Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake




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a slice of blueberry lemon layer cake with fork

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.

Removing a slice from a Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake

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 ~

But lemons and blueberries in particular seem to have a cult following ~ there’s something special about the combo that drives us wild.

A blueberry lemon layer cake topped with fresh blueberries

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.

Click here to see how easy it is to make lemon sugar for all your lemony desserts.

Blueberries decorating a blueberry lemon layer cake a blueberry lemon cake topped with fresh berries

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?

  1. You might decorate the top with edible flowers ~ purple pansies would be perfect.  
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.

a slice of blueberry lemon layer cake

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.

A slice of blueberry lemon layer cake on a marble surface

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
Rate this recipe
51 ratings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Category: dessert

Cuisine: American

Servings: serves 10

a slice of blueberry lemon cake

Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake ~ a vibrant layer cake recipe bursting with juicy berries and fresh lemon, frosted with a tangy lemon buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

  • 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
    lemon buttercream
  • 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
    garnish
  • blueberries
  • thyme sprigs
  • powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the machine as necessary.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.)
  9. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and continue to cool completely before frosting.
  10. 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.
  11. Frost the cake and then decorate as you like.

 

Thanks for pinning

 

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49 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Ellie
    August 8, 2019 at 2:49 am

    Hi, could you substitute buttermilk for Greek yogurt?

  • Reply
    Megan Rae
    August 2, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Have you ever used this recipe for cupcakes? I plan on doing this. Any tips for doing so?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 3, 2019 at 7:38 am

      I haven’t but maybe some of the readers have. I don’t see why you couldn’t bake the batter into cupcakes. Watch the baking time, maybe start with 12-15 minutes.

  • Reply
    Sara
    July 20, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    I just received my lemon paste, so I already have an early Monday morning bake session planned. I have a difficult time finding full fat buttermilk. Does anyone else find it?

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 20, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      The buttermilk I use is low fat, cultured buttermilk. It doesn’t come in full fat, so you’re good with whatever you can find. You can also make it yourself using whole milk and a little bit of lemon juice or vinegar in a pinch.

  • Reply
    Ariel Reyes Valarezo
    July 9, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Hey! I want to make this recipe tomorrow, but in my country we don’t use inches, but centimeters. I tried to make the conversion from inches to centimeters. But the result it’s kind of huge. So can you help me with the size in centimeters please? And one more thing. Buttermilk, never heard of it before, I Googled it and says it’s milk with lemon? Can you make this clear for me? Thank you!
    Ariel.
    Quito-Ecuador.

  • Reply
    Sharon toni
    June 28, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Hi sue, I’m looking forward to making this cake it looks and sounds lush. The lemon paste says optional but what is it? Not heard of lemon paste here in Scarborough, UK.
    Thanks .

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 28, 2019 at 11:39 am

      I’ve just discovered lemon paste myself Sharon, it’s a new product that I heard about and wanted to try. You can find it online, it’s from Neilsen Massey ~ here.

  • Reply
    Julie Pelletier
    June 26, 2019 at 11:54 am

    PPS sorry for all the question marks in my posts… they’re emojis on my screen : (

  • Reply
    Julie Pelletier
    June 26, 2019 at 11:52 am

    PS Sue, your lemon ? sugar is genius! To anyone making this, don’t skip that step… you won’t imitate that flavor any other way!

  • Reply
    Julie Pelletier
    June 26, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Well, it looks like I’m the only one who actually made this cake so far and I want to say to everyone MAKE IT!!! I absolutely love the flavor of real lemons, especially in the frosting! And the tenderness of buttermilk, butter and eggs combined make this cake heaven on a fork!!!??? I combined it with my homemade vanilla bean ice cream for a group of 10 women I hosted here yesterday for our monthly “Work of Our Hands” group and they could not stop swooning (does anyone still use that word???) over it!!! And, yes Sue, I absolutely love my Cuisinart ice cream maker too. And here’s an ice cream tip from me… ever since I got my Cuisinart and made my very first ice cream years ago, I decided that, if it’s called ice CREAM, that’s what mine will be so it’s always 100% heavy cream. If you can give me a good reason why every ice cream recipe I’ve seen uses as much or more milk as cream and often it’s just half and half, I’d be interested in seeing why. Needless to say, mine gets rave reviews since it’s so rich and creamy.
    I haven’t made a layer cake since I stopped using boxed mixes decades ago but at 72 with 7 grandkids and the world’s most wonderful husband, they and our friends and family deserve only the best and this recipe is going to be one of my showstoppers from now on!!! ? (My husband just asked me for one more piece! ?)

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 26, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Best comment EVER! I adored this cake too, so I’m so happy so have the feedback :)
      As for the ice cream, the reason I cut the cream with milk or half and half is just to lighten the calories and fat, and I think it also gives ice cream a little lighter texture, but if you love the result you get from 100% cream, go for it :)

  • Reply
    Tessa M
    June 23, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Hi! Thank you so much for this recipe it looks absolutely delicious. I hope to make it for my parents’ anniversary in a few days. I am sorry if I missed this in the recipe, but I was a little confused, do you use the lemon infused sugar in the cake batter, or on the blueberries on top?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 23, 2019 at 7:55 am

      The lemon sugar is part of the cake batter Tessa, you’ll cream it with the butter, then add the rest of the ingredients to the mixer. The sugar dusting on top of the blueberries is just plain powdered sugar. Hope your parents love the cake, and if you have any other questions, I’m here!

