Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.

Sunshine-sweet lemon layer cake dotted with juicy blueberries and topped with lush cream cheese frosting. Take a bite and taste the bursts of bright flavors!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

What on earth is a lusciously fruit-filled recipe like this doing on my kitchen table in February? Because I’m desperately craving some sunshine, pastels, and floral sweaters as I watch the snow fall out my window.

While I know the east coast hasn’t been hit nearly as hard as the midwest, we’ve had more snow than we know what to do with. My parents didn’t have electric for days, our home flooded, cars got stuck, and there were a handful of days with a -10 windchill. Brrr.

I love the snow, but someone pass me a fork. I’m diving headfirst into this sunshine-sweet, springtime layer cake and not coming out until it’s April.

Sunshine-sweet lemon layer cake dotted with juicy blueberries and topped with lush cream cheese frosting. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

I made this cake for my girlfriends, Megan and Erin. The three of us got together on Friday night and had a little dinner party at Megan’s house. We drank wine, ate chicken piccata, toasted almond goat cheese salad, and fresh blackberry cheesecake for dessert. Made by Megan, who is a photographer, cupcake enthusiast, and accountant. Megan taught me a lot about photography.

On top of all of that, I brought over a few slices of this cake and a fresh batch of oatmeal cookies. It was our own little Thanksgiving. And yes, I’m still full!

Megan’s husband said the cake reminded him of a super moist sponge cake. Megan and Erin said the lemon flavor was spot on, as well as the cream cheese frosting’s sweetness. Not too sweet, not too tangy. The perfect accompaniment to the lip-smackin’ cake underneath.

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

Making a tall layer cake shouldn’t be overwhelming. Rather, it’s very simple if you take your time. Read the recipe and know ahead of time everything you’ll need and at which point you’ll need it. I’ve got a few pointers about this luscious cake. And I guarantee you will impress anyone who takes a bite!

Make sure you use fresh lemons. None of that lemon extract stuff! And no bottled lemon juice, which is quite potent.

* How to choose lemons at the store? Make sure the lemons you choose are smooth-skinned and heavy for their size. That way you know they are extra juicy.

You’ll need 3 medium lemons. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!_-8

Use buttermilk. Buttermilk, known for providing exceptional moisture to your baked goods, will leave each bite tender and lush. I’ve found that lemon cakes can easily be dry and gritty. There’s none of that in this recipe! Buttermilk, a little brown sugar, and 4 eggs assure the final product is as moist as it could possibly be without being wet.

* Did you know? It’s easy to make your own buttermilk alternative at home! I don’t typically keep buttermilk in the refrigerator. But you can sour your own milk (1% milk fat or higher) at home to make DIY buttermilk. For this particular recipe, simply measure 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice in a measuring cup/glass. Then fill the rest up with milk until you reach 1 full cup. Stir it around, let sit for 5 minutes, and it will be ready to use in your cake. (Alternatively, you could also use 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar.)

Fresh or frozen blueberries are OK. If using frozen, do not thaw. And don’t worry – the blueberries will not sink to the bottom of your cakes.

* Why not? Because I make sure the cake batter is extra thick. When you have a thin batter, your heavy fruit will likely sink to the bottom. This batter is thick and you’ll surely work a few arm muscles scooping it into the three cake pans. Toss the blueberries in a touch of flour as well – this way they won’t burst inside and turn your cake purple.

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

The frosting is lightly tangy, gently sweet, and not heavy in the slightest. It’s taken me a few years to find the perfect harmony of ingredients for this iconic frosting, but I’ve found it. It tastes like spreadable cheesecake. Yep.

* It’s quite similar to the cream cheese frosting recipes I’ve made in the past, only doubled to assure there’s enough for this tall layered lemon beauty. The base is butter and cream cheese. Beat in 1-2 heaping Tablespoons cream, 3.5 cups confectioners’ sugar, a dash of vanilla, and a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness.

I’m fairly certain you’ll want to spread it on nearly everything you bake from strawberry cupcakes to cinnamon rolls.

