Two gluten-free lemon squares on a dessert plate.

Gluten-Free Lemon Squares, Almost

This recipe came from my friend Joy Gray. She creates recipes for the United Sorghum Checkoff Program.

My lemon squares weren’t as good as I had hoped they would be because of several mistakes I made in the process.

The first mistake I made was not using the gluten-free flour mix designated. Joy used NuLife All-Purpose Sorghum Flour Mix. I didn’t have that, so I used Carol Fenster’s recipe for her sorghum flour blend. I didn’t realize that the NuLife mix has xanthan gum already mixed into it and I didn’t add any xanthan gum to my flour mix.

My second mistake was that I combined the sugar, flour and salt, then I realized I was supposed to cream the butter and sugar together first. I decided to use a pastry blender to mix the butter with the flour/sugar mixture. This may have worked ok if I had remembered the xanthan gum, but I’m not sure.

The biggest mistake I made was that I didn’t let the crust cool completely before adding the lemon filling mixture. When I poured the mixture onto the hot crust, the center section of the crust exploded into bits and mingled into the filling. The filling ended up having more of a cookie-like texture instead of being creamy like lemon pudding.

Without the xanthan gum, the crust was very crumbly and fell apart as I tried to remove the squares from the pan. So, although my lemon squares were edible, I was quite disappointed with them.

If you make this recipe, be sure to follow the directions carefully and don’t make the same mistakes I did!



  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup NuLife All-Purpose Sorghum Flour Mix
  • Pinch kosher salt


  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup NuLife All-Purpose Sorghum Flour Mix
  • Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350° F.

Crust:  Cream butter and sugar together with paddle attachment in electric mixer. Add salt to sorghum flour mix and slowly add to butter until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.

Dough and pastry blender in brown mixing bowl.

I used a pastry blender to mix the crust ingredients. This may have made the crust even more crumbly, I’m not sure.

Press into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Gluten-free crust dough for lemon squares pressed down in the bottom of a square baking pan.

The crust was about 1/8-inch thick after I pressed it down into the bottom of the pan.

Filling: Wipe out mixing bowl and whisk eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, sorghum flour mix and salt.

Lemon filling in brown mixing bowl with whisk.

Lemon filling mixture.

Gently pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes until firm. Cool thoroughly.

Baked lemon squares in baking pan, edges overcooked.

The lemon squares were over browned on the edges because I didn’t let the crust cool before pouring in the filling.

Cut into squares and dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Gluten-free lemon squares in baking pan with a few squares removed so you can see the crumbling crust around the sides.

You can see how the crust crumbled when I cut the squares. This is why you use gums in gluten-free baking.

Gluten-free lemons squares in bowl, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.

Makes about 20 squares.

Recipe © Joy Gray, Amarillo, TX.

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Lemon is not my favorite snack flavor, Maizy. Please make these with BACON filling next time!

Finished cake on a plate - lemon slices clearly visible.

Gluten Free Lemon Upside Down Cake

When I found this recipe, I was really intrigued by using lemon slices with the peel still on them. How would they taste after baking? I had to find out!

The original recipe called for two cups of almond meal, so I was able to easily substitute one of those cups for sorghum flour.

The baked lemons turned out sweet and the cake was really tasty, but a tad heavy and crumbly. If I make this again I think I will use a little tapioca starch to lighten it up a bit.

I’m still not completely sold on using coconut oil instead of butter – I just like the flavor of butter more. But I will endeavor to persevere in giving up dairy as much as I can. I know my tummy will thank me for it.


(Makes one 9-inch round cake.)

  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the coconut oil and coat a 9-inch round cake pan using about half of the coconut oil. Set the rest aside. Cover the bottom of the pan with the sugar.

Cut two lemons into 1/8 inch slices and lay out in rings on the bottom of the cake pan. It’s ok if they overlap in spots. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this.)

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, remaining coconut oil and vanilla together. In a separate medium bowl, combine the almond meal, baking soda and salt. Mix the wet into the dry and add the zest of one lemon. Pour into the cake pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cake in pan - you can't see the lemon slices.

Lemon Upside Down Cake right out of oven.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then flip the cake out of the pan.

Finished cake on a plate photographed from above - lemon slices clearly visible.

Finished cake from above.

Ready to eat!

Slice of lemon cake on plate.

Slice of Lemon Upside Down Cake.


Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy? Where are you? Please come home RIGHT NOW! I miss your smell and I need to sit in your lap.