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!


Video Tutorial


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

More Lemon Recipes For You

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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

1074 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Syuhada Ahmad says:

    Hi
    Not 8 inch but

    2x 9 inch round pan ?
    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So sorry I misread your original comment! The same advice applies, though. This is too much batter for two 9 inch pans.

  2. Sarah Franks says:

    Hello!
    Big fan from the UK here
    We don’t have all purpose flour here – I’m assuming it’s plain flour? Thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, correct, all-purpose flour is the equivalent of plain flour in the UK. Let us know if you give this cake a try!

  3. How can you adjust the recipe and cooking time so that it’s just one layer?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mirela, see recipe notes for details on making a single layer 9×13 cake. For a one layer 9 inch cake, you could try reducing all ingredients by 2/3, though we haven’t tested that ourselves. The baking directions will be the same.

      1. Perfect! Thanks so much!

  4. Hi Sally – I’m not a fan of cream cheese, can I replace it with Marscarpone? If so, would the quantities remain the same? Thanks.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Roy, for a non-cream cheese frosting, this cake would be perfect with vanilla buttercream of even lemon buttercream. Enjoy!

  5. Hi Sally,

    Our oven is pretty small and unfortunately the settings only really allow for convection baking. How would you recommend we bake the three cakes if we can’t put them all in the oven at once? Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erica, you can leave the leftover batter lightly covered at room temperature while waiting for the individual layers to bake. Hope this helps!

  6. I would like to make this cake for Easter. I was wondering if I can make it a few days in advance and freeze it?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heather, absolutely! See recipe notes for make ahead & freezing instructions.

  7. YUM!! Definitely going to try this for Easter. I think I only have one 9 inch pan. Can I bake it in the same pan three times? lol

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erica! Yes, you can leave the batter for the second and third layers covered at room temperature to bake when you pan is available. Hope it’s a hit!

  8. I’m excited to try this recipe for my sister’s birthday this weekend. I was wondering if I could also add lemon zest to the cream cheese frosting, or if that would make it too “lemony”? Thank you, I’ve tried many of your recipes and they are always fabulous!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Megan, We haven’t tested extra lemon zest in the frosting, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work! You could also add more lemon zest to the batter for more lemon flavor, if desired. Happy baking!

  9. Someone in my family does not like blueberries. Could I sub raspberries? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, yes! Just replace the blueberries with the same amount of raspberries.

  10. Can strawberries be used in place of blueberries or would they add too much moisture?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lelsie, absolutely. You may need to bake the cakes a little longer since strawberries tend to be juicier than blueberries, giving the cake extra liquid. Keep a close eye on them and use a toothpick to test for doneness. Happy baking!

  11. Hey Sally! I just made the cakes, but they didn’t rise :/. Any idea why? The butter was at 65 degrees (I checked!) and I used a full tablespoon of baking powder. I put the batter in the refrigerator for a bit because I had to step out of the house. Could that be it?

    1. Hi Jason, happy to help troubleshoot. Cold batter won’t rise as much as room temperature batter. The cakes are thin as is, but colder batter would definitely prevent normal rising.

  12. Just made this for the first time and it turned out absolutely delicious. Mine was a little dense, but not dry, so I’m going to try again to see if it was my error or this is how the recipe is meant to be.

    1. I made this today and mine was dense as well. I thought I followed the directions precisely, but somehow I must have “overmixed” it. Not sure I will try it again; really disappointed.

  13. Can almond flour be a substitute? My mother law has a gluten allergy?

    1. Hi Molly, we do not recommend almond flour in this cake recipe. It would be best to search for a lemon cake recipe that has been developed as gluten free. We don’t have many gluten free recipes, but here they are if you are interested in browsing.

  14. Thoughts or comments on how this would this work in a Nordic ware shaped pan?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, we haven’t tested this as a bundt or Nordic ware shaped cake but it will likely be a bit denser than the original layer version since it’s one tall layer. See recipe notes for more details. Let us know what you try!

  15. I’ve made this a number of times and it’s been a few years since I did it but a friend has requested it for Easter
    Really looking forward to making it again, it’s delicious! X

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