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!
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!
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 1x
- 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 (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
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 cakes 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 Questions and Reviews
This is such a wonderful recipe and the cream cheese frosting is perfect. I have made it gluten free and also swapped out the blueberries for raspberries and I always get rave reviews. Thank you!!!
Would it work to use this recipe for cupcakes? I love the cake but you recommended adding blueberries to your lemon cupcake recipe instead. Although I’m sure its a great recipe, it has different ingredients so I’m afraid it won’t taste the same as the delicious cake.
Hi Shiela! The recipe for Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes is the cupcake version of this cake. We’d recommend that recipe or you can use this cake batter recipe for a larger yield of cupcakes.
Would cake flour work or is regular flour better?
Hi Sev, For a lighter texture you can use the same amount of cake flour. The batter is thinner with cake flour, be sure to toss the blueberries with 1 Tablespoon of flour before gently folding into the batter to help them not sink.
I am surprised that the frosting does not contain lemons or blueberries or both, any reason it was made with vanilla frosting?
Hi Steve! There’s plenty of flavor coming from the lemon blueberry cakes themselves and the creamy frosting is a perfect compliment to those flavors, but feel free to top with lemon cream cheese buttercream instead.
I am an experienced baker and Sally’s recipes have never led me astray…until this one. I should have read the comments before starting as I had many of the same issues. I wanted to bake a 3 layer 6×2 inch cake so I halfed the ingredients for this recipe after comparing it to the recommended cupcake recipe (the cupcake recipe did not include the brown sugar). I followed all of the steps as directed and came away with 3 dense pancakes – about 1 inch each and not suitable for a layer cake. I tried again, this time making the full recipe, enough to fill an 8 or 9 inch pan. This time I got 2 inch layers as intended with no extra batter! While everything tasted good, there was no rise at all (yes, my ingredients were still good), and it wasn’t the crumb texture I was going for. If you’re looking for a denser pound cake type texture, this would do.
Hi Stacey, thank you for your feedback. 2 inch layers in the full cake is accurate and about the thickness I usually get as well. Did you use 8 inch or 9 inch pans? For the 6 inch cake, I do recommend the cupcakes recipe batter. I have better results using that.
Good concept. I added lemon curd in between the layers and did not regret it. My biggest problem was the cake was dry and a bit bland. I followed the instructions and the cakes looked like they should be perfect! Maybe Sally’s recipes aren’t for me.
Made this on 4th of July and it was a hit. My only change was I added blueberries into the frosting (my grandsons request). The instructions were easy to follow and it tasted great. I will definitely make this one again. Love your recipes.
This was the first time one of Sally’s recipes didn’t work out for me. My cakes were very dense and flat and my ingredients were all good. I didn’t over mix. I have no idea what went wrong. The flavors were nice and the icing was great but the cake was stodgy. No getting around that. I didn’t expect that at all.
I created a monster. It seemed to me that 350g of sugar would be too much, so I added less. Then I understood why there was so much sugar… The souerness of the cake is unbearable >.< It's also very damp. Something definetly went wrong :c
Hi Dominika, sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. Reducing it will drastically change the results of your cake.