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 sounds amazing but my husband hates cream cheese…silly man…can you recommend a different frosting for the cake?

    Thanks so much!
    Carrie

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carrie, our lemon buttercream would be a delicious alternative!

  2. I made this delicious cake, and it was a hit with everyone! I baked each layer separately because I was worried about uneven baking. For the future (for any layer cake), do the layers bake evenly if I were to put one on the top rack and one on the bottom rack? Would I switch half way through baking?
    Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Liz! We don’t recommend stacking cake layers while baking, as that will cause uneven baking. Best to do them one at a time, or side by side on the same rack, as you mention. So glad this cake was a hit!

  3. Thank you for sharing this recipe it was delicious. I made it using a sheet cake and will definitely make this again !yummy 🙂

  4. I have made this 3 times now and 1 time as cupcakes. It is soooooo good! I follow the recipe to the T and it always turns out. So moist and delicious! 🙂

  5. The last time I made this, the blueberries most definitely sank (it was still an amazing cake!). I believe I snuck in some cake flour because I had it on hand. Could that have contributed to them sinking? They were fresh blueberries.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Danielle, that certainly could have contributed, as cake flour is very light and won’t support the blueberries as well as all-purpose flour. You can also try lightly coating the blueberries in flour before adding to the batter, which should help with the sinking too. Hope these tips are helpful for next time!

      1. Yes, today came out MUCH better! The berries did not sink. However, I apparently need to invest in new baking powder as my cake took forever to bake and it’s DENSE. Unless my house being somewhat hotter than usual (heatwave on the east coast) could be an issue, I think my baking powder is past it’s date. Oh dear, learning all the lessons the hard way! Thank you for your help, this blog is my go to for all my baking and cooking recipes!

  6. Can you use frozen raspberries instead of blueberries?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes you can! If they are frozen do not thaw.

  7. Thanks! I substituted 2 limes for lemons, raspberries for blueberries, honey (+ 1/2 tsp. baking soda and 6 oz. buttermilk) for sugar, and forgot to buy butter, just baked it in a 9×13 in. pan, but it turned out perfectly, so pleased!

  8. This is the most delicious cake I’ve ever made. A hit at the office and w my family. Reminder to others to trust the 21 minutes baking time. I left in 2+ extra minutes. It would have been even more moist if I did not. I Should have tested at 21.
    Now I need something to bake w the leftover buttermilk and cream:)

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so happy to read that you loved this cake, Leslie! Here’s all our recipes that use buttermilk and all our recipes that use heavy cream if you’re interested!

  9. Love this recipe but want to try it without the lemon and just do blueberry.. is this possible?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cait, we’d recommend using our vanilla cake recipe instead — you can add 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen (do not thaw) blueberries to that batter. Let us know if you give it a try!

  10. This is one of my all time favorite cakes to make. All your recipes are amazing! I’m baking this on vacation and only gave 8×8 squares or a 9×13. Would the squares work as a sub for rounds?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Evin, square pans hold more volume than round pans, but you can use our Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions guide to see how many squares you can make with this recipe. Or, for a 9×13 cake, see “Sheet Cake” recipe notes for more details. Enjoy!

  11. Anyone tried to make this in a Bundt pan instead of layers? I’m going to try for a bbq tomorrow -fingers crossed!

  12. Have you ever substituted for gluten free flour? If so, what GF flour or flour blend would work best. Thanks!

  13. Ceci Green says:

    I made this cake yesterday and it did not get done in the middle of both layers, even though I baked it ten minutes longer than required. I was out of baking powder so substituted 1 tsp of baking soda and used frozen blueberries. What is the reason please?

  14. Hello, I would like to keep the blueberries fresh (not baked). Do you think I could bake the cake layers without the blueberries and add theblueberries to the cream?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Oksana, absolutely, you can place the blueberries between the layers with the frosting if desired. Enjoy!

  15. Lesley Christien says:

    This is my favorite blueberry cake!
    I would love to make it as a rolled cake or roulade. Will this cake roll if baked in a sheet pan?

    1. Hi Lesley! I haven’t tested this particular cake as a cake roll before. I fear it may break and crack, but let me know if you try it. I do have this fun lemon blueberry vertical cake if you want to try something else.

      1. Lesley Christien says:

        Thanks Sally,
        I gave the roll a try but should have known not to put the fruit in the batter.
        Of course it cracked!
        So I cut the remaining cake into 6 inch squares and created a 3 layer tea cake with a blueberry filling and your cream cheese frosting. Yummy!
        Thanks,
        Lesley

  16. Made this for Independence Day and IT.WAS.EPIC! Everyone raved about it and is begging me for the family recipe. 😉 (j/k!) Perfectly moist yet dense, just the right amount of lemon, and the frosting was to die for. I topped with blueberries and strawberries to get my red, white and blue on. I didn’t let my cakes cool long enough and one of them broke apart when trying to transfer. However, I just made that my middle layer and after frosting and refrigerating, it was like nothing ever happened. This was my first 3 layer cake (ever!) and it was fairly easy to execute. Highly recommend!

