Lemon Cake

(Last Updated On: August 2, 2020)

Lemon Cake: Moist lemon cake topped with tangy lemon buttercream.  If you like lemon you will love this cake!

Love fruity cakes? Be sure to check out our Strawberry Dump cake too.

lemon cake

This recipe for homemade lemon cake is easy to make and tastes amazing. Layers of moist tangy cake topped with fluffy lemon buttercream make it one of my favorite Spring desserts. I love the sour-sweet taste. It is never too sweet.  How gorgeous would this look on your Easter table?!

It is also perfect to make for a lemon lover on their birthday.

Want to learn to make lemon cake from scratch? Read on!


Related: Lemon Ice Creamlemon cake recipe

Lemon Cake Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • Dry Ingredients: Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk gives the cake great moisture and a little bit of tang. It is that unique flavor that will make you wonder what is making the cake so delicious! If you don’t have buttermilk, and you can make your own using milk and vinegar like this.
  • Lemon Zest: Lemon zest is take from the peel of the lemon. Using a grater, take off the yellow part of the lemon skin. You do not want the white part underneath (also called the pith) that. Avoid the white pith to make the best lemon cake possible, as it is bitter and doesn’t not add flavor like the peel does. Lemon zest gives a powerful punch of lemon flavor that you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Lemon Juice:  In a recipe like this where lemon is the star, use fresh not bottled lemon juice.  To get the most juice possible, start with a room temperature lemon. Also, try heating the lemon for about 20 seconds in the microwave.  Finally, you can roll the lemon on the counter to finish loosening the juice as well. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze. Use a juicer or even 2 forks to twist inside the lemon pulp to get out as much juice as you can.

For the Lemon Buttercream

  • Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice (See above for tips on each of these ingredients)
  • Heavy Cream

easy lemon cake recipe

Lemon Cake Recipe

For The Cake:

  1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
  2. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Then stir in dry ingredients until just combined.
  3. Stir in buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  4. Evenly spread into cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.


Lemon Cake Frosting

  1. Cream butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in powdered sugar a little at a time. Add heavy cream as needed until you reach your desired consistency.
  3.  Spread frosting on the first layer. Top with second layer. Repeat. Cover the top of the third layer with frosting.
  4. Continue icing down the sides until smooth.
  5. Top with piped frosting and sliced lemons if desired.

best lemon cake recipe

Can You Freeze Lemon Cake?

Yes you can freeze this lemon layer cake. You will want to freeze the cake on a sheet pan first. This lets the lemon cake frosting freeze. Once it is frozen, you can store it in a freezer bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. When you are ready to thaw the lemon cake, remove the plastic wrap or freezer bag so the lemon cake frosting doesn’t come off.

lemon cake from scratch

How Long Does Homemade Lemon Cake Last?

This cake will stay fresh covered on the counter for about five days. Do not store in the refrigerator. Storing in the fridge could cause the cake to dry out.

More Decadent Cakes

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake

Chocolate Poke Cake

Pina Colada Poke Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

Cinnamon Cake

lemon cake

Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake: Moist lemon cake topped with tangy lemon buttercream.  If you like lemon you will love this cake!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword Best, Easter, From Scratch, homemade, Spring
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 Slices
Calories 1304kcal
Follow On Pinterest For More Recipe IdeasFollow @bakingbeautyblog or #bakingbeautyblog
Pin Recipe


For the Cake

  • 6 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Butter Softened
  • 1 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 1/3 Cup Lemon Juice Freshly Squeezed

For the Lemon Buttercream

  • 3 Cups Butter Softened
  • 6 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Zest
  • 3 teaspoons Lemon Juice Freshly Squeezed
  • 3-6 tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • Lemon Slices, If Desired For Garnish


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray (4) 9 inch cake pans with non stick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, combine butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs, buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. 
  • Slowly add in dry ingredients a little at a time until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the Frosting

  • Cream butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. Add heavy cream as needed to reach your desired consistency.
  • Cover top of the first layer with frosting. Repeat with second and third layers. Spread frosting evenly down the sides as well. 
  • Pipe remaining frosting on top of cake. Garnish with sliced lemons if desired. 


Calories: 1304kcal | Carbohydrates: 139g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 80g | Saturated Fat: 50g | Cholesterol: 265mg | Sodium: 917mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 89g | Vitamin A: 2530IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 3.3mg
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What do you think of this lemon cake? What is your birthday cake of choice?