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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

Let’s dive headfirst into this sunshine-sweet springtime layer cake… no matter the time of year!

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!

Need cupcakes instead? Use my recipe for lemon blueberry cupcakes.


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: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: serves 1012 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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. Turn mixer 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

Here’s my recipe for lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting – a reader favorite!

lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting

Reader Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Chantel! The metric measurements are included in the recipe above. 1 cup buttermilk is 240 ml. Happy baking!

      1. This recipe was a huge hit! I made it for my coworkers birthday. Only thing I did differently was make a German buttercream frosting with lemon curd as my coworker doesn’t like cream cheese. Cake turned out super moist and absolutely delicious

      1. Can I substitute marscapone for the cream cheese in the frosting?

    2. This recipe came out fantastic! I made these for work as cupcakes and they were delicious. Lemony and moist with a cream cheese frosting that paired well.

      1. I was wondering if anyone made these into cupcakes & glad I looked again. Thank you.

  1. I added about 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the frosting and also increased the sugar to 4 cups, which made the tart-to-sweetness ratio perfect. The icing was so good I’m surprised I got any on the cake.
    Also, instead of slicing off the tops to even out the cakes I just flipped them over. The bottoms were nicely level. When I frosted the cake I had no issues with slipping…the icing was quite thick.
    I haven’t eaten the finished product yet, it’s a birthday cake for someone tomorrow. I’ll definitely let you know how it turns out, but based on my experience and how it looks I believe it’ll be amazing.

  2. Hi,
    I wanted to make a 6inch square cake, but wasnt sure how much batter was required for the same. Can’t wait to try it tomorrow!

  3. Made this a couple years ago. It’s brilliant. Also made version using raspberries instead of blueberries. Thank you.

  4. Made this cake during a blizzard. Not only was it fun to make, but it’s just so delicious! The lemon flavor really shows up and shows out. It wouldn’t be the same cake without it. The frosting recipe will be my go to in the future from here on out. It’s creamy, tangy, sweet, and simply perfect. I followed both the recipe for the cake and frosting to the T and both were scrumptious. I didn’t need to trim the cakes, the cooked evenly and had a smooth bottom that was easy to frost and stack. With my oven, 21 minutes was perfect. I was a little concerned the cakes weren’t cooked all the way through but the toothpick was dry when I tested them so I took them out even though the top of the cake was very blonde. I will 100% make this recipe again, and most likely will alter it very little. Loved it!

  5. This recipe sounds delicious. I have recently discovered the combination of orange juice, cinnamon and blueberries in a muffin recipe and would like to try it with this cake. Could I substitute orange juice for the lemon juice? If so, should I adjust the sugar? (I like tart foods.) Any other changes?

    1. Hi Margaret! Yes, you can use orange instead. We wouldn’t change the amount of sugar for best results. Enjoy!

  6. Can I successfully make cupcakes from this cake recipe? or is it best to go all out with the cake?

  7. I usually love Sally’s recipes but I honestly think this one needs some tweaks. I can see that a lot of the comments said that their cake was dense/gluey and mine came out very dense/gluey too. I weighed all my ingredients so I don’t think its because of anything like that. I also folded in the flour/berries, I didn’t even mix it.

    I’m thinking this is because I used frozen berries, even though I did coat them in flour. Honestly, I think the amount of water that frozen blueberries give off is too much for this cake, which probably already has a tendency to be dense. I think if you are using frozen, you need to cut the amount of berries maybe to lessen the amount of added water. Maybe cake flour also would help this cake out some. I’m thinking the major culprit is the frozen berries, probably should advise against using them.

    1. I don’t know – I used fresh blueberries and still came out dense and gluey. Followed the recipe exactly. This is the first time one of Sally’s recipes didn’t work for me.

    2. I bet it was the frozen berries, I used fresh and my cake is tender, light and fluffy. I also weighed the ingredients.

  8. Hi Sally, this recipe is incredible. I’ve made it a dozen times for guests and you can see their eyes widen when they taste it every time.

    I struggle with the crumb, though, and I feel like I’ve only nailed it (without it being over-dense) once or twice. I wondered if you have any further tips for Step 3 above? I have tried incorporating the dry and wet ingredients with a hand mixer, a whisk, and a spatula; and I’ve tried to be precise about not overmixing when beating in the buttermilk/zest/lemon juice. But more often than not, the cake turns out to be a little more dense than I imagine it’s intended to be.

    I am using a digital scale, and have almost always used frozen berries.

    Any advice is appreciated, and thanks for all the content on the site!

