Lemon Layer Cake With Blueberry Buttercream

blueberry buttercream recipe by Sugar and Sparrow

As I was perusing the freeze dried fruit section of my local Trader Joe’s, I stumbled upon a bag of freeze dried blueberries and just had to add them to my cart. It’s no secret that I love adding freeze dried fruits to buttercream (case in point: this delicious Raspberry Buttercream Recipe), and could imagine how amazing both the color and the flavor would be with these bluebs added. With my buttercream flavored set, I started thinking on cake flavors to pair it with, and that’s how this lemon cake recipe was born.

lemon layer cake recipe with blueberry buttercream

I’ll admit, I’ve never ever made a lemon cake from scratch before. I thought it would be easy: just add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest into my vanilla cake batter, bake it up, and all would be good. Well, it wasn’t. I learned some valuable baking lessons in my recipe testing sessions, mainly that the acidity of lemon interacts with rising agents like baking soda and baking powder in such a way that it creates too much rise, and the cakes will fall in the center if there isn’t the right balance of acidity. After a few fallen cakes as a result of my recipe testing, I realized that decreasing the amount of baking soda in this recipe yielded a beautiful rise and a cake that is perfectly packed with fresh lemon flavor. Science, y’all.

lemon zest cake recipe
lemon cake recipe

For flavoring the cake, I initially thought fresh lemon juice would create the most authentic flavor but learned another valuable lesson: the most powerful flavor comes from the zest of a lemon, while fresh lemon juice only bakes off in the oven and doesn’t contribute much to the overall flavor. So I ended up ditching lemon juice completely and opted for the zest combined with a little lemon extract to create that powerful zing you’d expect to taste in a lemon cake. Extract is much more concentrated than fresh lemon juice, so you don’t have to use a ton to get a powerful lemon flavor that tastes totally pure. In addition to the perfect amount of lemon flavoring, using cake flour and sour cream in the recipe makes this cake super light, fluffy, and moist. Just look at this beauty:

lemon layer cake recipe

With my perfect lemon cake recipe finally squared away, I topped it with the blueberry buttercream I’d been dreaming about ever since I saw that package of freeze dried blueberries at Trader Joe’s. I’m happy to report that it’s as heavenly as I imagined! The little flecks of blueberry are so pretty and since they’re freeze dried, you don’t get all the excess liquid from fresh blueberries messing up the frosting consistency. It’s my favorite way to flavor fruit-based buttercreams!

freeze dried blueberry buttercream recipe
blueberry buttercream recipe

To decorate, I frosted a smooth layer of blueberry buttercream, then used Wilton Tip 1M and 4B to pipe a diagonal set of rosettes and stars that continues partially around the top of the cake. I popped a few fresh blueberries and these Yellow Solid Sprinkles into the buttercream piping for some additional color and texture. So easy and pretty to look at!

lemon blueberry cake recipe

I ended up taking my final cake to work (yes, still rocking my day job) and it was gone before lunch time. Now that’s a true sign of a great cake! If you’re a lover of lemon cake, this recipe is sure to please. The best part is, you can pair it with a berry-flavored buttercream or try it with this lemon buttercream or this cream cheese buttercream for an alternate flavor palette. Whatever you choose to do, I can promise this cake will rise beautifully and will be packed with the perfect amount of zing!

blueberry buttercream recipe by Sugar and Sparrow
5 from 5 votes

Lemon Layer Cake With Blueberry Buttercream

Layers of moist, fluffy lemon cake packed with just the right amount of zing, topped with refreshing blueberry buttercream.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


Lemon Layer Cake

  • 3 3/4 cups (398g) cake flour, sifted before measuring
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (513g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/8 cup (254g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (168g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (1 large lemon or 2 small)
  • 1 1/2 cups (240ml) whole milk, room temperature

Blueberry Buttercream

  • 2 cups (452g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 packages (68g) Trader Joe’s freeze dried blueberries
  • 6 Tbsp (90ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 7 cups (840g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt


Make The Lemon Layer Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch or four 6-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with a cooking spray (Baker's Joy is my favorite) and a wax paper circle fitted to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can grease and lightly flour the pans. 

  2. Sift the cake flour and then measure by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. 

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter for on high for two minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add in sugar and continue to mix on medium-high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest and mix for one minute on high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more. 

  4. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the milk slowly and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps. 

  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pans (no more than 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 35-40 minutes. They’re done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they’re entirely room temperature before applying any frosting.

Make The Blueberry Buttercream

  1. With a food processor, grind the freeze dried blueberries into a fine powder and set aside. Whip the butter using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed until it’s creamy and light in color, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, milk, and blueberry powder and continue to mix on medium for 3 minutes.

  2. Add the powdered sugar in two additions, mixing on low until fully incorporated. Add the salt and continue to mix on low for another 30 seconds. 


  1. After torting the cake layers, fill and frost them with the blueberry buttercream. To replicate the look of the cake design pictured, frost the cake with a smooth layer of blueberry buttercream, then refrigerate it for about 20 minutes to let it firm up. 

  2. Prepare two piping bags by fitting the first with Wilton Tip 1M and the second with Wilton Tip 4B, then fill both with blueberry buttercream. Pipe rosettes and stars in a diagonal design on the front of the cake, then continue the pattern partially around the top edge. Add some fresh blueberries and yellow sprinkles onto the piping wherever you desire. 

Recipe Notes

Make ahead tips: the Lemon Layer Cake can be made ahead and stored at room temperature, covered tightly in plastic wrap, for up to two days. Alternatively, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to two months before thawing to room temperature. 

The Blueberry Buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip with your stand mixer to bring it back to frosting consistency.

Did you make this recipe? I want to know what you think! Let me know in the comments below or tag me on Instagram so I can see what you’re caking!


  1. Michele Davidson

    Absolutely gorgeous! Can’t wait to try your cake recipe. Freeze dried fruit is amazing for buttercream, love it.

    • Yay, Michele! I totally agree – freeze dried fruit is amaaazing in buttercream recipes. Let me know when you try this! I’d love to know what you think 🙂

  2. flinois

    bjr et bravo de partager avec nous ces merveilles peut on remplacer le thé de sel par autre chose merci

    • Je vous remercie! Le sel casher est ce que j’utilise toujours, mais peut être remplacé par du sel de table ou du sel de mer.

    • Hi Rita! The reason I use freeze dried blueberries in the frosting recipe is because the liquid from the berries has been removed, so the consistency of the frosting is just right. If you use fresh blueberries, you might end up with runnier frosting because of the excess liquid. That being said, I recommend searching for a recipe that does include fresh blueberries if that’s what you have on hand, or grabbing a bag of freeze dried blueberries to use with my recipe.

  3. Erin E Glauberman

    Hi Whitney, Im about make this beautiful frosting for cupcakes, do you think it will be ok? Did you find that the frosting was grainy? Should it be sifted?


    • Hi Erin! This frosting will work beautifully for cupcakes and it’s not grainy at all. No sifting necessary 🙂

  4. Alexandra

    5 stars
    Hi Whitney, I’ve followed on on instagram for a while, you’re cakes are beautiful! Such an amazing source of inspiration and amazing recipes.
    My Gran is 80 next week and I wanted to make your lemon cake for her, but I wanted to ask your thoughts on a lemon buttercream? Do you have any recommendations to do this?
    Also for the cake recipe, could I sub 1tbsp of lemon extract with 1tbsp of fresh lemon juice?

  5. Thank you for the recipe. I have 9 in pans, does the recipe fit for two layers of 9 in or does it need to be adjusted?

    • Hi Ivette, this recipe should be just enough for two 9 inch pans! I know the recipe says 8 inch pans but it actually makes a little bit more batter than that (I always like to have a little extra). Just divide it up evenly between the two pans (no more than 2/3 full) and it should be good.

    • I also used 9 inch pans. You should reduce the amount of frosting if you do this; I ended up with about 2 cups leftover.

  6. Hi Whitney – Your cake pics just lifts up my spirit !! Really amazing ! I want to try this for my friend’s baby shower as she loves everything fruity .. Can I use freeze dried blueberries for a whipped cream frosting ?? Have you tried it ? Thanks !

    • Hi Rosh! Thanks so much for the kind words 🙂 I’ve never used freeze dried blueberries for whipped cream frosting but I’m sure it will work! I looked around on Google and there are plenty of similar recipes where you grind up the freeze dried blueberries into a find powder and add it straight to your whipped cream frosting. Sounds so good!

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Whitney,
    I am super excited to give this recipe a go for my mums birthday.
    In the recipe it says use three 6 inch or 8 inch pans, which do you suggest is better to go with?

    Also I have brought the blueberries already in powder form, im guessing the quantity used would stay the same (68g)?

