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. in the list of ingredients, you should clearly just say “2 T lemon zest & 1/2 c lemon juice (about 3 lemons)” instead of making a side note later on. I missed this and I have experience baking. I was using the recipe from my laptop and I just added all the juice and zest from 3 lemons, which was WAY too much. The cakes turned out a bit funky and I had to cook a lot longer. Also the buttercream is too sweet in my opinion and would benefit from a bit of zest. I will try this again, making minor adjustments.

  2. Hello Sally! I’m about to make this cake for a friend’s birthday and am tempted to add some lemon zest in the cream cheese frosting. Do you think it could work out? Thanks a lot for that super detailed recipe (and for putting the measurements in grams!).

  3. Love the fact you post amounts by weight; however, you suggest using cake flour in a 1:1 swap for AP flour–if lighter crumb desired BUT at the bottom of your recipe you suggest using 3 + 1/4 cups cake flour at a weight of 325 grams versus 345 grams AP flour in the recipe ! King Arthur gives weight of one cup of AP and cake flour as 120 grams—-soooooo help me out as I am a beginner and prefer weighing ingredients. Thanx John

  4. Hi I was wondering if you have this recipe measured in ounces. I wanna do this recipe as my midterm assignment for class since it’s using the method that’s required. Thank you!

  5. Hi Sally
    Here in the Middle East there is no buttermilk.
    But they have Leban, I see I can make my own buttermilk.
    What do you feel would be the best choice?
    I want my cake to be perfect! It’s a special occasion !!!
    Thank you

    1. I’m sorry, Shelley, I’m not familiar enough with Leban to know if it’s the same as the buttermilk we use in the U.S. If you are unsure then you can follow the DIY method to make your own!

  6. Hola Sally, me encanta esta torta, la he hecho ya 2 veces, en las dos oportunidades la masa ha quedado muy muy poco aireada como si estuviera cruda (que no es así porque las he tenido en el horno el tiempo necesario de cocción) el sabor es espectacular, pero la masa queda demasiado densa, porque puede ser? faltará tiempo de batido?
    Muchas gracias!!!!

    1. ¡Hola Virginia! Perdón por mi español, estoy usando un traductor. Puedes probar con harina de pastel en lugar de harina regular. Dejar 1 huevo también ayuda. Y asegúrate de no estar mezclando demasiado la masa.

      1. Your Spanish is perfect!!!
        I love you Sally !! thanks for answering me !!!!! I’m going to make the cake again for my birthday, with these modifications and then I’ll tell you! thank you thank you thank you!!!

  7. Hi Sally, I was looking at your site and noticed this cake and thought it would be just perfect for Mothers Day. Can I ask why some of your cake recipes call for baking soda, and this one does not? Just curious. Also how come we always have to slice the top of the cakes to make them flat, is there anyway to avoid this?

    1. Hi Fran, the leavener used in a particular recipe depends on the rest of the ingredients. You can read about the chemistry here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/baking-powder-vs-baking-soda/

      When you bake layers of a cake that are not level and then stack them they can slide off of each other and the cake will be crooked. So I will cut off the tops to level them to create a straight cake.
      Some readers use cake strips, also known as magic strips, to help the cake bake more flat so that you don’t have to slice off much of the top!

  8. Just made this. Used the sifted cake flour suggestion cause lighter sounded good. Added lemon curd between layers as well as buttercream and was this ever delicious! I don’t know what took me so long to make this but it won’t take me so long next time.

    1. Hi Kerri! 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!

  9. Hi Sally,
    Does this cake keep well? Looking for something I can make (and fully assemble with frosting and all) a day or two in advance. Thanks!

  10. I made this cake for my mom’s birthday and it was a hit! Everyone went back for seconds, I’ve never seen a cake go so fast! After seeing the pictures, the next week someone requested a lemon cake for their birthday so I used your lemon cake recipe and it turned out amazing too! I love your blog and all the recipes you post!

  11. Just made this to bring to work tomorrow. Couldn’t wait thought so I had a piece, lol. Tasted wonderful. Will definitely be making again. Does this cake need to be kept refrigerated?

    1. Glad you enjoy it! It can be left out for a few hours prior to and during serving. After that, it’s best to refrigerate.

  12. Hi! I need an alternate icing for this recipe… I was thinking Lemon or Vanilla Buttercream…or something else perhaps? So you have any suggestions on a flavor of buttercream that might pair best with this cake? Thanks!

