My Raspberry Cake recipe with lemon buttercream is made with yogurt, fresh raspberries, and lots of lemon juice for an old fashioned from-scratch layer cake that’s perfect for birthdays and special occasions, or any time you want to pamper yourself!
my raspberry lemon cake is over the top delicious but not at all fussy.
It’s just the thing with a cup of tea or coffee for an afternoon pick me up. Yes, you can definitely serve it as an after dinner dessert, but it seems a shame to waste such a good cake on people who’ve just had a big meal. And anyway, I’m always looking for ways to insert more cake into my day 🙂
This recipe is inspired by European style cakes, it has a moist, dense texture, and it’s not over the top sweet. The berries add just the right fruity element, and the frosting pulls it all together with a burst of tartness.
what you’ll need for this simple raspberry cake
- flour ~ I use all purpose flour, but you could use cake flour as well.
- butter ~ unless otherwise stated I always bake with unsalted butter. Be sure to bring your butter to room temperature before using.
- granulated sugar
- confectioner’s sugar
- eggs ~ unless otherwise stated I always use large eggs for baking. We’re going to separate them.
- yogurt ~ any kind you love, I use full fat vanilla. Yogurt has the surprising ability to make baked goods extra tender.
- raspberries ~ for this cake I like to use frozen berries because they don’t break up when I fold them into the batter. If you’ve got fresh berries you might pop them into the freezer for a bit to firm them up.
- lemon juice and zest ~ the zest is where all the flavor of the lemon hides!
- baking soda, baking powder, and salt
easy method for making a raspberry cake
This cake comes together a little differently than most cakes. The eggs are separated, and the whites are beaten and folded into the batter. It gives the cake a light sponge cake texture which is really nice.
- Separate the eggs, and whip the whites to soft peaks.
- Cream the softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest beating in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the vanilla.
- Alternately fold in the dry ingredients with the yogurt. Fold in the berries.
my best tips for baking with raspberries
The flavors of this cake really sing, partly because whole raspberries are folded into the batter just before baking. But fresh raspberries are incredibly delicate, and will inevitably break apart as you stir them in. I’ve got a solution for that!
- Use frozen berries if you would like them to stay in tact when folded into the cake batter. Do not thaw them before using.
- If you have fresh berries, consider popping them in the freezer for a short while to firm them up before using.
the tart lemon buttercream is everything!
Your reward for the light as air yogurt cake is the thick layer of insanely sweet tart lemon buttercream. It’s like lemon fudge, only better 🙂
I might be in the minority here, but I love the cake cold from the refrigerator. It does wonderful things to the buttercream.
I recommend sturdy nonstick pans for layer cakes
For those times when only a layer cake will do, you need good sturdy reliable cake pans. I like to use thick walled nonstick pans like Chicago pans, or USA brand pans. Both cook evenly and release the cakes every time. I have a set of both 8 inch and 9 inch pans, there really is a big difference in the size of the cakes when you bake in the different pans ~ sometimes the smaller cake pan works better, and vice versa.
How to care for your cake pans so they release your cakes perfectly every time!
- I always hand wash my cake pans in warm water and dish soap, I never put them in the dishwasher. Be sure to dry them thoroughly before putting away.
- Don’t ever let metal utensils touch the surface of your pans.
Raspberry treats on this blog can run the gamut from casual little Raspberry Almond Bars to the more exotic Raspberry Pavlovas…
- Black Raspberry Ice Cream
- Raspberry Champagne Sorbet
- Raspberry Coffee Cake
- Perfect Black Raspberry Muffins
- Easy Raspberry Galette
- Raspberry Eton Mess
- Raspberry Desserts to Make All Summer
Raspberry Lemon Cake
- 8 inch cake pans
- 9 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt (you can use vanilla yogurt as well)
- 1 1/2 cups raspberries (I like to use frozen berries)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 5 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, you may need a bit more.
- optional 1 small drop yellow gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350F Butter and flour 2 non-stick 8 inch cake pans. I like to put a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the pans just to insure a good release.
- Cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, along with the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the yogurt and mix until well combined. Scrape down the bowl.
- Fold in the whipped egg whites, and when no white streaks remain.
- Fold in the berries.
- Spread the batter evenly between the two cake pans and even out the tops with an offset spatula.
- Bake the cakes on the same oven shelf for about 30 minutes, or until the center springs back when touched and the edges are just starting to turn golden. Don't over bake.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before turning them out and cooling them completely on a rack.
- To make the frosting cream the butter, sugar, (and the drop of food coloring, if using) adding enough lemon juice to make a creamy spreadable frosting. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add more sugar for a stiffer frosting, and more lemon juice if it’s too stiff.
- Frost the cake when completely cool. Add a generous amount of frosting to the first layer, then top with second layer and finish frosting top and sides.
- This cake has been wildly popular since its original posting, but a few of you have had issues with it, so I’ve re-tested the recipe, tweaked a few details, and made new notes, below. It’s the same amazing cake, only even better. Hope you love it!
- 8 inch pans work best for this recipe, and I’ve increased the baking time accordingly. The slightly smaller pan makes a slightly taller cake.
- I’ve added lemon zest and vanilla extract to the cake, and reduced the amount of baking powder.
- I’ve upped the amount of berries.
Questions and Reviews
So I’m making this cake for my sons birthday this weekend. I was wondering if I could leave the raspberries out and make a raspberry jam instead.
Do you mean swirling the jam into the cake? I think that should work.
Ohh no sorry! Lol I meant like as a filling. I saw I didn’t explain myself too well in the last comment.
Oh, for sure, I think you could use it as a filling.
I have a Wilton pan shaped like a bunny. Can I make this cake in this pan? It would be like making it in a 9×13 pan.
Yes, that should work. If the bunny is very detailed this might not be the best because the surface isn’t smooth, though, so keep that in mind.
Can you use this for cupcakes?
Yes, sure, just watch your baking time. Standard cupcakes might bake in 15-18 minutes.
Can the cakes be made a few days in advance before assembling & frosting?
This recipe is delicious! I made it for a friend’s birthday, and it was a HUGE hit. I’m planning to make it again for another event coming up, but will need to bake the cake a few days in advance. Do you have any recommendations for storing the cake a few days before frosting it? I was planning to wrap the cakes in plastic wrap & refrigerate.
Yes, you can do that.
This cake turned out pretty good. I’m not much of a zest person so I may leave that out next time but the cake turned out moist and just enough sweetness to balance the tart raspberries. The frosting was pretty good but I may add vanilla and almond along with the lemon next time to give it a background flavor along with the lemon. With just the lemon I felt like I could taste powdered sugar too much.
Overall everyone liked the cake at the dinner party I bought it to.
If 2xor3x do you still only use 2 pans just making the cake thicket or 4 to 6 pans?
Would gluten free flour require any other adjustments?
I think you could substitute a good gluten free baking mix for the all purpose flour.
This recipe was okay. I made exactly as written. The icing needed something so I did add half a block of cream cheese and it was better. The cake was not a moist cake, but the flavor of lemon and raspberries was great. I probably wouldn’t make this again.