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.

Sally's Baking Addiction | Delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake!

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!_-8

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.

Sally's Baking Addiction | Delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake!

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. 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!


Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Yield: serves 10-12

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, includes cooling

Print Recipe

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!

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature1
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (345g) sifted all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled)2
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk3
  • zest + juice of 3 medium lemons4
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or frozen (do not thaw-- 275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature5
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream6
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. 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. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is completely combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Make ahead tip: Prepare cakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cakes at room temperature, covered tightly. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cakes may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.

Additional 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Be very careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy, dense crumb. You want a precise 345g all-purpose flour. For a lighter crumb, you can use 3 + 1/4 cups (about 325g) sifted cake flour instead.
  3. Please use buttermilk in this recipe. See note in post about how to make a DIY version at home.
  4. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  5. Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
  6. 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.

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.

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

Delicious and simple Homemade Lemon Cupcakes with creamy vanilla frosting! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

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

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

503 Responses to “Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.”

  1. #
    321
    Matty Linposted February 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Hey there- just wanting to see if you have advice on making this recipe into one for mini cupcakes! I wanted to make this for my office Valentine’s day friday but I think making mini cupcakes of this recipe would be better than just one cake for a ton of people…

    Thanks!

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    Michelleposted February 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Hello Sally,
    I just made this cake last night. My new son in law and I LOVE blueberry and lemon combination anything! LOL So when I saw this recipe couldn’t wait to make it for family dinner night.
    I’m a pretty good baker yet not sure if I made a mistake in the mixing or what.
    Made three 9″ cake layers and each one came out little less than 1 inch tall they were done at the 21 minute mark and they did not crown, came out totally flat across so I didn’t have to cut the tops off. The whole cake frosted is approximately 3″ tall. They are also very heavy dense and I’m not quite sure how to describe the texture but kind of like if they weren’t fully baked but I know they are, they are moist layers but still something seems off about them. I ate a small slice last night and just not sure what to think of the texture. My cakes looks a little darker than your slice pictured.

    I’m readying the ingredients to make another cake today as it will drive me crazy not to get it right! Yep that kind of baker am I!
    I saw you told another lady to use half cake flour and half all purpose to not have as dense a crumb is that what I should try? Is this supposed to be really heavy and dense like a pound cake?
    Please save me from my impending baking insanity LOL and weigh in with what you think I may need to do this time around.
    Thank you!
    (*_*)
    Chelle
    P.S. The frosting came out AWESOME! I will use it for other creations also!

    • Connie Wreplied on December 15th, 2015 at 1:05 am

      Nope it’s not just you. I’ve made this cake twice in the course of two weeks because it’s driving me crazy too. I’m determined to get it right, lol. But mine came out dense and heavy also. The first time I know I definitely over mixed it. But the second I didn’t for sure. Next time I’m using cake flour and really cooking for 21 mins on the dot. Hopefully three times the charm

    • Amyreplied on May 11th, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      YES! This is how mine turned out as well. It was SUPER moist! So much so that as I moved layers, they broke because they were so heavy and not fully supported. It tasted great…but….darker yellow, VERY moist, more dense. Hmmm, I would love help as well! This was my 2nd attempt and same results 🙁

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    Maryposted March 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I love this cake recipe. It’s been snowing here all week and it was just what we needed to get into the spring spirit. I also made your lemon cupcakes earlier this week, Sally. We love your recipes. Thanks for all the notes on your recipes. They are very helpful.

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    Carmenposted March 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I made this today, halving the recipe and baking it in a square baking pan and replaced most of the butter with applesauce and OMG IT IS AMAZING. Mine probably isn’t as buttery and fluffy as yours made with butter but my family has already devoured it, as it still tastes amazing. Thank you so much for the recipe; I’ll be sure to make this again as a layer cake. I’m not sure if I will be using applesauce again or butter though!