    1. The lemon cream cheese frosting from this cake would be delicious: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/lemon-cake/
      Or my regular lemon buttercream: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/lemon-buttercream-frosting/

  13. I would love to make this cake but i have not had much luck with cakes and cupcakes. I live in Colorado and have not learned how to adjust for the altitude in baking these items. Do you have any suggestions. Thank you for your time

    1. I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

    1. Hi Michelle, feel free to halve the rest of the ingredients and try making a thinner 2 layer cake or even cupcakes.

  14. Hi I just made this cake and found that mine came out a little dense? I was wondering what are was too avoid that? Was it because I mixed too much? I tried to keep the mixing to a minimum after the flour was added, but the cake still came out a bit dense or is that normal bc of the moisture content?

    1. Hi Stacy, It could certainly be from over-mixing or over measuring the flour. See recipe note #4 about using cake flour instead for a lighter crumb!

  15. Hi Sally I want to make this cake for the fifth time BUT I have dried blueberries can I use them … do I need to soak them before using…. please help… THANKS

  16. I have made this cake twice now.It’s a favorite!! Such a beautiful cake! Friends who claimed not to like Lemon Blueberry love this cake and request it!!

  17. Hello,
    I am wanting to make my own engagement cake and I love this recipe… Do you think I can decorate this cake as a naked cake, will it be firm enough? Would you put cream cheese frosting in between the layers? Thanks

    1. Yes, this would work as a naked cake and you can use the cream cheese frosting between the layers. Congratulations on your engagement!

  18. Dear Sally, if there is only cream cheese spread to work with, would it ruin the frosting? If not, are there any changes to the method?
    Thanks in advance!

  19. I made this as a birthday cake for a friend. She loved it so much she asked me to make it as her wedding cake. I made a three tiered cake decorated with blueberries and yellow roses. I have to admit it turned out beautiful and everyone raved about the cake. It was a lot of work but well worth every minute. Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

    1. My Dearest Sally,I have made this cake for a few years now & it NEVER fails, I ALWAYS hear mmm…this is sooo good! I use cake flour as you suggested & it’s JUST as you say. I KNEW when I made your version of oatmeal cream pies that as long as I liked whatever you posted , I’d be able to make, you make it so easy. Because of you, I don’t even buy that tub yucky whipped topping stuff. Speaking of that yucky stuff… .I made the blueberry lemon ice box cake & wow! HOW ARE YOU NOT a thousand pounds? Goodness you have great restraint! I made 2, well after tasting the first bite…the cake was gone!

  20. I made this cake for my mother’s birthday. It is the first from scratch cake I’ve ever made, and also the first layer cake. It was delicious; my whole family loved it. Easy to follow instructions, nothing complicated about it, but it turns out amazingly. I did add the zest of 1 lemon to the frosting as several other reviewers had suggested.

  21. I made the sheet cake version and decorated with blueberries and raspberries to make an American flag for Memorial Day. Everyone really liked it. Sheet cake was not done after the recommended 20 minutes. I cooked at 325 (because it’s a convection oven) and it was done after 26 minutes.
    For the blue Union field, I tried to leave gaps for the frosting to represent stars, but it was kind of random. Next time I will either make a solid field of blueberries, or try for a more regular pattern after sorting the blueberries for size, alternating a row of large blueberries with a row of small one with gaps.

  22. This is always our favorite cake! I’ve lost count how many times we’ve made it. Don’t change . a thing with the recipe. it’s perfect!

  23. Thank you so much for this lovely recipe! Our church held a ladies banquet, with a daisy theme (Upsy-Daisy – Ps. 30:1a). It was a rather formal luncheon with white and yellow daisies everywhere. The cake was cut and placed in plastic cups with w/ a little whipped creme. I did put some lemon pie filling in between one layer. I received many compliments and requests for the recipe! It was the perfect cake for the event and it’s definitely now one of my “go to” cakes!!

  24. Made this cake for my boss’s birthday! So much pressure! The whole office loved it. As always your recipes are amazing! thanks!

  25. Made this cake last week. It was very good even though the layers were a little dense(from over mixing). I did use bake even strips which made nice flat layers. The next time it will be perfect!

  26. Hi Sally, wondering if I can bake this as 3 x 8 inch circle pans? What would baking time be? It is Eid in a couple of days and wanted this as the main dessert after the feast!

    Thank youuu

    1. Hi Zulekha! You can use 8 inch pans for these cake layers. The bake time will be a little longer since the cakes will be thicker.

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