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!

826 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! Do you think the cake is stable enough to use it in a 3-Tier-Wedding cake? Will it hold the pressure?

    1. Hi Steffi! It should, yes. If you’re concerned, use cake dowels for added support. They’re always helpful as extra “insurance.”

    2. I actually made this for a 3 tier wedding cake and it worked out perfectly. Decorated with blueberries and yellow roses. Their wedding colors were yellow and blue. Came out beautiful and everyone LOVED the cake.

  2. Hi Sally, I loved the recipe but I have a question: the cake layers are thin? I live 5700 ft above sea level. Could be this the problem? Thank you for your help 🙂

    1. Hi Carolina! The higher altitude could be the culprit here. Unfortunately, I have zero experience baking at high altitude, but here is a wonderful chart that many readers have found helpful for my recipes: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  3. What an amazing recipe – made it in a heart-shaped form and sprinkled lemon curd over the top, decorating with blueberries – everyone loved it!

  4. How come your blueberries stay beautifully purple? Mine turned disgustingly turquoise/moldy looking yucks 🙁 had to throw it away. I bet it’s the baking soda reacting…

    1. Hi Mary! Are you using fresh or frozen? I usually use fresh. If you serve the cake right after it’s cooled and frosted, the blueberries should remain a nice blue/purple.

      1. I love your cake recipes Sally! This will be the 3rd scratch made cake I’ve ever made…all from your blog! Question – Will the blueberries stay blue-ish if baked one day ahead of time?

  5. Plan on making this cake for a fellow co-worker. When it comes to the flour you said to spoon and level. Usually use cake box mixes and then doctor them up so I want to get this right. Do you mean to spoon it in the measuring cup and flatten? Does it have to be packed tight? We all have to start somewhere so thanks for your patience.

  6. Love this recipe – it looks delicious. Question though – would it taste just as good using butter cream frosting instead of cream cheese frosting? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jane! Absolutely 🙂 I love the tanginess of the cream cheese frosting with the lemon flavor but regular buttercream would also be delicious!

  7. Hi there!

    Interested in making this for my mother surprise party. I made it once and she LOVED it. However I need it to feed a crowd. Do you think if I double the recipe it will fit in a 12×18 with a 2 inch depth sheet pan? If so how long should I bake for?

    Thanks!

  8. Hi Sally! I love your site, I’ve tried so many of your recipes and they all turn out great. I especially love that you have the metric measurements too, so I can use my thermomix.

    Quick question: I am making this in a small oven, so I can’t fit two, let alone three pans inside. Should I halve the batter ingredients and make it twice? I’m worried if I let the second pan of batter sit while waiting for the first to bake, that some of the lift from the baking powder will be lost. What do you think?

    1. Hi Jasmin! Happy to help as I’ve done it before– keep the unused batter covered lightly at room temperature until the next pan is done in the oven. The cakes still have a lovely rise.

  9. Delicious! I went with the single layer option for a group potluck. Cakes from scratch typically end up being really dense, but this one did not. Very flavorful and possibly healthy :-). Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hi Sally I’ve made this cake twice i get better each time but do I have to use light brown sugar can i use dark and can i use sour cream instead of brown sugar? GREAT recipes though. Thank a Jennifer

  11. Hi, I want to make this cake as it sounds delicious, I looked over the recipe but it doesnt state what to do with my shop brought buttermilk, when to put it in and if it needs to go in the mixer, many thanks

  12. Sally, I loved this recipe (and so did my family). I *really* appreciate your notes such as not overmixing. Amateur bakers wouldn’t necessarily know this. Wish I could attach a photo! Instead of icing the entire cake, I just iced between layers and on the top, then added blueberries and blinged-up blackberries in a crescent moon on top. Thanks again! Gave you credit on Twitter 🙂

  13. This cake batter needed baking soda to rise. This is because it contains lemon juice and buttermilk, which are both acidic. I let myself trust the recipe, but my experience told me baking soda was required. I should have known. Poor outcome. And yes, my ingredients were all at room temperature, and no, I didn’t over beat the batter.

