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. 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!

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!

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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.
  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 overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy cake. For a lighter crumb, you can use the same amount of sifted cake flour instead.
  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. Lemons: You need about 2 Tablespoons of lemon zest and 1/2 cup lemon juice.
  10. Cream Cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
  11. 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!

938 Comments

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  1. Can i make this cake base with fresh whip cream and berries on too instead of the cream cheese frosting(which by the way sounds amazing!) but unfortunately my friend wants a berry shortcake type cake, thought this base might be so yummy with the rest of those ingredients!

    1. Yes absolutely. Enjoy!

  2. Is there a variation to make this a “boozy” cake? What type of alcohol would you recommend me to use and about how much?

  3. I absolutely love lemon desserts and this is definitely a great recipe! Loved by the whole family, my 11 year old said it’s her new favorite cake (which is HUGE cause she prefers cookies and cream over anything else) and my 3 year old ate it up (which is also a big deal since he normally just eats frosting, not cake).
    Very easy to make and even easier to eat haha! Wish I could post a picture, my 11 year old helped decorate, to help celebrate spring and Easter. We colored the frosting a light blue and mixed some vanilla and cocoa powder to splatter on to make it look like a robins egg!

  4. Made this today as I had lots of blueberries.
    Absolutely gorgeous cake. It was easy to make although I only made half of the frosting to go between the layers.
    Will definitely make again.

  5. Hi! I love this cake so so much and have made it many times. I wanted to know if I could use this same recipe for just a lemon cake. I don’t have blueberries but have a ton of lemons.

    1. Hi Gianna, Yes you can simply leave the blueberries out. I have a separate post for my Lemon Layer Cake which was adapted from this recipe without the blueberries 🙂

  6. Hi Sally,

    Is there a way for me to alter the recipe if I am only making this cake for 3 people. I don’t need as big of a cake., or maybe a way for me to only use half of the batter and freeze the rest for another time? Thank you!

    1. Hi Haley! I recommend using my lemon blueberry cupcakes recipe to make a 6 inch cake. (Directions to do so are in the 6 inch cake post!) Or you can try halving this recipe for a 9-inch square baking pan. Same oven temperature, but I’m unsure of the exact bake time.

  7. This cake was amazing! So moist and flavorful! Like other readers, we’ve used many of Sally’s delicious recipes, but this is the first time I’ve felt led to comment. Besides being possibly the best cake I’ve ever had, my husband posed a challenge. He is not a fan of the blueberries…has anyone made this with strawberries or raspberries instead?

  8. Mike Clausen says:

    Sally,
    I just finished making the cake for my wife’s birthday and it is beautiful! Picked the blueberries yesterday and used everything as per your great instructions. I can’t wait to serve it.
    Mike

  9. This was delicious! I made it today as a Bundt cake and baked for 1 hour. I read her recipe that she linked for the Lemon Poppy Bundt Cake and copied the lemon simple syrup to drizzle over the cake. The cake turned out so moist! I cut the cream cheese frosting recipe in half since I was only frosting a Bundt. It was a perfect frosting recipe that really complemented the tartness of the lemon! Perfect crumb, perfect taste!

  10. I’m making this cake for the second time tomorrow morning. It was so delicious. I can’t wait to have some!

  11. Margaret Margle says:

    This cake was delicious, dense and super moist. I substituted milk for buttermilk and used raspberries instead of blueberries since I had neither on hand. It was more the consistency of pound cake but absolutely delicious. Loved it!

  12. I’m planning to make this as a surprise birthday cake for my aunt in a few days as we are quarantined together, but hoping to use cake flour instead (according to the tip in your recipe!) as we only have plain British flour (not quite sure if they measure up to good-quality AP flour!). Has any reviewers tried it using cake flour? I’m super nervous and would really want this to work out. Thank you.

  13. Johna Morgan says:

    I have made this cake and it was delicious! Do you think it would be good with raspberries??

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

  14. The best!!!

  15. Hi Sally,

    Made this cake this past Easter and my whole fam loved it!
    Now my 12-yo daughter has been bugging me to make it again!

    Question: although very delicious, the cake was very dense and didn’t really rise, Is there a modification I can do to the recipe? Perhaps add baking soda?

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Anne

    1. For a slightly lighter cake, feel free to reduce the baking powder to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. I do this with my lemon cake.

      1. Sheila in MD says:

        Quick question….am making this cake this weekend to drop off for some friend’s anniversary…in other posts commenting about the cake being dense, you suggest using cake flour but I now see that in this one you suggest altering the BP and BS-is one method better than the other? I was thinking after reading a lot of comments about the dense texture that I would do 2/3 cake flour and 1/3 AP so that it would be somewhere in between…but then noticed this so am a bit confused. Thanks!

  16. Made this cake for my mother’s birthday and it came out wonderful 🙂 Followed everything as stated, but I decided to use Sally’s lemon cream cheese frosting recipe which is posted with her lemon layer cake. We love the lemon flavor. This cake won’t last long!!

  17. Thank you so much! My family and I loved this cake! Made for my mother-in-law’s birthday today and it was perfect! She even loved it so much ( which is rare). I honestly thought it wouldn’t turn out so well being I only had frozen blueberries but I was wrong!

    1. I’m planning to make this for my daughter’s birthday. From past experience, cream cheese frosting doesn’t pipe very well. I was thinking of using the cream cheese frosting as a filling between the cake layers, and possibly the outside of the cake? And pipe with lemon butter cream? Would that work? Or should I use just vanilla buttercream for piping flowers. Any suggestions would be helpful.

