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

 

 

 

 

 

   

424 Responses to “Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake.”

  1. #
    241
    Kellieposted June 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Found out why my cakes were too dense!
    Baking powder past date! Had no idea it was so old. Be sure to check those dates ladies!!

    Question for Sally — my 3 lemons produced more than 2-3 T juice each ..totaled about 11-12. Ok to use more and won’t affect product?
    I reduced to 8 to be safe but could have used the flavor of more.. my preference!
    Also, is the baking temperature for shiny or dark pans? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 16th, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I have found the temperature to be the same regardless of which color pans I use. You must have some large lemons! You may add a couple more Tablespoons if you’d like a stronger flavor. Adding more zest may be better, though.

      Reply

    • Marthareplied on July 23rd, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Men should check the dates as well! Women aren’t the only bakers out there.

      Reply

  2. #
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    Melissaposted June 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Sally! This recipe looks absolutely amazing, and I’d love to try it! Do you think I could use this same recipe and make them as cupcakes instead? Would anything in the recipe have to change?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 17th, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Yep! Click on the link to my lemon cupcakes under the recipe (its the same exact recipe, only halved).

      Reply

  3. #
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    Lindaposted June 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Hey Sally,
    I just took my cake out of the oven. I do hope its as good as it looks and smells. Our group of Goddesses meet once a month and it happens to be one of the gals Birthdays, since she is the one who sent me this recipe, I thought I would surprise her with this cake for her Birthday cake tomorrow. I will post the results tomorrow or Thursday. Thanks for the tips.. I can’t wait to taste it… :-)

    Reply

  4. #
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    Kariposted June 17, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I made your lemon cupcakes for my family a while ago and loved them. I can’t wait to try and make this cake since I’ve been thinking about trying to do it for ages. The addition of blueberries makes me even more excited.

    Reply

  5. #
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    Reneeposted June 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I just made this for a sweet friend/coworker who is recovering from shoulder surgery. She posted the link to her Facebook timeline the other day saying how bad she wanted to try it. I can’t wait to surprise her with it this evening when I show up with dinner and dessert for her! It smells and looks amazing…and that icing…goodness, is it good!!!

    Reply

  6. #
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    Diane Smithposted June 21, 2014 at 6:35 am

    What a beautiful cake. Just made it for my clients and they RAVED about it, so I wanted to make sure to complement you.
    The buttermilk is the key, for sure!
    And that frosting….well, it’s heaven!

    Reply

  7. #
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    Kellyposted June 22, 2014 at 1:22 am

    I made this cake for the first time and it tasted great! My family absolutely loved it too! I am pretty sure I made the mistake of over mixing it though because the cake did come out pretty dense but my family still liked it. They said it reminded them of cheesecake. I added a little more salt to the frosting because I thought it tasted too much like powdered sugar but that’s just my preference and it still turned out great. Thank you so much for the recipe and I will definitely be making this again!

    Reply

  8. #
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    Itsjustmeposted June 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    This cake was great!

    It’s sort of a cross between a bread and a cake; the texture is a combination of both.

    Don’t be afraid to mis the blueberries around a bit more — I have mine all in the top layer, but that’s okay.:)

    For the frosting, add another brick of cream cheese and feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and some lemon rind. I also added some plain yogurt to the frosting, about 2 tablespoons worth.

    Reply

  9. #
    249
    Caseyposted June 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Sally-

    This was FANTASTIC!!! I was genuinely disappointed when it was gone… and that did not take long!
    Keep these cakes coming, Lady!!

    Casey

    Reply

  10. #
    250
    Samposted June 23, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Made this for my family reunion this past weekend…it was my first cake from scratch…and it was delightful! Easy enough, I just need to refine my technique since it did come out a little tough (and I swear I was careful with the mixing)….I made it in a 9×13 pan and 45 minutes it was baked perfectly. Needless to say with 2 tables full of desserts, my cake was the only one mostly gone…so it was a hit! And the frosting! A new favorite…my husband is a frosting connoisseur…it’s “perfect” according to the man who had me make a bowl full of frosting in lieu of his birthday cake one year. Thanks for another wonderful recipe Sally!!!!

