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

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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

799 Comments

  1. Love this cake! For the three tier cake, should both the bottom tiers be this recipe, or should the top two be the other recipe you recommend?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachel! This cake batter will work great for a whole three tier cake. We suggest using our lemon blueberry cupcake batter for a 6 inch top tier in other comments simply because that cupcake batter makes the perfect amount for a 6 inch cake. Use whichever batters will work well for the size of cakes you’re making! This cake pan sizes and conversions guide may be helpful, as well as our guide to making a homemade wedding cake with details on stacking cakes properly. Happy baking!

    2. Oh my God my cake came out perfect!!! I followed the instruction to the “T” and it was moist and delicious! This is the first time I made a cake and my family loved it!!!

  2. I love all your recipes and This is a go to for me. Im hosting a larger party and Need to make this cake for 20 people do you recommend just using a sheet cake recipe? I was thinking of doing 2 layers in a 9×13 pan. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy, you can absolutely make this recipe in a sheet pan. See recipe notes for a few different options!

      1. Do you think I could do 2 layers or would it be too heavy?

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Amy, two layers should be fine — you could even use short cake dowels for extra support.

  3. I just made this recipe because it looked so good. I just put the cakes in the oven and realize this is a 3 tier not a 2 tier cake. I only used 2 round 9 inch pans. Any suggestions or feedback, should I let it cook longer than suggested time. Thanks!!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michael, This should work with 2 round 9 inch pans. Bake time will be longer; use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  4. I bake for a living, my baking powder was bought last month and this cake came out dense and didn’t rise. It also took about ten minutes longer than the time suggested. Kinda disappointing :/

    1. The cake came out very dense even though my baking powder was fresh. The flavour is nice, but I couldn’t enjoy it as it was way to dense

      1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Nancy, thanks so much for giving this recipe a try. Overly dense cakes are usually a result of over mixing the batter. These tips on how to prevent dry and dense cakes may also be helpful for next time. Thanks again!

  5. I make this cake pretty frequently! It’s scrumptious! I make a coconut cake and that’s awesome, but my husband says this is even better. And he’s usually a chocolate guy. Thank you!

  6. Could you use Raspberries?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sharon, Absolutely! Simply swap with the same amount of raspberries.

  7. Hi Sally! This cake was absolutely delicious! I’m actually going to use it again for my sisters wedding cake that I’m making! Question: for a wedding cake could I make this recipe but frost with buttercream? Would that combination still be good? I was going to use your buttercream recipe from your wedding cake recipe but wasn’t sure how buttercream would taste with lemon/blueberry. Can’t wait to hear back!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Keekee! Yes, vanilla buttercream would taste fantastic with this lemon blueberry cake – hope you love it!

  8. First time attempting this recipe and it turned out delicious!! Perfect combination of flavors! Made it for my mom’s birthday and everyone loved it..the only thing I would change the next time is the amount of sugar in the frosting, way too sweet! Other than that, the cake was amazing!

  9. I have made this cake several times and I have always received rave reviews!

  10. I bake cakes for my husband’s coworkers birthdays and I have made this cake several times and I have always received rave reviews!

  11. Mine didn’t rise, at all.

    Only did two layers and both cakes are super dense and barely 1.5 inches high.
    They’d be pancake thin if i did three!!!

    I’m guessing it’s overbeaten however i followed the recipe exactly.

    Perhaps the buttermilk, lemon juice and zest should be folded in by hand rather than ‘beaten’ in.

    Hopefully it tastes okay because it’s pretty expensive to make with so many blueberries.

    1. I made this cake today for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow and the layers did not rise at all. I made sure to only give it enough turns to mix the ingredients so as not to over mix but it still came out very dense and flat. So disappointed

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Veronica, so sorry to hear that you had trouble with this cake. 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.

  12. I’m 15 and have just gotten into baking cakes. I made this for my little sister’s birthday and she loved it! Thankyou so much!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, Abbie!

  13. What if i do 2 layers, 8 in rounds? Do I cut the ingredients at all?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Myriam, you can use three, 8 inch pans for this recipe for slightly thicker layers. There will be too much batter for just two pans. You can either reduce the recipe by 1/3, or the easiest way would be to simply use the recipe as written and make a few cupcakes with the leftover batter.

  14. Will be making this for my daughter’s 4 year old birthday per her request. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  15. Lori Norton Lawson says:

    I helped my late sister’s grands make this for their “gramps”. It was much needed time for me to be with them and they did a great job. We made a three layer cake. It probably had lots of spit and kid germs but it was a delight for me. Thank you for a great recipe.

