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Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling

I originally made this lemon cake with raspberry filling for my sister’s birthday 6 years ago.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 cake recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all these ingredients on hand!

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made.

  • All Purpose flour – This recipe turns out best with all purpose flour, but you can use cake flour or a gluten free flour blend in its place if needed.
  • 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.
  • Egg whites – If you can’t find pasteurized egg whites in a carton you can use 5 fresh egg whites or 3 whole eggs.
  • Buttermilk – You can also use sour cream, 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 bright.
  • Raspberries – This recipe can also be made with strawberries in place of the raspberries!
  • 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.

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 your favorite 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 this 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 Best Lemon Raspberry Cake

  • Make the raspberry cake filling ahead of time to let it 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 in its place and prevent it from oozing out the sides.
  • Use fresh lemon juice and zest! The squirt bottle lemon juice just isn’t the same.
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Bang your cake pans on the counter before putting it in the oven. This brings any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency before frosting your cake! It will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, I recommend reading my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might’ve gone awry.
  • 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 Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling in Different Sizes

This recipe can also be used to make different sized cakes. You can also half or double the ingredients to make a half or double batch!

You can make two 8″ round cake layers with one batch of batter. Bake the cake layers at 350 F for 34-36 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

One batch of batter can also be used to make one 8×8 inch square sheet cake. Bake it at 325 F for 34-40 minutes. Once cooled, spread a layer of raspberry cake filling or raspberry jam on top of the cake and pipe the lemon cream cheese frosting on top of the filling.

The final variation of this recipe is lemon raspberry cupcakes!! This recipe can be used to make about 18 regular sized cupcakes.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes. Fill the center of each cupcake with the raspberry filling and top with a swirl of lemon cream cheese frosting.

Making This Lemon Cake in Advance and Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes 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. 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 make this lemon cake with raspberry filling, please tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets so I can see your beautiful creations!!

And don’t forget to leave a comment and rating below.

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 is frosted with a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

Lemon Raspberry Cake Layers

  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (6g)
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (270g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (150g) - 1 and 1/3 sticks
  • 2/3 cup egg whites or about 5 egg whites (155g)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream, room temperature (180g)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (60g)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (15g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (4g)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (optional)

Raspberry Filling

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (113g)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (12g)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (6g)
  • 1/2 fine tsp salt (3g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625g)

Optional Cake Decorations

  • 1 additional pint fresh raspberries
  • 3 small lemons

Instructions

Lemon Raspberry Cake Layers

  1. Add 2 cups of granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Massage the sugar and zest together with your finger tips to release the oil in the zest.
  2. Add 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt into the lemon sugar. Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer to mix on a low speed until combined.
  1. Mix in 2/3 cup (1 & 1/3 stick) unsalted butter slowly into the dry mix, on a medium-low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  2. Pour in 2/3 cup or about 5 egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated and the batter looks wet.
  3. Mix in 3/4 cup of buttermilk, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. If desired, place 1 cup of fresh raspberries on top of the cake batter.
  5. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around the perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  6. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  7. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers right before you plan to assemble your cake.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat 1 cup 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, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Beat on low until incorporated.
  3. Slowly mix in 5 cups of powdered sugar on a very low speed, 1 cup at a time. Mix on low until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional lemon juice (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 in a large piping bag 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 on top of the cake layer. Spread about 1/4 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 then 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.
  4. Spread a thin coat of frosting around the cake and smooth the frosting using a bench scraper.
  5. Chill the cake again in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the crumb coat is firm to the touch.
  6. Add a second, thicker layer of lemon cream cheese frosting to the cake and smooth using an icing comb.
  7. 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 makes 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 493Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 62mgSodium 292mgCarbohydrates 69gFiber 3gSugar 63gProtein 4g

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

Cathy

Friday 15th of July 2022

Would it be okay to add in one layer of lemon curd?

Chelsweets

Sunday 17th of July 2022

Hi Cathy,

For sure, that would be delicious!!! Happy baking :)

Chloe

Thursday 5th of May 2022

Does anyone know if this recipe has changed in the last couple months? I swear there used to be lemon juice in the batter & I can’t find the original recipe I used to use all the time?! Thanks in advanced

Cathy Mann Watt

Thursday 7th of July 2022

@Chloe, Don't know about the original recipe as I am new to this site but there is 1/4c fresh lemon juice in the recipe for the batter.

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Julia

Thursday 21st of April 2022

I’ve made a different lemon cake for years but never like it. So I tried this and LOVE IT!!! OMG!!! Everyone loved the cake, the filling, the frosting (along with your sugar cookie recipe). Thank you for always making me seem so impressive!

Kathryn Pauly

Sunday 17th of April 2022

Just made this for Easter! It was incredible! I made it in the 8” pan and then cut those layers in half creating 4 total layers for that raspberry goodness to go between. I had plenty of frosting (I did add an extra TBS of zest and lemon juice) as I was going for a strong lemon frosting. My only regret was not frosting in the very middle with the raspberry. We had enough, and it didn’t occur to me. I did a super cute Easter decor top but not sure how to attach a pic here. Thanks for a great recipe. Can’t wait to check out others!

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