    1. Hi James, Sometimes the lemon juice + buttermilk can weigh down the crumb and I expect that happened here. What has actually helped us recently is adding a little baking soda, even just 1/4 teaspoon. Try to reduce down to 6 Tbsp lemon juice instead of 1/2 cup. This should help as well. And, lastly, a little extra time in the oven too. Hope these tips help for next time!

  9. I made this cake for my daughter’s 4th birthday it was a big hit!!! Came out sooo delicious! Definitly saving this recipe !

  10. Sally, brava! This cake is a family favorite! It’s the most delicious cake I’ve ever eaten and kudos to you for developing the recipe. I follow your recipe to the letter and the cake is always moist and flavorful with the perfect blend of tangy and sweet. I always use fresh blueberries!

  11. I would like to make this vegan, can I replace the eggs with flax eggs, vegan butter and soy buttermilk? has anyone tried?

    1. Hi MT, we haven’t tested those substitutes, but let us know if you do.

  12. Can i make this in a bundt cake pan? Don’t want layers and frosting.

    1. Hi Marjorie, see recipe notes for Bundt cake details.

  13. I made this cake for my sister in-law’s birthday and although I thought it was dense, everyone enjoyed the flavors. I will make again with the suggested tips above but definitely a great recipe!

  14. Can you use either full fat or low fat buttermilk? In my experience, depending on the recipe, full fat can be too dense.

    1. Either work! I usually use low fat because that’s all my store carries.

  15. hello i would like to make this cake in a ten inch tin . How do I amend the recipe?
    caroline

    1. Hi Caroline, You can reference this guide to determine how much batter you’ll need for your 10 inch pans.

  16. I live in Denver, and would like to know what adjustments to make for high altitude please. This is a perfect dessert for the group I am hosting. Thank you!

  17. The recipe is so good. I made a one layer cake because I didn’t want a lot of cake leftovers. Aside from cutting the recipe in half, I followed your directions. I will make this again and remember that the batter is thick and to not over mix. Using fresh lemons was so delicious too. I used frozen berries in the cake and used fresh berries to top the cake. I posted photos on social media with your recipe link. So many people were posting they wanted to make it.

    1. Hi Waynette, thanks for sharing this recipe. We’re so glad you loved it!

    1. Hi Allison, many readers have reported success doing so. Let us know if you give it a try!

  18. I haven’t made this recipe yet but am planning to for Easter this weekend. Can I make as a double layered cake using 9″ round pans instead of making it with three layers?

    1. Hi Lynn, the layers will be quite thick and may bake unevenly if baked in two pans. If you only have two pans, 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.

  19. Sally, This cake is fantastic! Your recipes are the best. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sheena, We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you try it!

    1. Hi Abby, 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.

  20. the cake was very dense, almost like a pudding, I don’t know what happened as I weighed all the ingredients. It was a delicious pudding at least!! I used frozen blueberries.

  21. I agree with other reviews that the cake is too dense. I bake often and this was disappointing. I prefer moist and fluffy cakes.

  22. I’m not sure what I did wrong but the cake barely rose when baked. Maybe my ingredients weren’t quite room temperature? I’m sure it will be delicious even if it’s denser than I’d like.

    1. Hi Barbara, Happy to help. It could be a few things. First, make sure your baking powder and soda are fresh. We find they lose strength after just 3-4 months. Use proper room temperature butter and other room temperature ingredients. Make sure you spoon and level the flour, too! These tips should help for next time. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

  23. Does not work, cook times are completely wrong and the particularly the icing recipe was not right. Cannot recommend

  24. My cake also came out dense …the consistency is more like a muffin than cake. The layers were rather flat using 9 inch pans. I tried folding in fresh berries rather than mixing. My ingredients were all purchased in the last 3 days and I did not deviate from the recipe. I don’t think I would waste the ingredients for a another try. I am reluctant to even spend the effort and ingredients frosting it. 🙁

    1. Hi Susan, these are thinner cake layers, but make sure you’re not over mixing the batter which can lead to dense and squat cakes. 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!

  25. My husband has been making this cake for my birthday for several years, and I look forward to it every year! But we have a 1.5 year old with an egg allergy we’ll be accommodating for the first time this year. What egg substitute do you think would work best?

  26. I made this for Easter yesterday and it was a huge success. I was nervous after reading the comments about it being dense but you did say that it was between the consistency of pound cake and yellow cake. I followed your tips and it turned out perfectly. Delicious blend of tart and sweet. This is my new favorite recipe. The Carrot Cake has moved into second place. Thank you so much!

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