Lemon Raspberry Cake

I originally made this lemon raspberry cake for my sister’s birthday 6 years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago! It seemed fitting to remake it for my sister’s birthday this year.

image of lemon raspberry layer cake being dusted with powdered sugar

The components of the cake are still the same. It’s made with fluffy lemon cake layers, and filled with a delicious and bright raspberry filling.

I stuck with the lemon cream cheese frosting too, but made it a bit sturdier to make it easier to decorate with. The updated frosting recipe is based on my tried and true cream cheese buttercream frosting.

Substitutions and Swaps

While I love this lemon raspberry recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all of these ingredients on hand!

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe:

  • Cake flour – This recipe turns out best with cake flour, but you can use all-purpose flour or a gluten free flour blend in its place if needed.
  • Baking powder – Baking soda is about 3x more potent than baking powder, so if you have to use baking soda in place of the baking powder in this recipe, use 1/2 tsp.
  • Unsalted butter – If you only have salted butter you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Cream cheese – You can use additional unsalted butter in place of the cream cheese if you don’t have any or don’t like cream cheese frosting.
  • Granulated sugar – You can decrease the amount of sugar by 1/2 cup if you prefer using less sugar.
  • Eggs – If you don’t have eggs or can’t eat eggs, you can use flaxseed eggs in their place or 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
  • Sour cream – You can also use buttermilk, whole or skim milk, full-fat yogurt, or alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Lemon juice and zest – Fresh lemon juice and zest really helps enhance the raspberry flavor. In a pinch you could use lime juice and zest, but I don’t recommend using the bottled stuff! You can also use 2 tsp lemon extract in its place in the frosting and cake batter. However, the flavor won’t be quite as strong.
  • Raspberries – This recipe can also be made with strawberries in place of the raspberries!

The Star of the Show: The Raspberry Cake Filling

While the lemon in this cake brightens up its flavor, the real star of the show is the raspberry filling. I prefer making the filling from scratch, but if you’re short on time you can also use a high-quality raspberry jam.

image of a slice of lemon rapsberry cake on a plate, showing it's raspberry filling and lemon cream cheese frosting

If you decide to make your own raspberry filling, you’re in for a real treat. By reducing the raspberry mixture on the stove, the flavor is concentrated down to make an incredible delicious cake filling.

I’m going to be totally honest, it’s a bit of extra work. But it is 100% worth it!!

This raspberry filling is packed with that delicious tart raspberry flavor we know and love. It also has a thick, sturdy texture that makes it the perfect cake filling.

image of lemon raspberry cake slices open to show lemon cream cheese frosting and raspberry filling

This filling can be made days in advance, so I recommend making it ahead of time. Letting this filling sit also helps it thicken and develop its flavor.

Tips for Making the Lemon Raspberry Cake:

  • Take a few minutes to properly cream together your butter and sugar with a whisk attachment or hand mixer. It will allow you to incorporate a bunch of air into the mixture. This gives the cake layers their fluffy texture.
  • Make the raspberry cake filling ahead of time to allow it to properly thicken and develop its flavor.
  • Don’t add too much raspberry filling between the cake layers! It can make the cake super difficult to stack and frost.
  • Pipe a thick ring of frosting around the perimeter of the cake layer before adding the raspberry filling. This will help keep the filling it place and prevent it from oozing out the sides.
  • Be sure to use fresh lemon juice and zest! The squirt bottle lemon juice just isn’t the same!
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better! Be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Bang your cake pans on the counter before putting it in the oven. This bring any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
  • Decorate your cake with fresh raspberries and lemon spirals to make it look as good as it tastes.
image of lemon raspberry cake decorated with lemon spirals and fresh raspberries

Making This Cake in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your lemon cream cheese frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Or in the freezer for up to a month! Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • This raspberry cake filling can be made up to two weeks in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
image of fresh lemon and raspberry cake

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this lemon raspberry cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think!

Please leave a rating below, and a comment to let me know your thoughts ?

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 16

Lemon Raspberry Cake

image of lemon raspberry cake slices open to show lemon cream cheese frosting and raspberry filling

This lemon raspberry cake is made with moist lemon cake layers, a raspberry filling, and frosted with a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 54 minutes

Ingredients

Lemon Raspberry Cake Layers

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (180 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (300 grams)
  • 4 large egg whites or 2 large eggs, room temperature (120 grams)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice - about 3 small lemons (60 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (6 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (25 grams)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature (170 grams)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (optional)

Raspberry Filling

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (339 grams or 3 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (113 grams or 4 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (10 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (6 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 gram)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (904 grams) or a 2 lb bag
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (15 grams)

