Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Sunshine-sweet lemon blueberry layer cake dotted with juicy berries and topped with lush cream cheese frosting. One of the most popular cake recipes on this website!

Lemon blueberry cake on a white cake stand

What on earth is a lusciously fruit-filled recipe like this doing on my kitchen table in February? 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.

How to Make Lemon Blueberry Cake

  • Fresh lemons. Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in the cake batter. None of that lemon extract stuff! 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.
  • Buttermilk. Known for providing exceptional moisture to baked goods, buttermilk leaves each bite tender and lush. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use whole milk instead.
  • Brown sugar & 4 eggs: I’ve found that lemon cakes can easily be dry and gritty, so add some moist-making ingredients like brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk. Buttermilk, a little brown sugar, and 4 eggs assure the final product is as moist as it could possibly be without being wet.
  • Fresh or frozen blueberries: Fresh or frozen blueberries are OK. If using frozen, do not thaw.

I love this lemon blueberry cake because the blueberries DO NOT sink to the bottom of the cake. Why not? The batter is thick. When you have a thin batter, heavy fruit or add-ins will sink to the bottom. I also recommend tossing the blueberries in a little flour too– this is extra insurance they don’t sink!


Video Tutorial


2 images of lemon blueberry cake batter in a mixing bowl and in a cake pan

slice of lemon blueberry cake on a plate

2 images of lemon blueberry cake on cake stand and a slice on a white plate

Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is moist and soft, somewhere between a vanilla layer cake and pound cake. Silky cream cheese frosting is the perfect finishing touch– it literally tastes like spreadable cheesecake. The cream cheese frosting goes onto the cake so easily, so it’s a really simple cake to decorate. Doesn’t need to be neat– its haphazardness adds to its charm, don’t you think?

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

slice of lemon blueberry cake on a plate

More Lemon Recipes For You

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
slice of lemon blueberry cake on a plate

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 21 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Sunshine-sweet lemon layer cake dotted with juicy blueberries and topped with lush cream cheese frosting. You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries in this cake. If using frozen, no need to thaw.


Ingredients

  • 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 temperature*
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (354g) sifted all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk*
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) lemon juice (3 medium lemons)*
  • 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 temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 9-inch or 8-inch round cake pans (8-inch pans produce thicker cakes), line bottom with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.
  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.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice *just* until combined. Toss the blueberries with 1 Tablespoon of flour and gently fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not over-mix. Over-mixing will lead to a tough, dense textured crumb.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for about 21-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (8 inch cakes take closer to 25 minutes.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before assembling and 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. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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. Bring frosting to room temperature before spreading as it will be quite stiff after refrigerating. (Add a splash of cream or milk to thin, if needed.) 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.
  2. Sheet Cake: The batter makes a perfect sheet cake! Simply spread into a 12×17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. It also fits nicely into a 9×13 inch cake pan. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Bundt Cake: I haven’t tested this as a bundt cake but it will likely be a bit denser than the original layer version since it’s one tall layer. It will take significantly longer to bake. I also have a lemon poppy seed bundt cake recipe. You can leave out the poppy seeds and add 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries. I also have a lemon berry yogurt cake recipe. You can use all blueberries.
  4. Cupcakes: Here is my lemon cupcakes recipe. You can add 1 cup of blueberries to the batter and top with cream cheese frosting.
  5. 6 Inch Cake: Use these lemon blueberry cupcakes batter and follow my 6 inch cakes baking instructions. You can use regular lemons instead of meyer lemons (like the cupcakes call for) if needed.
  6. Eggs: Room temperature eggs are recommended because they mix easily and quickly into the cake batter, reducing the risk of over-mixing (and an overly dense cake!). Place eggs into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using or set the eggs out when you set out your cream cheese/butter for the recipe.
  7. Flour: Be careful not to over-measure your flour. This will result in a heavy cake.
  8. Buttermilk: Buttermilk helps produce a supremely moist cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, use whole milk instead. You can use lower fat or nondairy milks in a pinch, but the cake won’t taste nearly as rich and moist.
  9. Cream Cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.
  10. Cream: Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for the creamiest texture. Milk works in a pinch!

Keywords: lemon blueberry cake, lemon cake, cake, lemon

Here’s my recipe for lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting – a reader favorite!

lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting

714 Comments

  1. Susan Edberg says:

    Sally, loved this recipe! Question….the three cake layers didn’t rise very much. Is that normal? I used I cup unbleached flour and the rest was King Arthur all purpose (but it has the higher protein count). I didn’t skip any other ingredients and I spooned and leveled but did not sift. I look forward to your response

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan! How is the texture? Is it dense? Make sure to use proper room temperature ingredients and check to make sure your baking powder is fresh – we find it can lose strength after just a few months. Here’s more tips for preventing a dense cake!