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    Beverlyposted March 22, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Cake was very dense and dry. Baked three layers and they came out quite thin as there was not enough batter. Icing recipe made far too much icing. Overall the cake i baked as a treat for my hubby was a major disappointment. Giving it two thumbs down.

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    Daniposted April 5, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    looks delicious, but im not a big fan of cream cheese. What other frosting could i use?

    • Hollyreplied on April 16th, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      A whipped cream frosting would be nice. Maybe with a little lemon curd mixed in?

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    Julieposted April 5, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    I made this cake for Easter and it was a knockout hit! Everyone loved it. The lemon flavor was just right and the frosting was a perfect match. I had seconds myself! Totally a keeper. Thank you!

  8. #
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    Leahposted April 6, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I made this for Easter and got so many compliments!!!! I totally understand about the over mixing. I feel like I was five stirs away from over mixing it but I kept that in the back of my mind. The lemon flavor with blueberries was the perfect combination! Thank you for all the other tips too!

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    Andreaposted April 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I made this cake this past weekend and it got rave reviews. It was on the dense side but very moist and flavorful. The only problem I had was getting the cakes out of the pans because they were stuck to the bottom. Next time I will butter and flour the cake pans again. But I will definitely make this cake again! Thank you so much for all these great recipes.

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    Maliaposted April 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I made this for my family get together on Easter and it was AMAZINGLY easy and delicious!!! I can’t wait to bake it again and take it to work to share with all of my nurses & to share the recipe with all of them! I live in Massachusetts and this has been such a horrible winter for us. The snow is just starting to melt now and this cake was the PERFECT prelude to a much awaited Spring with its fresh and vibrant flavors! The lemon and blueberry were the perfect proportion and everyone was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was so well balanced and not too sweet at all! Thank you for sharing your home run recipes with us and keep them coming! 🙂

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    Rosalindposted April 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Followed to the letter and it did not come out as pictured and I had to bake it longer! Its not something I will do with this recipe!

  12. #
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    Helenposted April 13, 2015 at 10:35 am

    When I first saw this recipe your were whipping the egg whites and folding them into the batter. That was a wonderful cake. I would like to see that recipe again. I thought I had saved it but find I only have it the way you have it listed here. Would appreciate seeing that first recipe again. Thanks and love this cake

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    Moiraposted April 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I baked this for Easter Sunday and it was a hit! It was such a fun recipe to make and I will be definitely doing again for the summer. Though, I may decrease the amount of lemons just because it was a bit too overpowering. An overall great dessert for spring and summer!

  14. #
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    Shyanneposted April 14, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Hi Sally!

    Do you think it’s possible to use other fruits like, peach/ apricot in place of blueberries? ((:

    Thanks dear!

  15. #
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    Hollyposted April 16, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Made this as a birthday treat for a colleague and it was very well received. I’ve already sent the URL to two gals who requested the recipe. thanks for posting!

  16. #
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    Keitha Cainposted April 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    love the flavor of this cake. I would recommend that you grease and flour your pans, even nonstick. Mine stuck so bad I had to piece together what was stuck in the bottle b

  17. #
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    Brittneyposted April 22, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Sally! I have to say, I have made a lot of your recipes & they NEVER disappoint! My youngest daughter turns 3 on May 3rd & she told me she wants a blueberry-cherry cake…I am going to be tweaking this recipe a bit by replacing some lemon juice with maraschino cherry juice & halving the amount of blueberries so I can put in sweet dark cherries. Keep up your amazing work, my husband definitely is a fan of your sweet roll & snickerdoodle recipes. Have a great night & thank you for knowing how to bake!

  18. #
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    Dawnposted April 24, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Help!!! I made this cake and accidently put way too much lemon and zest in it, Is there a way to balance out the baked layers? It is very tart, I have not put it together yet and would absolutely hate to throw it away. I was thinking simple syrup ?? Please let me know what might help cut the tartness.
    Thanks
    Dawn

  19. #
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    Nancyposted April 24, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I made this today and went by the weight instead of measurements. It turned out perfect! The cake was light and the sweet and tart complimented each other beautifully. My daughter tasted the sample cupcake I made and said “Mmmm, thats good!
    I will be serving this for guests and hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed it!

