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 (354g) 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

1150 Comments

  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

  16. Hi Sally,

    So excited to try this recipe! I’m looking to make a 2-tier cake probably 9inch and 6inch. Will this recipe be sturdy enough to work for tiers?

    Thanks,
    Rachel

    Thanks,
    Rachel

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachel, as long as each tier is properly supported with cake rounds and dowels it should hold up just fine. For the 6 inch tier, you can use our lemon blueberry cupcakes recipe and follow the baking directions for 6 inch cakes. If it’s helpful, you can also check out our Simple Homemade Wedding Cake for tips on how to properly stack and support a two-tier cake. Hope this his helpful!

  17. Hi Sally,
    I want to make this cake for my grandmother but she’s not a fan of of lemon. I’m pretty new at baking so I’m not sure what I’d need to do in order to make sure the cake stays the same minus the lemon flavor. If I were to remove the lemon zest and lemon juice, would I have to add more liquid or would it be fine as is?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leigha, for a vanilla blueberry cake, we recommend following our vanilla cake recipe and adding 1 and 1/2 cups of blueberries to the batter. Happy baking!

  18. Can i make cupcakes into this? If so, how much do you think it makes and do i need to change anything?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Renee. Yes! We turned this cake into cupcakes in the post Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes.

  19. I made this for my nephews first birthday party. He loves blueberries, and I wanted a bright summer cake for the party. It was a huge hit. It was delicious and so moist. It was also not ultra sweet, which a lot of people said they liked about it. I made a recipe and a half for the frosting and there was just enough, so I recommend doing that in order for it to be perfectly covered and smooth.

  20. Hi Sally

    My cake did not seem to rise much is this normal?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Trish, I’m happy to help. Are you using frozen berries by chance? Sometimes we find that they weigh down the cake’s crumb and add a significant amount of moisture, so that could be why the cake didn’t rise as much as you’d like. Could you try fresh berries by chance? If you want even more height, use cake flour and try reducing the baking powder down to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons and adding 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

  21. Michael K says:

    I’ve made this in the past and love it, however my baby loves oranges, so I wondered if I could sub the lemon for oranges?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, you can use orange instead. Enjoy!

  22. This cake is DIVINE. I made it for my best friend’s birthday and I am so proud of how it turned out! Decorated it with fresh fruit and edible glitter. Beautiful and so tasty. Thank you for this beautiful recipe AND for including a frosting recipe. It’s so handy to have it all in one place. Will make again!

  23. I’m thinking of making this for mother’s day, but with raspberries. Do you think I could add freeze dried raspberries to the cream cheese frosting, similar to your strawberry buttercream recipe? I’d like to pipe some flowers on the cake, but cream cheese frosting is usually so soft. I’m hoping the powdered raspberries would help stiffen it up a bit

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Millie! You can absolutely make a raspberry cream cheese frosting using the same method we do in our Strawberry Cake. Cream cheese frosting doesn’t hold it’s shape super well when piped, although if you’re doing just a few flowers for decoration, it should be fine. You can place the frosting (in the piping bag) in the fridge for a few minutes to help stiffen it up before piping. Hope this helps!

  24. Hi, my son loves blueberries, do you think it would be possible to bake this in a 2 shaped cake tin?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ruth, it depends on the size of your 2-shaped cake pan. You can use the post Cake Pan Sizes & Conversions to help calculate how much batter you would need for different size pans. However, assuming the 2-shaped pan is smaller than what we’re using here, this is likely too much batter. You can use our Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes for a smaller yield, and use any leftover batter for a few cupcakes. Hope this helps!

  25. Hi. Can I use fresh raspberries instead of blueberries in this recipe?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  26. Susan Cathcart says:

    I have made this cake several times and find it a favorite with everyone. I need clarification on one part of the directions. It says to add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients and then beat 5 seconds. Do you add the dry ingredients and mix by hand? The 5 seconds was confusing to me. Could you clarify that part of the directions?
    I have just been super cautious not to overmix any of the batter.
    Thank you.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan, great question, beat for 5 seconds with your handheld or stand mixer. Hope you love this cake!

  27. Do you think the cream cheese frosting would be firm enough to get a good fur look (Wilton #233 grass tip)? The flavours of this cake are perfect for an upcoming birthday and I would really like to make a Sully cake for the MonstersInc. loving birthday girl. Do you think the cream cheese would be good for this or should I use lemon buttercream frosting instead?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Silke, what a fun idea! Cream cheese frosting is not as stable as regular frosting, so we fear it might get a bit messy with the grass tip. To be safe, we’d recommend using the lemon buttercream frosting instead. Hope the cake is a hit!

  28. Hi, I like in Northern Ireland and I don’t think I have ever seen brick style cream cheese. I was just wondering why normal spreadable cream cheese wasn’t recommended?

    I was thinking of making the sponge but using fresh whipped cream in between layers and a bit on top to decorate. Do you think this would taste ok rather than having to do a butter cream or cream cheese filling?

    I also have a fan oven so just wondering what temperature it would need to be at as I’m assuming 177°c is for an oven with no fan. I will probably do the cake in two layers rather than 3.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Naomi! In the U.S. block cream cheese is very different than the tubs and is the only cream cheese that will work for frosting. We have been told by readers outside the U.S. that cream cheese in a tub is different from ours and can work, but we have not tested it. Fresh whipped cream would be delicious as well! If you use convection settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25°F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake. We recommend sticking with 3 pans so the layers bake evenly – if you only have two pans you can let the last third of the batter sit at room temperature until the other two are finished baking. We would love to hear how the cake goes for you!

  29. This has been my birthday cake for years, however this last year i’ve become dairy intolerant, and was wondering if coconut yoghurt alternative would work in the place of buttermilk, or whether it would leave the cake weak structurally? I’ve managed to work out a comparable buttercream frosting by using ghee and after 1.5 years in “lockdown” I want to make sure this years cake is as perfect as it can be! Thanks for any advice.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, the batter will be too heavy without liquid. We recommend buttermilk or regular milk – you could use a non dairy milk instead.

      1. Thanks Trina! I might try diluting the yoghurt with some coconut milk.

  30. Why does the cream cheese frosting have heavy cream? Just wondering what the difference is before I make because I love the original cream cheese frosting 🙂

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rebecca! The heavy cream simply smooths out this cream cheese frosting a bit. Enjoy!

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