Raspberry Lemon Cake

This tender raspberry lemon cake is the ultimate summer cake. It’s packed with lemon zest and fresh raspberries that take on a custard-like consistency when baked. Add some frosting and raspberry puree, and you have a spectacular cake. Read below for the recipe.

raspberry lemon cake

A Note About This Cake

Creating this cake was a bit of a journey. Cake recipes are among some of the most difficult to develop because adjusting ingredients just a little can make a big difference. There are a lot of baking rules about cake in terms of how the ingredients should be balanced, so I had a lot to think about in creating this recipe.

This cake originally started out as a lemon loaf cake, and I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.

After 176,596 tries (okay, maybe like 15), I decided to switch to cake pans to see how the recipe would turn out. Voila! The cakes came out tender, moist, and fluffy. It was a proud baking moment, especially after all of the cakes that turned out just okay.

As a side note, I’m still going to turn this into a loaf cake, but I learned a few things that will finally make it a success!

raspberry lemon cake

3 Tips for Making Moist and Tender Raspberry Lemon Cake

  1. First, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. This ensures that the batter is lightened and will rise better during baking. Even though we add baking powder to the batter, mixing the fats and sugars properly ensures more light and tender crumb.
  2. Second, only mix the eggs in until they are just combined with the batter. If you continue to mix the batter after the eggs are incorporated, the consistency of the batter can change and produce a more meringue-like top on the cake (we don’t want that).
  3. Third, stop mixing the batter when you can still see some flour. By stirring in the remaining flour, you are more in control of the gluten development in the cake. If the mixer mixes the batter completely, we risk overmixing the batter and developing too much gluten.
Lemon Raspberry Frosting on cake

Frosting Options and Cake Styling

There are 2 frosting options for this recipe, and either will work great. The first option is a raspberry lemon cream cheese frosting, and it tastes amazing. This is the frosting you see in the pictures. It is on the sweet side, so I find that if you use too much, it can be overwhelming.

I found that the perfect way to balance the sweetness of the frosting was by drizzling some fresh raspberry puree on each slice of cake, adding some contrast to the sweetness. This is how we ate the cake and it was wonderful!

If you prefer something less sweet, I have provided a whipped cream option that works well too. You will not be able to pipe it in pretty designs without smashing it between the layers, however. Instead, it has to be spread or dolloped on.

How I Styled This Cake

There are a couple of things that make this cake really pretty even though it’s quite simple in design. First, I folded in some raspberry puree, but I didn’t mix it all the way. If you mix the puree in completely, the frosting will be even in color.

I wanted some beautiful streaks of raspberry, so I only folded the puree in a little.

Next, I used this open star tip to create the beautiful design on each layer. It’s a really quick and simple way to add strong visual impact and visual interest, not to mention it’s super easy to do. No skill or expertise required. Just pipe stars to your desire! The design was inspired by The Bojon Gourmet.

slice of raspberry lemon cake on a plate

A Note About Baking Pans

For this recipe, use 2 – eight inch baking pans. Nine inch pans will make the cakes too thin and shallow, so avoid them for this recipe.

Also, be sure to line the pans with parchment paper rounds. Even if you butter and flour the pans without parchment, the cakes will still stick because the raspberries create some moisture while baking.

By adding the parchment, we omit any sticking issues.

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  • Author: Camille
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 1x
  • Category: cake


Units Scale
  • 127 g (9 Tbs) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 56 g shortening
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 195 g cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Zest of 3 medium lemons
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk, room temp
  • 30 g sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 oz fresh raspberries

Raspberry Lemon Frosting

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 113 g (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 480 g powdered sugar
  • 3 oz fresh raspberries, pureed and strained

Optional Frosting

  • 474 ml (2 c) heavy whipping cream
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 3 oz fresh raspberries


For the Raspberry Lemon Cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 – 8 inch pans, and line them with parchment rounds (otherwise the cake may stick due to the moisture of the raspberries).
  2. Beat butter, shortening, and sugar on low speed for 2-3 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Keep the speed at either a 2 or a 3 on a 10 speed mixer so that the mixer doesn’t incorporate too much air.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix just until combined. Don’t over mix the eggs in the butter, otherwise it make cause the cake to form a meringue-like top.
  4. Next, sift the cake flour and baking powder, then add the salt and set aside.
  5. Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla.
  6. Add dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately to the mixer in 2 additions each, starting with the dry ingredients. Stop mixing before the ingredients are fully mixed in.
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in any of the remaining dry ingredients that are still showing. The batter doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, so stop stirring once you can no longer see any dry ingredients so that the cake doesn’t develop too much gluten.
  8. Fill the cake pans evenly with batter. I use a scale to weigh the pans for accuracy so that they have the same amount of batter. Next, dot to tops of the batter with fresh raspberries.
  9. Bake the raspberry lemon cakes for 25-35 minutes. Test the cakes by inserting a skewer or toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, they’re ready. If the toothpick has a few crumbs, bake a little longer.
  10. Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans, and then gently remove onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before adding frosting or whipped cream.

For the Raspberry Lemon Frosting

  1. Make sure the cream cheese and butter are SOFT before mixing. If they are not soft, the icing will be difficult to spread. Cream butter and cream cheese with a stand mixer fitted with a paddler. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and salt, and mix. 
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed so a sugar cloud doesn’t form in the air. Gradually increase speed to mix powdered sugar in all the way. Add remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on medium high speed for 3 minutes. Turn the speed down to low and mix for one minute to remove excess air.
  3. Gently fold in half of the raspberry puree. Spread or pipe the raspberry lemon frosting on each layer of cake and stack. Refrigerate for up to one week. 
  4. Top with the remaining raspberry puree if desired. The tartness of the puree cuts some of the sweetness of the frosting if you find the frosting to be too sweet.

**Optional Frosting

  1. Whip the heavy cream, sugar, and lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in half of the raspberry puree (fold in all the way or just a little for more raspberry streaks). Top the cake with the cream and enjoy.


**The cream cheese frosting is quite sweet, but it works well with the cake. If you prefer a less intensely sweet frosting, use the whipped cream frosting version.

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