      1. Susan Edberg says:

        Thanks, I may have over mixed and my baking powder is a year old so I’ll try it again. Ps- no baking soda in this recipe, right?

    2. Just want to add to the answer that it is extremely important to whisk the butter fluffy, the baking powder can’t rise a cake without any air added in the mixture. I do believe you can over beat the dough (with the flour) and that baking soda can get old, but i never experience this as a problem.

      1. Susan Edberg says:

        I’ll mix the butter longer next time – thanks

  2. I am so disappointed and a little disgusted. I made this recipe 3 times and my cake does not rise and I make sure I add every single ingredient in. 3rd time today I made it and it is still flat. What am I doing wrong? Please help!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda! So sorry you’re having trouble with this cake. Make sure your baking powder and soda are fresh. We find they lose strength after just 3-4 months. Also be careful to just mix until combined – over-mixing can lead to dense cakes. Here’s more tips for preventing dense cakes that may be helpful as well!

      1. Immanuel Davis says:

        Thank you for this tip! I’m about to make this cake for my wife’s birthday tomorrow and I just tested our baking powder and baking soda and they are both dead. (I did the hot water tests and no bubbles!) About to run to the store to get fresh versions of both! Disaster averted!

  3. Omg. It is bad! I never would’ve guessed baked powder and soda only lasts a few months. I thought they last for a while. That makes me so sad. I wasted all of the ingredients and fresh picked blueberries from my grandmothers bushes.. thank you so much for the response!

  4. Cake didn’t rise as much as I thought it should. Didn’t over mix so that was a little disappointing but at least it was moist and delicious!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Adriane, are you using frozen berries by chance? Sometimes we find that they weigh down the cake’s crumb and add a significant amount of moisture, so that could be why the cake didn’t rise as much as you’d like. For next time, if you want even more height, try reducing the baking powder down to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons and adding 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Hope this is helpful!

  5. Is there any alternation in recipe baking in high altitude -above 6000 ft?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jan, I wish we could help, but have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

    2. These are the changes I made for 6,300 feet.
      • 235g granulated sugar (-15g)
      • 93g packed light brown sugar (-7g)
      • 377g sifted all-purpose flour (+23g)
      • 2 5/8 tsp baking powder (-3/8tsp)
      • 1 cup + 1.5 tblsp buttermilk* (+1.5 tbslp)

  6. Sally,

    i have made this cake a few times and it was so delicious and moist. my daughter has requested that I make her wedding cake using this recipe, is there anything I can do to decrease the density just a tad bit? I really haven’t had any density problems with it, but wasn’t sure if it would be okay for a three-tier wedding cake.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Morgan! This cake would work beautifully for a wedding cake – you’ll need to use cake boards and dowels for support. Here’s our guide to making a homemade wedding cake that you may find helpful, happy baking!

  7. This was a really nice, tangy, rich, buttery cake. It was a little denser than a typical “yellow” cake, almost approaching a pound cake, which is not too surprising given the proportion of butter and eggs. That may account for the questions about it not rising much, being not as light as other cakes, etc. So the choice of three thinner layers works well with this cake. I used lemon curd between each layer plus a layer of frosting and it was delicious. Just iced the top and garnished with blueberries and a mint spring, leaving the sides unfrosted with the frosting and curd between layers peeking out a bit. I’d make it again.

  8. Katie Myatt says:

    Hi Sally! I adore this recipe! My family and friends request it often and your notes have set me up for success every time (*knock on wood at the risk of jinxing myself*)! I read that you can make the cake one day in advance or freeze up to two months, but I need to make the cake on Thursday or Friday for a party on Sunday. This may be a silly question but what do you recommend in that situation? Should I just refrigerate in an air tight container or should I freeze and thaw?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie, we’re so happy this cake is always such a hit! For best results and the freshest cake, we recommend baking the cake on Thursday or Friday, then freezing the layers. The cakes take at least 8 hours to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Here are all of our tips and tricks for how to freeze cakes!

  9. This recipe did not work for me either. It was a waste of time and ingredients. I did not overmix and followed the directions exactly. I used King Arthur cake flour. The cake did not rise and was very dense, almost like a brownie. I took it to a dinner party cook-out anyway and nobody could not eat it. So sad, used fresh blueberries picked the day before. I really think you should remove this recipe. I should have read the reviews!

  10. Darlene Wagner says:

    It was a HUGE hit! Making this one again :-)))

  11. This recipe is the best! It is my go to cake. Always a big hit and asked for often! Yum yum. Very decadent! Not sure why people are having a difficult time with it. My suggestion is to use FRESH ingredients in anything you make. You would be surprised at how quickly your baking power and soda looses their strength.
    Happy baking ! Keep those wonderful recipes coming Sally!

1 14 15 16

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×
Skip to toolbar