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The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

I love baking cakes. It is one of my favorite baked goods to make in my kitchen…especially for birthdays. My cake recipes are not fancy but made with fresh ingredients that taste so good! You will want to lick the frosting with a spoon, I can guarantee that.

Why You’ll Love this Lemon Layer Cake:

This is a light, fluffy, super moist lemon cake recipe with the creamiest lemon cream cheese frosting. The lemon curd in the layers gives it the perfect bright lemon flavor.

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

Lemon Cake Ingredients:

  • Oil: Use a neutral-flavored oil such as canola, vegetable, coconut, or olive oil. Make sure the oil is fresh or it will leave a strong flavor.
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar in this lemon cake recipe.
  • Eggs: Always use large-sized eggs in baking recipes.
  • Lemon Juice: Using freshly squeezed lemon juice in your homemade lemon cake is crucial for achieving that vibrant citrus flavor. Freshly squeezed juice enhances the overall taste of the cake. Bottled lemon juice often lacks the depth and brightness that fresh lemons provide.
  • Lemon Zest: Use a zester to get just the outer layer of the lemon (the lemon zest). This adds a punch of lemon flavor to cakes and frosting.
  • Buttermilk or Whole Milk: The choice between whole milk and buttermilk can impact the texture and taste of your lemon cake. Whole milk lends a rich and moist crumb, while buttermilk adds a tangy flavor and tenderness. If you opt for buttermilk, its acidity will react with the baking soda, contributing to a lighter and fluffier texture.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour or cake flour or a mixture of both flours.
  • Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt: Adds loft to the cakes once they bake in the oven.
  • Lemon Curd: This creamy spread is made with fresh lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and butter. You can make homemade lemon curd or buy it at the grocery store. I like the lemon curd at Trader Joe’s.

Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Ingredients:

This lemon cream cheese frosting is made with sweet cream butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. This is such a velvety smooth, sweet yet fresh and tangy, lemon buttercream frosting recipe.

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

Frosting Tip:

To make this lemon cake easier to frost, I suggest freezing the cake layers for 30 minutes to 1 hour before frosting. When a cake is frozen, it becomes firmer and more stable. This makes it less likely to crumble or break apart while you’re applying the frosting. The firmness provides a solid foundation for the frosting to adhere to.

How to make the Best Lemon Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add oil, eggs, whole milk or buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cream for 2 minutes. In large bowl, add sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into egg mixture and fold.
  • Spray two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Place batter into baking pans. If using three 8-inch pans, bake for 20-26 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. If using two 9-inch pans, bake for 30-36 minutes. Cool.

To make LEMON CREAM CHEESE frosting:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl often. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest and cream together. Chill.

To assemble HOMEMADE LEMON cake:

  • Remove cakes from pan. See below for tips on removing cake from cake pans. Spread frosting on top of one cooled cake layer. Place other cooled cake layer on top and spread frosting all over. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh blackberries.
  • Optional: Spread lemon curd on first cake layer and then top with frosting.
  • Let chill for 20-30 minutes to let the frosting set up.

Garnishes:

Top with fresh lemon slices, dried lemon slices, edible flowers, sprinkles, or white chocolate shavings.

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

How to know when the lemon cake is done baking?

Knowing when your lemon cake is perfectly baked is crucial to achieving the ideal texture. Use a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake – it should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. If it is completely wet, the cake needs to bake longer. Avoid overbaking, as this can lead to a dry cake.

What size cake pan should I use?

I suggest using (3) 8-inch cake pans or (2) 9-inch cake pans. If you use three 8-inch cake pans, the cake will bake slightly faster than if you use two 9-inch cake pans.

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

How to remove cake from a cake pan:

Ensuring that your cakes come out of cake pans cleanly and intact is crucial. Here are some tips to help you achieve a successful cake release:

Properly Grease and Flour the Pans:

  • Thoroughly grease the bottom and sides of the cake pans using butter or non-stick cooking spray. Make sure to get into the corners and edges.
  • Dust the greased pans with flour, shaking and rotating them to ensure an even coating. This helps create a non-stick barrier between the batter and the pan.

