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 (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
  • 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 or 8-inch round cake pans (8-inch pans produce thicker cakes), line bottom 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 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.
  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. Cream Cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.
  10. 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, 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

1173 Comments

  1. I made this cake for Mother’s Day. It was a big hit to say the least! I will definitely be making this again!

  2. Is this frosting stable enough to pipe into flowers? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ella! 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. If you will be doing more intricate piping, we recommend using an American buttercream for those details. Hope this helps!

    2. Going to disagree with Trina. I’ve piped this frosting several times and it’s been great! It also takes colouring really well. Perhaps it depends partially on the climate, but I just keep my kitchen cool when working with the cream cheese frosting and it’s all good! If I have the space and need the kitchen warm for other reasons I will work directly in the fridge or freezer.

  3. Made only half of the recipe of the batter and a quarter of the cream. Extremely delicious! Will definitely do it again

  4. Hi Sally. I want to make this for my daughter’s birthday. What high altitude (~5600 ft) modifications would you make?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melissa, I wish we could help, but have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  5. How important is lining the pans with parchment paper? It seems complicated and I would like to just do “grease and flour” method.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alysn, For best results, we recommend lining the bottom of the cake pans with parchment. We’ve found that this helps release the cakes more seamlessly and prevents any of the layers from cracking when removing from the pans.

  6. This cake, while tasty, was super dense. I followed all the directions but ended up with two blueberry lemon muffin loafs.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Arlyn, 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.

  7. This recipe turned out great! I want to make it again but my son prefers raspberries – do you think I can swap blueberries for raspberries?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

      1. Thank you! I’m excited! I want to make the cake ahead of time. Can I bake, cool, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for a week before assembling and frosting?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        You bet! Here’s our guide to freezing cakes.

  8. Sooooo good.
    Moist …tasty and impressive.
    Didn’t use the cream cheese frosting..went for.butter vanilla icing mix. Still delicious.

  9. Darlene Wagner says:

    Wow! Made this and will be making again and again! My sister and brother-in-law LOVED it!

  10. I only hav e 6″ pans, how much batter should I put in each?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Theresa, 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 this 6 inch cakes post. Happy baking!

  11. Zero stars. I made this for my Father-in-Law’s 92nd birthday dinner and I was so embarrassed. It was quite possibly the worst cake I’ve ever eaten. Even the birthday “boy” admitted it was difficult to choke down. I will never trust reviews again. It was so dense and the frosting was grainy and thick. Just awful!

    1. Rose Alice White says:

      I think I know what the problem is! I printed off the recipe to use, and when I printed it, the words “Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice *just* until” did not print on my copy. So I followed the recipe I printed off to a “T” and put it in the pans (VERY thick) then realized that I had more ingredients, but could not find any reference to them in my recipe. So, I took the batter back our of the pans, and folded the additional ingredients into the batter, before refilling the pans. I’ve just done it, and I am making this cake for a birthday party. I do hope it isn’t ruined!

  12. I just made the cake last night and froze the layers for a work cookout later this week. My cake layers did not really rise much at all. Is this normal? I would say each layer is less than an inch thick. The tops are quite flat such that there is not a dome to cut off. Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, 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. For next time, if you want even more height, try reducing the baking powder down to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons and adding 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Hope this is helpful!

  13. Hello Sally, thank you for this great recipe. I baked it for my birthday party and it looked awesome. I got a lot of compliments however something was not correct. The 3 layers were not soft they were dense.
    I used 8 inches and made the stick test when they came out of the oven. They were even a bit brown at the top. They came super soft out of the oven. Therefore I’m super confused about the consistency. Any advice what could have went wrong? Thank you for your support. ☺️

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Yeliz, if the cakes were too dense, it’s possible that the batter was simply over mixed. We also share other ways to prevent dry and dense cakes here. Hopefully these tips are helpful for next time!

      1. Thank you so much for your quick reply.It must be this, I have finally a kitchen aid and got too excited Will definitely pay more attention and will try it out again. Thank you!

  14. Hi, how would you recommend altering the recipe for 6″ pans? Are you baking one layer per pan? Thanks so much, Sarah.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, 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 this 6 inch cakes post. Happy baking!

  15. Angela Laird says:

    I made a 13×9 version and it is so yummy. The lemon and blueberry flavours really stand out.

  16. Jena' Roberge says:

    Absolutely amazing cake! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes online. I’ve made this cake twice now, both times, perfection!! A++ I’ve tried many blueberry cake and lemon cake recipes over the years, never has one come out as moist and flavorful as this one.

