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!

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

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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


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 (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


  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 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.


  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


Comments are closed.

  1. Monica Banghart says:

    I made this today and it’s just lovely. I made it with two ten inch pans and didn’t change anything else.
    Huge hit.

    1. Hi Sally! I made this cake a few weeks ago and it tasted amazing!

    2. Hi Sally! The flavours of this recipe are marvellous, thank you. However I struggled to get the frosting thick and spreadable. Instead it stayed quite runny and was hard to spread into the cake. I followed the instructions and only added a little more whipped double cream in the hope to thicken it up. Would you have any advice? Thank you!

      1. My “frosting” also turned out quite runny, more like a thick icing. Delicious, but translucent coverage of the dark speckled cake. The cream cheese compliments the fruit flavors beautifully.

  2. Hi Sally! Do you think this cake would work with a mascarpone frosting and if so do you have a recommendation?

    1. Hi Sally! I don’t have a mascarpone frosting recipe, but one would certainly work on this cake.

  3. Martha Johnson says:

    Does this cake have to stay refrigerated?

  4. Hey Sally!
    Best recipe ever. Cool thing. I halved the whole thing and baked it in a 9×13 cake pan and it worked perfectly. I don’t usually follow a recipe exactly and I used 1/2 cup of cake flour but that’s the only change I made. Fabulous. Thank you

    1. Rose Malloy says:

      Should the cake stay refrigerated after the 45 min recommended until ready to serve?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Rose, You can keep the cake in the refrigerator longer than 45 minutes. If it’s much longer simply leave it out on the counter for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

  5. I made the blueberry cake and it was LOVED by all!! Can you substitute the blueberries for strawberries?

  6. Okay I need to stop baking at 10:00 at night because this cake turned out way too dense. I assume I over-mixed it because I misunderstood this line:
    “Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds”

    I took this to mean “add a little of the dry ingredients mix, beat for 5 seconds, add a little more of the dry, beat for 5 seconds, repeat until all of the dry ingredients mix is added”, but was I actually just supposed to dump all of the dry ingredient mix in the bowl at once and then beat for 5 seconds just the one time? I could use some clarification because I do want to try this again if I messed it up. The only other thing I can think of was there wasn’t enough liquid because I didn’t realize the eggs I had were medium and not large…

    1. Hi Liz, You can add them in one or two additions so you don’t have to mix as much. 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.

  7. The flavors of this cake are perfect. My cake seems to be very thin and not rising as much as I’d like (each cake is less than 1 inch high). I baked for 30 mintues! Any advice?

    1. Hi Cassie, 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. Could you try fresh berries by chance? If you want even more height, use cake flour and try reducing the baking powder down to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons and adding 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

      1. You are exactly right- I was using frozen blueberries! I will definitely try with fresh next time. Thanks for the tips!

  8. I Just made this cake and it is cooling. It has turned out beautifully. I was thinking of putting some lemon curd between the layers with the icing. Would that be too overwhelming do you think?

    1. I think adding lemon curd would be delicious! I like to put down a thin layer of buttercream and then thicker ring around the outer edge of the cake to keep the curd in and stop the layers from slipping – then frost the outside as normal.

      1. Thanks. I will try it. I am making this for my sister-in-law’s birthday tomorrow . I will let you know. This could become my new favorite recipe!

    2. Im doing a lemon curd filling too! Also worried about it being too sweet. How did it come out?

      1. The lemon curd was delicious. It is very rich so next time I will cut it in very thin slices!

      2. Hi Sally,
        Is it alright to used canned blue berries instead of fresh or frozen berries. Don’t have fresh or frozen. Any tips?

        Thanks much

      3. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Rich, we haven’t tested this recipe using canned blueberries. I recommend blotting them first so the blueberries juices don’t turn the batter blue (though you will notice a little blue coloration)!

  9. I find that most ‘lemon’ desserts do not taste like lemons. They are either bland or have an artificial flavor taste. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors so this is one of my pet peeves. This cake is the exception. I made this cake for my birthday and followed the recipe exactly with one exception. I don’t have 3 round cake pans so I used 2 cake pans. The cake was moist and had a delicious lemon flavor. My husband loved this cake and called it his birthday cake. Thankfully, we were able to share.

  10. Two important questions…
    I am about to bake this…

    1) Can I use three 8-inch pans? Will the batter fit? How long to bake?

    2) Would Kirkland-brand goat cream cheese work in place of the block cream cheese in the frosting? Will that be good? Disgusting?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Monika, You can use 8 inch pans without changing the recipe – your layers will be a little bit thicker so may take an extra minute in the oven. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. I have not tried this frosting with goat cream cheese so I’m unsure how the flavor would change.

      1. Thanks so much for replying. I bought brick cream cheese…I am too afraid to try goat cheese just in case guests don’t like it.

        Final question: I’d like to lower the sugar. Will this ruin the moisture level or texture? Can I use 1 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar?

        Thanks again. Your blog is just beautiful.

  11. I lied – I have yet another question.
    I have chopped about a cup’s worth of fresh cherries to replace the blueberries because this is what I had. Will the cake still turn out? Also, I feel like almond extract and cherry would go…Thoughts? This would likely require the omission of the lemon juice and zest and replacement with milk or water, yes? OR should I use the lemon and the cherries and vanilla and forego the almond?