    Reply

  11. #
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    leslieposted June 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Found this on pinterest and I’m so impressed! It tastes like Starbucks lemon loaf, but better. I’ve had some pinterest-recipe disasters but this one is a keeper!

    Reply

  12. #
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    Rachelposted June 28, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I am very excited to make this cake, I am doing a dinner party for my family since we rarely are all able to get together in one place. I had a quick question though, both of my local grocery stores were completely out of lemons…I am dubbing this as the “getting close to 4th of July everyone wants lemons” phenomenon LOL! how would you suggest changing the measurements if I don’t have lemon zest and have to use the lemon juice from the little lemon squirt bottle? Thanks in advance for your help!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 28th, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Rachel. Happy almost 4th. The cake truly tastes best with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice – there won’t be enough lemon flavor without the zest.

      Reply

  13. #
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    cindyposted June 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Just finished making this. Best scratch cake I’ve ever made. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

  14. #
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    Sommerposted July 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Hello – would it be okay to exclude the lemon from the recipe or will that negatively effect the consistency of the cake? My 5 year old son has requested a blueberry cake for his birthday and might not like the lemon flavor in it. Thought I would check with you before I try it. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 3rd, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      You may leave out the lemon zest and juice. Add 1/4 cup of buttermilk.

      Reply

  15. #
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    Betsey Moweryposted July 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Absolutely LOVED the lemon blueberry cake when I made it a week ago, so I packed up all the ingredients so I could make it for my elderly in laws.

    Uh oh. Hard to measure and check for missing items with my sweet mother in law and aunt in law keeping me company.

    First I added eggs to the butter BEFORE creaming the sugar. Caught it. Started over. Then, AFTER I put the three filled rounds in the oven, I realized I used the heavy cream (for the frosting) in the batter INSTEAD of the buttermilk. Didn’t start over. Any predictions on whether it’s a fatal flaw?

    Keeping my fingers crossed that this will still turn out okay. It IS a wonderful, yummy, almost-addictive cake. At least it was the first time I made it (and followed your recipe to the letter).

    Reply

  16. #
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    Ellenposted July 4, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Hi Sally,

    Was wondering if this cake can be baked ahead of time and frozen?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 7th, 2014 at 6:44 am

      The unfrosted cake may be baked and frozen ahead of time. Allow to thaw overnight int he refrigerator. However, I prefer it fresh (tastes best).

      Reply

  17. #
    257
    M.G. Brosiusposted July 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I made this cake by hand (except for the icing). I do not have paddles, etc. It’s delicious, but I’m not sure the cake is the consistency it should be. Can you provide directions for hand mixing (timing, etc.)? This was my first-ever scratch cake and it is a big hit. I wound up making one two-layer cake for my family and one single-layer cake for all my friends who wanted to try it!

    Sometime, when my muscles revive, I want to make this again. Thank you.

    Reply

  18. #
    258
    Kathyposted July 5, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I found this cake to be too dense, not light and fluffy like I prefer. Mine sank in the middle too. Flavor was good though- nice and lemony.

    Reply

  19. #
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    kimposted July 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Hi this cake cooked perfect snd I let it sit about 30 min to cool. Meanwhile the frosting i made I left sitting out on counter..when I iced the layers the cake, frosting kept running out and down sides and layers shifting..what should I do different next time? Chill icing a bit? Something to steady the layers?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 7th, 2014 at 6:43 am

      Did you let the cake cool completely before frosting? You may try chilling the frosting recipe, yes.

      Reply

  20. #
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    Christinaposted July 8, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Sally – I just found your blog about a month ago and have already made almost a dozen of your recipes! They have all been fabulous. I made this cake for a bridal shower last week and everyone loved it! The cake and frosting both came out light. Perfect for summer. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

    Reply

  21. #
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    kate gurtowskyposted July 13, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I followed every direction and even bought new baking powder and it was still too dense, My family did not like it. ???

    Reply

  22. #
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    Robin Hembreeposted July 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Great recipe – absolutely fabulous texture and just the right mix of tart lemon and sweet blueberry. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply

  23. #
    263
    kathyposted July 15, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    What changes should i make for altitude (Mile High)? Can i use regular beaters? I don’t have a paddle attachment.