Sweet & tangy Cream Cheese Frosting | sallysbakingaddiction.com

* How to assemble and frost this layer cake: Once the layers are 100% cooled, you may frost and assemble. You’ll be working with three layers. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn’t make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost.

The beauty of this cake is that the frosting doesn’t have to be neat. Its haphazardness adds to its charm, don’t you think?

Decorate with blueberries, lemon zest, lemon slices, whatever you like!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

For when you really need something to cheer you up, this cake will transport you to sunny days, lemonade stands, and citrus fields. Take a bite!

PS: Try today’s cake with homemade strawberry whipped cream instead of cream cheese frosting. You’ll want to double my recipe here to frost this layer cake.

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Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Sunshine-sweet lemon layer cake dotted with juicy blueberries and topped with lush cream cheese frosting. Take a bite and taste the bursts of bright flavors!

Yield: serves 10-12

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, includes cooling

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, careful not to overmeasure*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk*
  • zest + juice of 3 medium lemons*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Make the cake. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point. Overmixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.

Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.

Assemble and frost. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn't make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.

Make 1 day in advance if you'd like. Extras keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3days.

Helpful notes:

*This batter will fit into a 9×13 pan. Fill 2/3 full. If there’s extra batter, you can make a few cupcakes. I’m unsure of the baking time since I only typically make it as a layer cake.

*VERY careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy, dense crumb. You want a precise 375g.

*Please use buttermilk in this recipe. See note in post about how to make your own at home. 

*1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

*Room temperature eggs preferred for even distribution among batter. Simply set into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using or set out when you set out your cream cheese/butter for the recipe. 

*Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for creamiest texture. For a less creamy texture, milk would be fine.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Here’s my recipe for Homemade Lemon Cupcakes – a reader favorite!

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

 

And just wait until you turn to page 126 in my cookbook. :)

Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting in Sally's Baking Addiction Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

   

470 Responses to “Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.”

  1. #
    301
    Karaposted September 12, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Hi,

    I made this cake a while ago but I found it way too sweet for a lemon cake. Is there any safe way to reduce to the sugar content? Also, I’ve been using a ‘stone-ground organic’ flour which seems to be more dense than regular flour. My cakes therefore come out a lot more dense than they should. Could I reduce the flour or should I add more baking powder?

    Reply

  2. #
    302
    Desiree Stewartposted September 12, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Love blueberries and lemon together and I have a version of this cake on my own blog at puddingheaven.org. It’s one of my favourites. I particularly like your tips about using fresh lemons and keeping the cake batter heavy to prevent the fruit from sinking which is a bit of a hazard when using fruit of any sort in cakes! The cream cheese frosting is a favourite of mine too although I cut down on the calories by using a reduced fat cheese and no cream in the recipe (every little helps) although your version is absolutely delicious! Love the blog and as a new blogger I’m inspired by your wonderful site. Best wishes D

    Reply

  3. #
    303
    Aliceposted September 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I made this today, just wanted to say thank you so much!! I’m not a regular baker, but your recipe was so great my cake came out perfectly! So thank you for putting this up, your instructions are perfect! :)

    Reply

  4. #
    304
    joniposted September 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I just made this (or attempted to…). I didn’t have 3 cake pans so, as recommended I cooked it longer A LOT LONGER but the center all the way too the bottom of the layer is still too raw:< bummer this was intended as a birthday cake for tomorrow. the part if the cake that did cook is delicious however less like a "layer cake" and more of a muffin or coffee cake texture. I will try again using the 3 pans

    Reply

  5. #
    305
    LaColeposted September 20, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Can you freeze leftovers and thaw later? I really want to try this recipe as it looks delicious, but I have no one to help me eat it at the moment.

    Reply

  6. #
    306
    robertaposted September 21, 2014 at 1:57 am

    I just made this cake, I used a bunt cake pan and baked it at 325, I LUV this cake and the frosting is delish!!!! Thanx so very much Sally :-)

    Reply

  7. #
    307
    furashinposted September 23, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    hello!
    i’m a bit confused- if i’m using frozen berries, am i supposed to put them in the batter FROZEN? or should i de-freeze them first and then?

    thank you!

