This EASY Lemon Cake recipe creates a soft, super moist layer cake with the BEST lemon buttercream frosting. Luscious, refreshing, and BRIGHT, it's the perfect spring recipe.
This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at NO extra cost to you. I only recommend products I use and love. Thanks!!
Lemon Cake is the perfect spring recipe. It’s great for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, or just a refreshing, upbeat dessert.
Super Moist, Easy Lemon Cake with Delicious Butter Cream
This recipe is super easy. It also includes ingredients that many people already have in their kitchens.
At first, I thought the lemon cake was TOO moist. I asked myself, “What did I do wrong?!” My partner LOVED it though. He said, it was the perfect cake. I asked if he was just saying that because he didn’t like my yeast-free pizza dough the night before (I’m still figuring it out.) But, nope. He actually, truly loves this lemon cake. He DEVOURED a gigantic piece in a minute.
I personally love the buttercream. I had to stop myself from eating it with a spoon. It’s so light, fluffy, and crazy good. The perfect amount of lemon flavor.
How to Make Easy Lemon Cake
I use fresh lemon juice, fresh lemon zest, and lemon extract in my lemon recipes to create that natural, refreshing, bright citrus taste. Vanilla extract helps to balance the lemon flavor, so it does not turn bitter and punch someone in the face.
I recently learned that it’s extremely important to use FRESH lemon juice while baking. Like I discussed in my Lemon Bread Recipe post, I attempted to use juice from one of those cheap, plastic, lemon-looking bottles in a recipe… it was AWFUL. The artificial juice RUINED everything. It was inedible. So, PLEASE use FRESH lemon juice. Learn from me!
This Citrus Squeezer makes getting fresh lemon juice SO much easier.
Layered Lemon Cake
In order to create a layered lemon cake, split the batter into two cake pans and bake. Allow them to COMPLETELY cool before you even think about frosting them. If the cake is too hot, the frosting will melt, move, and make a mess everywhere.
When the cakes have cooled, spread icing on the top of one of the cakes. I actually flipped my cake over, so the bottom in the pan was now the top on the plate, if that makes sense. I watch a little too many cooking shows. One recently talked about flipping the cakes so the smooth side is on top. It works! Just be careful flipping.
After you spread the buttercream frosting on the top of one cake, carefully place the other cake on top. I used a thin layer of buttercream for the cake in my photos. It’s hard to see because most of it soaked into the spongey part of the cake. This is okay. But, if you want a noticeable layer of frosting in between your two lemon cakes, I recommend spreading a thick layer between the cakes.
Ingredients for Easy Lemon Cake
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup FRESH Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Lemon Extract
1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
Ingredients for Delicious Lemon Buttercream*
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
*I did not frost the sides of my cake. If you plan to frost the ENTIRE cake with the lemon buttercream, I recommend doubling the ingredients.
Directions for the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream together the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs.
- Mix in the milk, FRESH lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla extract.
- Combine the flour and baking powder with the wet ingredients. Stir well. I just stir with my hand, but a mixer does make things easier. This KitchenAid Stand Mixer is GREAT and currently marked down (Save almost $60!).
- Add the lemon zest. Mix.
- Pour the batter into two, prepared 9”x 9” round cake pans (or whichever similar sized pans of your choosing). Make sure to grease the bottom and sides of the pans though. Or line them with parchment paper. This will make the cakes easier to remove after baking.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until done (Oven times vary). The sides will become golden. You can also insert a wooden toothpick into the middle. If it comes out mostly clean, it’s done.
- Let the cakes cool completely. First, in the pan (so you don’t burn yourself). Then, on wire cooling racks.
This Stainless Steel Cooling and Baking Rack is heavy duty and safe to use in the dishwasher and oven. It can be used to cool baked goods AND cook meats in the oven (especially crispy ones like bacon or fried chicken).
Directions for the Frosting
- Combine lemon juice, vanilla extract, and butter in a mixing bowl.
- Add the powdered sugar. Mix. This is definitely easier with a mixer, but you can definitely do it with your hand too.
- Spread the buttercream frosting on the top of one cake.
- Carefully place the second cake on top of the frosted first.
- Frost the top of that cake or the entire cake. It’s up to you.
I decorated my easy Lemon Cake with leftover lemon zest and some slices of lemon. I’d love to see how you style yours!
You might like my other Lemon Recipes - How to Make Simple & Delicious Lemon Loaf Bread.