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

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 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.

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!

1018 Comments

  1. Hi Sally,
    I mad this last night and everyone loved it! It’s moist and has excellent flavor. I only used 1 cup white sugar and I added a bit of zest to the frosting, but otherwise followed it exactly. VERY GOOD! Thank you!

  2. Is this a 6 or 9 inch cake?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sierra, this is a 3 layer 9-inch cake!

  3. Sooooo good!!!

    1. Hi! I have made this cake twice before and it was a hit both times! I’m planning to make this again this coming weekend for a party but do you think I could sub the blueberries for raspberries??
      The pink will just match my theme better…should I use fresh or frozen? Thoughts?
      Thanks in advance !
      Amy

  4. Hi Sally!

    Could I substitute raspberries for the blueberries. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, Yes! Just replace the blueberries with the same amount of raspberries.

  5. Could I use more blueberries? 1.5 cups just doesn’t seem like enough! But, I don’t want to mess it up!

  6. Carrie L Thompson says:

    I have made this cake over and over again. Both in layers and in a 9×13 pan. It is delicious.

    Yesterday, I made it with cake flour and baked it in a 9×13 pan.Batter was fairly thin and my blueberries sunk. It did bake up nice and fluffy.

    Any suggestions or ideas as to why this may have happened?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carrie, 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.

      1. Carrie Thompson says:

        Thanks for the reply. I did coat them. Maybe more cake flour needed to thicken the batter?

        Cake is still delicious and soo much fluffier.

    2. Lisa Delany says:

      I made the cake tonight for my son’s first birthday. I’m worried that the layers are too flat. About how thick should each layer be before assembling? I’d hate to find out that his 1st Birthday cake is a flop.

  7. I loove it soo delicious

  8. Kathy Squires says:

    Hi Sally,
    I made this yesterday for my daughters birthday! Absolutely delicious! I used lemon curd for the filling then cream cheese buttercream for top and sides! She and everyone loved it!

  9. Grace MARQUEZ says:

    Apparently this recipe doesn’t call for butter…just the buttermilk..
    I hope I am reading the r cite correctly
    Thank you
    Grace marquez

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Grace, you’ll need 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of buttermilk for this recipe. For ease, you can click the pink “jump to recipe” button at the top of the post to view the full recipe. Happy baking!

  10. Hi Sally, this looks amazing! The recipe is easy to follow even for a novice for me. Am I able to make this Recipe using a cake pan of 8x 1.5 inch? Can’t seem to find any in the 9 inch or even 6 inch to make smaller ones. Any tips will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Veena, 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.

  11. Hi, I was wondering what changes or suggestions would you make if making this for a diabetic?

  12. Hi!!! I just made this cake yesterday and absolutely loved it! My only concern was that the cake turned out a little dense and did not rise up so much. It wasn’t dry but was not as light and fluffy as I would have liked it to be. Any suggestions?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  13. Has anyone tried to make a two tiered cake with this recipe? I’d love to make a smaller 6 inch tier to go above the 9 inch cake, but not sure if I should take the chance and double the recipe.

    1. Rose Cocchiarella says:

      I made two 9” pans with a single recipe and there was enough batter for both. Also, there was more than enough frosting to do the layer between the two and the top and sides.

  14. Hi Sally,
    This cake looks amazing! would love to try it! Is there anything else I can replace the lemon juice and zest with? Would it work with milk?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brunella, For a vanilla blueberry cake you can use this vanilla cake and add 1 and 1/2 cups of blueberries to the batter

  15. How long do you let layers cool before removing from pans?

    1. Hi Rae, I recommend letting the cakes cool completely in the pans.

  16. Kimberly Alexander says:

    This is my new favorite cake recipe! I am so glad I found you. Your recipes are amazing. I zhuzhed it up a tad, only because I know how to make these add-ons! I glazed each layer with a limoncello syrup, and on the first layer I made a blueberry filling. the second I made a lemon curd. and then I added a little limoncello to the icing.

  17. Very moist and tastes great. Had only one cup of blueberries but it seem enough. Enjoy the texture and will share with family and friends. Has exactly the taste combination I desired.

  18. William Leach says:

    The cake portion was delicious, but the icing doesn’t seem a good fit in my opinion. It’s overly rich. I feel it would be better with a lighter frosting.

  19. Rose Cocchiarella says:

    I was psyched to make this as my blueberry crop has been abundant this year. I wasn’t disappointed! This cake has amazing flavor….VERY lemon for all of us lemon lovers! It came out quite dense…. did I overmix the batter ( I tried not to) but am not sure as I’ve never made a cake with buttermilk before. Either way, it is a winner and I’ll be making this again and again!

  20. How tall should this cake be?

  21. Question, could I use 1/2 cake flour and 1/2 AP flour. Just wondering how that would work. I’m making 3 of these for a baby shower on Saturday!

    1. Hi Bobbie, you could definitely use half all-purpose flour and half cake flour in this cake recipe.

  22. This cake is perfection! Consistency, density, flavor, thickness of layers for the three layers. I’ve had to make three layer cakes into two layers instead because they tend to not fit in my cake stand with the lid. I really wanted to make this three layers for our anniversary yesterday. Wanted the dramatic look. It fit perfectly. Only change I made was I added fresh lemon juice to the frosting too. I just squeezed it in and mixed until I got the lemony zing I wanted. I wish I could add a picture to show how beautiful it is.

  23. Can you make this with your lemon buttercream frosting instead of the cream cheese frosting?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely!

  24. This was my first cake not in a box. I just want to say that everyone raved about it. It was so delicious. Thanks for sharing

  25. I made this cake for my husband’s birthday this weekend, he requested it after I made your lemon layer cake for my mother in law’s birthday this spring. This cake was absolutely delicious, and made me look like a total rockstar baker! Everything I’ve made from your site has been exceptional, thank you for being so thorough in your explanations and modifications and making something that can be intimidating accessible. My sister asked me how I made such an excellent scratch cake and I replied, “I just followed the directions!” Never will I ever buy a box mix again! Thank you!!

  26. I varied the recipe slightly and just made a cake with out layering or frosting. Everyone that tried it said it was lovely and want me to make it again. Stunning recipe. Bookmarked it for future use ( probably lots ha ha ha). Thankyou very much

  27. Made this cake twice and it did not rise properly, even checked baking powder to make certain it was fresh. I have been cooking and baking for years, first time that I have had this problem. Any suggestions on what goes wrong?

  28. Hi Sally,
    How can i make this a white chocolate cream cheese icing?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie, We haven’t tested it but I suggest starting with 6 ounces (170g) pure white chocolate (usually sold in bar form, not chips), melted and slightly cooled. Add it with the confectioners sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt. Let us know if you try it!

  29. Srividhya Balarajan says:

    Hi,

    i have tried your cake recipes and it came out really well. Could you please suggest alternative ingredient for eggs?, because i wont eat eggs.

    Thanks,
    Srividhya.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Srividhya, So happy you enjoyed this cake! We haven’t tested this recipe with any egg substitutes but let us know if you try anything. If you are interested, here are all of our egg free baking recipes.

  30. I made three of these for a baby shower on Saturday and they were so popular I made two dozen cupcakes on Tuesday!

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