    Reply

  24. #
    264
    Stephanieposted July 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I was super excited to make this recipe… Until my boyfriend said that he hates lemony desserts. Buzz kill! How lemony is the lemon in this cake? I would love to make it as is but am afraid that if I do i will be stuck eating a cake all by myself (first world problem? I think so…). Do you think I could reduce the amount of juice and/or zest?

    What are your thoughts?

    P.S. I check your blog everyday and love your recipes! You are awesome! :)

    Reply

    • Mistyreplied on July 20th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      I thought it was pretty lemony (and I love lemon!). you could easily half the lemon and maybe add a bit more buttermilk to make up for the liquid loss and I think it would be a much lighter flavor. I’d also cut the amount of zest- i think that’s what makes it so lemony!

      Reply

  25. #
    265
    Caroposted July 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I made this cake for my Mum’s birthday. It was UH-MAZING.

    I don’t have a KitchenAid or even a hand mixer…so I had to do it all with human power, which I think affected the consistency of the cooked cake; it was very dense instead of fluffy because there wasn’t enough air, but it tasted so good…it was so moist and rich and UGGGGHHHH delicious.

    Definitely a new family favorite.

    Reply

  26. #
    266
    Michele Perilloposted July 20, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Hi,

    I’ve wanted to make a cake just like this one, but my daughter is Gluten Free. Can I switch out the flour with the same results?

    Reply

  27. #
    267
    Mistyposted July 20, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    In case anyone is counting Weight Watchers points- I made this recipe yesterday and followed the directions exactly- and it comes out to 14ppv’s for 1/16th of the cake. Well worth it- probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.

    Reply

  28. #
    268
    Karissaposted July 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Made this cake last night and my family said it was the best cake I’ve ever made. Don’t worry, I gave you credit ; ) We subbed strawberries for the blueberries… So yummy!

    Reply

  29. #
    269
    Roseleeposted July 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I forgot to put in the buttermilk and its almost done baking. Is this ok or should i start over again

    Reply

  30. #
    270
    Jessicaposted July 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I love making this cake! My family and friends are quite thrilled to have it too.

    I’m wondering your thoughts on making it with Meyer lemons.

    Reply

  31. #
    271
    Nicolette Barnesposted July 28, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Made this for my Grandma’s 80th Birthday dinner – it was FANTASTIC!!! And I’m not even a real lemon fanatic!

    Reply

  32. #
    272
    Laurieposted July 28, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I have made this cake twice now! I love it! Everyone I made it for loves it! Thank you so much for this recipe!!

    Reply

  33. #
    273
    Nazilaposted July 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    could this be made into a loaf? Also, any other frosting ideas besides cream cheese? ( such as a glaze?)

    Reply

  34. #
    274
    Danaposted July 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I just wanted to say that I have tried several of your recipes and am now using many as staples! Your buttercream frosting is fabulous! I would like to try this recipe, but my friend is not a lemon fan (so sad!)… can I follow this recipe without the lemon?

    Reply

  35. #
    275
    Jenniferposted July 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I made this recipe in 2 8″ rounds instead of the 3 9″ rounds suggested and my blueberries all sank to the bottom. I coated them in flour and they didn’t sit around idle so the only culprit I’ve decided was the extra 10-15 minutes of baking time was enough to have the blueberries sink. This recipe is definitely one that needs to be made in thinner larger rounds for equal distribution, just FYI!

    Reply

  36. #
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    Tracyposted July 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I made this cake yesterday with fresh picked blueberries. I also agree that the buttermilk makes a huge difference. I did not make the frosting because my husband is a diabetic. Instead I made a fruit compote out of blueberries, raspberries, orange juice, orange zest, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and lemon zest. It was amazing over a slice with whipped cream. Yum!! My son said it was the best cake he ever had. I made it in a 9×13 pan. It is moist, tangy and absolutely delicious. I will make this again and again. Nice summer dessert. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    Reply

  37. #
    277
    Emilyposted July 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I recently made this cake and it came out beautifully. It was so delicious! I definitely will be making this again.

    Reply

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