lemon & blueberry layer cake with heavenly cream cheese frosting

lemon blueberry cake

The first time we made this cake was to celebrate my husband’s completion of year 2 (of 4) of grad school. While he’s now graduated, we continue to make this cake for special occasions. It is incredibly moist with the perfect balance of tangy lemon and sweet blueberry. It is also not overly sweet and the frosting is light & fluffy. The recipe can also be halved and made into cupcakes.

LEMON & BLUEBERRY LAYER CAKE WITH HEAVENLY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour *carefully measured; too much flour will make the cake too dense
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk *You can make your own buttermilk by using 1 cup whole milk + 1 Tbsp. white vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes and voila! Homemade buttermilk.
  • zest  of 3 lemons + 6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries plus a handful more for decorating the top of the cake, if desired

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz. full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray three 9×2 inch cake pans well with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a measuring cup, make your buttermilk with the whole milk and white vinegar (or simply use store bought buttermilk.) Set aside.
  4. With your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add both of your sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  6. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined and fluffy, about 2 full minutes.
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix for another few seconds. DO NOT OVER MIX. I repeat, DO NOT OVERMIX. This is the key to the lightest, fluffiest cake ever.
  8. Remove from the mixer and gently fold in the blueberries until just combined.
  9. Divide the batter evenly into the 3 prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (*Mine took exactly 21 minutes).
  10. Remove from the oven and allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting. 

For the frosting:

  1. With your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium high speed until super fluffy and no lumps remain, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. On low speed, pour in your powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Once mostly combined, kick up the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes.

To assemble: 

  1. Place your first layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese without worrying about the sides yet.
  2. Add your second layer on top. Frost again without worrying about the sides.
  3. Add your third and final layer. Top with the rest of the frosting and spread it down and around the sides of the cake.
  4. Optional: top with extra blueberries or any other cake toppers, as desired.

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