Lemon-Lime Layer Cake is a magical lemon cake filled with lime buttercream frosting that is bursting with deliciously bright, fresh flavors!
Pick up as many lemons and limes as you can carry to make this incredibly easy Lemon-Lime Layer Cake! This simple cake is a homemade masterpiece, using pantry staples like flour, sugar, and butter, along with fresh lemons and limes for a cake that tastes like spring, even in winter!
Life, give me lemons!
I am always so thankful that I can get lemons all year long. Lemons, and limes for that matter, are sweet, tart, and so cheerful to look at! Citrus cakes are amazing pick-me-ups, with their light, sweet flavors and I always feel like it’s not as heavy as chocolate cake so it’s ok to eat another slice. I’m not looking to be corrected on that point. This easy peasy layer cake has it all – bright and tart citrus flavors and fluffy cake that my family can not get enough of, so I’m more than happy to make this all year long!
Other Recipes to Serve with Lemon-Lime Layer Cake
- Why not celebrate what an awesome baker you are while you’re making this cake and mix up a Lemon Drop Martini for yourself?
- Have you tried a Lime Sugar Cookie yet? These cookies are too scrumptious for words and the perfect fix for when you run out of cake!
To Make the Cake
Pantry items: For this homemade cake you will need all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Refrigerated items: You will need a few sticks of unsalted butter, buttermilk, and eggs.
Produce: Grab enough lemons so that when juiced, you will end up with 1/4 cup of juice. You will also need lemon zest.
To Make the Buttercream
Dairy: One cup of butter is needed for the frosting, along with a little milk.
Limes: You will need limes for both juicing and for the zest so consider purchasing a bag of limes or pick up enough for both.
Sugar: There is quite a bit of powdered sugar needed for the frosting so make sure to buy enough, you’ll need about 2 pounds for the frosting.
How to Make Lemon-Lime Layer Cake
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
STEP TWO: In a stand mixer or large bowl using beaters, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Reduce the blending speed and slowly add the eggs and yolks one at a time. Add the lemon juice and then alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mix, until everything is well combined.
STEP THREE: Pour half of the batter into one pan and the rest of the batter into the other pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
STEP FOUR: To make the lime buttercream, cream the butter and the powdered sugar together in a large bowl or mixer, until smooth. Gradually add the milk, lime juice, and lime zest, and then beat for five minutes, until the frosting is well mixed.
STEP FIVE: Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake tray and spread half of the frosting evenly across it. Top that with the other cake layer and again, spread the frosting evenly across the cake. Sprinkle additional lime zest over the cake if you wish or decorate with fresh or candied lemon/lime slices.
Tips for Success
- For a really good buttercream frosting, don’t let your butter get too soft! You want butter that is soft enough to mix but isn’t melted and easily spreadable. Using butter that is just soft will produce a frosting that is thick and it will seem almost stiff by the time you are done mixing the frosting.
- Feel free to add food coloring to the cake batter or the frosting, get playful! Add some green or maybe some yellow and really make this amazing cake stand out.
- Let the cakes cool completely on wire racks before frosting. Frosting warm cakes will lead to runny frosting and not-so-pretty desserts.
What makes cake super moist?
The key to a moist, fluffy cake is all in the creaming of the butter and the sugar. Creaming is not just about mixing butter and sugar well, it’s the foundational step in getting enough air into the ingredients that they then become fluffy. Once you mix in the dry ingredients it then becomes important to not overmix the batter, which releases much of the air and can therefore make your cake dense. When you see that there are no large clumps of dry ingredients in the batter, stop mixing and pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).
How long will Lemon-Lime Layer Cake last?
This beautiful cake can last for about three days, covered, on the counter before you need to put it in the refrigerator. The butter in the buttercream will hold in moisture so the cake won’t dry out, which is good news if you plan on enjoying this cake for a while. If kept refrigerated, the cake will store well for about a week and you can even freeze the cake for a month to enjoy later. When you are ready for a slice of cake, let it thaw in the refrigerator instead of on the counter so that it doesn’t sweat and become soggy.