Optional Cake Decorations

  • 1 additional pint fresh raspberries
  • 3 small lemons

Instructions

Lemon Raspberry Cake Layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line and grease three six-inch cake pans, or two eight inch cake pans.
  2. Sift 1 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt into a medium sized bowl, and set aside.
  3. Cream together 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar with a whisk attachment or hand mixer on a medium high speed for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should become lighter in color.
  4. Mix in 4 large egg whites or 2 large eggs on a medium-high speed for about 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add in 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of lemon zest, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Mix on a medium speed until fully incorporated.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture, and mix on a low speed until just incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  7. Add in 3/4 cup of sour cream, and mix until combined.
  8. Add in the remaining half of the flour mixture, and mix on a low speed just until you can't see any streaks of flour.
  9. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  10. If desired, add 1 cup of fresh raspberries on top of the cake batter, lightly pressing them into the batter to prevent them from burning.
  11. Bake for about 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Rotate the pans halfway through to help the layers bake evenly. The cake doesn't brown much, but is done once the center of the cake bakes through and is firm to the touch.
  12. Let the cake layers cool on in the pans for 10 minutes, then flip them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  13. Once they're cooled, level the tops with a serrated knife.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or hand mixer, until smooth.
  2. Add in 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp lemon zest, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Slowly mix in 7 cups of powdered sugar on a very low speed, 1 cup at a time. Add 1 Tbsp of heavy cream half way through adding in the powdered sugar, to make it easier to mix. Mix on low until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time).
  5. If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
  6. Place the frosting into 2 large piping bags, and secure the top with a rubber band.


Assembling This Lemon Raspberry Cake

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board or flat plate, using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Pipe a thick ring of frosting around the perimeter of the cake layer. Spread about 1/3 cup of the raspberry filling inside the ring of frosting. Pipe a layer of lemon cream cheese frosting on top of the filling.
  3. Repeat with remaining cake layers, being sure to flip to the top cake layer upside down to make it easier to frost.
  4. Chill the cake in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes), to help the cake filling firm up and make it easier to cover the cake in a crumb coat.
  5. Spread a thin coat of frosting around the the cake, to fully cover the cake layers.
  6. Smooth the crumb coat using a bench scraper, then chill the cake again in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the crumb coat is firm to the touch.
  7. Add a second, thicker layer of lemon cream cheese frosting to the cake, and smooth using an icing comb.
  8. Decorate as desired! I chose to make a ring of fresh raspberries and lemon peel spirals, and dust them with a bit of powdered sugar.

Notes

This cake feeds about 16 people.

Making This Cake Filling in Advance and Storage Tips:

This raspberry cake filling can be made up to two weeks in advance if stored in an airtight container in the fridge

A frosted cake filled with this raspberry cake filling can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

Making the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting in Advance:

Make your frosting ahead of time, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Making This Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake in Advance:

Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 446Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 18gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 102mgSodium 329mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 3gSugar 24gProtein 5g

Here’s a trip down memory lane! This is what the original version of this cake looked like in 2014.

image of a lemon raspberry cake made with raspberry compote and cream cheese frosting

21 thoughts on “Lemon Raspberry Cake

  1. So fun that your sister visited! Love the pic of you two. That cake sounds so delicious! Wow! No wonder you loved it growing up! And it looks so beautiful!

  2. Good Morning! I made this cake last night and it was quite dense! Should there also be baking soda included to help it rise?

    1. This is a butter cake base, so it is much more dense than a sponge cake! It also bakes relatively flat, which is how the recipe is supposed to be formulated! If you want a lighter cake base, I’d recommend trying a sponge cake base next time!

  3. Hi Chelsea, I want to make this cake but I want it to be a huge 4-layer cake. I have 7-in cake molds. Do you know how to convert this recipe to accommodate different pan sizes?? Please advise!!

    1. yes! Calculate it using the area of a circle x the height of each layer you want! This recipe makes 4 7 inch layers that are about 1 inch when leveled. So calculate the volume that this recipe makes (2 x pi x radius squared), and then figure out how many batches of batter you’d have to make to get the size of layers you need! hope that helps 🙂

  4. Hi!! What would be your thoughts on this? If I have made extra compote and after I put the batter in the pans, I swirl some compote lightly through the batter before baking? Making this today and thought I’d ask! Thanks so much!

    1. It might require you to bake it slightly longer, but i think it would taste great! The top will probably brown a bit more than normal though.

  5. Have you used this recipe for a wedding cake? I am thinking about using it for a 12 inch and 8 inch tier- 3 layers in each tier.

  6. Made this today and it was absolutely delicious! Everyone couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. I did four seven inch layers and it turned out great! Thank you so much for such an awesome recipe!

  7. Chelsey …. This cake. It’s divine. I’ve made SO many of your cakes. I’ve had wonderful luck with all of them, but this one really stands out. I only made the cake layers. They are light, fluffy, tender, moist, and FULL of lemony flavor. I was worried I might have needed to add lemon extract, but nope! The flavor shines through brilliantly. I filled the cake layers with lemon curd and covered with lemon buttercream (semi-naked style). Thank you for sharing this recipe (and all of your recipes) with us!

Let me know what you think!