Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake ~ a vibrant layer cake recipe bursting with juicy berries and fresh lemon. It makes a wonderfully unique birthday cake, and I’ve yet to meet a soul who can resist this fabulous dessert.
Lemon paired with berries is a natural for spring and summer desserts because the flavors are light and bright. This blueberry lemon layer cake joins lots of other lemon/berry desserts on the blog ~
- Raspberry Lemon Cake
- Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream
- Raspberry Lemon Blondies
- Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream
But lemons and blueberries in particular seem to have a cult following ~ there’s something special about the combo that drives us wild.
I give the lemon and blueberries equal billing in this recipe; I’ve used almost an entire pint of berries in the cake batter, but that’s balanced by the use of a unique lemon infused sugar, as well as a super tangy lemon buttercream frosting to tie it all together.
I make lemon sugar by processing granulated sugar with the zest of lemon, and the result is an aromatic, super lemony sugar that gives a vibrancy to cakes, bars, and cookies like nothing else.
Ideas for decorating this blueberry lemon cake ~
There are lots of ways to garnish this cake, all of them gorgeous. Of course you can leave it plain, but why?
- You might decorate the top with edible flowers ~ purple pansies would be perfect.
- You could simply mound fresh blueberries in the center, accented with fine strips of lemon zest. A shower of powdered sugar helps define the berries and make them pop.
- You could also do it like I did but substitute small mint leaves for the thyme. I think it would be really nice to slice some of the berries in half crosswise to show off their beautiful interiors. If you do this, slice them just before serving.
You can see the lovely fluffy crumb of the cake in the photos…I’m a stickler for that texture in cakes. This recipe gives you the light fluffy result of a boxed mix, with the flavor and character that only a homemade cake can give.
How to bake a fluffy cake every time ~
- Preheat your oven, this is important! The oven has to be at temperature when you slide your cake in or it won’t rise properly. I use an inexpensive oven thermometer to double check the temperature. Did you know that the majority of ovens do not run true to temperature?? That can spell disaster for baking.
- Make sure you prep your pans with butter, flour, and a round of parchment paper at the bottom, and do this first, so you can bake your cake immediately after you’ve mixed it. Just trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of parchment to get the right size. You can also buy inexpensive packs of ready made parchment circles on Amazon, in any size, and they’re super handy.
- Follow the recipe. It sounds silly, but it makes a difference…baking is a complex chemical process and cake recipes are carefully composed. Changes are risky.
- A stand mixer or electric beater is important when making cakes because you’ll need it for creaming the butter and sugar together. Make sure to beat for the correct amount of time, don’t skip or skimp on this step. You’re insuring a light fluffy cake by beating in all that lovely air.
- Your ingredients should be at room temperature, especially the butter and eggs.
- Don’t open the oven to check on your cakes during the first 2/3 of the baking time. If you need to check or rearrange your cake pans, do it quickly so you don’t lose precious oven heat.
- The cake is done when it springs back lightly when touched in the center, when it has just started pulling away from the sides of the pan, and when a toothpick inserted in the deepest part comes out without wet batter on it. Don’t over bake.
This simple cake comes together quickly, and when I’m pressed for time I’ll make the cake layers ahead and frost it later that day, or even the next day. The cake can stay out on the counter for a day, but after that should be refrigerated, if you have any left, that is!
I love this cake!
Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake
- 3 cups or 409 grams, cake flour (you can use regular flour)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 and 3/4 cup or 368 grams, granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lemon peeled with a vegetable peeler (no white pith)
- 1 cup or 226 grams, unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 jumbo or 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 tsp lemon paste optional!
- 1 cup or 240 grams buttermilk
- 1/3 cup or 81 grams fresh lemon juice
- 1 pint blueberries plus extra for decorating the cake
- 1 cup or 226 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 cups or 600 grams, confectioner's sugar
- 6-8 Tbsp or 90-120 grams fresh lemon juice plus more if needed
- thyme sprigs
- powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, putting a round of parchment paper at the bottom of each one.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- Put the sugar and lemon zest into a food processor and process until moist, pale yellow, and no large pieces of zest remain. This will take under a minute.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the machine as necessary.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Beat in the lemon paste, if you're using it.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture, and just before it's completely mixed in, add the buttermilk and lemon juice. Blend until combined, but don't over-mix. I like to finish by hand to get everything incorporated.
- Gently fold in the blueberries. Note: I didn't use quite the whole pint. Then divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans. Spread out to an even layer.
- Bake the cakes in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, the top springs back when touched, and a toothpick comes out without any wet batter on it (moist crumbs are fine.)
- Let the cakes cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and continue to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat the soft butter and sugar together, gradually adding enough lemon juice to create a creamy spreadable frosting. If it is too thick, add more lemon juice, and if it is too thin, add a little more sifted sugar.
- Frost the cake and then decorate as you like.
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