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+ servings
Lemon Layer Cake for the win! The perfect summer dessert. So festive and beautiful. The perfectly light, fluffy cake, layered with lemon buttercream and lemon curd. Add blackberries or any summer fruit for a delightful summer flavor. Gluten Free Option.
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4.6 from 5 votes

Lemon Layer Cake

Embrace all things summer and whip up this special cake in a flash.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Cooling1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake, Dessert, Lemon, summer
Servings: 8 Slices
Calories: 1069kcal


For the Lemon Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or GF flour blend*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk 2% or whole is best
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest from 2 lemons

For the Lemon Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd store bought works great


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8" or 9" cake pans or one 9"x13" dish for a sheet cake. Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper for easiest removal. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and vanilla on high for one minute until light and fluffy. Scraping the sides as needed.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition.
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder.
  • In a small bowl, combine milk, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Alternate milk mixture and flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 additions, ending with flour. This ensures all of the liquid is thoroughly incorporated into the batter and prevents the mixture from "splitting".
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until fully combined, but careful not to over mix.
  • Pour the batter into the pans, dividing evenly if using 2 cake pans. Bake on center rack for 25-30 minutes, until center springs back when lightly touched or a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to fully cool on cooling racks.

For the Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), beat butter on high for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest and half the powdered sugar. Mix on low until powdered sugar is mostly combined. Add remaining powdered sugar (adding slowly avoids a powdered sugar mess in the kitchen).
  • Mix on low until powdered sugar is all mixed in, then turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • To frost the cake, place first cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge. Spoon and spread lemon curd in the center (see notes above for pictures to show this process).
  • Add second cake layer and pipe remaining frosting on top and sides and smooth with a butter knife or offset spatula.
  • Top it off with lemon slices, mint leaves, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or lemon cookies. Or whatever your heart desires!
  • Slice and enjoy!


*My favorite flour blend is King Arthur Measure for Measure. It has a healthy list of ingredients, no milk powder and is inexpensive and easy to find. 
**The cake in the pictures has 3 layers and the recipe is made for 2 layers. However, if you hover over the serving size, you'll see a slide come up where you can adjust the servings. Increase up to 12 servings and it will update the recipe to give you the correct amounts to make a 3 layer cake. So easy, right? I love that little tool.


Calories: 1069kcal | Carbohydrates: 149g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 207mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 120g | Vitamin A: 1581IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 2mg