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 pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (345g) 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 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 cake pans, line 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 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 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.

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. 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. Cupcakes: Here is my lemon cupcakes recipe. You can add 1 cup of blueberries to the batter and top with cream cheese frosting.
  4. 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.
  5. Flour: 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.
  6. Buttermilk: 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.
  7. Lemons: You’ll need about 2 Tablespoons of lemon zest and 1/2 cup lemon juice.
  8. Cream Cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
  9. Cream: 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!

836 Comments

  1. I made this cake for hubby’s birthday and he loved it! Your recipes are so good and I love that you personally test each one.

    One question – which KitchenAid mixer do you have? Mine is an older one, and every addition of flour or liquid results in a mess – even if added slowly. 🙁

    1. Hi Kathy! So glad this cake recipe was enjoyed– and that it was a birthday cake! I have the 5 qt artisan stand mixer.

      1. Perfect! That is going on my Christmas list! I think mine is a 3.5 qt, which I am sure is why it makes such a mess. By the way, I made your “best ever” vanilla cake for my mom and I have to agree that it is the best I’ve ever had. Thanks again.

  2. Not sure if this had been asked and answered, but is this a cake you serve with ice cream and if so, what kind goes best?

  3. Could this cake be made in a bundt pan? I want to make this for my family for Easter but I only have 2 8in round tins.

    1. Hi Patty! You can bake this cake in a bundt pan, but I’m unsure of the bake time. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Enjoy!

  4. Cut this recipe in half to make a basic single layer cake, a perfect amount for my partner and I to have some weekend cake! Didn’t have buttermilk but I put the recipes lemon juice in regular milk along with a tablespoon of plain yogurt, for tang. I’m almost always a chocolate cake girl, so when I had an itch for lemon and blueberry this hit the spot. Nice recipe, soft, moist cake, creamy frosting. Will make again someday.

    1. Used this recipe to make my nephew’s wedding cake. Cake was perfect density for assembling. And many, many people made a special effort to tell me how delicious the cake was. One of the catering staff said that it was the best wedding cake he had ever tasted (and he had eaten a lot of wedding cake over the years)!

  5. Hi Sally! I would love to make this for my sister’s bridal shower but unfortunately due to my work schedule I would have to make it 2 days in advance.. would you recommend making it 2 days in a advance and leaving the cakes out at room temp for that long or would it be better to freeze the cakes? Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Gabriella! You could really do either, but I recommending storing in the refrigerator as opposed to on the counter. 1 day at room temperature is fine, but 2 days is pushing it. If freezing, make sure you thaw completely at room temperature before frosting.

  6. Hi Sally, is there a sub for heavy cream?
    The video shows that this recipe creates 3cakes that u cut in halves to add the frosting, then layer them to create 1 cake? Tnx

    1. Yep, this recipe yields 3 cake layers. Level off the cakes if they are domed on top before layering and frosting. Sorry if that was confusing!

  7. Dear Sally, trying this recipe out today
    I have a question, how long can it be stored for and how do you store it best?
    Greetings from Belgium

  8. Hi Sally, I can’t find cream cheese in brick form in UK anywhere. Can I use Swiss meringue buttercream to layer and frost with instead, do you think?

  9. Hi there! Very excited about this recipe! I’m making it today, to bring to an Easter Dinner on Sunday. With that said, should I assemble and put in the refrigerator for two days or should I keep disassembled (cake in freezer and frosting in refrigerator) and assemble Sunday afternoon? thank you!

    1. I recommend assembling Sunday afternoon. Thaw the cakes completely at room temperature. Give the frosting a spin in the mixer to loosen it up (add milk or cream too, if needed) because it will be a little solid after refrigeration for two days.

  10. Your recipe says to use 3 , 9″X 2″ pans. I dont have that size and use 8 1/2″ X 1 1/2″ pan . My cakes only raise to about 1 ” to 1 1/8″ . My concern is am i doing something wrong that they dont raise higher . Im also concerned i make them in a 9 ” X 2″ pan they will be maybe 3/4 ” high. Just curious. The cake is awesome otherwise.

  11. Hey sally! Thinking about adding a layer of lemon curd between layers…thoughts? Making it tomorrow for Easter and I’m excited!!

    1. Hi Carmen! Sift then measure. 🙂

      If the word “sift” comes before the ingredient, sift before measuring. If the word sift comes AFTER the ingredient, sift after measuring. 1 cup sifted cake flour = sift before measuring. 1 cup cake flour, sifted = sift after measuring.

      Hope this helps!

  12. Planning on making this cake for Easter dinner, I don’t have “large eggs” I’d say they are regular size. Do I still add 4 or go up one egg and use 5??

  13. Sally,
    My 4 year old is wanting this for his birthday cake, but I only have 2- 8″ x 2″ Wilton Aluminium pans. Would you recommend I adjust the baking temperature and/or time? I’m also thinking I will probably have to reuse one of the pans to bake a 3rd layer.