Use Parchment Paper:

  • Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper. Cut out circles of parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan. Grease and flour the parchment paper as well. This extra layer can prevent sticking.

Choose Non-Stick Pans:

  • Non-stick pans are designed to release baked goods more easily. If you’re consistently having issues with cakes sticking, investing in high-quality, light colored non-stick pans can make a significant difference. My favorite pans are USA cake pans.

Allow Cakes to Cool Properly:

  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes after taking them out of the oven. This allows the structure to set a bit and makes the cake less likely to break apart when removed.

Run a Knife Around the Edges:

  • After the cooling period, run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the sides of the pan.

Invert the Pans Carefully:

  • Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert it to release the cake. If you’ve used parchment paper, the cake should easily slide out onto the rack.

Tap the Bottom of the Pan:

  • Gently tap the bottom of the pan with your hand to help release the cake. This can be especially helpful if the cake seems to be sticking.
The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

Storage:

Since this cake is made with cream cheese frosting, I prefer to refrigerate it covered for up to 4-5 days. For longer storage, you may freeze the cake. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or foil before placing it in the freezer. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator before serving.

Popular Lemon Dessert Recipes:

The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!

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5 from 9 votes

Lemon Cake

By: Modern Honey® – www.modernhoney.com
The Best Lemon Cake Recipe is moist, light, and fluffy made with fresh lemon juice and layered with lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting. This is the lemon cake of your dreams!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup Oil  (canola, vegetable, coconut, or olive)
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups Buttermilk or Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Frosting:

  • 1 cup Salted Butter (softened)
  • (1) 8-ounce pkg. Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

For Assembling:

  • 8 ounces Lemon Curd

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add oil, eggs, whole milk or buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cream for 2 minutes. In large bowl, add sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into egg mixture and fold.
  • Generously spray two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. See blog post for tips on how to spray the pans and how to remove the cake once it is done baking.
  • Place batter into baking pans. If using three 8-inch pans, bake for 20-26 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If using two 9-inch pans, bake for 30-36 minutes. Cool.

Frosting:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl often. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest and cream together. Chill.

To assemble cake:

  • Remove cakes from pan. Spread lemon curd on top of one cooled cake layer. Then spread frosting on the top. Place the other cooled cake layer on top and spread another layer of lemon curd and then frosting all over. Let chill for 20-30 minutes to let the frosting set up.
  • Store covered in the refrigerator.

Notes

How to know when the lemon cake is done baking?

Knowing when your lemon cake is perfectly baked is crucial to achieving the ideal texture. Use a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake – it should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. If it is completely wet, the cake needs to bake longer. Avoid overbaking, as this can lead to a dry cake.

Frosting Tip:

To make this lemon cake easier to frost, I suggest freezing the cake layers for 30 minutes to 1 hour before frosting. When a cake is frozen, it becomes firmer and more stable. This makes it less likely to crumble or break apart while you’re applying the frosting. The firmness provides a solid foundation for the frosting to adhere to.

Nutrition

Calories: 462kcal, Carbohydrates: 81g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 349mg, Potassium: 90mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 68g, Vitamin A: 440IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 47mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16
Calories: 462
Keyword: lemon cake, lemon layer cake
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Hi, I'm Melissa Stadler!

I am an Award-Winning Recipe Creator. Cover of Food Network Magazine. Two-Time Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist. I am passionate about sharing the best recipes so you have success in the kitchen!

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10 Comments

    1. Hi Jan! I love that idea. I do have some lemon loaf/lemon bread recipes on my site if that is easier. 🙂 But you can definitely make it in a 9 x 5 pan. You may be able to make two loaves with this recipe. 🙂

  1. Hi!! I am such a sucker for a lemon dessert and would love to bake this. But-and this may be a weird question/idea, I really want to make some part of this rich fudgy chocolate. I had a cake years ago that was a lemon choc cake and all these years I still think about it! But I can’t remember if it was lemon cake with choc ganache in between layers and to frost, or lemon filling wth fudge frosting or??? Do you have a recommendation? Chocolate cake with lemon frosting? Thank you so much!!!