Lemon Layer Cake

Total Time

Prep: 35 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling


12 servings

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
This citrusy cake with a luscious cream cheese frosting will garner plenty of applause. The flavor, a duet of sweet and tangy notes, really sings. —Summer Goddard, Springfield, Virginia


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • SYRUP:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: Lemon slices or edible flowers


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 2 greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease parchment.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs and egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon zest and juice. In a small bowl, mix sour cream and milk. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture.
  3. Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 24-28 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove parchment. Cool slightly.
  4. For syrup, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Cool completely.
  5. For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth; beat in confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and salt until blended.
  6. Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Brush layers with warm syrup; cool completely.
  7. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. If desired, top with lemon slices or edible flowers. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 841 calories, 48g fat (30g saturated fat), 219mg cholesterol, 656mg sodium, 96g carbohydrate (72g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.