Cakes

Lemon Cake With Lemon Buttercream Frosting

4.85 from 40 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

4.85 from 40 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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Miriam Murphy-Accardo

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avacuppa
23 days ago

🇨🇦 I made this cake with the frosting last night, and my goodness, it was delicious!! So lemony and the texture was great. I had no zest for the frosting so used pure lemon extract, which at first tasted quite tart, but left overnight in the frosting it had calmed down and was really good. I decorated the cake this morning for my daughters birthday, she loved it! So did we!!😁

Sarah
Sarah
24 days ago

Hello Gemma,
I am trialling this cake for my daughter’s first birthday. I would like it to be fairly tall so I have bought two 8″ deep base tins (equal to four 8″ shallow tins). I assume the above recipe/method is for 3 shallow 8″ cake tins. If I add an extra 1/4 ingredients, how long should I leave the cakes in the oven if I am using the two deep base tins? Many thanks in advance!

avacuppa
24 days ago

Can I store this icing in a covered container on my kitchen counter?

Miriam Murphy-Accardo
1 month ago

This cake is just beautiful. I made 2 layers, halved and filled with lemon curd (so easy. Gemma your buttercream icing is like silk.

Sadi
Sadi
1 month ago

If I combine milk and lemon juice in the frosting, won’t it split?

Suzanne
Suzanne
2 months ago

Hi, Can you please advise on what the best temperature is for a fan oven

JILL A DAVIES
JILL A DAVIES
2 months ago

Does it matter what percentage milk is used in the cake?

Zia
Zia
2 months ago

Hi Gemma. I was wondering if I can use this recipe for number cake. Will it turn out well baking in cookie tray?

fatima
fatima
3 months ago

Hi .. On a second thought, can I replace it corn flour or rice flour instead of corn starch. if so, will can I replace it with exact same amount ?

Fatima
Fatima
3 months ago

Hi can I use rice flour instead of corn starch. If so do I same quantity of rice flour too ?

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!