This Lemon Blueberry Cake is tangy, sweet, super moist, and creamy. The soft lemon cake layers are filled with a blueberry sauce filling and an ultra-creamy lemon cream cheese frosting. I provide you with detailed step-by-step photos and a video to make sure you can successfully replicate this recipe every time. Plus, I talk about my favorite decoration tips to create a cake that not only tastes wonderful but is so beautiful that it is a great fit for every occasion. By the way, if you love blueberries, you should try my blueberry no-bake blueberry cheesecake. That's a showstopper as well.
Step-by-step photo instructions
The first thing we do is to prepare the blueberry filling. The filling is super easy to make, and you need just 3 ingredients. Blueberries, sugar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring over medium-high heat to a simmer.
Cook until the blueberries are soft and the sauce has thickened up and is reduced by ⅓, about 5-10 minutes. Stir constantly. You can mash the blueberries, puree them, or let them how they are. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.
Tip: You can use the filling for making homemade pop tarts!
Now let's make the lemon cake. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line the bottom and the sides of two 8 inches (20 cm) baking pans with parchment paper. Therefore place a cake pan on a piece of parchment and draw a circle with a pencil around the outside of the pan. Then cut about 0.05-0.1 inches (1-2mm) along the inside of the drawn circle. That's the parchment for the bottom of the pan.
Then cut 2-inch (5cm) broad stripes for the sides of the pan. Place them in the inside of the pan and along the sides. Take non-stick spray and spray a bit underneath the paper that it sticks to the sides of the pan. Repeat with the second pan.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat oil, butter, and sugar until creamy. I decided to use butter and oil for the cake to have the best of both worlds. Oil makes the cake moist, and butter adds a great taste.
Add one egg at a time and mix until combined.
Alternately add dry and wet ingredients. Exactly in this order: dry ingredients, milk, dry ingredients, lemon juice, dry ingredients. Mix just to combine before you add the next ingredient.
In the end, add vanilla and lemon zest and mix just until combined. You can see that the batter is creamy and holds a soft peak.
I recommend measuring the weight of the batter and equally fill it into the baking pans. In this way, you can be sure that your cake layers are equal in size and are baked through at the same time. Then spread the batter evenly that they are the same high from the center to the edges. Bake for 28-32 minutes until a toothpick centered in the middle comes out clean. Do not overbake the cake or it ends up dry. I bake mine for 28 minutes.
Let the cake cool down for about 10-15 minutes then remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
In the picture below you see that I didn't need to cut off the tops of my cakes because they were very straight and flat on the surface. That's because I spread the cake batter evenly in the cake pans. They need to be everywhere the same high to get that result. If they are not flat on the surface, then please cut off a thin layer to create an even surface. That's important that the cake is straight when you frost it. Then cut each cake layer in half horizontally.
Okay, now we make the frosting. This lemon cream cheese frosting contains just 4 ingredients and is easy to make. You need butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Start with mixing the butter until it is creamy, about 2 minutes. Please make sure to use room temperature butter for the frosting because it incorporates much better than cold butter, and the texture of the frosting is creamier with room temperature butter.
Then add cream cheese and mix until creamy and combined. You can use brick-style cream cheese as it is available in the US or the spreadable one as it is available in the EU. It works either way. Just make sure that the cream cheese is room temperature that it incorporates well with the butter.
Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until creamy and fully combined.
In the end, add 1-2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. The frosting has a light lemon taste. Add 1 tablespoon at a time. The consistency should be creamy but firm enough to frost the cake. If the frosting is too soft, you can add more powdered sugar. If it is too firm, you can add more lemon juice. The consistency of the frosting should look like in the following pictures.
Then assemble the cake. Therefore place the first cake layer on a cake turner, stand, or serving plate and spread ¼ of the frosting all over it. The frosting should be higher around the edges that it holds the blueberry filling inside the cake.
Layer with ⅓ of the blueberry filling (where the frosting is lower).
Then repeat two more times. Place the last cake layer on top and lightly frost the outside and the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Chill 4 hours in the fridge before serving.
Why is my cake dense?
- Too much of wet ingredients. Please make sure that you use the correct egg size. The recipe calls for large eggs, not extra-large. Also, don't fill up the measuring cup until it spills over the sides when measuring wet ingredients.
- Wrong or too little flour. I recommend using high-quality all-purpose flour. With a good flour brand like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur, you can’t go wrong. If you want to make it gluten-free, I recommend Bob's Red Mill 1:1 as a substitution. Measure the flour correctly. The best is to use a kitchen scale.
- Wrong oven temperature. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an additional oven thermometer. The real oven temperature might differ from your oven dial. I always need to turn my oven dial about 20°F higher to reach the temperature I need. An additional oven thermometer saved me in many situations. If the oven is too cold, the cake doesn't rise enough and takes too long to set.