      1. Hi Jenn, you’re right that cream cheese frosting doesn’t hold a piped shape as nicely as buttercream. You can use cream cheese frosting as the filling in the cake and lemon buttercream or vanilla buttercream on the outside. However, if you chill cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, it pipes much better.

  18. I’m making this right now! Mine is in the oven. I only had 3 eggs, so hopefully that doesn’t have too much of an impact. I also only have 2 9 inch round pans, so once cooled, I plan on cutting each one in half to have 4 layers. I only have tub of cream cheese (not the brick) so it’s going to have to do. If it isn’t stiff enough, I’ll compensate with extra butter and/or sugar. I have also been doing an insane amount of quarantine baking, so I’ve had to increase my home workouts to compensate lol. Luckily I had 2 bags of frozen blueberries to use for the cake and I think for decorating, I’m going to put blueberries on top and lemon slices on the sides. If I’m feeling really feisty, maybe I’ll try to candy some lemon peel for an additional garnish on top.

    Love your recipes!!

    1. Update:

      Cake came out great with the 3 eggs instead of 4 and the frosting came out good using the tub of cream cheese instead of the brick. I did end up making candied lemon slices for the outside of the cake. I was worried about not having enough frosting, so I had an extra bag of frozen blueberries. I boiled them down with some sugar and lemon juice to make a blueberry filling and used that between each layer of my cake and used the cream cheese frosting for the outside of the cake…I sliced my 2 cake rounds in half to make a 4 layered cake. Super good!!

  19. If I only have one lemon would you recommend increasing the amount of lemon juice (not fresh), or just roll with the amount of zest I’m able to get from one lemon?

  20. Hi! I love your recipes! I’m planning to make this for my fathers birthday and I was wondering how I can make the cake fluffier and lighter? He hates dense and dry cakes, so I want to make sure I am doing the best I can to stay away from that. Would adding sour cream or using cake flour instead work?

    1. Hi Rachel, Be careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy cake. For a lighter crumb, you can use the same amount of sifted cake flour instead.

      1. Does this mean you sift the cake flour first then measure out the same amount of ap flour? Would this make the cake dry or just lighter?

        Thanks
        V

  21. I made this for my Mom’s birthday and wow, was it delicious. It came out a little more dense than expected, almost like a pound cake, but it was amazing. Will definitely be making again.

    1. Made this for Mother’s Day for my wife and mom. It turned out more dense than I expected also. I was hoping for a light and fluffy cake but not sure how to get this texture. Mom and wife were happy.

      1. Hi Ted, For a lighter texture you can use cake flour, see recipe notes. You can also visit my post on How to Prevent a Dry or Dense Cakes for more tips.

  22. This cake turned out great I loved it! Well worth the effort. Mine came out a little dense also, but I’m chalking that up to a leaning curve and 10 years of making only box cakes. No matter the reason, this cake was 100x better than any box cake, and I made it all by myself . I’m so proud of myself. It was an accomplishment. I love your website and all of the help you offer. I can’t wait to make something new next week after I run off all of these calories. Thanks again. Happy baking!

  23. Can I use the egg whites instead of the whole egg yolks?

  24. I want to make this today but I only have 2 mine inch pans. How long should I bake them? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Marcia, You can bake two layers and leave the batter for the third layer covered at room temperature to bake when the first two are finished.

  25. This is my favorite of all your cake recipes. I made this for Easter a year ago, and my in-laws are still talking about how moist and delicious it was.

  26. I made this today and the cake came out super thin. It should have been divided into three 8” pans or two 9” pans. Really disappointed

  27. KateSchwinof says:

    This is probably an odd question but…Is it possible to make this with square 9 inch cake pans?

  28. Hi Sally,
    I love your site. I am a novice baker, been baking for a 1 year – started after I retired.

    Seeking some help and troubleshooting on what I could be doing wrong. I have found this cake to be a challenge and not sure why. I have made it twice. The first time the cake was undercooked even though it had a clean toothpick when tested in each layer. When I cut it open it was solid and dense – almost undercooked. I checked my oven with three different thermometers. It checked out fine. My second attempt – the cake was done but very thin. Nice crumb but it was only 3/4 inch high. (I am using it but disappointed it was not taller). I love tall cakes. I just baked a 6 layer cake on Monday and everything worked out fine for that one. I replaced the baking powder even though it was less than 3 months old. I should tell you I live in the California desert and we have had temps of over 100 degrees for two weeks. Do you have any suggestions, please?

    1. Hi Tomas, thank you so much for your feedback and I’m happy to help. Are you using frozen berries by chance? Sometimes I 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 and seemed under-cooked. The cake should have a little more rise than just 3/4 inch. Could you try fresh berries by chance? 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.

  29. Absolutely loved this recipe! Didn’t have the patience to make multiple layers, not when I only had one 9 inch pan available, so I chose to use my bundt pan instead! Had it in the oven for 50 minutes and it turned out great, though a little dense. I forgoed the icing, my family has a couple of diabetics, and this cake was perfect! Not too sweet, perfect lemony flavour, and it’s definitely one I’ll make again!

  30. Christa Moore says:

    I just made this cake for my mama today! (Mother’s Day) and she LOVED it!
    THANK YOU!

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