GF Fresh Fennel Picnic Cake with Lemon Marscapone Frosting

Ah, the warm, green days of summer … I remember you well and am hankering for your return! I began this post in the explosion of that green and expansive energy, thrilled to have inherited a community garden plot with volunteer FENNEL sprouting up and maturing several plants plus an absolutely prodigious number of seeds. Beginning with these delicate, absolutely fennel-ly fragranced flowers.


It is heart warming to gaze at these photos of last year’s garden, and remember the spectacular morning glories that came on mighty strong towards the end of August and all through October. Right next to the fennel plants.


I harvested so many fennel seed clusters at that time, and took a secret delight in eating them while they were still fresh – gleaning little bright pops of flavor when I chewed them. And then … I remembered this cake recipe.

I’d made it first in the 90’s, back in the glory days of probably excessive baking with wheat flour. 🙂 So, during the heat wave of summer 2017, I adapted the recipe for my gluten free diet.

It’s delicious, I promise you. Expecially with the lemon marscapone frosting! Save this recipe for summer, or try it now – and spread out your picnic tablecloth wherever you choose.


Fresh Fennel Picnic Cake with Lemon Marscapone Frosting

Shredded fresh fennel and fennel seed flavor this perfect picnic cake. Makes one 9 X 13 inch cake, or two 8-9 inch layers. I love using my heart shaped pans for this special dessert.

  • 1 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. organic white or brown cane sugar, or blond coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp. each lemon & anise oil or extracts
  • 4 c. gluten free flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. crushed fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded fresh fennel bulb, pressed in a towel to extract as much liquid as possible
  • 2/3 c. currants
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter 9 X13 inch baking pan.

In large bowl, beat together first five ingredients. In smaller bowl, whisk together the next seven, dry ingredients. In third small bowl, mix shredded fennel with currants and lemon juice. Add flour then fennel mixes alternately to egg batter, beginning and ending with flour. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 40 to 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool. Finish cake with Lemon Marscapone Frosting or Whipped Cream.


Lemon Marscapone Frosting

  • 1 1/2 c. marscapone – slightly softened
  • 1/3 – 1/2 c. mild honey
  • 1 tsp. lemon oil (Note: it may be worth your while to seek out lemon OIL rather than extract if it’s not already in your pantry. Lemon extract has just enough alcohol in it to subtly curdle the frosting.)

Whip with electric mixer until well blended – taste and adjust as desired.

Lemon Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. pure lemon oil or extract
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced lemon zest

Whip all ingredients until soft peaks form. Serve a dollop with each piece of cake.

Fresh Fennel Picnic Cake with Lemon Marscapone Frosting


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