More ways to love lemon and lime!
*This post was originally posted on 02/25/2016.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk (see note)
- 7 cups powdered sugar (about 2 pounds)
- 2 limes juiced (about 1/4 cup)
- 6 tablespoons lime zest
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup milk plus more as needed
- Green food coloring (optional)
- Fresh lemon and lime slices
- Candied lemon and lime peels or slices
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the inside of the cake pans, being sure to tap out the excess flour. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in eggs and egg yolks, one at a time. Mix in the lemon juice and zest.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the cake batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Place them in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. The cakes are done when they start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on the wire racks. (Warm cakes will melt the frosting and you don't want that!)
- Once the cakes are cooled, make the buttercream. In a large bowl, beat together the powdered sugar and butter until smooth. Add the lime zest and juice and mix to combine.
- Pour in 1/2 of the milk and beat until incorporated. Pour in more milk as needed until the frosting is smooth but still stiff. Beat for about 5 minutes until fluffy. (You can tint the frosting with green food coloring if desired.)
- Place one of the cake layers on a plate or cake stand, bottom side down. Spread about 1/3 of the frosting over the cake all the way to the edges. Place the second cake layer over the first. (If you want a flat top, turn the top layer bottom-side up.) Spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. To garnish, arrange fresh or candied lemon and lime slices over the top of the cake. Cut into 10 slices before serving.
Is there a way I can lessen the amount of icing sugar to just half. It seems like a lot of icing sugar. I’d rather do something different but with the same lime flavouring. Any suggestions?
Perfect cake. I make cup cakes too with the same batter. Also I add 1c strawberries and make strawberry cake. Excellent. Thanks
Julie @Real Housemoms says
Adding strawberries sounds delicious!
BETTY BRUSCA says
I am making this TODAY!!!!
Sandra McC says
So excited for you! Enjoy!
I just made this cake for my sister when she came home from college, and it’s delicious! It’s so very sweet, so I’ll cut it in smaller slices the next time we serve it. I think I must have done something wrong with the icing… it was a bit too runny, even after adding as much confectioners sugar as I dared to. It didn’t really taste like good butter cream, and I also put it on the cakes while they were still warm… how silly of me- I must not have been thinking! It melted a lot, in addition to being too runny in the first place. But the recipe is delicious! Just don’t make my mistakes! I fixed the look of the icing by piping some pink icing from an aerosol can of it that i had- it was a beautiful color combination!
This is one of the best cakes I have ever made. I used the measurements that were written (didn’t realize there was a typo) and it turned out fantastic. The cake was moist and light and the buttercream frosting was delicious. I recommend this to anyone. I was super easy to make too.
Jeanne Guy says
Can this recipe be converted to a 9 x 13 sheet cake? If so, any changes to ingredients quantity? What would baking time and temp be?
Can’t wait to taste this cake.
Thanks for your help in converting this recipe.
Looks delicious! Is it dense enough to be covered in fondant and/or used when stacking cakes? Thank you.
Looks and sounds so good. Thank you and have a great weekend!
The directions for this cake are off. It calls for 2.5 cups sugar and says to add 1.5 cups then it says to have 1.4c lemon juice plus 2 T. and then says to add 4 T. to recipe. So are they typos or what. Thanks am trying to make for company tomorrow.
Julie @Real Housemoms says
Hi Eydie, the ingredients do call for 1.5 cups of sugar as do the directions. The extra 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the ingredients is a typo (we corrected it) and we apologize for that. However, 1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons and the amount of juice to use, listed in the directions, is correct.
Kelly S says
This looks like a delicious recipe. I didn’t notice in the recipe directions, but may have missed it. Where are the sliced lemons used?
Julie @Real Housemoms says
Hi Kelly! The lemon slices are an optional garnish to the top of the cake. You can use them fresh or candied. Sorry about the confusion. We’ve updated the recipe. 🙂