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A delicious lemon layer cake sliced into with lemons in the background on a white cake stand

Lemon Layer Cake Recipe

This perfectly moist, tender and soft lemon layer cake is iced in a wonderful lemon cream cheese frosting and bursting with irresistibly zingy and tangy lemon flavor!!!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, cake recipes, layer cake, lemon, lemon cake
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 18 servings
Calories 519kcal


For the Cake

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • pinch of salt


For the Cake

  • Start by preheating your oven to 325°F then liberally spray 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
  • In your mixer bowl, add oil and butter and beat for 2 minutes on high speed. Slowly add in sugar and beat on high speed for an additional 4-5 minutes until very pale yellow and fluffy. Next, add eggs, one at a time, combining well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Turn your mixer down to its lowest speed, and slowly add flour into batter in two increments then add baking powder, salt and baking soda. Be careful not to over beat.
  • Lastly, add sour cream, milk, lemon zest, lemon and vanilla extracts, scrape down sides and mix until just combined and turn off mixer.
  • Evenly pour cake batter into prepared baking pans and place in oven to bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes just barely clean but don't over bake (crucial not to over bake this cake)!!  I personally start checking the cakes around 27 minutes just to ensure.
  • Remove cakes from oven and rest in pans for 10-15 minutes. Invert cakes from pans onto cooling racks until cooled.

For the Frosting

  • Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
  • Next slow down mixer and carefully add in confectioner’s sugar. Once all sugar has incorporated, turn mixer back to high to continue whipping.
  • Add in heavy cream, vanilla, lemon extract and salt and continue whipping until it is smooth, light and a fluffy frosting.

To Assemble

  • Level the cakes, if necessary, and slice each cake into two layers making a total of four layers of cake.  Add frosting between layers then frost entire cake with remaining frosting.  Serve.


You can store this cake overnight at room temperature in a covered container. If you plan on making it further in advance then go ahead and refrigerate. You can also make the layers in advance and freeze them as long as they are wrapped (with plastic wrap) very well. 
Before serving, be sure to bring your cake to room temperature. Butter based cakes tend to harden while refrigerating and you’ll miss out on that melt in your mouth experience.  


Calories: 519kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 744IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg