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
Frozen blueberries do not work. Cake turned heavy and dense. Is there a differnt reason for this?
Hi Frank! Frozen blueberries do add extra moisture which can slightly alter the cakes texture. This is a more dense cake style – somewhere between a vanilla layer cake and pound cake. Be very careful not to over-mix the batter which can lead to a dense cake. Here’s more tips for baking perfect cakes!
Thanks for the baking tips, I only have a hand mixer which makes me think I over mix it.
Have you made this into a sheet cake before?
Absolutely! See recipe notes for details.
This cake was so easy to make and my guests raved about it! Not too lemony and light and fresh. I sent all my guests your link Sally. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Now one of my faves!
Hi! I want to make this cake but with a dairy free frosting. Do you think I should go with a lemon buttercream or a plain/vanilla buttercream? TIA!
A lemon buttercream would be lovely!
I made this cake a couple of days ago using two 8 inch pans. It came out great. I did not have cream cheese so only used powered sugar, butter, vanilla, and whipping cream. It was delicious. I will use the same recipe for making large cupcakes this weekend. Thank you for your recipe. I wish I could upload my picture.
This recipe is delicious! I’m not a huge fan of blueberries but still think it’s great. I added some lemon zest to my frosting also. I may swap it for strawberry pieces next time.
DEFINITELY dont agree using 9″ cake tin is a good idea – they come out way too thin. Also annoyed about cream block – there is no such thing in Europe. would be nice if the author came up with a recipe for icing that doesnt call for extra fatty block of cream. other than that the cake is ok.
Hi Schola, thank you for trying the cake and for your feedback. You can certainly use a lower fat frosting alternative that you love instead. Swiss meringue buttercream is also a nice choice for this cake.
I keep trying to get this cake right but I always get pockets of lemon that stay liquid even when I bake the cakes for the longest advised baking time. Could this happen with a mixing issue? I followed to mixing speeds and times and used a kitchen aid stand mixer, everything looked really well mixed
My partner loved this cake just as it was. It is a great cake, I just would have liked it even more lemony. Next time I may put lemon curd between the layers. It is a wonderful cake – make it!
I have been wanting to make this for so long as it’s my favorite flavors. I made it for my family and was so disappointed, it looked great back the cake was heavy and dense, I feel like I did everything as stated. Your recipes are always my favorite and definitely my “go to”. Please help because I really want this be my special cake!!!!
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!
Are there high altitude instructions for this cake recipe?
Hi Kim, we wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html
I made this cake over the weekend and mine turned out more dense than I would have liked. Any recommendation for a lighter cake with same flavor profile? Or how to modify this recipe to make it lighter?
After baking this cake in a 12 x 17 inch sheet pan, would it work to cut it into layers with cake rings? I have been wanting to try that method to make a layer cake. Thanks.
Hi Rachel, we can’t see why not — the layers will be pretty thin. Let us know how it goes!
I don’t know what happened. I’ve made this cake four or five times previously and it turned out fabulously. This time, it was bland, dense, dry, and very disappointing. I am admittedly not a baker, I am surely a cook, but I know how important it is to follow baking recipes because of chemistry–I measured everything and followed the recipe to a T…what in the world happened? We ended up throwing it away as the calories just weren’t worth it.
I made this for my daughter’s birthday yesterday it came out great my daughter said best cake ever. I followed the easy directions glad I ignored the unfavorable reviews,don’t know what they did wrong but my cake came out great. Thank you so much.
I made this for my brother’s birthday. It turned out great. I followed the recipe and didn’t change a thing and it looks as good as it tastes. It is delicious and everything blends together so well to create a fresh, moist, and flavorful cake. I wish I could upload a photo.
Made this cake for a belated Father’s Day celebration. I was worried because I am not a huge baker, but it seemed more reasonable than a pie, and just sounded good. It was delicious! Yes, it was a more dense cake, but that is intentional so it did not seem like the texture was a mistake – the substance of the cake allowed a lovely distribution of blueberries and paired so nicely with the lightness of the frosting. I was impressed and so was my family. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Made this for my husband’s birthday and it was nothing short of amazing.
I had just finished making this cake and had my sad review all typed up. My first cakes turned out flat, dense, and rubbery. I tested my baking powder with hot water, it fizzed! I couldn’t figure out what went wrong.
I’m a big fan of Sally’s recipes and wasn’t ready to give up so I went to the store, bought new baking powder, and tried again. I’m so glad I did! The cakes in the second batch were still not super tall but the texture was much improved. This cake has a great taste and very moist texture. My friends cleared their plates and argued over leftovers. I suggest making sure you use NEW baking powder. Passing the “fizz-test” was not enough for me in this case. This cake is totally worth making, even if you have to make it twice!
This looks amazing! I’m hoping to make this for a friend who is lactose intolerant and gluten free…could I use lactose free milk, dairy free butter, and gluten free 1:1 flour? Or would that totally mess things up?
Hi Sara, We haven’t tested this recipe with these substitutions but let us know if you try it!
I can’t wait to try this cake. I have a question. Is the mixer supposed to be running on low while slowly adding the dry ingredients? Also, is it after the last of the dry ingredients is added that the batter is to be mixed on low for 5 min. I am over thinking this I think. Thank you.
Hi Rachel, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (without the mixer running), then mix for a quick 5 seconds (not minutes!) before adding the rest of the wet ingredients and mixing just until combined. Hope this helps!
I made this cake last week with the substitutions I mentioned in my first comment (earth balance soy free butter for butter, lactose free milk for the cream, and vitacost gluten free baking mix for flour). The cake was pretty dense but the flavor and texture were great! Overall, I’d say it was a win considering the significant switches I made. 🙂
I also made buttercream frosting with the earth balance butter and lactose free milk which tasted great and worked fine but was a little hard to spread.
This is now my favorite birthday cake to be served on MY birthday. I am usually hard to please when it comes to lemon recipes but this cake has the right amount of tart/sweet combination.
This is probably the best lemon & blueberry cakes I’ve ever tasted! Recipe is so easy to follow and love the advice on mixing times! Is there a way to make the cream cheese frosting set without refrigerating? I find putting cakes in the fridge can dry them out a bit.
Hi Lynn! It’s the best way to help the frosting set, we find that just 45 minutes or so doesn’t dry the cake out. So glad you enjoyed this recipe!
This has become a family favorite! Perfect combination between the cake and the icing. Just enough lemon flavor. Only wish it was calorie free because I could eat the whole cake myself!! LOL!
thanks for this wonderful recipe sally. i made this for my wedding (small cake + lots of cupcakes) and 4 years later friends still bring up how good it was. now im making this recipe again for a friends non profit fundraiser event!
I’ve made this cake several times and it always comes out perfectly and is a real crowd pleaser. Light, fluffy and moist cake. Frosting is really great, although I sometimes make a little extra!
Would it be possible to make this cake without a stand mixer, like the old fashioned way mixing everything by hand?
I just made this recipe by hand, and it came out perfectly! Just be sure that the butter is soft, and you shouldn’t have any troubles.
I made this cake using a hand mixer and it was Delicious! (I have a stand mixer too but didn’t feel like scraping down the sides .)
I am going to make this recipe. Is the buttermilk supposed to be cold or closer to room temperature?
Hi Liv! Room temperature is best.
I have lemon juice but no lemons for the zest. Can u make it without the zest?
Fantastic, zingy lemon flavor with natural blueberry sweetness. I used 8” pans and got three decks of cake about 2” high each. However, mine was also very dense, so it was like a pound cake texture. As others mentioned, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but it tasted and looked great! Any suggestions?
Hi Sarah, This is a more dense cake – somewhere between a vanilla layer cake and pound cake.
I created a monster. It seemed to me that 350g of sugar would be too much, so I added less. Then I understood why there was so much sugar… The souerness of the cake is unbearable >.< It's also very damp. Something definetly went wrong :c
Hi Dominika, sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. Reducing it will drastically change the results of your cake.
This was the first time one of Sally’s recipes didn’t work out for me. My cakes were very dense and flat and my ingredients were all good. I didn’t over mix. I have no idea what went wrong. The flavors were nice and the icing was great but the cake was stodgy. No getting around that. I didn’t expect that at all.
Made this on 4th of July and it was a hit. My only change was I added blueberries into the frosting (my grandsons request). The instructions were easy to follow and it tasted great. I will definitely make this one again. Love your recipes.
Good concept. I added lemon curd in between the layers and did not regret it. My biggest problem was the cake was dry and a bit bland. I followed the instructions and the cakes looked like they should be perfect! Maybe Sally’s recipes aren’t for me.
I am an experienced baker and Sally’s recipes have never led me astray…until this one. I should have read the comments before starting as I had many of the same issues. I wanted to bake a 3 layer 6×2 inch cake so I halfed the ingredients for this recipe after comparing it to the recommended cupcake recipe (the cupcake recipe did not include the brown sugar). I followed all of the steps as directed and came away with 3 dense pancakes – about 1 inch each and not suitable for a layer cake. I tried again, this time making the full recipe, enough to fill an 8 or 9 inch pan. This time I got 2 inch layers as intended with no extra batter! While everything tasted good, there was no rise at all (yes, my ingredients were still good), and it wasn’t the crumb texture I was going for. If you’re looking for a denser pound cake type texture, this would do.
Hi Stacey, thank you for your feedback. 2 inch layers in the full cake is accurate and about the thickness I usually get as well. Did you use 8 inch or 9 inch pans? For the 6 inch cake, I do recommend the cupcakes recipe batter. I have better results using that.
I am surprised that the frosting does not contain lemons or blueberries or both, any reason it was made with vanilla frosting?
Hi Steve! There’s plenty of flavor coming from the lemon blueberry cakes themselves and the creamy frosting is a perfect compliment to those flavors, but feel free to top with lemon cream cheese buttercream instead.
Would cake flour work or is regular flour better?
Hi Sev, 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.
I used cake flour, which answers why my batter was thin when the instructions said it was supposed to be extremely thick. Thanks for posting this. My cakes are cooling now and they look delicious.
Could I use something else instead of lemon juice? I don’t want to use lemon in this cake! Please let me know! Thank you!
Would it work to use this recipe for cupcakes? I love the cake but you recommended adding blueberries to your lemon cupcake recipe instead. Although I’m sure its a great recipe, it has different ingredients so I’m afraid it won’t taste the same as the delicious cake.
Hi Shiela! The recipe for Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes is the cupcake version of this cake. We’d recommend that recipe or you can use this cake batter recipe for a larger yield of cupcakes.