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!
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. Or perhaps breakfast? Try my lemon blueberry muffins.
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!
More Lemon Recipes For You
- Lemon Bars
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Blueberry Lemon Icebox Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Homemade Lemon Cupcakes
Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 23 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: serves 10-12
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 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 (spooned & 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
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 9-inch round cake pans or 8-inch round cake pans (8-inch pans produce thicker cakes), line with parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans. (If it’s helpful, see this parchment paper rounds for cakes video & post.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | 9-Inch Round Cake Pans or 8-Inch Round Cake Pans | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Cake Turntable or Cake Stand | Straight Icing Spatula | Offset Icing Spatula | Cake Carrier (to store cake)
- 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.
- 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.
- Cupcakes: Here is my lemon cupcakes recipe. You can add 1 cup of blueberries to the batter and top with cream cheese frosting.
- 6 Inch Cake: Use these lemon blueberry cupcakes batter and follow my 6 inch cake baking instructions. You can use regular lemons instead of meyer lemons (like the cupcakes call for) if needed.
- 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.
- Flour: Be careful not to over-measure your flour. This will result in a heavy cake.
- 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.
- Cream Cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.
- 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!
Reader Comments & Reviews
This is such a wonderful recipe and the cream cheese frosting is perfect. I have made it gluten free and also swapped out the blueberries for raspberries and I always get rave reviews. Thank you!!!
Julie, what did you do to make the recipe gluten free? I have CUP4CUP multipurpose GF flour, but I was hesitant to sub it in. What did you use? Thanks!
So glad you said this. I want to make this soon and I wanted to see if raspberries would work. Thank you for your comment.
I thought I should give an update because two days ago I was wondering if I should serve this cake at a birthday party (because I thought it was too dense and moist and had thrown out my first attempt). I did serve it and everybody (including me) loved it! It IS very rich and pound cake like, but when entirely assembled, it looked beautiful and the flavor was delicious! I’ll be making it again with perhaps a few adjustments to see if I can get it to rise a bit more.
I should have read the comments before I made this cake. The flavor was lovely but after my first attempt I convinced myself that I must have forgotten the baking powder and I threw all three layers into the compost. I then started over again and was disappointed to get the same results. This cake was too dense and wet for my taste … still making up my mind whether or not to serve it for a birthday party tomorrow!
I made the original recipe and I also made a modified recipe where I used milk instead of lemon juice, both times great cake. I’ve used this cake as a basic vanilla cake without blueberries also. It’s my basic cake for everything now. The frosting is a classic, simple and tasty. I always bake two cakes in 9″ round pans at 350F for 27 minutes. Perfect golden cake
I was having a birthday dinner for my mom and didn’t want a store bought cake. I saw this and knew I wanted to attempt it. I was nervous as I never made a cake from scratch before. I followed the recipe and crossed my fingers. This cake was beautiful and delicious! I had a bit of anxiety until it was cut but it was delicious and moist with a spring flair. I will definitely make it again. Thank you for such a yummy recipe !
So happy to hear that this cake was a hit for you, Susan! Thank you so much for trusting our recipe for your mom’s birthday cake.
I tried this recipe with some Saskatoon Berries we had in our freezer and it turned out beautifully! The berries were suspended just the right amount and there were minimal cake scraps from leveling.
I did add a blackberry/Saskatoon berry filling between layers instead of icing and it turned out wonderfully. Not too wet at all
Absolutely delicious and moist my sisters pound cake was delicious for her birthday and this blueberry lemon cake for my mom. Thanks Sally for delicious recipes!
I made the Lemon Blueberry cake but instead of Blueberries, I had to use figs. For whatever reason the grocery store didn’t have any fresh blueberries so I used fresh figs and the cake was delicious!
Hi! Can I use fresh raspberries instead? Raspberries and lemon sound good, right? We aren’t huge fan of blueberries.
Hi Jennifer, Absolutely! Simply swap with the same amount of raspberries.
This recipe is absolutely delicious. I I I followed the steps exactly using 3 “9” inch pans. I used fresh blueberries and 2 1/2 lemons. I baked on 350 for 21 minutes. The cream cheese frosting covered the 3 layers perfectly. I put it in the fridge for 2 days and it was extremely moist. I will definitely make it again for the next barbecue.
Hi Sally: Would I be able to use cake flour in this recipe? I have some to use up and not a lot of recipes call for it. This cakes sounds divine, am looking forward to baking it!
Hi Janice, 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. Here are all of our recipes that call for cake flour, in case you are interested in browsing!
I made this today just for fun and it’s awesome. I followed the recipe exactly and didn’t have any problems, but the cake layers don’t rise a lot, which was fine with me because they taste great.
Just fantastic! I hadn’t made a cake from scratch in more than 20 years, so I was a bit nervous about trying this one. My 26-year-old daughter asked for a “lemon berry cake” for her birthday. She came for dinner with her three roommates, all excellent cooks and baking aficionados. When I served the Sally’s Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake, the response was overwhelming. They LOVED the cake. They couldn’t stop talking about it, asking me what I did, where I got the recipe, telling me how delicious/moist/flavorful it was. I highly recommend this recipe!
Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Debbie! We’re so glad you loved this recipe.
