Lemon Velvet Cake + Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Indulge in the refreshing tang of lemon with our delightful Lemon Velvet Cake, paired perfectly with a luscious Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. This recipe combines moist layers infused with zesty lemon flavor, topped with a creamy frosting that’s sure to brighten any occasion. Whether you’re celebrating a special event or simply craving a citrusy treat, our Lemon Velvet Cake promises to deliver a burst of sunshine in every slice.



  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 heaping teaspoon lemon zest (from 1-2 lemons)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1/3 cup hot lemon water (hot water mixed with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice)
  • 4-6 drops yellow food coloring

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure lemon extract
  • 1 ½ heaping teaspoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice (if needed)
  • 4-5 drops yellow food coloring



  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Thoroughly grease and flour 2 (9-inch) dark cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, mix together sugar, oil, and shortening.
  4. Mix in eggs one at a time.
  5. Mix in vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
  6. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
  7. Mix together the distilled vinegar and lemon water, then mix into the batter.
  8. Mix in the food coloring until your desired shade of yellow is reached.
  9. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and shake pans to release any trapped air bubbles.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking at the 25-minute mark and adjusting the time if needed. (see note)
  11. When moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake, remove the cake from the oven. Let cakes rest in the pans until pans are cool enough to touch. The cake will continue to cook as it cools.
  12. Once cooled, carefully remove cakes from pans and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Mix in vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
  3. Mix in powdered sugar until creamy, adding lemon juice to thin it out if needed.
  4. Stir in food coloring if using.
  5. Place frosting in the fridge to allow it to firm up a bit before frosting.
  6. Stir the frosting until it’s creamy and spreadable, then frost the cakes.
  7. Garnish with additional lemon zest if desired.


  • DON’T OVERBAKE: The key is to take the cake out of the oven a few minutes before it’s completely done (when moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center) and allow it to finish baking as it cools down in the hot pan. This timing will vary depending on your oven, which is why it’s best to check cakes before the listed done time.

Serving and Storage Tips

  • Serving: Serve the Lemon Velvet Cake at room temperature for the best texture and flavor. Slice with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean for clean, professional-looking slices.
  • Storage: Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure to let the cake come to room temperature before serving for optimal taste and texture.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, wrap individual slices or the whole cake tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before placing in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

These tips will help maintain the freshness and flavor of your Lemon Velvet Cake so you can enjoy it over several days or even weeks!


  1. Lemon Blueberry Velvet Cake: Fold 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries into the cake batter before baking. This adds a burst of juicy sweetness to complement the lemon flavor.
  2. Citrus Twist: Replace the lemon extract and zest with equal amounts of lime or orange extract and zest for a different citrusy twist. Adjust the food coloring accordingly.
  3. Lemon Raspberry Velvet Cake: Add 1 cup of fresh raspberries to the cake batter for a tart and sweet contrast to the lemon. Consider adding a layer of raspberry jam between the cake layers for extra flavor.
  4. Creamy Lemon Layer Cake: Double the frosting recipe and add a generous layer of frosting between each cake layer for a decadent, creamy texture throughout.
  5. Lemon Cupcakes: Instead of baking a layer cake, pour the batter into lined cupcake tins and bake for 18-20 minutes. Top with a swirl of lemon cream cheese frosting for individual servings.

These variations offer exciting ways to customize your Lemon Velvet Cake to suit different tastes and occasions, ensuring each bite is a delightful experience!


  1. Can I use regular butter instead of butter-flavored shortening in the cake?
    • Yes, you can substitute an equal amount of softened butter for the shortening. The texture may be slightly different, but it will still be delicious.
  2. Can I omit the food coloring in the cake batter?
    • Absolutely! The food coloring is optional and mainly adds visual appeal. The cake will still have a wonderful lemon flavor without it.
  3. How can I tell if the cake is done baking?
    • Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, the cake is ready. Avoid overbaking to keep it moist.
  4. Can I use low-fat cream cheese for the frosting?
    • While you can use low-fat cream cheese, the texture and flavor of the frosting may be slightly affected. Full-fat cream cheese is recommended for a richer frosting.
  5. How do I prevent my cake layers from sticking to the pans?
    • Ensure your cake pans are thoroughly greased and floured. You can also use parchment paper rounds on the bottom of the pans for extra insurance.
  6. Can I make the cake layers in advance?
    • Yes, you can bake the cake layers ahead of time. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for longer storage.
  7. Can I substitute sour cream for buttermilk in the cake batter?
    • Yes, you can substitute an equal amount of sour cream for buttermilk. The cake will have a slightly different texture and tanginess, but it will still be delicious.
  8. How should I store the frosted cake?
    • Store the frosted cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese frosting. Bring it to room temperature before serving for the best taste.
  9. Can I make this cake gluten-free?
    • You can try using a gluten-free flour blend that is suitable for baking. However, the texture and results may vary from the original recipe.
  10. Can I adjust the sweetness of the frosting?
    • Yes, you can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less powdered sugar to the frosting mixture until you reach your desired taste.

These FAQs address common concerns and provide helpful tips to ensure your Lemon Velvet Cake turns out perfect every time!

Enjoy the delightful combination of tangy lemon and creamy frosting in this luscious Lemon Velvet Cake! Perfect for any occasion, this cake is sure to impress your guests with its vibrant flavor and beautiful presentation.