    1. Hi Monika! Chopped fresh cherries should be just fine in this recipe instead of the blueberries. You can certainly add some almond extract and try replacing the lemon juice with milk. Skip the lemon zest. I haven’t tested the recipe this way so I can’t guarantee results.

  12. Any advice on how to adjust the recipe and baking time for high altitude? (I’m trying to bake this cake in Denver and my first one didn’t work out.)

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

  13. Mary Lou Jelinek says:

    Hi Sally, I’m making this for a birthday and want a layered sheet cake. If I put it in a 12 x 17 half jelly roll pan, is there enough for two layers or should I double the batter?

    1. Hi Mary Lou, my cake pan sizes and conversions page should help here. You won’t have enough batter for 2 half sheet cakes, so I recommend making this batter twice. (Doubling all at once risks over or under-mixing and could overwhelm your mixer.)

      1. Mary Lou Jelinek says:

        Terrific! Thank you!

  14. Absolutely to die for! The combination of lemon and blueberries are perfect and so delicious!!

  15. Hi Sally

    My cream is a bit sour. Or did Inuse the wrong cream? I used heavy cooking cream. Is this the reason? Otherwise it was fun baking and easy to follow. I’ll post and tag you

  16. Thinking about trying this recipe and using mini loaf pans instead. I wouldn’t layer the loafs, I would serve them individually. Would this be ok? If so, how long would the baking time be?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sara, If you would like to try making cakes in different size pans you will find our guide to Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions helpful!

  17. Will i have enough to do a two layered 10inch pan? Instead of a 3 layered 9inch pan?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sean, You can use the post Cake Pan Sizes & Conversions to help calculate how much batter you would need for different size pans.

  18. Hi Sally!
    I plan to decorate this cake with 3D fondant flowers – so it cannot be refrigerated. Do you see any issues with no refrigeration if I don’t use the cream cheese frosting? I have a favorite frosting that I use with fondant cakes, but would like your opinion on the safety of the cake. I don’t bake with fruit too often. Thank you!

    1. Hi Laura, a vanilla buttercream would definitely be a better choice underneath the fondant. You can 1.5x or double this vanilla buttercream recipe to have enough for this layer cake.

    2. Hi, i made this cake today and it looks amazing! Should i store it in the refrigerator?

  19. I made this for my husbands birthday. I used two round cake pans instead of three. It turned out amazing. I only baked it for about 8 mins longer than the recipe stated. My husband also loved the icing. It is a bit fluffier than standard cc frostings. Thanks for this recipe. I am not an experienced cake baker by any means but this just turned out perfectly fluffy and delicious!!! 5 STARS!!!

  20. I made this with a small modification. I piped a border of icing between the layers and filled them with lemon curd. I appreciated your tips on how to avoid a dry or dense cake. The tops of the cakes still looked shiny and under done at 20 minutes, but the toothpick was clean so I pulled them out, and they were perfect. The cake was absolutely delicious and a big hit! I’ll definitely be making this one again.

  21. Hi Sally, can I use swiss merigue butter cream instead of cream cheese frosting?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can!

  22. Natalia Pena says:

    This cake is amazing as it is . Wondering if I could use cake flour for a softer cake ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can! See recipe notes.

  23. I’m so sorry Sally if this has already been asked but I love the look of this recipe but am desperate for a taller cake, if I doubled it all do you think it would hold the extra weight for a 6 layer cake?
    I’m hoping to make for my son’s birthday tomorrow, thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hannah, For the best texture it’s best to make the recipe twice instead of doubling it. Use the same amount of sifted cake flour instead of all purpose for a lighter texture if you are worried about the weight!

  24. Would it be possible to make this recipe gluten free? Any help would be amazing

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

      1. So I made this gluten free and used gluten free plain flour and 1/4 tsp xantham gum and I got great feedback from this! Thanks so much for the recipe

  25. I made this and used a bundt pan. Turned out beautiful. A wonderful cake recipe. I have blueberry plants and now have this great recipe to put them in. Thank you for this cake.

  26. Hey Sally I have made this recipe many times and it is phenomenal thank you for sharing such an delicious recipe. I do have a question though did you by chance revise the lemon zest from 3 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons in this recipe or am I just going crazy lol? I have always used 3 tablespoons but I see that your recipe says to use only 2.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jeff, The recipe hasn’t changed 🙂

  27. Lisa Cotter says:

    Simply the best. I’m about to make it for a 3rd time.

  28. Deborah Hughes says:

    I didn’t notice the recipe called for fresh lemons. I used the real lemon juice. I haven’t tasted it. It’s in the oven. My son wanted something with blueberries. Will the bottled lemon juice alter the taste? Please let me know.

  29. I’m making this in the next day or so for daughters birthday. The video shows you lightly flouring the baking pans but the instructions merely state greasing and parchment paper. ?? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cindy, Since this video was filmed we have found the absolute best way to guarantee any cake won’t stick is to spray your pan, line with a round piece of parchment, and then spray again. Works every time!

  30. This recipe has a great flavor. I tried a couple of different fat combinations including sour cream, oil/butter, etc and this one was the BEST! I substituted cake flour the next time I made it and it turned out even better! Highly recommend

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