 1/2 cup of allulose to a small saucepan.
- Add 1/2 cup of water and stir.
- Place 1/8 inch lemon slices in the bottom of the pan and cook low and slow for 10-15 minutes, turning once during cooking.
- Place the cooked lemons gently on a piece of parchment paper and let cool.
- Add half the lemon glaze to the top of the cake before gently placing the cooled lemons. Once the lemons are in place, top them with the remaining lemon syrup.
A bit about the Candy Syrup
You have two choices with your candy syrup.
The syrup leftover after making the candy lemons tastes like marmalade. I loved it, but my husband said it was too bitter for him. He also does not like marmalade.
Once the leftover syrup cools down, give it a taste. If it is too bitter, you can make a fresh batch of glaze using 1/3 cup of allulose and 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Cook it slow and low until the glaze coats the back of a spoon. This version will add a sweeter natural lemon flavor to the top of the pound cake.
Low Carb Lemon pound cake Storage & Serving Suggestions
This pound cake stores well in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the untopped, unglazed cake and store it well wrapped in the freezer for up to a month.
You can also leave it covered on the counter for 48-72 hours, but I find it tastes far better out of the fridge.
It goes perfect with a hot cup of earl grey tea.
- 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup sweetener (I used So Nourished powdered monk fruit erythritol blend)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 2 organic lemons
- 1/2 cup allulose
- 1/2 cup water
Lemon Syrup (Option 2 below)
- 1/3 cup allulose
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 325 F and generously grease a loaf pan and wrap the outside of the pan with a layer of tin foil.
2. In a large mixing bowl blend the cream cheese and until smooth.
3. Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture one at a time, make sure each egg is well blended before adding the next.
4. Add 1/3 cup of soft or melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon rind to the cream cheese and egg mixture. Blend ingredients together until the mixture is light and airy. (30 seconds)
5. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sweetener and blend on low for 30 seconds.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes. Halfway through baking loosely place a small piece of tin foil over the top of the cake to prevent over-browning.
The pound cake is finished baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If at the 60-minute mark the cake is still not baked, bake it for an additional 10 minutes. (see notes below)
1. Wash and slice 2 organic lemons into 1/8 inch slices. Do not remove the rind.
2. Add 1/2 cup allulose and 1/2 cup water to a large pan and mix together.
3. Place the lemon slices in the allulose and water mixture in a single layer.
4. Place on a burner and cook low for 5 minutes then gently flip the lemons over.
5. Continue to cook the lemons for another 5 minutes on the opposite side.
6. Gently remove the lemons from the pan (they will be very soft) and place them on a piece of parchment paper to cool.
Lemon Syrup Option 1
1. You can use the leftover syrup from the candy lemons. If you find the syrup too bitter, skip to option 2.
2. Once the syrup is slightly cooled, spoon and drizzle half of it over the pound cake. Do not wait for the syrup to completely cool because it will become very stick, very thick and very hard to spread.
3. Place the candy lemons on top of the cake, and drizzle with the remaining syrup.
Lemon Syrup Option 2
1. In a small saucepan combine 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice and 1/3 cup of allulose and cook on medium-low heat until the syrup coats the back of a spoon.
2. Let the syrup cool slightly until it is the consistency of pancake syrup and drizzle half of it over the top of the pound cake.
3. Place the candy lemons on top of the pound cake and drizzle the remaining syrup over the candy lemons.
To make sure the pound cake does not over brown, be sure to wrap the loaf pan with tin foil. At the 30 minute mark, you can also add a piece of loose tinfoil over the top of baking poundcake to prevent the top from over-browning.
Fresh lemon juice is best.
We eat the rind in this recipe, both in the pound cake with the grated lemon rind and in the candy lemons, for this reason, I recommend organic lemons.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 58mg Sodium: 175mg Carbohydrates: 8g Net Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 7g