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. I am so disappointed and a little disgusted. I made this recipe 3 times and my cake does not rise and I make sure I add every single ingredient in. 3rd time today I made it and it is still flat. What am I doing wrong? Please help!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda! So sorry you’re having trouble with this cake. Make sure your baking powder is fresh. We find it loses strength after just 3-4 months. Also be careful to just mix until combined – over-mixing can lead to dense cakes. Here’s more tips for preventing dense cakes that may be helpful as well!

      1. Immanuel Davis says:

        Thank you for this tip! I’m about to make this cake for my wife’s birthday tomorrow and I just tested our baking powder and baking soda and they are both dead. (I did the hot water tests and no bubbles!) About to run to the store to get fresh versions of both! Disaster averted!

      2. Paula Szydłowska says:

        Mine didnt rise either. But i think i may have a reason why some people are having so much trouble with this cake (other than overmixing or unfresh baking powder). As soon as I put in the lemon juice the batter curdled a bit and I read this leads to a flat cake. I used lemons from the fridge while all other ingredients were room temp. Apparently the lemon juice should be at room temperature too! Also 1/2 cup strikes me as a lot of juice. I will try next time with only 2-3tbsp.

    2. When does the buttermilk go in? It is listed in the ingredients, but not in the steps. I missed it entirely. My cake is in the oven now, so we’ll see how it turns out without that liquid.

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Maggie! See step 3 – you add the milk/buttermilk with the lemon zest and juice. Your cake may be a bit dense without the added moisture. Let us know how it goes!

      2. It tasted great, but was a little dry. Nothing a healthy serving of cream cheese icing couldn’t fix. =)

  2. Omg. It is bad! I never would’ve guessed baked powder and soda only lasts a few months. I thought they last for a while. That makes me so sad. I wasted all of the ingredients and fresh picked blueberries from my grandmothers bushes.. thank you so much for the response!

    1. I made this recipe as cupcakes for my son’s birthday and they were INCREDIBLE! Your recipes make all of my favorite cakes. I had some extra lemon zest after making the cake batter and I threw it into the frosting, which was a delicious addition. The lemon flavor and the burst of blueberries were absolutely delicious. We all agreed they were going on the make again list! Thank you!!

  3. Cake didn’t rise as much as I thought it should. Didn’t over mix so that was a little disappointing but at least it was moist and delicious!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Adriane, are you using frozen berries by chance? Sometimes we find that they weigh down the cake’s crumb and add a significant amount of moisture, so that could be why the cake didn’t rise as much as you’d like. For next time, if you want even more height, try reducing the baking powder down to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons and adding 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Hope this is helpful!

  4. Is there any alternation in recipe baking in high altitude -above 6000 ft?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

    2. These are the changes I made for 6,300 feet.
      • 235g granulated sugar (-15g)
      • 93g packed light brown sugar (-7g)
      • 377g sifted all-purpose flour (+23g)
      • 2 5/8 tsp baking powder (-3/8tsp)
      • 1 cup + 1.5 tblsp buttermilk* (+1.5 tbslp)

  5. Sally,

    i have made this cake a few times and it was so delicious and moist. my daughter has requested that I make her wedding cake using this recipe, is there anything I can do to decrease the density just a tad bit? I really haven’t had any density problems with it, but wasn’t sure if it would be okay for a three-tier wedding cake.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Morgan! This cake would work beautifully for a wedding cake – you’ll need to use cake boards and dowels for support. Here’s our guide to making a homemade wedding cake that you may find helpful, happy baking!

  6. This was a really nice, tangy, rich, buttery cake. It was a little denser than a typical “yellow” cake, almost approaching a pound cake, which is not too surprising given the proportion of butter and eggs. That may account for the questions about it not rising much, being not as light as other cakes, etc. So the choice of three thinner layers works well with this cake. I used lemon curd between each layer plus a layer of frosting and it was delicious. Just iced the top and garnished with blueberries and a mint spring, leaving the sides unfrosted with the frosting and curd between layers peeking out a bit. I’d make it again.

  7. Katie Myatt says:

    Hi Sally! I adore this recipe! My family and friends request it often and your notes have set me up for success every time (*knock on wood at the risk of jinxing myself*)! I read that you can make the cake one day in advance or freeze up to two months, but I need to make the cake on Thursday or Friday for a party on Sunday. This may be a silly question but what do you recommend in that situation? Should I just refrigerate in an air tight container or should I freeze and thaw?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie, we’re so happy this cake is always such a hit! For best results and the freshest cake, we recommend baking the cake on Thursday or Friday, then freezing the layers. The cakes take at least 8 hours to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Here are all of our tips and tricks for how to freeze cakes!

  8. This recipe did not work for me either. It was a waste of time and ingredients. I did not overmix and followed the directions exactly. I used King Arthur cake flour. The cake did not rise and was very dense, almost like a brownie. I took it to a dinner party cook-out anyway and nobody could not eat it. So sad, used fresh blueberries picked the day before. I really think you should remove this recipe. I should have read the reviews!

  9. Darlene Wagner says:

    It was a HUGE hit! Making this one again :-)))

  10. This recipe is the best! It is my go to cake. Always a big hit and asked for often! Yum yum. Very decadent! Not sure why people are having a difficult time with it. My suggestion is to use FRESH ingredients in anything you make. You would be surprised at how quickly your baking power and soda looses their strength.
    Happy baking ! Keep those wonderful recipes coming Sally!

  11. Hi! I just made this recipe for my sister’s birthday, but the cakes took almost 45 minutes to bake. Any ideas what happened?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tyler, did you make any ingredient substitutions or use different size cake pans? It’s possible the cake pans were filled too much, if they’re taking that much longer to bake through. Happy to help troubleshoot further!

  12. Made this cake today. Although the flavours were lovely, the cake was dense and almost wet. The summer flavours felt crushed under the weight of this cake, that was definitely heavier than pound cake. I am a regular baker and my BP and all ingredients were fresh. Will look for a fluffier and lighter cake to take best advantage of the summer flavours.

  13. I’ve made the cake twice & am very happy with. It was definitely a hit with family & friends!
    My only problem is me berries still mostly sink to the bottom. I’m dusting with flour. The batter doesn’t seem thick enough. I’m weighing the flour. Should I just slightly reduce lemon juice and/or lemon juice?
    I love your recipes and tips.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, Are you using cake flour and/or frozen berries by any chance? If not, you can certainly try adding another TBS or two of flour to the batter if you wish to help!

  14. Whoot!! Awesome cake recipe. So light and delicious. I am
    kind of an intermediate baker and had fun making it. It looks as gorgeous as it tastes. Highly recommend! Wish I could leave a picture as it was stunning!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So glad you loved it, Barbara!

  15. Wow, this was truly delicious! I’m 12 and I bake sorta a lot and it was actually the best cake I’ve ever made (which is really saying something because I make cakes a lot). I swapped half a cup of butter with oil to make the cake really moist because I like really moist cakes, but that was really just my personal preference. I noticed some people were saying their cake didn’t rise at all, and I’m wondering if their baking powder was out of date. Wonderful recipe, thank you so much!

  16. I made this cake with about half the sugar with great success and rave reviews. I’m going to make a gluten free version for my own birthday cake! Absolutely delicious!

  17. I have made this recipe multiple times now and it comes out so beautiful that I cannot even explain in words.
    What an absolutely delightful cake! A favourite with my family and all friends. Thank you!!

  18. Theresa Hurst says:

    Hi Sally, I was thinking of using cake flour and what your thoughts were and if I needed to adjust any ingredients if so. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Theresa, For a lighter texture you can use the same amount of cake flour. The batter is thinner with cake flour, be sure to toss the blueberries with 1 Tablespoon of flour before gently folding into the batter to help them not sink.

  19. Angeli Tominez says:

    I made one bundt cake and a 9in round cake and they came out perfect! I baked the bundt cake for 1 hr plus 15-20mins, I just kept checking til my fork came out clean. I made sure to whisk the butter and the sugar according to instructions. And for buttermilk, I replaced with soy milk and lemon juice, it still came out good!

  20. Would a lemon Swiss meringue buttercream work in place of the cream cheese frosting? I’m making this for an auction and it won’t be able to be refrigerated the whole time so I don’t want to use cream cheese frosting.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelli, you can certainly use Swiss meringue buttercream here instead. Enjoy!

  21. Everyone at the beach, me included, loved this cake today! So many compliments! Name dropped you! Thank you so much, your recipes are always the best!

  22. Would you be able to substitute raspberries for the blueberries in this recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! Simply swap with the same amount of raspberries.

  23. Loved this cake (and I usually only make chocolate desserts or fresh fruit crisps!)! I followed the recipe and it came out delicious. I did not frost the sizes, just let the filling ooze out the sides & frosted the top, decorating the top with fresh blueberries. It looked beautiful! Thanks for this lovely, light dessert!

  24. So delicious, probably one of the best cakes I’ve made!

  25. I have made this cake several times and am making again for a party this weekend – it is my daughter’s favorite birthday cake and probably one of the best ones I have ever made!

  26. Hi Sally, I always use your recipes when I bake anything. I only have 2 cake pans. Can I just use 2/3rd of every ingredient to make 2 layers? Or should I use the same amount of ingredients and vary the baking time instead?

    Thank you!

    Best,
    Bushra

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bushra, you can 2/3 the recipe for a 2 layer cake! You could also make all the batter, leave the last third at room temperature while the two cakes bake, then use one of the pans to bake the remaining batter once it’s cool enough for a three layer cake. Let us know what you try!

  27. I remember hearing about a lemon blueberry cake and thinking what an odd combination. On a whim, I decided to try one, and this is the recipe I used. Let me just say, this is now my favorite cake..ever! It has replaced chocolate, can you believe that?? Yes it has a lot of ingredients, and a bit more prep work, but the pay off is also 10x! The cream cheese balances everything with it’s sweet and tangy flavor. Also if you’re a lemon blueberry fan, or as I call it, blemon ;), try her lemon blueberry tart!! Sooooo good!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you for your positive feedback, Dana — so glad you enjoyed this cake!

  28. Can you make this in a 9″×13″ pan? I don’t like layer cakes

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! See recipe notes for sheet cake instructions.

  29. This cake is so good. I always add lemon zest to the frosting as well. I’ve made it multiple times and always get many compliments.

  30. A hit every time I make it. Even made 5 of them for a small wedding once and there were no leftovers! My all time favorite cake. I have yet to try one of Sally’s recipes that wasn’t loved.

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