    • Hi Laura! So excited for you to try this recipe! It makes exactly enough for three 8-inch layers, so if you want to go with a 6-inch cake you’ll have a little extra batter. This lemon cake recipe is exactly the same, only it makes just enough for a three layer 6-inch cake: https://sugarandsparrow.com/lemon-cake-recipe/

      And as far as the blueberries go, you’re correct. They should still weigh 68g in powder form. Hope you love this recipe!

  8. Hi Whitney,

    The freeze-dried blueberries make such a beautiful color frosting, but what I’m wondering is do you actually get the true taste of blueberry? I’ve tried making a frosting before using the juice from blueberries that I’ve smashed thru a sieve, but it unfortunately just ended up tasting pretty much like plain buttercream.

    • Hi Marcie! It makes sense that adding only the liquid from the blueberry didn’t flavor your buttercream very much. Since most of the flavor comes from their skin, the freeze dried blueberries add great flavor to the buttercream. Give it a try next time you make blueberry buttercream!

  9. Sam Greener

    Would sieved blueberry preserve work in the frosting instead of freeze dried fruit, as I cant find any?

    • Hi Sam! You can certainly give it a try, but you might need to add more powdered sugar to the buttercream to make up for the added moisture. Here’s a link to the freeze dried blueberries I used if you want to order them online: https://amzn.to/2PSfJUZ

  10. Hello,
    Can I use lemon juice or additional lemon zest instead of lemon extract? If so what amount should I use?

    • Hi Ally! If you want to substitute for lemon extract I would add a few more teaspoons of lemon zest. It’s where all of the lemon flavor comes from and what extract is made of. Let me know how it goes!

  11. This looks amazing, but I want to make three 9 inch layers. Would doubling the recipe be too much?

  12. jeannine frenzel

    Where did you get the cake stand… light wooden base with marble top?

  13. Can I make this in a 9.5×13 cake pan? Would I have to change the baking time ?

    • Hi Lizette! I’ve never made this as a sheet cake before (so I don’t entirely know how long to bake it) but I’d just be sure to fill the pan no more than 1/2 full, keep the oven temp the same, and check for doneness at 45-50 minutes.

  14. If I turn this recipe into cupcakes, approx how long should I bake them for?

    • Hi Ashley! This recipe works great as cupcakes. Fill the cupcake tins no more than 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 17 minutes.

  15. Brandi

    I made the buttercream and although I ground the blueberries into a fine powder, it is crunchy/gritty in my buttercream. Does this become softer as it sits?

    • Hi Brandi! The blueberry bits do become softer with time and moisture from the rest of the buttercream.

  16. Lauren Morse

    Hi Whitney

    Is the cake pictured here a six inch or an eight inch cake?

  17. Bethany

    5 stars
    our grocery store only had freeze dried raspberries, and it was a happy accident, because this frosting tasted like black raspberry ice cream! It was the tastiest frosting I have ever had, my entire family agrees. So far we have only tasted the discards from the cake leveling, but that was also super delicious. I didn’t have lemon extract but I tested 3 large lemons and it was perfect. We are waiting for it to firm up and then on to the decorating!!!
    Then this cake has to travel 5 hours in the car to surprise my mother-in-law with a front lawn quarantine style birthday party. I hope it makes it in one piece. But, if not, the pieces will still be delicious! Also, I started following you on instagram after “the Budget Mom” posted her beautiful cake and spoke of your site. Boy, was she right! Your cakes are amazing!

    • Yay, Bethany! I am so happy to hear that you love this recipe and I’m sure it tastes incredible with freeze dried raspberry buttercream. So excited for you to bless your mother-in-law with this!!

  18. Charlotte

    Would frozen blueberries (or raspberries) work instead of freeze dried? On another note, your cakes are amazing! Thank you for sharing them!

      • Stephanie

        Hi Whitney! So excited to make this… going to use the Baker By Nature blueberry buttercream recipe for the frosting as I have an insane amount of fresh blueberries on hand. Do you think the qty of buttercream called for in her recipe will do the trick for a 3-layer 8″ cake?

        • Hi Stephanie! I would definitely double her recipe to have enough buttercream for filling and frosting a 3-layer 8-inch cake. Excited for you to try this lemon cake and let me know how it tastes with fresh blueberry buttercream!

  19. Melissa Molina

    If I wanted to make two 6 inch cakes each with 3 layers would I double the recipe?

    • Hi Melissa! Since this recipe makes a total of four 6-inch layers, you could make 1.5x the recipe to make a total of six 6-inch layers (3 layers per cake). Just multiply each ingredient by 1.5 and you’ll have the perfect amounts! If it makes it easier math-wise though, you could double the recipe but just know you’ll have a little more than enough.

  20. Hi Whitney!

    I can’t find freeze dried blueberries, but can find plain “dried blueberries” (which I think are air dried vs freeze dried). Do you think these would work?

      • I believe I found Freeze Dried – at Target (according to their site). No Trader Joe’s near me and can’t wait for my best friend the Amazon delivery guy. Headed to Target in the morning and making it tomorrow afternoon for my daughter’s 21st birthday. THANK YOU for your help!!!

  21. 5 stars
    I tried a variation of this cake for my sisters 50th birthday yesterday because she loves lemon. I was afraid of doing the lemon cake so I chickened out and did your yellow cake recipe with a mix of lemon and huckleberry frosting. I also did a lemon curd in the middle to give it some added lemon flavor. I had a few cups of huckleberries in the freezer my kids picked this summer instead of the blueberries because it has a similar flavor but more potent. It was phenomenal. I also added a 1/2 cup of the huckleberry compote I made in between the layers. I am currently recovering from the sugar coma as I write this.

    • That sounds delicious, Chad! So happy to hear that you loved my yellow cake recipe and those added flavor elements sound like they were the perfect compliments!

  22. Hi Whitney,

    Have tried your freeze dried Strawberry buttercream and it was delicious!!! Can I pair the blueberry buttercream with chocolate cake layers? And for frosting a two 6inch layer cake should I half this buttercream recipe?

    • So happy you love my freeze dried strawberry buttercream recipe, Shipra! You can certainly pair the blueberry buttercream recipe with chocolate cake layers, and if you’re filling and frosting a double layer 6 inch cake you can half the recipe. Hope that helps!

  23. 5 stars
    Hi Whitney! Your cake was so delicious – I baked it for my brother’s birthday but he doesn’t usually like lemon or blueberry so it was a bit risky really. I didn’t tell him the flavours and he said this was the best cake he’d ever had. I totally agreed! Thank you sooo much!!!

    • Yay, Emily! I am so happy this recipe was a hit for your brother’s birthday! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know 🙂

  24. Kwaevyonn

    Hi Whitney, do you know if the cake layers bake up quite tall when using 8 inch pans?

  25. I’m planning on making this frosting tomorrow to frost cupcakes with, do you know about how many cupcakes this frosting recipe will cover?

    • Hi Mike! This frosting recipe will cover around 30-35 cupcakes depending on how much frosting you’re putting on. Enjoy!

  26. Hi, I want to make this cake but need only 3, 6 inch layers, if I do this cake “Lemon Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream” will it be okay? The cake needs 300ml milk, but the lemon layer cake w blueberry only needs 240ml milk, will it have the same consistency (light n fluffy)

    Thanks a bunch!

  27. I’ve made this cake twice and both times it fell in the middle. is it because I filled the cake pans (4 6 in. pans) too much? I used the correct amount of baking soda and powder. Should I reduce one? My granddaughter wants this cake for her birthday and I’m running out of time and money! Help, please@

    • Hi Karen! I’m so sorry to hear that the cakes fell. One of the most common reasons why cakes sink is that the baking powder is expired (it loses its ability to give a cake rise after about 6 months). If your baking powder is fresh and assuming you haven’t made any substitutions, here are some other common reasons why a cake would sink: https://sugarandsparrow.com/why-cakes-sink/ hope that helps!

  28. Hi!! I’m making a lemon blueberry cake for my mother in laws birthday 🙂 what would you suggest as for adding in frozen blueberries to the lemon cake batter?? I plan on tossing them in some flour and lemon juice before putting them in so they don’t sink.

    • Hi Shayla! That sounds so lovely and although I’ve never tried adding blueberries to this batter before I think it should work! I would definitely toss them in flour first so they stay suspended in the batter. Let me know how it goes!

  29. Hi, I was wondering whether it’s possible to reduce the amount of powder sugar by half in the frosting? Thanks :).

    • Hi Natalia! If you reduce the powdered sugar by that much, the frosting will be very runny. The powdered sugar helps stabilize the buttercream, so I don’t recommend reducing it. This recipe calls for enough powdered sugar to make about 6 Cups of buttercream, which is why it seems like so much. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Raven! Buttermilk will add even more moisture to this cake (which is already plenty moist). If it’s all you have on hand I’d say it’s worth a try but otherwise I’d recommend sticking with whole milk 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating