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Luscious Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

This lemon cake is so tender and full of lemony goodness. I paired it with my Swiss Meringue Buttercream both on top and as a filling along with a bit of toasted coconut and fresh sliced lemons. It would also be tasty with my lemon curd, filling, whipped cream and berries... and it is adapted from

I love all things lemon. I admit to always buying too many lemons without any plans of what to do with them. Hence...lemon buttermilk cake, lemon loaf, lemon cheesecake...It makes any old rainy day seem brighter somehow.

As for the buttermilk...I always have too much on hand. Leftovers from using one single cup in a recipe, yet you had to buy a full litre container because that's the only size the stores sell. It's always good to have recipes that contain buttermilk. But when you do run out of things to make...soak your chicken in it, give it a crumb coating and fry it! Anyway...if you don't have buttermilk handy, you can always use sour milk. That is made by adding a 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to a one cup measure then top that off to a full cup with regular milk. Let it stand for 5 minutes before using. My preference is real thick buttermilk though...simply for the extra thickness.

This recipe makes an impressive 3 layer 8 inch round cake. It is so moist and tender, but do make sure you wrap it well and store it in the fridge. You don't want it drying out and all your good efforts going to waste with improper storage! (Ahem...yes speaking from experience here sigh).

A side note on the cake flour...I have read that you can make your own cake flour by using AP Flour mixed with cornstarch. I have tried it. I have thrown out cake from using it. I don't recommend it. Simply use cake flour or move on to a recipe using the ingredients you do have on hand for best results.

I really hope you enjoy this recipe! Please let me know how you like it in the comments below!

Luscious Lemon Buttermilk Cake


  • 3/4 cup room temp butter

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 3 eggs room temp

  • 3 cups cake flour*

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk room temp

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice**

  • 1/4 cup oil

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • a few drops pure lemon taste***

  • zest from 2 lemons

  • optional...if you like a more yellow colour to the cake...add a few drops of food colouring.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease, flour and parchment paper three 8 inch rounds.

  2. In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

  3. In another bowl, add buttermilk, oil, lemon oil, vanilla, and lemon juice. Set aside.

  4. In mixer, cream butter until smooth.

  5. Add zest to sugar and mix it together.( It releases the oils of the zest into the sugar better).

  6. Add the zested sugar into the butter and beat on medium speed for a few minutes until fluffy and light in colour.

  7. Add eggs one at a time to the mix until combined.

  8. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to stand mixer ingredients (3 additions of dry and 2 of wet).

  9. Do not overmix.

  10. Divide between the three pans.

  11. Bake for around 22 to 24 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.

  12. Let cool 10 mins and turn out onto racks.


*When measuring cake flour, as with A.P. flour, fluff, spoon, level. And I like to sift my cake flour after measuring as well just to lighten it up.

**To get a lot more juice out of your lemons...microwave them for a few seconds first.

***The pure lemon oil...approved for consumption (check the label for it being the food safe type) is very concentrated. So start with just a few drops and check for flavour. Add more until it is as you like. If using extract, be mindful it can give a fake chemically kind a taste to your cake.

Check out my Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Lemon Curd recipes that go great with this cake!

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