    1. I believe Bonnie is correct. The recipe does indeed require baking soda instead of baking powder. While the cake had good flavor, it did not rise very well at all and had uneven texture…a very rough coarse crumb, not velvety at all. Like Bonnie, I followed the recipe to a “T” and did not overbeat the batter.

      1. Hi Georgia! I do not advise using 1 Tablespoon of baking soda in this cake recipe. Instead, if you decide to try the recipe again, feel free to use 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Thank you!

  14. Hi Sally!

    Thank you for this amazing recipe. While I’m typing this comment my cake is baking in the oven and I’m super excited to see it since I’ve made this for my husband’s birthday.
    I wanted to check if I could use milk instead of heavy cream in the frosting and how much should the quantity be?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Shruti! Use 1-2 Tablespoons of milk- start with 1 Tablespoon and add as needed. It’s a little thinner than heavy cream so you might not need as much!

  15. Sally, I love your recipes! Whenever I look for a new recipe, your site is where I go to first. That being said, I was a little confused with the instructions in Step #3, which state, “Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds. . . ” Does this mean my mixer should be off when I add the dry ingredients, then I turn it on low for 5 seconds before adding the remaining ingredients and mix by hand? I understand the concern of over mixing but won’t the batter be quite lumpy? I must be missing something. Can you please clarify this for me?

    1. Hi Cherie! So happy to help. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with the mixer off. Then beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then beat in remaining ingredients.

  16. I’m getting ready to make this cake for a small dinner party tomorrow. Can I use a bundt pan instead?
    I’m thinking with the heat this weekend (high 90’s), a glaze might be better and a little lighter, on a bundt cake instead.

    Thanks!! Love your website-you’ve become my go to for recipes!!

    1. Hi Gig! 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. I ended up baking it in three layers and it is delicious! Really has a “from scratch” taste. It is a very dense cake but the lemon flavor makes it seem lighter. Loved it!

  17. Tried this for Father’s Day. Delicious and a huge hit—even though the layers were on the skinny side—not sure what happened there? Help, any suggestions on how to fix this would be most welcome. Oh, and the cream cheese frosting was a perfect balance!

  18. Wonderful cake! The combination of lemon and blueberry flavors and tang from the cream cheese was delicious! I might have slightly over-mixed, even though I thought I was being careful. Not as pretty as yours, but still posted on Instagram…

  19. I made this lovely cake for my husband’s birthday!! Made by using cake flour instead (as per your guide). Tasted awesome! my husband loved it! I baked in 2 8″ cake pans and adjusted the timings accordingly!
    I lightly frosted between layers and around the cake and used about half the frosting!
    Topped with blueberries and strawberries and it was totally a hit!!

    Thanks Sally!
    (PS: tried couple of your recipes but posting for the first time!)

    1. I so appreciate your positive feedback, Lynn! Thanks for baking and trusting my recipes 🙂 Happy birthday to your husband, I’m glad this cake was such a hit!

  20. I want to make this into mini naked cakes For my daughters shower on a Sunday 11 to 1 . If I make them Saturday, put frosting in layers then refrigerate till Sunday then frost the top before we leave for shower. Would that work? Also any tips on transporting them ?

  21. Hi Sally,
    I love reading your recipes and have tried a few, but am curious – in Australia we have normal white sugar which has larger crystals you might put in coffee or tea but also caster sugar where the granules are much finer. Which should I use for your recipe when it calls for granulated sugar? Thanks!

  22. Hi Sally,
    I really want to make a blueberry cake for an office party, but two of the co-workers are deathly allergic to citrus. Can I use something else – like Black Cherry juice – without messing up the entire cake?
    Thank you so very much.

    1. Hi Cheryl Ann! You could try another flavor instead of the lemon. Black cherry juice would be lovely! Or you can try my vanilla cake and add 1 and 1/2 cups of blueberries to the batter.

  23. Two of my three layers came apart when I took them out of the pan. I’m wondering about the flour: I sifted the flour into a measuring cup until I reached 3 1/2 cups. Instead, should I have measured out 3 1/2 cups and then sifted?

    1. Hi Mary Jane! Sift then measure. I’ve found that lining the bottom of the cake pans with greased parchment paper helps release the cakes more seamlessly.

    1. Hi Sheila! 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/

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