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!
This cake has become one of my favorite spring dessert recipes and Easter dessert recipes—and for good reason. 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
Just baked the cakes. Could you add lemon zest or lemon juice to frosting. Or do you not recommend because the cake should have enough flavor? Thanks!
Hi Gail, you certainly could try that if you want more lemon flavor. Enjoy!
I made this recipe for my sister’s birthday and everyone loved it. I was extra careful to follow directions after reading all the comments. I even bought brand new baking powder to be on the safe side! It was wonderful.
Hello Lexi I have 2 round 9 inch pans, would it be ok to bake two pans first, then wash/clean and do the last third layer cake instead of baking all 3 pans together? Or will the batter go bad waiting to be baked for the last third layer?
Hi Danielle, that will work perfectly!
Hi! Love your blog and appreciate all you do. Your buttercream for this recipe looks significantly whiter than mine. Any idea why that would be? I followed your recipe and only used one TBSP of heavy cream.
Hi Lee, the exact ingredients and their brands can often have an impact on the color. Some butters are more yellow than others, some confectioners’ sugar brands or vanilla brands can give off a darker color, etc. If you’d like, try adding a (very!) tiny drop of purple food coloring. It sounds odd, but it will help offset the color and brighten it up a bit. Thank you for making and trusting our recipes!
This is the best Easter cake We ever ate. Second time I make this cake and it never fails. Thanks
I made this recipe about two years ago and it was a huge hit! My fiancée wanted to make again for her birthday this week. I needed to make it dairy free due to allergies and it still worked! It was just as delicious even with the dairy free substitutions. Even her parents (who eat dairy) loved it. That really speaks to how great and versatile this recipe is. Thank you!!!
Also for those who may be wondering – I added 1 tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup of Silk Nextmilk (whole) to sub for buttermilk. For the butter I used miyokos unsalted and country crock olive oil sticks. And for the cream cheese, I used Violife. I did find that it needed about 5 extra minutes in the oven but other than that, not much difference between this and the regular recipe.
I’ve been using this recipe for 5years. It’s absolutely amazing. Soft fluffy moist and yummy. Always a crowd pleaser. One of my all time favourite cakes..
GOOD MORNING Sally & fellow Sally Addicts!
I made the cake into cupcakes as WHO knows what happened to my pans! ANYNWAY…I made them for my sister in law & she LOVED them! She said…come here, I THOUGHT she was goong to hug me but instead she LIGHTLY slapped me saying…do you realize how much weight I just gained cause of you! I simply smiled & blamed YOU! LOL. So, from HER & ME THANK YOU for such a GREAT recipe! I’ve made this cake for YEARS & it NEVER gets old. OH…I also added lemon zest to the frosting as another addict suggested & it was GREAT!
Would I be able to mix in some mashed up frozen blueberries, or the juice from the frozen blueberries to the icing?
Hi Jenny, while you certainly can try, it will change the consistency of the frosting so you’ll need to tinker with the other ingredients, too, in order to bring it back to the right consistency.
I made this recipe as written and it came out perfect. I decided I was going to try the bundt cake version to take to work (more servings) and added the blueberries. I am not sure what the blueberries did, it was like they formed a Labor Union and decided they were going to divide and conquer the cake! They all ended up in the middle of the cake and when I turned the cake out only half came out! There was a neat layer of blueberries separating both layers. I managed to get the top half out and it looked like an earthquake, but I just frosted it and no one was the wiser. I covered the berries in flour and folded them in gently.
If i cut this recipe in half could I just use two 8″ pans? It will just be my husband and me. Thx
Hi JM! Half this recipe wouldn’t be quite enough batter. You may love our lemon blueberry cupcakes recipe that can also be made in three 6 inch cake pans for a smaller cake. Or you can adapt this recipe using our Cake Pan Sizes post.
I’ve made this cake before and love it! I’m going to make it for Easter and wondered if kefir would work instead of buttermilk.
Hi Michelle, We’ve never tested it, but unflavored kefir may work. Let us know if you give it a try!
I don’t have 3 8″ round pans. Can I use round foil pans instead? If so, would temperature and bake time still be the same?
Hi Alkie, round foil pans of the same size should work well, but we’re unsure of the exact bake time. It should be similar, and the baking temperature will be the same. Hope you enjoy the cake!
I never bake well and this came out perfect it’s soooo yummmmyyy and fun to make!! Moist and not too sweet! Made my day!
Made the lemon blueberry cake for our card group last year. It was a big hit
Im allergic to cheese, can you provide an alternative frosting?
Hi Cheni, absolutely. Swiss meringue buttercream would be wonderful on this cake.
I’ve been making this wonderful cake for almost as long as Sally’s had it online! It NEVER c eases to amaze me how much it NEVER gets old! I love making it for those who’ve never had it before & WATCH as they take that first bite! They simply EXHALE before taking a bigger bite! THANK YOU Sally for making baking so much fun!
This recipe is amazing. I received so many compliments from my coworkers when I brought this one in.
This recipe is fantastic! I made it for my niece’s cutting cake for her wedding in 2021. Converted it to gluten free and decorated it as a naked cake with cream cheese frosting and placed sugared blueberries and fresh rosemary on the top and bottom icing borders. It was gorgeous and delicious!
Can I halve this recipe without compromising the result of the final product? Thx.
Hi Bea, Yes, you can halve the recipe. Enjoy!
If I could leave 500 stars on this cake I would. It is the best cake ever. And beautiful as well. I do make a bit more frosting as my family likes (not me) a bit more. We crave this cake and I make it for every special occasion and in between. We never get tired of it. It is a hit with company and they think I have special purchased it. No way. I bake everything from scratch. I always spread the cream cheese smooth so it does look professional while leaving the top a bit more fluffy. In the Spring time I add a few fresh pansies on top and you should see it… Thank you for sharing this no fail recipe. It’s my favorite go to 3 layer cake.
I would prefer to make a two layer cake, not three, any recommendations on how long to bake the cakes for?
Hi Mary-Ellen, 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 use the extra batter to make cupcakes if you’d like!
Walking down the street in Manhattan about 5 or 6 years ago my daughter
shows me a picture of a beautiful cake on
her phone. I ask her if she wants me to
make it for her upcoming birthday..so I made it and have been making every year since. My grandson makes me your carrot cake and I make him your red velvet cake and I make your marble cake for my other grandson. Tomorrow is our family St Patrick’s celebration and I’m making your Guinness chocolate cupcakes again this year…they were a hit last year. Thank you Sally for such great recipes that never disappoint.
This cake is so impressive! Delicious, moist and flavorful! My favorite cake for spring and summer!!!
This cake is a hit everytime I make it. I do have a question, though. Can it be made with a gluten free flour and still keep the same flavor? I have a request for this cake for a wedding, but I’ve never made it gluten free. What gluten free flour would work the best? Thank you
Hi Lauren, We are so happy this cake is a hit! We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you try it!
Going to make this soon! Sounds really good! For those who want to make this with GF flour, the kind that I use for some of my farmers markets, is Bob’s Red Mill GF flour mix! Mixes in real nice to bread batter and anything else!
My family loves lemon! If I used lemon curd between the layers and the icing on the outside, would it be too sweet?
Hi Christine, lemon curd would be lovely between the layers. Or you could drizzle it on top of the slices if you wanted to control the amount of lemon flavor. Hope your family loves it!