- Overmixing. After the oil, sugar, and butter are creamed together, mix at every step just until combined. Overmixing can result in too much gluten developing and this makes the cakes rising high in the oven and sinking as soon as you remove them from the oven. This can cause a dense cake.
Why is my cake not rising?
If the cake layers didn't rise, there could be the following reasons: wrong or too little flour or the wrong oven temperature. It also can be that the baking powder has expired. I found a blog post about how to tell if baking powder has expired.
Why is my cake dry?
- Too much flour. If you measure your ingredients with cups instead of a kitchen scale, please make sure to spoon and level the flour. A packed cup of flour equals 1.5 to 1.75 cups of spooned and leveled flour.
- Overbaking. Set a timer that you don't forget to remove the cake from the oven. Check with a toothpick centered in the middle after 28 minutes. The toothpick should come out clean with a few moist cake crumbs.
It's important to point out that the frosting is just enough to make a naked cake. So if you don't want to make a naked cake as I did, you may need about 1.5x of the frosting. Here are my favorite decoration ideas:
- Candied lemons and berries. The sour, sticky candied lemons are SO good and fit the cake just perfectly. In this blog post, you find a recipe for candied lemons. These extra 10 minutes are well spent.
- Decorate the cake with edible flowers. I used chamomile.
- You could also whip up some meringue, top it with blueberry sauce, or decorate it with whipped cream.
I recommend storing the cake in the fridge. If it is too warm and humid in your climate zone, the frosting could get too soft, and it wouldn't last that long. If stored in the fridge, the cake stays fresh up to 4 days.
Freezing and make-ahead instructions
- Cake layers: After baking the cake layers, remove the paper and let cool completely. Then tightly wrap each cake layer in plastic foil twice. Place in freezer bags and remove as much air as possible. Freeze up to 1 month. For thawing, unwrap the cake layers and let them sit on the counter for about 1-2 hours. Once it is room temperature, make the filling and the frosting and assemble the cake as described.
- Whole cake: After chilling for 3 hours, place the Lemon Blueberry Cake in the freezer until it is firm, for about 2 hours. Remove the cake from the freezer and tightly wrap it in plastic foil twice. Make sure that everything is covered. Then wrap two layers of tin foil around until completely covered. It freezes well up to 2 months. Unwrap the cake and thaw in the fridge overnight. Eat within 2 days.
- Single cake slices: Place the slices in the freezer for about 1 hour. Then remove from the freezer and tightly wrap in plastic foil twice, until fully covered. Place in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. It freezes well up to 2 months. For thawing, unwrap the cake slices and place them on the kitchen counter for 1-2 hours. Eat within 1 day.
More layer cake recipes
If you are looking for showstopper cake recipes, you need to check out the following recipes:
- S'mores Cake
- Cherry Cake
- Strawberry Cake
- Blackberry Cake
- Black Forest Cake
- Chocolate Cake
- Galaxy Cake
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
Lemon Blueberry Cake Recipe
- 4 heaping cups blueberries, fresh or thawed (600g)
- 1 cup granulated white sugar (200g)
- juice of 2 lemons
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (375g)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
- ½ cup vegetable oil (120ml)
- 1+¾ cups granulated white sugar (350g)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (240ml)
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (120ml)
- 2 vanilla beans* (or 2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Lemon cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
- 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature (8oz / 226g)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (240g)
- 1-2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (15-30ml)
- Make the blueberry filling: In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the blueberries are soft and the sauce has thickened up and is reduced by ⅓, about 5-10 minutes. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the bottom and the sides of two 8" (20cm) baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make the lemon cake: In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or handheld mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium speed until creamy for about 2 minutes. Add 1 egg at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Alternately add dry ingredients, milk, dry ingredients, lemon juice, and end with dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Add vanilla* and lemon zest and stir to combine. ** Divide batter into the two prepared baking pans equally. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake or the cake will be dry. Let cool to room temperature.
- Make the lemon cream cheese frosting: In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk butter on medium speed until creamy. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth and combined. Sift in powdered sugar and stir until well combined and creamy. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice at a time and stir until smooth and creamy. The frosting should be creamy but firm enough to frost the cake with an offset spatula. If the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If the frosting is too firm, add more lemon juice. Watch the video and the pictures above to see the consistency of the frosting.
- Assemble the cake: Cut a thin layer off the tops of your cakes to create a flat surface if needed. Then cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread ¼ of the frosting over the cake. The frosting should be higher around the edges that it holds the blueberry filling inside the cake (watch the video and the step-by-step photos for better understanding). Layer with ⅓ of the blueberry filling (where the frosting is lower). Repeat two more times. Place last cake layer on top and lightly frost the outside and the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Chill 4 hours in the fridge. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days.
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