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

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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

784 Comments

  1. This cake was amazing!! Even the batter before I put it in the oven was so delicious I couldn’t stop eating it ~ just as amazing when cooked. Perfect summer cake for down here in Australia.
    Sally your recipes are just amazing! Every recipe I make is always a hit ~ really excited to receive your cookbook I pre-ordered =D

  2. Just made this for my Mom’s birthday and it was a huge hit! My mom is a sucker for lemon and this cake had just the right tang with the perfect combination of blueberries and lemon. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks!!!

  3. Can I use a spring form pan to bake the cake in.

    1. 3 9-in spring form pans would be fine.

  4. I came home last week to find this recipe pinned to my door, with a note from my neighbor begging me to make this. Yesterday was the day. The cake was phenomenal, and a huge hit at home when I brought it to a neighbor party!! The lemon / blueberry flavor was a winning combination, and a light ice was the way to go with the yummy cream cheese icing. This was my first recipe from your site, but it definitely won’t be the last one that I try! Delicious.

  5. I can’t wait to try this but I’m a little scared. I love the 3 layer cakes, but I’ve had trouble in the past with the layers slipping. The last time I made sure the layers were completely cooled, should I chill the frosting a little so it’s not slippery? Is there a trick to insure the layers don’t slid?

    1. As long as you make sure the cake is cool, the whipped cream is chilled and cold, and that cake layers are nice and flat (you’ll level them off as stated in this recipe), then you won’t have any slipping problems. Enjoy!

  6. Morgan Worthington says:

    I made this cake for our staff luncheon on the 18th and it was a major hit, just like you said!!!! I am in no way a “baker” although I love to bake. Your directions are easy to follow and I love the helpful hints you give! I will be making this again next week for my birthday – and I’m ahoy to be doing it! So delicious! Thank you for sharing your baking deliciousness with us!!!

  7. Mandy Bowkett says:

    I made this last night – refrigerated after frosting it – and we had it for breakfast this morning. It was perfect! 🙂 I look forward to sharing a few pieces with some co-workers tomorrow – but the rest is for me and my hubby!

  8. Just made this last night for my birthday. It was delicious! And I love, love, love cream cheese frosting!

  9. Just made a half version of the cake (only) as a test run for a small wedding cake for friends this weekend. Delicious! Good crumb, moist, mellow lemon and sweet blueberry flavors. Can’t imagine how good it will be with curd and frosting added!

  10. I couldn’t wait until spring to make this delicious looking cake, so I just took it out of the oven. The good news, thus far, is that I don’t have to cut the top of each layer to make it even – they’re all the same. Now, I don’t know if this is bad news but the most they raised is 3/4 of a inch. Hope my oven is working OK. I’ll let you know. 🙂

  11. Just finished baking this! Has to possibly be one of the best cake recipes EVER! I don’t eat cake, but this spoke to me as I am a lemon lover. The batter was so silky smooth and it had amazing flavor…just wonderful.
    This will be wonderful in the spring and summer-and I simply can’t wait to bring it to all the BBQs.
    Great Recipe!

  12. Made this cake this morning. It turned out perfectly. Moist delicious cake with the perfect amount of lemon flavor and blueberries. The consistency is dense and rich but the cake itself isn’t overly sweet. The icing is perfect. Thank you so very much for the recipe.

  13. I went to the store, bought all of the ingredients (which totalled around $30) and made this cake today for a party, which took a very considerable amount of time. I took it out of the oven after 21 minutes, waited until they were cooled, and then tried taking them out of the pan. They were definitely not cooked all the way, so I put them in for another 10 minutes, and they were still not cooked. I did not overmeasure the flour, and measured all of the ingredients exactly. This is the one recipe of yours that completely failed and discouraged me. I only hope that I’m the only person this happens to.

    1. Hey Lauren! Did you test the cakes with a toothpick? I encourage bakers to always test their cakes with a toothpick test – if it comes out clean, the cake is done. So sorry you found them to be underbaked.

  14. I made this for a friend’s birthday today and it was delicious! Took about 25 in the oven and they were perfect. Really strong lemon flavour, I love your website, everything I’ve tried has been incredible 🙂

  15. I made this cake over Friday and let me say I LOVE it!!! Everyone liked it!! I made it with self rising flour and it turned out great!!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  16. Maura Kelly says:

    I made this cake for a dinner party 2 weeks ago and it came out fabulous! Everyone loved it – even my daughter who does not like cake! Your measurements and comments were spot on. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  17. I made this (but with raspberries instead of blue) for a potluck at work, and WOW WHAT A HIT. I have never gotten so many compliments on my baking before!

  18. Hi Sally, I wanted to tell you how much I loved your cake I made it yesterday for my friends birthday and everyone had at least one peice! I do have a question though, is this cake supposed to be light and fluffy? Because mine came out sort of dense, someone even asked me if it was a pound cake. Regardless it was still delicious. Another thing, my batter was normal consistency it was not thick like you said it would be. We loved this cake me and my boyfriend could not stop eating the frosting!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Brittany! I’m so glad this cake was loved. It won’t be the lightest, fluffiest cake you’ll eat but it shouldn’t be dense like say… banana bread… either. I would suggest adding a couple Tablespoons less flour, but since your batter wasn’t thick to begin with as it should be – I’m lost! When adding the milk, lemon zest, and juice – mix with a spatula, not your mixer. And do so very lightly. This should help.

      1. Caroline Gottlieb says:

        I’ve had the same the issue, unfortunately the recipe says to “beat” the milk and lemon juice , not to stir or fold it. My cakes haven’t risen at all, so disappointing.

  19. Oh my GRACIOUS Sally this cake is absolutely incredible! I think this is my favorite recipe I’ve tried of yours! It came out perfectly-thank you for making your directions so detailed! This cake has me officially convinced that you can make a moist cake with butter! (I’ve only had successful moist cakes using vegetable oil! All my butter cakes always dry out!)
    I love your blog so much-I look forward to reading each new post! And your cookbook is coming in the mail on Tuesday-so excited!

  20. AMAZINGLY delicious and MOIST. I just made it 🙂 Not a fan of cream cheese frosting either, and I fell in love!! It’s usually too sweet for my taste, but this was incredible! I can’t wait to get your cookbook… Sally, I am thinking about making this cake for my daughters 1st bday in a few weeks. I doubled the frosting recipe, coated the cake and refrigerated the rest of the frosting hoping that it may be pipeable tomorrow-as a test run. I would really like to dress up her cake. If I can’t pipe it, do you think that your fresh strawberry filling into the whipped frosting will work? I would like to do the rosette style you see on the ombre cakes. Do you have any tips on getting your cakes to be level? Thanks!!

  21. Can this be made into a 9×13 or larger single layer cake? It looks great!

    1. Yes, 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 though. Enjoy!

  22. I just made this, this morning and dang its almost gone everyone loves it and I’ve only had a small piece.

  23. Sally,
    I made this for my birthday and it turned out great. I made a 2-layer cake and 6 cupcakes. I used Meyer lemons, eliminated the blueberries, and made a lemon curd filling to go between the two layers. Instead of a lemon frosting, I made a brown sugar cream cheese frosting and frosted the cake with that and toasted coconut.
    This was so delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!

  24. Natalie Garstin says:

    I made this cake for my mother’s 62nd birthday and it was unbelievably fantastic. I just wanted to thank you for your delightful, sinful and easy to follow recipes because, historically, i am /not/ a successful baker 🙂 Your recipe made it possible for me to wow my family and now I’m super eager to bake, bake, bake! Thank you.

  25. I made this cake and I loved the texture! The only thing is that the cake didn’t have much flavor. I even added 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. It didn’t taste bad, but without the frosting it would have been rather bland. Based off of everyone else’s comments I’m sure it was something I did…do you have any ideas? It sounds like such a good recipe, I’d want to try again!

    1. Hey Anna! The cake should definitely have lots of flavor. Maybe your lemons were rather small and didn’t give off a ton of fresh zest? You can also add a little more vanilla next time too. So glad you enjoyed it!

  26. DeeDee Chavez says:

    I baked this cake yesterday for my fiance’s birthday party. I used a Bundt pan and cake flour. I baked it for about 50 minutes but monitored carefully so it wouldn’t over bake. The pan really made the cake look extra lovely and easy to decorate.

    The cake was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved it. The Meyers lemons and blueberries were a perfect combination. The texture was perfect. Lastly, the frosting was so light, delicious and easy to make I’ll never buy pre-made tubs again. Thank you for making my first “cake from scratch” recipe a happy success!

  27. Best cream cheese frosting. Hands down. I even use the frosting for other recipes now.

  28. Awesome! Made this cake for a friend’s birthday and it was delicious! I especially loved the texture – almost pound cake-like (at least the way mine came out) and that’s what made it extra special. Instead of topping with additional blueberries, I grated more lemon zest on the frosting – which looked great and added an extra lemony kick to the cream cheese frosting. A new fan (and subscriber) to Sally’s Baking Addiction – thanks!

  29. Definitely not a quick and easy recipe but totally worth it! Brought this cake to surprise my sister with when visiting her at school and she and all her friends devoured it! Her roommate even got angry when the rest of her friends finished it off without her. It turned out so delicious, even with having to get frozen blueberries (they’re expensive right now!). Thanks Sally, great recipe!

  30. This turned out to be a beautiful and delicious cake! The cake is almost like a blueberry bread, except lighter and so moist and tasty. I added some lemon juice to the frosting and it was nice to have that extra lemon flavor.

    Like some others have posted, I needed to bake the cake longer than the 20-22 mins. I followed the directions to a T, used the correct pans, and they still needed to be cooked about 30-32 mins until the toothpick came out cleanly. I have a new oven (approx 5 months old and has been cooking everything else fine), so I don’t think anything is wrong there. Just an FYI!

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