Cakes

Lemon Cake With Lemon Buttercream Frosting

4.88 from 33 votes
My Lemon Cake recipe with lemon buttercream frosting is zippy, lemony, moist, and sweet — everything you could want in a spring dessert!
Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream cut open so you can see the layers.

Hi Bold Bakers!

If there’s one cake recipe that will jumpstart you from winter blues to sunny spring days, it’s my lemon cake with lemon buttercream. I could make many arguments as to why lemon desserts are so perfect (any time of the year, if we’re honest), but for the sake of simplicity and saving you some time, I’ll just say they’re so darn good! 

I think a lot of people are a bit confused when they are presented with a cake that features lemon so prominently. Dessert? With one of the key ingredients being sour? It isn’t until they have that bite of the zippy, lemony, moist, and sweet cake that they’re converted to lemon-dessert-believers. My gorgeous lemon meringue cake has been a fan favorite for years!

The acid in the lemon juice doesn’t just add a refreshing zip of flavor either—it helps keep the cake as moist as can be! There’s some serious science going on inside your oven, but you don’t need a degree in chemistry to know that the results are magical. 

I pair this homemade yellow cake with homemade lemon buttercream, which comes together super quickly, and is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Shake off the winter blues with this one! 

A fully decorate lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting.

What Is Lemon Cake?

This is a homemade yellow cake flavored with lemon juice and then frosted with lemon buttercream, made with lemon juice and zest, that creates a dessert that isn’t too sweet and certainly isn’t mouth-puckering sour. It’s perfect for welcoming warmer weather when people want a lighter, citrusy dessert! 

Lemon goes so well with both sweet and savory dishes. Lemons should always be a staple item in your refrigerator! In an airtight container, they should stay fresh for up to a whole month! 

What You Need To Make Lemon Cake With Lemon Buttercream

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Two or Three 8-inch (20cm) round cake pans
  • Electric mixer
  • Mixing bowls

The inside of my lemon cake recipe.

How To Make Lemon Cake

This three-tiered cake comes together in no time, and the lemon buttercream is even easier! Here is how you make the perfect spring-time dessert (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter, flour, and line your 8-inch (20cm) round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Then, one at a time, add in the eggs until they are fully combined. 
  3. Combine the milk, lemon juice, oil, lemon extract, and lemon zest into a measuring cup. Gradually add the liquid to the butter mixture until it is thoroughly mixed.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Gradually beat this mixture into the batter until it is just evenly combined.
  5. Divide the batter between your prepped pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes if you are using two pans, and 20-25 minutes if using 3 pans until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  6. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. As the cakes cool, prepare the lemon buttercream. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Then, gradually add the powder sugar. Beat until it is fully combined.
  8. Pour the lemon juice, cream or milk, and lemon zest into the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  9. Once the cake is thoroughly cooled, level your layers and frost. 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making This Cake

  • Always use room temperature ingredients when making cakes. It will give you the best rise and most even mixing.
  • To intensify the lemon flavor in the cake, you can make a lemon juice concentrate: place ½ cup (4floz/115ml) lemon juice in a small pan and let simmer away until it is reduced by half. Let cool completely and use this in place of the lemon juice called for in the cake.
  • You can make a lemon-poppyseed cake by add 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds to the batter along with the dry ingredients.
  • Use my homemade lemon curd between the cake layers along with the buttercream for an extra lemony kick! 
  • For something a little special and different, make a lavender-lemon buttercream by mixing 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh or dried culinary lavender into your buttercream.

A slice of lemon cake with a bite taken out of it to show how moist it is.

How To Store This Cake

You can store this spring cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Make More Lemon Desserts!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Lemon Cake Recipe with Lemon Buttercream

4.88 from 33 votes
My Lemon Cake recipe with lemon buttercream frosting is zippy, lemony, moist, and sweet — everything you could want in a spring dessert!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
My Lemon Cake recipe with lemon buttercream frosting is zippy, lemony, moist, and sweet — everything you could want in a spring dessert!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 people

Ingredients

For the Lemon Cake:

  • ¾ cup (6oz/170g) butter (at room temperature)
  • cups (12oz/340g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup (8floz/225ml) milk
  • ¼ cup (2floz/57ml) lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (2floz/57ml) neutral flavored oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract (optional)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 ⅔ cups (13⅓oz/378g) all-purpose flour
  • cup (1½oz/40g) cornstarch
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Lemon Buttercream:

  • cups (12oz/340g) butter (at room temperature)
  • 6 cups (24oz/680g) powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

To Make the Lemon Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter, flour, and line with parchment three 8-inch (20cm) round cake pans. Set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and then add the eggs one at a time until fully combined.
  • In a measuring cup with a pour spout, combine the milk, lemon juice, oil, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Gradually add the liquid to the butter mixture until thoroughly mixed.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat into the batter just until evenly combined.
  • Divide the batter between your prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes if using two pans and 20-25 minutes if using 3 pans, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

To Make the Buttercream Frosting:

  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the lemon buttercream: with an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat until fully combined.
  • Into the butter mixture, pour in the lemon juice, cream or milk, and lemon zest and beat until combined.
  • When the cake is thoroughly cooled, level your layers and frost.
  • Store this cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Submit your own photos of this recipe

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Carmen Elkin Finck

Deborah Gray

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Dave
Dave
21 hours ago

I put tangy lemon syrup (you figure out, chef) inside lemon muffins with a syringe. Maybe it works for this too.

Megan
Megan
2 days ago

Could I make this with a 9″ cake pan?

Jamie
Jamie
3 days ago

I really want to try this recipe for Mother’s Day! I want to make cupcakes since I have many different mother figures. How would I go about baking them in a cupcake tin?

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 days ago

Can I add fresh granadillas into the frosting or rather put it on the top layer after frosting ?

Nazia
Nazia
9 days ago

Hi Gemma if I want to substitute oil for butter can u tell me the oil proportion and when to add it in batter thanx

lorraine
lorraine
11 days ago

step 1,,cream butter and sugar …And Flour ???,,,,

Charan Surdhar
Charan Surdhar
11 days ago

Hi Gemma
is it possible to use an egg substitute in this recipe? If so which one please thanks so much.

12 days ago

Hi Gemma thanks for all your lovely recipes ❤ can i ask if it’s OK to swap the milk to buttermilk please? Xx

Angela
Angela
12 days ago

Hi! This looks amazing! My soon-to-be-11-year-old asked for a lemon pistachio cake for his birthday. Would it be ok to mix chopped pistachios into the batter? Or would it be better just to sprinkle on top and in between the layers? Thanks!

Last edited 12 days ago by Angela
cd cinnamon
cd cinnamon
14 days ago

I just made this over the weekend. What a treat! Just for fun I added a layer of strawberry preserves. So DELISH!!! I honestly can’t wait to make this again. 🙂

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!