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!

1021 Comments

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  1. Any chance I could make this without the lemon? I want a layered blueberry cake (no lemon) and I love your recipes so I was hoping that would work!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melanie, For a vanilla blueberry cake you can use this vanilla cake and add 1 and 1/2 cups of blueberries to the batter. Happy baking!

  2. Hi, I plan to make this ahead of time ( just the cake) and ice on the day. If I made it on a Friday night would it be ok for a Sunday party? Would I store it in the fridge wrapped?

  3. Hi Sally!
    The recipe looks yum! Can’t wait to try it☺️ Just one doubt though, Could I use dried blueberries instead of fresh because only these are available where I stay.
    Also, I tried my hand at the Triple chocolate cake in this blog and it turned out to be amazing! Thankyou for all these great recipes ❤️

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nithya, Yes dried blueberries should work. We hope you love it!

  4. Hi! I found that the cakes needed much longer to bake than indicated. I used 6-inch pans and didn’t even use half the batter, and it still took 35+ mins to bake. Just a heads up for anyone else using this recipe. Otherwise, tasted very lemony and and delicious.

  5. Lauren Bomhof says:

    One again, this recipe is the bomb! We totally loved it! The one question I have is if it’s possible to make it with a cake that is less dense? We are big eaters and are so full after a special dinner this cake is too heavy! Would love your thoughts, cheers, Lauren

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lauren, 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.

  6. Hi Sally, is there any substitute for eggs in this recipe? Can I use flax egg or greek yogurt?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tanya, we haven’t tested this recipe using egg substitutes. If you try anything let us know how it goes!

  7. Mary Maine Roberts says:

    Sally: a co-worker has asked me if I could make this as her wedding cake.
    I did a “trial run” this weekend, making one batch of cake batter/pouring it into Three 9″ pans (cut baking time by 10 minutes, which was perfect) then I made another batch of batter/pouring it into Four 6″ pans. (took longer to bake! 🙂 )
    I assembled the cake …Three 9″ layers on bottom, and using dowels and cake cardboard, (then supporting) Two 6″ layers for the top (my husband was very happy to eat the other two remaining 6″ cakes!)
    I used the cream cheese icing, and brought it to the office today for evaluation/recommendations.

    To achieve the “look” Taylor wants, I emphasized that a buttercream frosting would be better to work with. Taylor then decided (since the cake is very moist and dense) that she wanted me to frost it as “a naked cake” with scant frosting in between the layers (which I think that would be a good idea.)

    My question: Could I make your “favorite vanilla buttercream icing”–BUT instead of vanilla, use pure lemon extract? (unsure if fresh squeezed lemon juice would do the trick?)
    (I believe frosting it as “a naked cake” and using scant icing in between layers–a buttercream would work FAR better than the cream cheese frosting?)
    Taylor’s wedding is not until late October 2020–thank you Sally!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can certainly use lemon extract in the vanilla buttercream (try half vanilla, half lemon). However for the freshest taste I recommend making this Lemon Buttercream Frosting which uses real lemons. Let us know how it turns out!

      1. Mary Maine-Roberts says:

        Thank you Stephanie–I will bake another batch of 6″ cakes, and try both frostings (and play with my new cake turntable/spatula-scraper) to see which frosting Taylor prefers. I truly appreciate your getting back to me.

  8. Hi Sally,
    Is there any substitute for butter in this recipe?
    Thank you.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We haven’t tested this with any butter substitutes, Mary. You would need something solid that you can cream, so you could try either vegan buttery sticks or even solid coconut oil, but of course the taste and texture of the cake will change. Let us know if you try anything.

  9. Absolutely gorgeous recipe. The cake was delicious. I substituted the cream cheese frosting for a lemon Curd buttercream. It went down a treat. Thank you!

  10. Am I supposed to measure the flour and then sift or sift then measure for this cake? Tried to make it the other day and something went wrong. Trying to figure out where I messed up.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, You want to sift and then measure. When a recipe is written as “sifted all purpose flour” that means sift then measure. If it’s written as “all purpose flour, sifted” then you measure before sifting. I hope this helps!

  11. Hi there! Could I substitute raspberries for blueberries easily? Looking to make a lemon-raspberry cake and this looks perfect! Would the amount of berries be the same?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  12. Cake emergency!

    I am making my sister’s wedding cake, unexpectedly. I have made this cake before and it was delicious! I want to make a 3 layer 9in cake base and a 3 layer 6in cake top. Can I use this same recipe for the 6in cake? Or should I use the similar cupcake recipe for the 6in? Would there be a flavor difference?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Samantha, The recipe for Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes is the cupcake version of this cake and the batter fits perfectly into three 6 inch layers. You can follow the baking directions in the post 6 inch cakes. Happy baking!

  13. Hi! I’m thinking of make an 8″ cake with this recipe. Is it possible to follow the timings but add a few extra minutes?

    Also, if I do not have 3 cake pans is it possible to bake a whole cake and slice into 3?

    Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Clarissa, 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. There is too much batter for one or even 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.

  14. I baked this cake for my daughter’s First Communion. I’ve never baked a cake for a special occasion and I was SO NERVOUS to serve it. This cake and homemade buttercream was a huge hit. I did not use cake flour and I was worried about how dense the cake would be. It was dense but it was the consistency of how my culture enjoys cake. Delicious! There were no leftovers and I was asked to never get a store bought or bakery cake again! Can’t tell you how good that felt!

  15. This is, without a doubt, one of my absolute favorite recipes to make! I’ve made it in three 9-in pans and also three 8-in pans. I think I prefer the 8-in! I’ve had friends ask me to make it for their birthday cake! Thank you Sally!!

  16. Absolutely delicious cake! I’ve made it 3 times. It comes out nice and flat on top so if decorating you don’t need to take the top off. Even when I overcooked it slightly once it was still delicious. The icing is delicious too but 3/4 times we’ve eaten it just as happily without any icing as it’s so tender

  17. Could you please share how much lemon to subtract if trying to obtain a blueberry cake with a hint of lemon ? Thank you!

  18. Hi! Im planning on substituting raspberries and/or blackberries instead of blueberries for this cake (i saw in earlier comments that you said it was okay) -should i coat them in a little flour or starch to prevent them bleeding into the cake? Or would that mess up the consistency? And also, thanks for all your superb recipes, im a huge fan from overseas!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bahar, If you use cake flour (see recipe notes) which yields a thinner batter or if you are using frozen berries, then yes you can lightly coat your berries with some extra flour.

  19. This recipe looked so good that I decided to try it. I have saved it in my favourites now and made it many times. I just use regular milk and cream and it turns out pretty good.

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