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Lemon Raspberry Cake

This beautiful lemon raspberry layer cake is the definition of spring! Three layers of moist lemon cake with fresh raspberries, with layers of lemon buttercream frosting. It's decorated with more frosting, fresh raspberries and lemon zest.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time22 mins
Cooling3 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 22 mins
Course: Baked Goods, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon raspberry cake
Servings: 1 9 inch cake
Author: Tania


  • Three 9-inch round cake pans (non-stick)
  • Parchment paper
  • Offset spatula
  • Bench scraper
  • Other: whisks, rubber spatula, mixing bowls


Cake Layers

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Lemon zest from 2 large lemons
  • cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ¾ cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (for the raspberries)

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (4.5 standard butter sticks)
  • 9 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream (plus more as needed)
  • A pinch of salt


  • Fresh raspberries
  • Lemon zest


Bake the cake layers

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease three 9-inch round non-stick cake pans with butter. Line the bottom of each pan with a round piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients: In a bowl, whisk the sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • Combine the wet ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest until evenly combined.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined and no pockets of flour remain. It should be evenly combined but not over-mixed.
  • In a another bowl, toss the raspberries with 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour. Fold it into the batter until just combined. Be careful not to break the raspberries, they are very delicate.
  • Divide the batter evenly across the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake for 21 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Tip: Opening and closing the oven too much can cause the center of the cakes to sink. Just let it bake until time is up.
  • Let them cool in the pan completely for a few hours (usually, about 3 to 4 hours). Optional make-ahead: After they have cooled completely, remove them from the pan and wrap each one with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 day so you can assemble it the next day.

Make the lemon buttercream frosting

  • Once the cakes have cooled down COMPLETELY, make the lemon buttercream frosting: Using an electric mixer or stand mixer (whisk attachment), beat the softened butter on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until light and creamy.
  • Add the confectioners sugar, mixing on low speed. After the sugar is incorporated, add 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of heavy cream, and a pinch of salt. Increase to medium-high speed and mix for about 3 minutes, adding more lemon juice (adds more flavor) and heavy cream (helps make it creamier and fluffier) to taste and as needed, until light, creamy and smooth.

Assemble and Decorate

  • In the center of a cake stand, put a dollop of the frosting to help the cake stay in place. Place one of the cake layers on top. Tip: Before you start, overlap 4 strips of parchment over the cake stand, on the edges, and place your first cake layer on top. Once you're done frosting the cake, simply pull out the parchment paper and you'll have a clean cake stand.
  • With an offset spatula, spread the frosting over that first cake layer, about ⅓ inch thick. Then, cover with the next cake layer, gently pressing down a little bit. Spread another layer of frosting. Then, place the third cake layer on top.
  • Frost the top and then the sides of the cake evenly, using the offset spatula. Run an offset spatula or a bench scraper around the sides, rotating the cake stand as you go. Even out the top with the offset spatula as needed.
  • Decorate the top with fresh raspberries and lemon zest. Slice, serve, and enjoy!


  • Special equipment: three 9-inch round cake pans (non-stick), parchment paper, offset spatula, bench scraper, cake stand, rubber spatula.
  • Oil vs. butter: Lemon cakes can turn out dense due to the way acid interacts with the leaveners. Using oil rather than butter creates a lighter crumb and texture. You'll get moist, light, and fluffy cake layers. And don't worry about not having that "buttery" taste - in lemon cakes, you can't really notice the butter flavors anyway since the lemon is more dominant. More details within the post, under "Baking with Oil vs. Butter."
  • Try not to open the oven until the baking time is up. Opening and closing the oven too early can cause the center of the cakes to sink.
  • Cake layers: Only frost the cake after it has completely cooled down.
  • Or make the cake layers in advance let the cakes cool down completely, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  • 9 cups of confectioner's sugar?! Yes, that's how much you'll need for a 3 layer 9-inch cake. Makes about 4 cups of frosting. Make sure you share this cake with others!
  • The lemon buttercream frosting: The buttercream frosting can be made up to 5 days in advance. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature so it's not so stiff. Then, loosen it up by whipping it a few more times on medium-high speed, adding some extra heavy cream if too stiff.
  • Why toss the raspberries with flour: to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
  • Storing: Store in the fridge, covered in a cake container, for up to 5 days.