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5 from 4 votes

Lemon Layer Cake

My moist, tender Lemon Layer Cake is made with REAL lemon flavor and no artificial ingredients or extracts! Frost it with a fluffy, light lemon buttercream frosting or go the extra mile and fill it with a layer of fresh lemon curd in the middle to really amp up the lip-puckering citrus quotient. It's like sunshine in a slice of cake!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 -14 servings
Calories: 844kcal
Author: Amy Nash



  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup salted butter room temperature
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature


  • 1 ½ cups salted butter room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest


  • thin slices of lemon



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper circles and spray with baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until creamy and light, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing until combined.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt alternately with the buttermilk in 2-3 additions, mixing between each addition to combine.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
  • Cool completely before leveling the tops of the cakes and decorating with lemon buttercream frosting.


  • Beat the butter until creamy and smooth using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar along with the lemon zest. Add enough heavy cream and lemon juice to get and nice, spreadable frosting. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes until creamy and light.


  • Lemon Simple Syrup: If you would like to brush the layers with a lemon simple syrup, simply combine ½ cup lemon juice and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan and heat to boiling over medium-high heat. When the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from the heat and let cool completely. Brush over each cake layer before assembling and frosting the cake.
  • Lemon Curd: If you want to fill your cake with something other than just frosting, my lemon curd recipe is a fantastic choice!
  • Variations: Lemon pairs really well with other fruit flavors like blueberry or raspberry. You can add 1 and ½ cups of fresh fruit to the batter for a delightful twist on classic lemon cake.
  • Freezing: The cooled cake layers can be wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw completely before frosting. If needed, you can freeze individual cake slices wrapped in plastic wrap.


Calories: 844kcal | Carbohydrates: 116g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 154mg | Sodium: 725mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 89g | Vitamin A: 1321IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 2mg