  17. I do not recommend this recipe. I made 2 9in cakes and they came out so dense. Didn’t rise at all. The frosting is delicious but kind of embarrassed about my cakes and not sure whether to serve them for my mil’s birthday. Ugh. I did not over mix. I fear I didn’t mix enough but the recipe scared me from mixing to much! I even sifted my flour which I never do and I am pretty disappointed.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenny! We’re so sorry you had trouble with this cake. Baking the cake in 2 layers instead of 3 will lead to overfilled pans that may not bake correctly – I fear this may have been the issue for your cake. If you only have two pans you can bake two and let the last third of the batter sit at room temperature until one of the pans is ready to use. Here’re more cake baking tips for next time!

  18. Sam (they/them) says:

    I doubt you had this in mind at all, but this is the perfect nonbinary* pride cake! It’s got all the colors of the flag: yellow (lemon cake), white (frosting), purple (blueberries…they always look purple to me when they’re cooked), and a bit of black buttercream writing on the top to decorate made this just perfect!

    Oh, and it’s completely delicious too!

    (*nonbinary=not identifying as male or female)

  19. Stephanie M Gray says:

    I have made this cake multiple times. When I make a 3 layer cake, I use lemon curd for one of the layers for the extra tartness. This cake has always turned out well, and everyone loves it!

  20. Trying to make this for a dinner party and want to make in 3, 10-inch round pans. Would you increase batter by 1/3? Any tips on baking time or eggs?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laura! You can reference this guide to determine how much batter you’ll need for your 10 inch pans. If you end up needing half or a third of an egg, you can crack it open, beat the yolk and white together with a fork, measure the volume (should be a few Tbsp), then use the portion of the egg you need.

  21. Can I use oil instead of butter in the cake?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We don’t recommend it. The creaming step is crucial to this cake’s texture, and it’s not possible to cream oil. You’ll also lose a lot of flavor. You could try solid coconut oil instead, but we fear the texture will be greasy (and, of course, lacking butter flavor). Let us know if you end up giving this cake a try!

  22. Kathy Snow says:

    Made this one for my daughter’s b-day cake. She said it was “phenomenal “!!!
    Thanks for another great recipe and instructions!

  23. Hi sally,
    Can I substitute the buttermilk with sour cream? I made the cupcake version of these and they’re always a hit!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

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

  24. Hi Sally,
    This is my favorite cake recipe of all time! I’ve made it over the years for holidays and special celebrations. I’ve never altered anything but was thinking about cutting the recipe in half and using 4.5” cake pans. Do you think cutting the recipe in half will yield the same cake?

    Thank you in advance and thank you for the incredible recipe!
    Sisi

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sisi, we’d actually recommend using our lemon blueberry cupcakes recipe instead — it will still be a bit too much batter, but fill your pans half way, and then use any leftover batter for a few cupcakes. Enjoy!

  25. Hey Sally, I am really liking this recipe and wanted to try it out for my birthday. Instead of doing 2 or 3 layers, can baking one layer be possible?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrew, This recipe makes a great one layer sheet cake! See the recipe note for details. Happy birthday!

  26. Hello! Is it possible to reduce the amount of sugar in the cake? Will that change the texture? Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, sugar does play a large role beyond taste, and reducing it will impact the taste and texture of it as well. We’re unsure how much you could reduce before you’d start to notice a change. If you do decide to try, we’d love to know how it goes for you.

  27. Hi! Can I use three 8 inch cake pans instead? If so do I need to alter the recipe in any way? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen, 8-inch round pans are wonderful for this cake too. No adjustments necessary except the cakes may take a couple extra minutes to cook through. You can use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  28. Hello! I have 2 questions.

    1. If I have to use regular milk instead of buttermilk should I use baking soda instead of baking powder or will there be enough acid in the milk for the chemical reaction?

    2. If I don’t have unsalted butter, can I use salted butter and leave off the additional salt? I guess this is a third question but what is the purpose of using unsalted butter then adding salt?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Teri, you can use whole milk instead of buttermilk. No need to adjust the baking powder or use baking soda instead. Just stick to the recipe making the milk substitution. You can use salted butter with no changes to the recipe. The cake is sweet and using salted butter won’t affect the taste at all. If you’re interested, here’s an article I published about why I prefer to use unsalted butter in baking.

  29. Hi Sally,
    This is the first recipe I have ever tried from your website. The cake tastes great, but I have a questions- you mention the batter is very thick but mine was runny, I reduced the liquid (buttermilk) by half and I still would not describe it as thick at all. Am I missing anything? I am based in UK but used the conversions provided. I have no cups to measure but used 3 medium lemons for juice.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Agata, if the cake tasted wonderful, then I wouldn’t be concerned about the consistency of the batter. It’s usually a thicker batter. Do you think your butter was a bit too soft?

  30. Hi Sally. My granddaughter requested a lemon strawberry cake for her birthday. Do you think I could substitute strawberries for the blueberries in this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Joy, you can certainly use chopped strawberries in this batter instead.

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