Naked Citrus Cake

Naked Citrus Cake

From March through the end of May harvest season enjoys a bounty of fresh produce including many of my favorites: lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, and kumquats.  When these bright, zesty fruits are in season I can’t help but try to figure out ways to incorporate them in to our meals.  So for my daughter’s birthday this month I decided to create a menu theme centered around citrus that included a Naked Citrus Cake. Full disclosure, I am not a baker or food blogger so I really go out on a limb whenever I post my recipes. To be totally honest the first cake I made went into the trash:{  I tried following a recipe that included four layers and it was just too much to deal with.

With the first attempt being a total flop and time running out I had to come up with a quick alternative plan. I looked at a few recipes and came up with a something with Lemon Grove Lane approved ingredients and came up with my own version of a Naked Citrus Cake. The biggest change was that I baked only two layers and then sliced them in half to create the four layer look.  The cake was frosted with a lemony cream cheese frosting and then I added flowers and Kumquats to the sides and top.  Go ahead and scroll down to the recipe or continue reading for more information on Kumquats and my baking tips!

What is a Kumquat?

Kumquats contain lots of fiber and essential oils which give them a beautiful citrusy aroma. They are slightly larger than a grape and contain a big burst of sour citrus flavor.  Eat the whole thing.. skin and seeds in all! Kumquats are loaded with vitamin C,  a potent antioxidant that helps with collagen synthesis, and  also helps guard against free-radical damage that can lead to disease and related health problems.

Cake Baking Tips:

Frosting generally helps to support a cake so if there is no frosting on the sides of the cake it might get a little crumbly and wobble a bit. Here a few tips that might help keep your layers in tact.

  1. Wrap and chill your cake prior to cutting.  This will help keep the cake from crumbling or splitting.
  2. Turn tables are helpful.  Here is one that’s inexpensive and works well.
  3. Use a serrated knife to cut your cake.
  4. I used a small spatula and cake scraper to spread the frosting.  You can also use a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.
  5. Stack the last layer upside down so the flat side is facing up.  I layered a thick layer of frosting on top of the cake to create a solid base for my flowers.
  6. Decorate with candy, flowers, or fruit!



Shop Baking Favorites:

Naked Citrus Cake

This is the perfect spring party cake! Feel free to substitute almond milk for whole milk if you'd like and you can also use regular all-purpose flour in place of gluten-free.   Add whole or halved kumquats along with a few citrus leaves for a refreshing and decadent cake.

Course Dessert


  • 21/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup honey (or 1 cup sugar)
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

  2. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans and line with parchment paper.  
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar and beat together until well combined and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and then add vanilla.  

  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  Add to wet ingredients and mix until well blended.   

  5. Add milk and gently stir the mixture.

  6. Pour mixture into cake pans. Bake for approximately 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.  

  7. Once cakes are cool wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Remove and using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half.  

  8. Place each layer on a 9-inch cake board and turn table if you have one. 

  9. Top with cream cheese frosting and then repeat the process with your next layer. Repeat with each layer of cake.

  10. Leave sides of cake naked or add smears of frosting and then decorate with berries, candy, or anything you'd like.  

Recipe Notes

Cream Cheese Frosting with Lemon Zest follows!


Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

The lemon zest makes this cream cheese frosting the perfect match for my Naked Citrus Cake!

Course Dessert


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Mix butter and cream cheese together until creamy.

  2. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla.

  3. Blend until smooth.  

  4. Spread on cake layers.


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