  17. Marie-Helene says:

    The cake was sooo good! I’m testing a few recipes for my upcoming wedding and I halved the recipe (using 6 inch pans instead). My cake took forever to bake and came out dense. I read a previous review that this could be due to the baking powder being too old (I thought I had recently checked if it was still active), or the fact that my house was way too hot. Any other reason? I made sure to measure the flour correctly!
    Also do you have any suggestions for a filling between the layers instead of the frosting. I’m thinking of doing something similar to your lavender blackberry cake which has jam and frosting between the layers.
    Thank you so much! I love all your recipes

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marie! Is it possible your cake batter was over-mixed? Make sure to mix just until the batter comes together. Here’s more tips for preventing dense cakes! Blueberry jam and frosting would be delicious between the layers, or even some lemon curd with frosting. Thanks so much for making our recipes!

  18. Anne McAlister says:

    Hi Sally, I tried this blueberry cake today, so delicious unfortunately my blueberries did drop to the bottom (I used cake flour) I’ll try the all purpose next time. My question is, do you think this cake could be covered in fondant? Or is it too light? Thanks

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anne! Yes this cake would hold up to fondant. However we don’t recommend using cream cheese frosting with fondant as cream cheese frosting should always be refrigerated. You could use our lemon buttercream instead. Thanks for giving this recipe a try!

      1. Anne Mcalister says:

        Thank you very much for your reply. I will use lemon buttercream. I’m making it for a birthday cake and plan to do 4 layers using your mix in two 9” tins and doing this twice. Thanks for all your lovely recipes.

  19. I seen the icing get stiff after being refrigerated. I am needing to make the entire cake tonight to have it ready for in the morning. If I take the cake out of the fridge in the morning will the icing soften up on the cake or would it just be better to make the icing in the morning and add it onto the cake then?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie! We recommend frosting the cake the day of serving – see make ahead instructions in the recipe notes for details!

  20. Hi Sally, thanks for all of your delicious recipes! This recipe sounds amazing – it is definitely on my list of recipes to try!!

    Wondering if bake times differ if using frozen (in thawed) blueberries vs. fresh berries?

    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi E! The cakes may take a couple minutes longer to bake if using frozen berries – do not thaw frozen berries.

      1. Hi Trial, that is for the quick reply! Would you be able to provide some Guidance on how much longer baking time would be if using frozen berries? Thanks!

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi E! We don’t have an exact time, as it will vary, but just a few minutes should do the trick. Keep a close eye on it and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  21. Peggy Adams says:

    Hi there, I’d like to make this with raspberries instead of blueberries, (sorry if this question has already been asked, I scrolled thru some of the comments but there are lots!)
    Is that a good option?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes! Just replace the blueberries with the same amount of raspberries.

  22. Shirley Will says:

    i made this cake for my moms birthday with a lemon glaze and blueberry syrup in the middle ! so good ! it did take about double the time to bake. i used two 9-inch pans side by side. any ideas why ? great recipe !

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shirley! This recipe is written for three 9 inch cake pans (not two). Your thicker layers would take much longer to bake in the oven. We’re so glad you enjoyed it!

  23. Hi Sally! Thank you so much for this and all of your recipes! I follow them exactly and they always turn out perfectly! This cake was so moist and delicious, however, I neglected to read ahead regarding the need to refrigerate. Is refrigeration required due to safety concerns or strictly for texture purposes? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dawn, thank you so much for your kind comment! Because the frosting is cream cheese based, it’s best to keep the finished cake refrigerated.

  24. Hi Sally,

    Can I use regular white can sugar instead of brown sugar? I can’t eat brown sugar since it has fructose.

    Thanks! Excited to try this cake.

    Karen

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, Yes that should be fine. Enjoy!

  25. Delicious cake!!! We all loved it. It was so moist and had the perfect amount of frosting. I wish there had been slightly more blueberries inside, but I put a bunch of fresh blueberries on top.

  26. Lauren Klein says:

    Had this tonight! Awesome flavor!!

  27. I made this cake in a 13X 9” cake pan. It worked perfectly and was absolutely delicious! The cream cheese frosting complimented the cake very well. My lunch group loved it, too! It’s a keeper!

  28. Making this cake yet again as it’s so delicious! Also nice flat top so it’s easy to ice with the frosting and decorate the top.

  29. Chris Bellino says:

    I thought the cake was tough, not light

  30. Susan Edberg says:

    Sally, loved this recipe! Question….the three cake layers didn’t rise very much. Is that normal? I used I cup unbleached flour and the rest was King Arthur all purpose (but it has the higher protein count). I didn’t skip any other ingredients and I spooned and leveled but did not sift. I look forward to your response

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan! How is the texture? Is it dense? 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. Here’s more tips for preventing a dense cake!

      1. Susan Edberg says:

        Thanks, I may have over mixed and my baking powder is a year old so I’ll try it again. Ps- no baking soda in this recipe, right?

    2. Just want to add to the answer that it is extremely important to whisk the butter fluffy, the baking powder can’t rise a cake without any air added in the mixture. I do believe you can over beat the dough (with the flour) and that baking soda can get old, but i never experience this as a problem.

      1. Susan Edberg says:

        I’ll mix the butter longer next time – thanks

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