    1. Hi Sarah! You’ll need to use this batter for 3 pans. There is too much for a two layer 8-inch cake. Oven temperature remains the same and the bake time will be just a bit longer. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  14. This recipe was super simple and ridiculously good. Sharing the recipe with so many people!

    Leslie

  15. Sally,

    This was a great addition to Easter! I just posted a photo for you on Instagram. Mine is the one with the Easter bunny on top. Delicious flavors! One tiny suggestion: adding lemon zest in the cream cheese frosting is fabulous!

  16. Hi Sally! Love this recipe, but my fam is asking for nuts in a cake. Do you think I could add any kind of nut to this?

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe with nuts but I would think that pistachios would pair lovely with the lemon flavor!

    1. Sure can! Divide the batter between two 9×13 inch pans. The cakes will be thin, so they’ll take less time to bake than what the 9×13 inch cake recipe note states.

  17. Hello made this cake last week and loved it. I made it again tonight for my sister babyshower on Saturday. How would you recommend that I store it and when should I frost it? Should I leave it out all night and then tomorrow refrigerate them and then frost on Saturday morning?

    1. You can leave it tightly covered for one day at room temperature. If you need it to sit longer you can store it in the refrigerator (either frosted or unfrosted is ok!).

  18. Absolutely lovely! I am the main dessert baker at my brother’s cafe and I wanted to do something different tonight so I picked this recipe and ran with it. I made a lemon curd (your recipe too, it was perfect!) and I did some of the cream cheese frosting and some of the curd in both layers. I discovered there was not really enough frosting, and I didn’t love the consistency of the frosting for this, so I made a whipped cream cheese frosting (8oz cream cheese, whipped cream, powdered sugar, vanilla) and used that to finish off the outside of the cake. It’s gorgeous inside and out and I actually bought myself a piece because why not? I used those little blueberries (forget what they’re called) and I think it would have been better to use the larger ones or more of the smaller ones. I also wish there was a tiny bit more of a kick of lemon – perhaps a little lemon extract in the frosting or something. But I mean, I’m really splitting hairs here. One thing I love is that it’s not too sweet. I am sure that our customers will love it as much as I do!

    1. Hi Cindy– add the dry ingredients, mix for around 5 seconds (won’t be completely mixed in), then add the milk, lemon zest, and juice.

  19. What did I do wrong? I made this cake using sifted all-purpose flour but cake turned out too dense. I was very disappointed. I read in your notes where cake flour could be used but decided to stick with all-purpose flour since that is what your recipe called for. It seems to me whenever I use cake flour, the cakes turn out soft and fluffy. I followed all ingredient measurements and am very sure I didn’t over beat. Do you think the flour was the culprit? What else could have gone wrong?

    1. For the flour make sure you are sifting and then measuring so that you don’t end up with too much. Also be sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. You can also certainly try it with cake flour as in the recipe notes!

    1. It’s certainly not my focus but I do have a few! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/category/gluten-free/

  20. OMG This was sooooo good! I usually don’t like lemon things so much but a coworker loves lemon and I made this for her birthday. It is just the right amount of lemon and the blueberries give it a lighter feel. Everyone couldn’t stop raving! Thanks for such a great recipe.

  21. I’m the family cake baker, so for every birthday I ask what flavors they’d like, and when my brother-in-law said blueberry, it stumped me for a minute. I always love Sally’s cakes, so this is the first place I turned to, and I’m so lucky I found this cake! My sister and brother-in-law both said that this was the best cake they’ve ever had. I used frozen blueberries, and followed the recipe exactly. I was really careful not to over mix, and the cake turned out moist and soft. This is a huge cake mind you. I barely got it to fit into my cake taker, and it was heavy too! Be really careful of your blueberries. You need great, in season, flavorful blueberries to stand a chance against the lemon in this recipe. I made this again and used Trader Joe’s frozen Boreal blueberries, and they did the trick! I’m making this again this year for my sister’s birthday. It’s now a family favorite!

  22. Question: could this made into a bundt cake? What adjustments would I need to make and why size bundt pan would I need? Asking for my sister who is looking for a lemon blueberry bundt cake.

    1. I haven’t tested this as a bundt cake but I would guess it might be more dense than the original cake since it’s all being baked as one layer and would take significantly longer to bake. Let me know if you try it!
      I also have have this lemon bundt cake recipe that you can certainly leave out the poppy seeds and add blueberries! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/glazed-lemon-poppy-seed-bundt-cake/

      1. Thanks. I appreciate your advice for the cake. I did see the variation for cupcakes in the notes. I think this is a great option too.

    1. I haven’t personally used the powdered buttermilk but I have heard from other readers who use it successfully!

    2. Btw, this cake recipe is amazing. Thank you for baking made easy. I have made 2 cakes, and neither has been able to stay upright yet, but people still eat the heck out of them. Cake baking is new to me and I am getting better each time. But the flavor is there!

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