  16. Hi, I have a friend who asked if I could make this gluten free. What would you recommend? Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenni, We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you try it!

    2. I just made this tonight with Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 GFree flour and it was fabulous.

  17. Hi! I was comparing this recipe to the lemon cake recipe that was more recently posted, and I noticed this one has 4 eggs while the other has 3. I want to combine elements from both recipes and was wondering if the extra egg is necessary because of the blueberries, or if I can skip it in order to get the lighter texture of the other cake recipe. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jessie, I found that the recipe without blueberries simply bakes up too flat with additional moisture, so that’s why I removed an egg. We also only use regular sugar in that recipe, too. Let me know which recipe (or combination of the two) you end up trying.

  18. Tasted and smelt lovely but terribly wet, soggy and dense. Mustn’t work well with plain flour

  19. This was deliciously moist. I ended up using cake flour because I was out of all purpose flour. Every other step and ingredient was used as stated. This cake was A1…on point! Thank you.

  20. hi! i loved the flavor of the cake, but it turned out super dense. I have made it twice now and have had similar results. Am i overmixing it ? Im usually pretty decent at cake baking but can’t seem to get it right which sucks bc it’s obviously delicious and working for other people. Please help!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kiri! Yes, overly dense cakes are usually a result of over mixing the batter – be careful to *just* mix until combined.

  21. I just made this yesterday but didn’t have enough blueberries so I made of the difference with some frozen Raspberries. So beautiful and yummy! Thanks for sharing the reciepe.

  22. Excellent cake recipe!!! Youre my favorite! I go to your site for all baked goods now. I started with your softbaked chocolate chip cookies which came out so delish every time I made it, tried this lemon blueberry layer cake last week and it was super hit with my family. Beyond excellent. Im in love!

  23. Can I make this into a two tiered 8 inch cake? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Oliver, you can use three, 8 inch pans for this recipe for slightly thicker layers. There will be too much batter for just two pans. You can either reduce the recipe by 1/3, or the easiest way would be to simply use the recipe as written and make a few cupcakes with the leftover batter.

  24. Will the batter be less dense with cake flour? And frozen blueberries will be more “wet” batter. Did you use fresh in yours? How many people will this serve. I want to make for baby shower, 12-16 people.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Janice, For a lighter texture you can use the same amount of cake flour. The batter is thinner with cake flour, be sure to toss the blueberries with 1 Tablespoon of flour before gently folding into the batter to help them not sink. We use fresh berries – while you can use frozen we recommend fresh if using cake flour as frozen berries are heavier. This cake yields 10-12 very generous size slices.

  25. Hey Sally! Amazing cake, although what would you recommend for a gluten – free version?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tanya, We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you try it!

  26. The batter tasted fabulous, so I’m sure the cake will too. However the cake didn’t rise very much. I used 9” rounds. Is that normal?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nina, these are thinner cake layers, but make sure you’re not over mixing the batter which can lead to dense and squat cakes. Were 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!

  27. Sally, I just need to know….3 cups (354g) sifted all-purpose flour… do you mean 3 cups of flour before sifting, or 3 cups of flour after sifting? I’m really not OCD (I don’t think), I’ve recently read an article that pointed out the difference. This is a one-shot cake: I was planning on making your yummy chocolate cake, but my husband suddenly requested a cake with blueberries. It’s his birthday. Argh! I’d not consider serving a cake I’d not tested at least once, but your recipes have never failed, and he really wants a blueberry cake. (pounds forehead against monitor) Perhaps I should make the chocolate cake as a back-up? … (Hmmmm, perhaps I AM OCD. Oh well.)

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sandyrah, It all depends where the word “sifted” is in the ingredient wording. If “sifted” is before the ingredient name, sift before measuring. If “sifted” is after the ingredient name, sift after measuring. So for this recipe, you’ll want to sift before measuring. Hope this helps and that your husband has a great birthday!

  28. If I have 2 6 inch cake pans, how should I adjust? And can I use a whipped cream frosting instead? Any recipe for that?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Veronica, The recipe for Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes is the cupcake version of this cake and the batter fits perfectly into three 6 inch layers (if you only have 2 pans, bake two layers and keep the remaining batter at room temperature until your pan is free again). You can follow the baking directions in this 6 inch cakes post. Happy baking!

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