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!

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? 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. See my recipe note about a DIY sour milk substitution.
  • 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!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!_-8

Sally's Baking Addiction | Delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake!

Sally's Baking Addiction | Delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake!

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!

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

More Lemon Recipes For You

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Lemon blueberry cake

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 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
  • 12 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9×2 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Cupcakes: Here is my lemon cupcakes recipe. You can add 1 cup of blueberries to the batter and top with cream cheese frosting.
  3. 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.
  4. Be very careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy cake. For a lighter crumb, you can use 3 + 1/4 cups (about 325g) sifted cake flour instead.
  5. Buttermilk creates a supremely moist lemon cake. If you do not have buttermilk, make a DIY sour milk. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Fill the rest with whole milk to yield 1 cup. Give it a stir, then let it sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
  6. You’ll need about 2 Tablespoons of lemon zest and 1/2 cup lemon juice.
  7. Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
  8. Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for the most delicious and 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

Deliciously sweet and light Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake. Tangy cream cheese frosting gives each bite a sweet touch!

618 Comments

  1. Could I make these into muffins and omit the frosting completely. That way they’re lemon-blueberry muffins or swap blueberries for raspberries. Or would it be too cake-y for that? If so, at what degree and for how long?
    If not, I’d like too see a good blueberry lemon muffin recipe on here!(:
    The cake, however, looks delicious and I will have to try to make it soon.

  2. Hi Sally!

    So this was the cake I selected for my husband to make me this year for my birthday (which was yesterday. I turned 34…eek! haha) It was delicious! Blueberry and lemon is so perfect together!

    However, the texture of his finished product was a lot more dense than I was expecting–it turned out more like a pound cake than a sponge cake. That’s not what it was supposed to be like, was it? (You said your friend’s husband described it as a super moist sponge cake so I’m thinking not…) The baker in me is trying to figure out where he might have gone wrong. Would it get dense like that from over-mixing? (That’s what he thinks may have happened.)

    Regardless, I’m so excited to have finally tasted this cake and–spongey or poundy–it’s a delight. Thanks for the yummy birthday idea!

  3. Sally,

    This cake is AMAZING! I’ve made it twice. We have such wonderful blueberries in Vermont and this year the berries were huge! My mistake in making the cake was putting in too many berries. I couldn’t help myself! The result was one of my layers broke in half. It wasn’t anything more frosting couldn’t fix and nobody noticed. Both times I made this cake everyone raved about it. The first time was for a friend’s birthday, so I only ate a little piece. The second time I gave it away… I need to make it again! Time to get those great VT blueberries out of the freezer and buy more Meyer lemons! Thanks Sally!

  4. First off, I’m not a baker. I mean, I CAN bake, but only if I have explicit directions and the ingredients are not foreign to me. Now, I’ve made this cake 3 times, and whomever I serve it to now thinks I’m some sort of baking genius. It was so easy to make and came out exactly as it should have. Not only that, but it looked just like the one in your picture! Thank you for posting, and I’ll be sure to use more of your recipes.

  5. Hi Sally! I’m not sure what’s taken me so long to comment, but I must tell you how much I adore your blog! It is one of my go to’s anytime I need a recipe for anything that I’m baking or cooking.

    I have made this particular recipe I number of times this past year, and always to rave reviews! It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart, dense and moist, and just pure lemon, blueberry perfection!

    I currently work in corporate America, and my passion is baking and event planning… I bake almost every day, & most times for no reason at all… and with no one at the house but my husband, he’s getting tired of it! 🙂 (He blames his lack of willpower on me!)

    1 bite is enough for me, I really just bake to bake… It’s just about my only creative outlet!… And what I really want to tell you is thank you for all of the amazing recipes, and for being an inspiration to someone like me who is just waiting to muster the courage to do my passion full time! I will be 30 next month, and with New Year’s approaching, there’s no time like the present!

    But in the meantime, I just finished your snickerdoodle cupcakes for a party tomorrow, and I know they will be huge hit, just like this cake is every time I make it!

    Happy new year, and all of the best in 2015!

    -Mary, Charlotte NC

  6. I don’t normally comment on blogs, but since I am making this cake for the fifth time as a family request for their birthday cake, I must! This has QUICKLY become a family favorite! Thanks for sharing! Once I made the cake and served it very chilled, everyone thought it was cheesecake! Very, very delicious recipe!

  7. Sally,
    I baked this cake today and it turned out beautiful… I made it in a 9 X 11 cake pan… it was so light and the salt inn the frosting does help with the sweetness….
    I will be making this one again!!!
    I have also made your vanilla and almond cupcakes, they turned out great also… I believe your recipes are the best….
    Thanks so much!

  8. I made this cake yesterday and it is amazing, thank you for the easy to follow recipe and the great hints and tips also included. Very light, very moist and totally yummy 🙂

  9. hi Sally – Do you think it would be strange or contradict the flavors if I added shredded coconut to the outside of the frosting? I love the combination of lemon and coconut, but I’m not sure how it would go with the blueberries.

    1. Not at all! I think that would be incredibly tasty. You can even try toasting the coconut before adding it as garnish– 300 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.

  10. I LOVE this cake!! I made it for myself on my birthday and it was a huge hit. My boyfriend keeps asking me to make it again because it was the most delicious cake he’s ever had. It was a little heavier than I was expecting so frosting was pretty tricky but I think that refrigerating it overnight might help (or maybe using part cake flour?)

