This light and tender lemon blueberry cake is filled with fresh blueberry preserves and frosted with silky lemon buttercream.
Lemon and blueberry is one of those classic flavor combinations that make baked goods shine. And oh my, this cake shines bright.
There’s plenty of lemon flavor in the cake layers and creamy frosting, and the blueberry filling is a surprise burst of berry flavor. All together this cake is light and fresh, and so beautiful! Keep it simple and serve it as is, or dress it up with lemon wedges, fresh blueberries, and chamomile flowers.
Share this lemon blueberry layer cake with friends at your next dinner party, family gathering, or backyard cookout. (I’m actually planning to turn it into a wedding cake next month!) Regardless of the occasion, it will be a crowd-pleaser for sure!
Lemon Butter Cake Layers
The cake layers are scented with lemon zest and brushed with a lemon simple syrup after baking to really give them a punch of bright lemon flavor.
The cake recipe uses the reverse creaming method, which means all the dry ingredients are beaten together with the butter before the eggs and liquids are added at the end. (It’s the same way I make my beloved coconut cake.) It’s not any more difficult than using the traditional creaming method, and I like how light and tender the cake layers turn out.
Bake the cake layers in advance if you want (I always bake mine at least 1 day ahead of when I will assemble the final cake) and store in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for a month or more. See my tips on how to store cake layers here.
Blueberry Preserves Filling
Blueberry preserves sandwiched between the cake layers is the single blueberry component of this cake, but it’s a bold one. You can use store-bought preserves or make your own easily from either fresh or frozen blueberries. All you need is 3 ingredients (just blueberries, sugar and lemon juice) and 15 minutes.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, Bon Maman makes delicious blueberry preserves that you can find in any grocery store.
Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Swiss meringue buttercream is my favorite frosting for elegant layer cakes and so including it with this lemon blueberry cake was a no-brainer. SMB is light, silky, and isn’t nearly as tooth-achingly sweet as classic american buttercream. While it’s not difficult, it does require slightly more effort. But once you’ve tried it I think you’ll agree it’s well worth the effort!
If you still have questions, love how this blog post explains everything you ever needed to know about Swiss meringue buttercream. Look for a full tutorial on Completely Delicious soon!
Tips for baking this lemon blueberry cake
- If you’re new to baking layer cakes or need a little help, be sure to check out my complete guide for how to build a layer cake. It’s got everything you need to know!
- This cake recipe uses cake flour to achieve the lightest and most tender crumb. For best results, don’t substitute for all-purpose flour. You should be able to find it any any grocery store or you can even make your own.
- Because the cake layers are so tender, you’ll definitely want to line the cake pans with parchment paper rounds to make sure there’s no sticking. Here’s all my tips for prepping cake pans before baking.
- You can use either 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans. (These are the pans I have and love.) 8-inch pans will yield a taller cake, 9-inch will yield one that’s wider. You can also use more or less pans for a 2, 3, 4 (or more) layered cake. Also, see my tip for how to split cake layers. Take note that baking times may vary slightly, and you will want to adjust the amount of frosting and filling between cake layers depending on the configuration you chose.
- Assembled cakes should be stored in the fridge. They will be freshest within 2-3 days of assembly but can be stored for up to a week. Pull the cake out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Other lovely layer cakes
- Strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting
- Coconut lime cake
- Red wine chocolate layer cake with raspberry buttercream
- Strawberry shortcake layer cake
- Southern coconut cake
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Lemon Blueberry Cake
Lemon Cake Layers:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
- 3 cups (340 grams) cake flour
- 2 1/3 (470 grams) cups sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Lemon Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (319 grams) cubed unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two or three 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. (See Notes)
- In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup of the milk, and vanilla.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, remaining 1 cup milk, and lemon zest and combine on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
Brush with simple syrup:
- Combine sugar and lemon juice and heat over low heat on the stove, or microwave, until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
- Brush tops of cooled cake layers with simple syrup.
- Wrap cake layers in plastic wrap and store in fridge until ready to assemble cake.
To make the blueberry preserves:
- Add half of the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add remaining blueberries and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Let cool completely before filling the cake.
To make the lemon Swiss meringue buttercream:
- Place a small saucepan filled with an inch of water on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil.
- Add egg whites, sugar, and salt to a heat-proof bowl and place over the boiling water. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm and sugar is completely dissolved (rub a small amount between your fingers to test if sugar is dissolved).
- Transfer egg whites to mixer bowl and beat with whisk attachment on high speed until cooled and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce mixer speed to medium high and add cubed butter a tablespoon at a time, waiting until butter is incorporated before adding more.
- When all butter is added, mixture should be thick and creamy. If mixture appears curdled (butter is too cold), keep mixing until smooth, up to several minutes more. If mixture is soupy (butter is to warm), place bowl in the fridge for 20 minutes and then beat again until smooth.
- Add lemon juice and mix until combined.
To assemble cake:
- Place one cake layer on display stand or plate. Cover with approximately 1 cup of buttercream and half of the blueberry preserves, leaving an inch border around the preserves.
- Top with next cake layer and repeat filling. Place final cake layer on top.
- Frost cake with remaining buttercream and decorate as desired. See my tips for how to frost a cake.
- Store cake in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. Assembled cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week, though it will be best within 2-3 days.
- This cake can be baked in either 8 or 9-inch pans. You can use 2 or 3 pans, depending on the look you're going for: double layer (2 pans), triple layer (3 pans), or quadruple layer (2 pans, then slice each layer in half).
- You can also use store-bought blueberry preserves.
- Make ahead: All of the components of this cake can be made ahead of time. Store wrapped cakes in the fridge for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for 1 month or more. Simple syrup, preserves, and buttercream can be stored in the fridge for a week. Let buttercream come to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer before frosting the cake.