  20. #
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    Rheaposted April 24, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Just tried this cake except I used raspberries. It’s so Delicious!

  21. #
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    Ayrianposted April 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Hey there, I have possibly a silly question… I like to bake but this is more complicated than things I generally do. You say to use 9×13 pans, but your pictures show a circular cake. Do you just trim the corners off, or something else?

  22. #
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    nancyposted April 29, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Sally, Could you please respond to reviews regarding this cake being too dense, thin and sticking to pans? I think this cake looks & sounds delicious and wanted to try it for Mother’s day, but I am concerned it will be a ‘pound cake’ like texture and in your photos it looks very moist.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Sallyreplied on April 29th, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Nancy, due to the overwhelming number of questions I receive a day, I’m no longer able to respond to each and every one. With regards to the cake being too dense, I’ve never personally had that issue! I make this cake on the regular as well. My tips would be to measure the flour carefully, make sure it is sifted before measuring, and do not overmix the batter. Cake flour is suggested as well in the notes. To prevent the cakes from sticking to the pans, make sure the pans are greased and lightly floured.

  23. #
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    Michelleposted December 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Hey there, Sally!

    I’ve made this cake twice, and while I love the flavor, I think I did something wrong to achieve a weird texture. My cakes came out a tiny bit chewy and dense with pockets of dough-like texture troughout the cake. I tried not to overmix.

    In step 2, do I have to mix until the mixture is completely smooth and the sugar is dissolved? It was still a bit grainy but I carried on anyway.

  24. #
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    Marianneposted December 15, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Hi Sally, 

    I love this recipe, it was an absolute hit! Just wanted to ask you if the texture of the cake would change if I omit the blueberries and make it a simple lemon cake? 

    • Sallyreplied on December 15th, 2015 at 7:42 am

      You can certainly omit the blueberries. I’ve done it a few times before– and my cupcake version (linked in this post) has no blueberries either. Still fantastic texture and flavor.

  25. #
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    Smithaposted April 7, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Looks delicious and i can feel the moist fluffy cream. Drooling over. Will try this cake for my kid s bday

  26. #
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    Saraposted April 10, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Found this recipe on Pinterest this a.m., rushed to the store to grab a couple things and baked it for a Sunday Brunch today. AMAZING cake. I am definitely making it again. My new spring/summer favorite!

  27. #
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    Kaitlinposted April 14, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Made this cake twice now – once with blueberries & once with raspberries & both times it turned out fantastic.  The first time I made it with three layers & the second time two layers (only a 5 minute difference on the baking time).   I also always make my own buttermilk (white vinegar & almond milk) & skip the heavy cream on the icing but it still has turned out great both times.  This recipe is definitely one to keep- my boyfriend hates chocolate & loves fruit so this cake is a winner!

  28. #
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    Chuckposted April 17, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I am a Baker, not just in my kitchen, but it’s what I do for a living. When I saw those gorgeous pictures of this cake, I just had to make it. Even I had the same problem as many others did with a dense cake. Not sure what cause it, since I absolutely DID NOT over mix. I could even see unmixed tiny flour clumps remaining in my batter ( like pancake batter sizes ) I used room temp eggs and sifted my flour. I even measured everything using my gram/ounce scale…so all my measurements were exact. I had high expectation, and it seem all was going to work out, as I watched in the oven the layers rising beautifully. I was surprised in the finished product on the density of the cake crumb. I will say this; the flavor of the cake was delicious, and thankfully for that, even if it was a dense cake, it was still enjoyable to eat. Maybe I am wrong, but if anyone making this cake thinks they will get a “Duncan Hines or Pillsbury” cake texture, then they will be disappointed.

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