    1. Refrigerating will help, of course. And yes, I suggest half cake flour half all-purpose if you’d like a semi-lighter crumb. So happy you enjoyed it!

  11. In using frozen wild blueberries – don’t thaw right? Also, does it change the texture of the cake if you use pastry cake flour over all purpose? And if you add about a half a cup of sour cream – would that give it too much moisture with the buttermilk? I love lemon and blueberry together. I think I would even spread some homemade lemon curd on top of the cake before icing to really give a lemon zest flavor!

  12. Delicious. Just delicious. I made this cake twice before, once with lemon and blueberries and once with just lemon. They both turned out fantastic. Thanks so much for the recipe, this ones definitely a keeper!

  13. hi Sally- I made this cake yesterday for a friend’s birthday. It tastes good but my layers came out thin- maybe a half inch tall. I tested my baking powder and it is fine so that wasn’t the problem. I always weigh ingredients when I bake. Any suggestions on what the problem was??

  14. This cake looks delicious, Could I use dried blueberries instead of fresh? I have to bags of them and would like to make something with them before they go to waste.

  15. Hey there- just wanting to see if you have advice on making this recipe into one for mini cupcakes! I wanted to make this for my office Valentine’s day friday but I think making mini cupcakes of this recipe would be better than just one cake for a ton of people…

    Thanks!

  16. Hello Sally,
    I just made this cake last night. My new son in law and I LOVE blueberry and lemon combination anything! LOL So when I saw this recipe couldn’t wait to make it for family dinner night.
    I’m a pretty good baker yet not sure if I made a mistake in the mixing or what.
    Made three 9″ cake layers and each one came out little less than 1 inch tall they were done at the 21 minute mark and they did not crown, came out totally flat across so I didn’t have to cut the tops off. The whole cake frosted is approximately 3″ tall. They are also very heavy dense and I’m not quite sure how to describe the texture but kind of like if they weren’t fully baked but I know they are, they are moist layers but still something seems off about them. I ate a small slice last night and just not sure what to think of the texture. My cakes looks a little darker than your slice pictured.

    I’m readying the ingredients to make another cake today as it will drive me crazy not to get it right! Yep that kind of baker am I!
    I saw you told another lady to use half cake flour and half all purpose to not have as dense a crumb is that what I should try? Is this supposed to be really heavy and dense like a pound cake?
    Please save me from my impending baking insanity LOL and weigh in with what you think I may need to do this time around.
    Thank you!
    (*_*)
    Chelle
    P.S. The frosting came out AWESOME! I will use it for other creations also!

    1. Nope it’s not just you. I’ve made this cake twice in the course of two weeks because it’s driving me crazy too. I’m determined to get it right, lol. But mine came out dense and heavy also. The first time I know I definitely over mixed it. But the second I didn’t for sure. Next time I’m using cake flour and really cooking for 21 mins on the dot. Hopefully three times the charm

    2. YES! This is how mine turned out as well. It was SUPER moist! So much so that as I moved layers, they broke because they were so heavy and not fully supported. It tasted great…but….darker yellow, VERY moist, more dense. Hmmm, I would love help as well! This was my 2nd attempt and same results 🙁

  17. I love this cake recipe. It’s been snowing here all week and it was just what we needed to get into the spring spirit. I also made your lemon cupcakes earlier this week, Sally. We love your recipes. Thanks for all the notes on your recipes. They are very helpful.

  18. I made this today, halving the recipe and baking it in a square baking pan and replaced most of the butter with applesauce and OMG IT IS AMAZING. Mine probably isn’t as buttery and fluffy as yours made with butter but my family has already devoured it, as it still tastes amazing. Thank you so much for the recipe; I’ll be sure to make this again as a layer cake. I’m not sure if I will be using applesauce again or butter though!

  19. Cake was very dense and dry. Baked three layers and they came out quite thin as there was not enough batter. Icing recipe made far too much icing. Overall the cake i baked as a treat for my hubby was a major disappointment. Giving it two thumbs down.

  20. I made this cake for Easter and it was a knockout hit! Everyone loved it. The lemon flavor was just right and the frosting was a perfect match. I had seconds myself! Totally a keeper. Thank you!

  21. I made this for Easter and got so many compliments!!!! I totally understand about the over mixing. I feel like I was five stirs away from over mixing it but I kept that in the back of my mind. The lemon flavor with blueberries was the perfect combination! Thank you for all the other tips too!

  22. I made this cake this past weekend and it got rave reviews. It was on the dense side but very moist and flavorful. The only problem I had was getting the cakes out of the pans because they were stuck to the bottom. Next time I will butter and flour the cake pans again. But I will definitely make this cake again! Thank you so much for all these great recipes.

  23. I made this for my family get together on Easter and it was AMAZINGLY easy and delicious!!! I can’t wait to bake it again and take it to work to share with all of my nurses & to share the recipe with all of them! I live in Massachusetts and this has been such a horrible winter for us. The snow is just starting to melt now and this cake was the PERFECT prelude to a much awaited Spring with its fresh and vibrant flavors! The lemon and blueberry were the perfect proportion and everyone was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was so well balanced and not too sweet at all! Thank you for sharing your home run recipes with us and keep them coming! 🙂

  24. 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

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