I made this cake for my daughter’s baby shower and I was a bit nervous about it, since I didn’t get to try it first, but it was a huge success. Everyone loved it, I had so many compliments on the cake. I will definitely be making it again!
I am not a baker. This is the first cake I tried to make from scratch. It came out perfect! I don’t know what is happening to those that say ‘too dense’ – the measurements, time to cool, etc. is spot. Makes sure and cut in view of your guests, it is quite the surprise!
This might possibly be my favorite cake recipe EVER!
One of my absolute favorite cakes! I think what alot of people are missing is to make sure to whip the eggs really good! The recipe says 2 mins… You really do need to whip for the entire 2 mins – The egg is what helps give this cake fluff. Although this is definitely more of a pound cake, it is beyond amazing.
I haven’t made the cake but I only have one 9inch springform pan. Could I just bake the layers one at a time? Or would it be better to not make a layer cake, or make the lemon cupcakes? If I can bake the layers one at a time is it ok to use the springform pan instead of a cake pan?
Hi Georgia! You can bake the layers one at time in your springform pan. You could do two or three layers. The batter can be left covered at room temperature until the pan is ready. Let us know how it goes!
Haven’t made the cake yet, but was curious if anyone has done this cake with two layers? Any pointers before I start on it? I only have two round pans. I may have to do a third layer when one of the pans are done.
Hi Lauren! There is too much batter for two pans. Overfilling your cake pan will lead to the cake not baking properly, it will be too heavy to rise and will likely overflow. 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. Hope you enjoy the cake!
This cake made me look like a much better baker than I am. It is dense, but in a rich, decadent way. I added some blueberries as I frosted the layers; otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. A hit!
I am an experienced baker, and this recipe, like all of Sally’s recipes I’ve made, didn’t disappoint! Since discovering Sally’s recipes, I’ve started weighing ingredients, especially flour. It makes for a much more consistent result. I also have a really good oven with an accurate temperature, which also contributes to that perfect result. This recipe has really good lemon flavor as a result of the zest incorporated in the batter. The first time I made it, I didn’t have fresh lemons, and though still good, fresh lemon juice and zest kicked this recipe into the stratosphere. I think fresh blueberries are also a must. Since the frosting is a little shy of the amount I like on a cake, I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 on my second time baking this recipe. My home is at 74 F, so one Tblsp of cream was all that was needed for good spreadability. I’ll be making this once again by request for Mother’s Day. This cake is a super crowd pleaser!
This turned out wonderfully for Easter! I used Better Batter gluten free flour blend, cup for cup, and it was a little dense but we loved it. I was worried the frosting wouldn’t be enough for a three-layer cake so I skimped on the frosting between the layers, but that wasn’t necessary. There was plenty. I just ended up with a nice thick outer coating of frosting. I also think this is the perfect cream cheese frosting recipe. Yum!
Great recipe that will impress! I distributed the batter between two round 9 inch pans and 8 cupcakes. I will make this again.
Do you think I good double the recipe and bake in three 9×13 inch pans and make it into a 3 layer cake.
Hi Nancy, one batch of batter fits nicely into a single 9×13 pan (see recipe notes for bake times). For three 9×13 cakes, we’d recommend making three separate batches rather than tripling. You could make two batches as you mention for thinner 9×13 cakes. Let us know what you try.
We just finished this cake. The frosting really takes the cake to a whole other level. So amazing!
Could diced strawberries be used?
Hi Lucas, absolutely. You may need to bake the cakes a little longer since strawberries tend to be juicier than blueberries, giving the cake extra liquid. Keep a close eye on them and use a toothpick to test for doneness. Happy baking!
Weird question, but if you used a strawberry puree reduced by half, (1cup puree cooked to reduce to 1/2 cup) how many grams of the reduced puree would be appropriate for this recipe? Could powdered freeze dried Strawberries also be used with the puree for a strawberry kick?
Hi, I loved the recipe so much but then my batter turn runny. What should I do? Help please!!
Hi Shafiqah, did you happen to make any changes to the recipe? How are you measuring your flour? Be sure to spoon and level (or use weight measurement) to ensure the right amount of flour to help incorporate properly with the wet ingredients.
Could I use half sour cream and half buttermilk, like you recommend in your triple chocolate cake?
Hi Moilshri! In our triple chocolate cake recipe, the sour cream version helps produce a sturdier crumb. The crumb in this cake is already sturdy, and replacing some of the buttermilk with sour cream may result in an overly-dense cake. You can use milk instead of buttermilk in this particular recipe as well. Hope this helps!
I made this cake for my moms 73rd birthday and it was a hit! Everyone loved it and it was moist and delicious!! Not too sweet but just right. I will be making this cake again for sure!! I used the measurements as directed in the recipe.
I wanted to change the frosting to a mascarpone frosting. Therefore I baked the cake one day and then did the frosting the following day. I wrapped each cake individually. I found the crumb too heavy. The cake had a decent flavor but not what I wanted crumb wise. I’m not sure it would have been that much lighter had I not wrapped it after it cooled. I also feel my blueberries were too big and recommend maybe wild blueberries. I will continue my quest fir a lemon blueberry cake.