  • Reply
    Lola Osinkolu
    June 20, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Extremely mouth-watering! Love the blueberries on top!

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 20, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks Lola, hope you get a chance to try it.

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    June 20, 2019 at 4:56 am

    Absolutely GORGEOUS Sue! Your photos are making me drool!! Wish I had a slice right now. This will for sure be added to my summer baking list. I’ve always adored the blueberry/lemon combo!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    June 20, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Hi! The cake looks gorgeous!!! Do you think I can bake it in one 9-inch pan and then cut it in half after it’s done?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 20, 2019 at 7:21 am

      It would be too much batter for one pan Wendy, but you could bake the layers separately, in a pinch. If you can do it, I recommend just getting another pan. I haven’t tried this in a 9×13 pan, but that should work, too.

      • Reply
        Elaine Gonet
        June 25, 2019 at 8:17 am

        If you make this in 9x 13 pan…what is temperature and timing ? Thank you.

        • Reply
          Sue
          June 25, 2019 at 8:48 am

          Same temperature, Elaine, and as for the timing it could be a little shorter, not sure, since I haven’t baked it this way. Let it cook for 25 minutes, then keep an eye on it.

  • Reply
    angiesrecipes
    June 19, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    What a beautiful cake! I love esp. that simple yet chic garnish.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 20, 2019 at 9:40 am

      Simple yet chic…that’s something I definitely strive for, thanks Angie :)

  • Reply
    monique
    June 19, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Printed!! That says it all ;)

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      lol hope you enjoy!

    • Reply
      Janette
      June 19, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      Have you tried this cake with frozen blueberries?

      • Reply
        Sue
        June 19, 2019 at 7:06 pm

        I have not, but it should work fine.

  • Reply
    Auntiepatch
    June 19, 2019 at 11:47 am

    This looks fabulous! I love blueberries and lemon in any form!

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 11:48 am

      Me too, gotta keep coming up with new ways to enjoy!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    June 19, 2019 at 11:26 am

    That is so gorgeous, simple and elegant at the same time. Love the fresh blueberries on top!

  • Reply
    Laurie
    June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am

    That’s beautiful! I have company coming for the 4th of July. This would be a great addition to whatever we make for dinner.??Love blueberries and lemon!

  • Reply
    Irish Chef
    June 19, 2019 at 10:39 am

    An interesting variation to your Raspberry Lemon Cake ( April 12) recipe; using buttermilk in place of the yogurt and using whole eggs instead of separating for the raspberry version,( which I must say turned out FABULOUSLY !)
    Will give this one a whirl. Thanks :-)

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 11:36 am

      I love those suggestions, thanks! I usually do try to avoid the whole separated egg thing, so I’ll give this a try :)

  • Reply
    Ashley Hetrick
    June 19, 2019 at 10:18 am

    This looks amazing, I’m so excited to make this one for my husband’s birthday which is coming up next month. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Suzy
    June 19, 2019 at 10:02 am

    I can’t believe how gorgeous this cake is and how it’s made from scratch! Just perfect!

  • Reply
    Krissy Allori
    June 19, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Blueberries and Lemon go so well together! What a great cake recipe!

  • Reply
    Tanya Schroeder
    June 19, 2019 at 9:26 am

    This is the loveliest cake! Lemon and blueberries make the best pair!

    • Reply
      Colleen
      June 19, 2019 at 11:35 am

      Hi Suzie Q! ? I am going to make this. A great summer cake. I’m not a cake maker at all. Normally pie is my thing, but I made a cake on the weekend for my kids birthday and it was lovely and so moist. This one looks moist as well! Question..will using AP flour instead of cake flour make any difference in the texture? Oops..another question..lol…. are you weighing your ingredients? If so, do you always weigh them? OMG…another one..haha…what is lemon paste? Thanks
      Sue!

  • Reply
    Shinta Simon
    June 19, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Blueberry and lemon is always my go-to summer combination! Love the look of the cake, I always feel there’s never such a thing as too many blueberries. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 9:41 am

      The lemon seems to make the blueberries come alive, somehow.

  • Reply
    Barbara Ingaldson
    June 19, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Hi Sue ?I did make your lemon Raspberry cake and found it a bit dry would you say this blueberry lemon cake would be more moist ? Due to the fact that it has a cup of butter and a cup
    If buttermilk in this recipe thank you Barb

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 9:12 am

      This is super moist Barb, so definitely give it a try. I used a similar cake base to my Lemon Layer Cake, which was also nice and moist.

  • Reply
    Pinelopi Kyriazi
    June 19, 2019 at 9:05 am

    I love everything about Lemons! give me lemons and I am sold :) Your photos are stunning!

  • Reply
    Denise
    June 19, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Oh Wow is your cake gorgeous and looks delicious! Yes, lemon & blueberry is an amazing flavor combo that most people love.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 8:35 am

      The blueberry lemon thing basically obsesses me every summer :)

  • Reply
    Tricia
    June 19, 2019 at 8:09 am

    I bet this cake is so delicious! The perfect summer cake. Can you make this for my birthday please?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 8:14 am

      You got it girl :)

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    June 19, 2019 at 7:49 am

    I WANT THIS!!! :-) Love lemon. And blueberries. Especially together. Superb recipe — thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 19, 2019 at 8:13 am

      I wish I could slide you a slice John!!