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Lemon Buttermilk Layer Cake

  • Author: Elise
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 40 minutes:
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 layer 7 inch cake 1x
  • Category: Cake, Lemon Cake, Buttermilk Cake


Lemon Buttermilk Layer Cake is the perfect refreshing, flavorful, light-as-ever cake. The texture is incredibly fluffy, the cream cheese frosting is so smooth, and the lemon flavor is truly bursting!



For the Cake

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

For the Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7-8 cups powdered sugar (to taste)
  • optional: 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk)


For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 3 7-inch pans with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray to ensure cakes come out cleanly.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. In a large bowl or bowl of your standing mixer, mix room temperature butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add room temperature eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
  5. Add vanilla extract and lemon extract. After mixing, slowly add lemon juice to prevent shocking the batter.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl throughout the process. Mix until just combined, as overmixing will create a dry and dense cake.
  7. Divide batter between pans- about 15 oz of batter per pan if you have a food scale!
  8. Bake for 28-33 minutes. Cakes will be light golden brown on top, will look dry, will spring back up when poked in the center, and will come out with moist crumbs.
  9. Cool in pans for about 20-30 minutes until cool to the touch. Use a knife to run around the edges of the cake, ensuring the sides of the cake do not stick to the pan. Flip cakes onto wire cooling racks to finish cooling before decorating.

For the Frosting

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer, whip butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar to the mixture in about 1 cup increments to prevent powdered sugar from exploding everywhere!
  3. Once powdered sugar is fully incorporated, mix in vanilla extract and lemon extract (if using).
  4. Add heavy cream or milk and beat for about 2-3 minutes until frosting is light in color and fluffy.
  5. Stack and frost the cakes as desired.

Keywords: Buttermilk Cake, Lemon Cake, Layer Cake, 7 inch Lemon Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting