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David Leite's Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake

A white plate with a slice of blueberry-lemon layer cake
This blueberry lemon layer cake, made with triple layers of yellow cake with fresh blueberries, speckled with scads of lemon zest, and enveloped in the perfect lemon cream cheese frosting, is impressive in every way. This cake is a terriffic summer dessert, but it also makes one heck of a birthday and celebration cake also.
David Leite

Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
Cool 1 hr
Total 2 hrs 30 mins
12 servings
543 kcal


For the blueberry-lemon cake

  • Butter or nonstick baking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 cups (16 oz) fresh blueberries from 2 pint containers
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the lemon-cream cheese frosting

  • Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt


Make the blueberry lemon layer cake

  • Crank the oven to 350°F (176°C) and position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  • Generously coat three 9-inch (23-cm) cake pans with butter or baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper circles and butter or spray the paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, combine the blueberries and 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture, and toss to coat the blueberries.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl using a good old-fashioned hand mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Gradually add the sugar and then the lemon zest and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Plop the eggs in, 1 at a time, and beat until incorporated.
  • Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the mixer, starting and ending with the flour. Mix in the vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter equally among the pans.

Bake the cake

  • Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert them onto the rack, peel off the parchment, and cool completely, about 1 hour more.

Make the lemon-cream cheese frosting

  • Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or the old-timey way with a bowl and hand mixer), beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, zest, and salt until fluffy, about 4 minutes. If the frosting is a bit thin, let it sit in the fridge while the cake cools.

Frost and serve the cake

  • Place a cake layer on a platter or cake stand and evenly spread a heaping 3/4 cup of frosting on top.
  • Repeat with the second layer and another heaping 3/4 cup of frosting.
  • Top the stack with the third layer and spread more frosting generously over the top and sides, swirling magnificently.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour to help the frosting to set. Take the cake out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving.


How to turn this into a two-layer blueberry-lemon cake

This stunning cake can easily be made with just two layers in case, like some of us, you have only two and not three cake pans. Simply divide the batter between two 9-inch (23-cm) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.