Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Lemon layer cake with homemade lemon cream cheese frosting is hands-down the best lemon cake I’ve ever eaten. Every bite bursts with fresh lemon flavor, and this lemon cake recipe is easy to make!

Supremely moist and fluffy lemon layer cake with homemade lemon cream cheese frosting. Every bite bursts with fresh lemon flavor! The perfect cake for any occasion.

YIELD: 12 servings


2 1/4 cups cake flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder (I recommend aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided (from about 1/2 a large lemon)
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • *Cake flour is important for this recipe to ensure the layers are extra fluffy and light. If you do not have cake flour, you can make your own by measuring 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, removing 5 tablespoons of the measured flour, adding 5 tablespoons of cornstarch, then sifting the mixture together 5 times. Measure out the 2 1/4 c. needed for the recipe, then bake as directed.
  • Cake layers can be baked 1 day in advance—cool completely then wrap airtight and store at room temperature.
  • Frosting can be prepared 1 day in advance—place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Fully frosted frosted or unfrosted cakes can be frozen for up to 2 months—let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature prior to serving.


  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8×2-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, then butter the parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites.
  3. Place the granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and beat on medium speed for 3 full minutes, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon extract.
  4. Visit Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting @ wellplated.com for full directions.

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