    Reply

  8. #
    308
    Daizy7155posted September 27, 2014 at 12:54 am

    It was outstanding, as described, looked beautiful and everybody loved it. Thank you ;)

    Reply

  9. #
    309
    danaposted October 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Oh. My. God. This is SO good. I made 3- 6 inch layers and filled with lemon curd and frosted with a cream cheese riff on german buttercream from the Bravetart site. I would not recommend filling with lemon curd as the cake is so wonderfully lemon flavored already. Next time I will fill with pastry cream. I reserved 1/3 batter for cupcakes. The 6″ cakes took 27 minutes to bake. Cupcakes were done in 20 minutes. My cake had a texture of sponge cake. The blueberries did not sink! I will definitely be making this over and over. Thanks so much!

    Reply

  10. #
    310
    Kateposted October 12, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    This looks like the perfect cake. Can I freeze the layers and frost later?
    How long would you recommend baking in a sheet cake pan?
    Thanks!

    Reply

  11. #
    311
    Emily W Mooreposted October 25, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Hi,
    Just wanted to leave a comment since I tried this recipe today. :)
    I followed everything exactly, except I substituted “monk fruit in the raw” for the granulated sugar. I measured the flour extra carefully, and I ended up with a very dense cake. It was still pretty delicious. The frosting is so yummy.

    Reply

  12. #
    312
    Rebbyposted October 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Just reading about this made my mouth water, I can’t wait to try this at home, I have a lot of parties to plan for in the summer and what better than a lemon and blueberry cake?! <3 Thanks so much for the recipie!

    Reply

  13. #
    313
    Madelineposted November 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Hey Sally,
    I was wondering if you could use coconut flour or almond flour in place of the all-pourpose in this recipe?

    Reply

  14. #
    314
    Lexyposted November 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Could I make these into muffins and omit the frosting completely. That way they’re lemon-blueberry muffins or swap blueberries for raspberries. Or would it be too cake-y for that? If so, at what degree and for how long?
    If not, I’d like too see a good blueberry lemon muffin recipe on here!(:
    The cake, however, looks delicious and I will have to try to make it soon.

    Reply

  15. #
    315
    Natalie Munroeposted November 21, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Hi Sally!

    So this was the cake I selected for my husband to make me this year for my birthday (which was yesterday. I turned 34…eek! haha) It was delicious! Blueberry and lemon is so perfect together!

    However, the texture of his finished product was a lot more dense than I was expecting–it turned out more like a pound cake than a sponge cake. That’s not what it was supposed to be like, was it? (You said your friend’s husband described it as a super moist sponge cake so I’m thinking not…) The baker in me is trying to figure out where he might have gone wrong. Would it get dense like that from over-mixing? (That’s what he thinks may have happened.)

    Regardless, I’m so excited to have finally tasted this cake and–spongey or poundy–it’s a delight. Thanks for the yummy birthday idea!

    Reply

  16. #
    316
    Liz Bachilasposted December 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Sally,

    This cake is AMAZING! I’ve made it twice. We have such wonderful blueberries in Vermont and this year the berries were huge! My mistake in making the cake was putting in too many berries. I couldn’t help myself! The result was one of my layers broke in half. It wasn’t anything more frosting couldn’t fix and nobody noticed. Both times I made this cake everyone raved about it. The first time was for a friend’s birthday, so I only ate a little piece. The second time I gave it away… I need to make it again! Time to get those great VT blueberries out of the freezer and buy more Meyer lemons! Thanks Sally!

    Reply

  17. #
    317
    Kristenposted December 20, 2014 at 7:34 am

    First off, I’m not a baker. I mean, I CAN bake, but only if I have explicit directions and the ingredients are not foreign to me. Now, I’ve made this cake 3 times, and whomever I serve it to now thinks I’m some sort of baking genius. It was so easy to make and came out exactly as it should have. Not only that, but it looked just like the one in your picture! Thank you for posting, and I’ll be sure to use more of your recipes.

    Reply

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