Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

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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!

More lemon-y recipes for you!

Lemon Blueberry Layer 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 temperature*
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (345g) sifted all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled)*
  • 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 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
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt


  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.

Recipe Notes:

  1. The batter makes a perfect sheet cake! Simply spread into a 12x17 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Please use buttermilk in this recipe. See note in post about how to make a DIY version at home.
  5. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  6. Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
  7. Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for creamiest texture. For a less creamy texture, milk would be fine.

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© 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. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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!


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All Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. Hi Sally!

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

    Thanks dear!

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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? 

    1. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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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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