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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

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!


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 1012 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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 over-measure your flour. This will result in a heavy cake.
  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

Here’s my recipe for lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting – a reader favorite!

lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I baked this cake twice in the same day for the first time.

    The first cake looked promising at first; however, like others have said, it was dense and all 3 layers ended up breaking apart. Pressing a piece of the cake turned it back to dough

    For the second attempt, I adjusted the amount of lemon juice (6 tablespoons, as suggested above), added baking soda (again, as suggested), and added 5-6 minutes to baking time. The crumb looks better (didn’t turn back to dough) and the layers held together better

    Just to check the boxes, I did 1) weight my ingredients, 2) used fresh blueberries, and 3) verified that the leavening agents were still good for both attempts

    It was my first time making cakes and both tasted good, but I think updating the recipe a little to include the suggestions might help a bit (baking time is more subjective since it’s very possible my oven is not correct)

    I’m going to finish assembling the cake later and will update with the final results afterwards; hopeful everything comes together, since I’m making it for my birthday 🙂

    1. Cake did not rise at all. Yes, my baking powder was fresh, just opened it. Hopefully it tastes good, taking it to grandsons bday party.

    2. thanks for these tips, am planning to make it this week for a birthday party. i am interested in your updates. thank you!

    3. Sorry for the delayed update; I finished putting it together and trying it yesterday.

      The cake was dense but not gluey; lovely flavor, light lemon without going overboard and the cream cheese was a delight. Again, crumb was a lot better; not an airy and soft one, but firm and dense. I think if the desire is for more of an airy cake, this would not be the recipe.

      I didn’t mention anything about the rise of the cakes; neither attempt had any significant rise, certainly not enough to slice the tops off or anything. I used the 9 in cake pans, 3 of them, and the height of the finished total cake product (all 3 stacked and frosted) was somewhere between 8-9 inches I believe, counting for frosting layers and my sad attempt of additional pipe work on top.

      I do strongly suggest that reducing the lemon juice and increasing the leavening agents is the best way forward for those having issues with the texture of the cake, along with possibly adding additional baking time.

      Overall, very delightful spring and birthday cake! I’m excited to try my hand at some other ones on the site; probably a chocolate cake next.

  2. I wanted to change the frosting to a mascarpone frosting. Therefore I baked the cake one day and then did the frosting the following day. I wrapped each cake individually. I found the crumb too heavy. The cake had a decent flavor but not what I wanted crumb wise. I’m not sure it would have been that much lighter had I not wrapped it after it cooled. I also feel my blueberries were too big and recommend maybe wild blueberries. I will continue my quest fir a lemon blueberry cake.

  3. I made this cake for my moms 73rd birthday and it was a hit! Everyone loved it and it was moist and delicious!! Not too sweet but just right. I will be making this cake again for sure!! I used the measurements as directed in the recipe.

  4. Could I use half sour cream and half buttermilk, like you recommend in your triple chocolate cake?

    1. Hi Moilshri! In our triple chocolate cake recipe, the sour cream version helps produce a sturdier crumb. The crumb in this cake is already sturdy, and replacing some of the buttermilk with sour cream may result in an overly-dense cake. You can use milk instead of buttermilk in this particular recipe as well. Hope this helps!

  5. Hi, I loved the recipe so much but then my batter turn runny. What should I do? Help please!!

    1. Hi Shafiqah, did you happen to make any changes to the recipe? How are you measuring your flour? Be sure to spoon and level (or use weight measurement) to ensure the right amount of flour to help incorporate properly with the wet ingredients.

    1. Hi Lucas, 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!

  6. We just finished this cake. The frosting really takes the cake to a whole other level. So amazing!

  7. Do you think I good double the recipe and bake in three 9×13 inch pans and make it into a 3 layer cake.

    1. Hi Nancy, one batch of batter fits nicely into a single 9×13 pan (see recipe notes for bake times). For three 9×13 cakes, we’d recommend making three separate batches rather than tripling. You could make two batches as you mention for thinner 9×13 cakes. Let us know what you try.

  8. Great recipe that will impress! I distributed the batter between two round 9 inch pans and 8 cupcakes. I will make this again.

  9. This turned out wonderfully for Easter! I used Better Batter gluten free flour blend, cup for cup, and it was a little dense but we loved it. I was worried the frosting wouldn’t be enough for a three-layer cake so I skimped on the frosting between the layers, but that wasn’t necessary. There was plenty. I just ended up with a nice thick outer coating of frosting. I also think this is the perfect cream cheese frosting recipe. Yum!

  10. I am an experienced baker, and this recipe, like all of Sally’s recipes I’ve made, didn’t disappoint! Since discovering Sally’s recipes, I’ve started weighing ingredients, especially flour. It makes for a much more consistent result. I also have a really good oven with an accurate temperature, which also contributes to that perfect result. This recipe has really good lemon flavor as a result of the zest incorporated in the batter. The first time I made it, I didn’t have fresh lemons, and though still good, fresh lemon juice and zest kicked this recipe into the stratosphere. I think fresh blueberries are also a must. Since the frosting is a little shy of the amount I like on a cake, I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 on my second time baking this recipe. My home is at 74 F, so one Tblsp of cream was all that was needed for good spreadability. I’ll be making this once again by request for Mother’s Day. This cake is a super crowd pleaser!

  11. This cake made me look like a much better baker than I am. It is dense, but in a rich, decadent way. I added some blueberries as I frosted the layers; otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. A hit!

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