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Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Indulge in a zesty baking adventure with our Lemon Velvet Cake! This recipe features a symphony of unsalted butter, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, fresh lemon zest, and lemon extract, all swathed in a creamy and tangy cream cheese frosting for a truly luxurious dessert experience.

Ah, the Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — let me tell you, it’s more than just a recipe; it’s a slice of sunshine from my Granny’s kitchen. Growing up, every spring was marked by the zingy aroma of this cake. It was Granny’s secret weapon for brightening up the rainiest of April afternoons. She had a knack for whipping up this velvety treat, insisting on fresh lemons from Mr. Johnson’s farm stand — never from the store, “too dull,” she’d say. Whenever I zest a lemon now, I’m instantly a freckled seven-year-old again, perched on her kitchen stool, eagerly waiting for the first slice while Granny hummed her favorite tunes. Now, as I share this beloved recipe, I can’t help but smile, hoping it brings a bit of that golden, giggly joy to your home too.

Why You’ll Love Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

Our Lemon Velvet Cake isn’t just a cake; it’s a citrus-kissed daydream in every bite! What sets it apart is its meticulous balance between tartness and sweetness, a texture so velvety it’s like biting into a cloud, and a color so cheerfully yellow you’d think it’s summer on a plate. And let’s not forget the frosting — a cream cheese nirvana that’s rich yet refreshingly tangy, flawlessly complementing the lemony zest of the cake. This recipe is a ticket to making any day a special occasion, turning your kitchen into the heart of the house with its irresistible, lemon-infused aroma.

Ingredients Notes For Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Unsalted Butter: Make sure it’s room temperature to achieve that fluffy texture in the cake and smoothness in the frosting.
  • Granulated Sugar: It’s not just for sweetness; it also contributes to the golden crust and fine crumb.
  • Vegetable Oil: Our secret to a moist cake; oil cakes stay tender longer than their butter-only counterparts.
  • Buttermilk: This gives the cake a slight tang and tenderizes the crumb. No buttermilk? A dollop of yogurt or milk with a squeeze of lemon works in a pinch!
  • Lemon Zest and Extract: The dynamic duo for that bright, zesty flavor that makes this cake a showstopper.
  • Yellow Gel Food Coloring: Just a drop or two for that sun-kissed hue — it’s like summer in a pan!
  • Eggs: Near room temperature eggs incorporate more easily into the batter, giving us that desired uniform texture.
  • All-purpose Flour: Spooned and leveled is the way to go, or you’ll be wearing the cake rather than eating it.
  • Salt, Baking Powder, and Baking Soda: The leavening trifecta that gives the cake lift and balances the flavors.
  • Powdered Sugar: For a frosting so smooth and cloud-like, it’s practically angelic.
  • Lemon Juice: A squirt for consistency and an extra punch of flavor in the frosting — like a surprise high note in your favorite song.

Steps To Make Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat Your Oven: Get that oven to 325°F. Think warm spring day, not scorching summer noon.
  2. Prep the Pans: Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans like you’re ensuring nothing sticks, not even bad luck.
  3. Mix Wet Ingredients: Whisk oil, vanilla, buttermilk, lemon zest, extract, and food coloring in a bowl. This is your flavor palette; make it a masterpiece.
  4. Sift Dry Ingredients: In another bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, and soda. This ensures no lumps, only smooth sailing.
  5. Cream Butter and Sugar: Beat them for 4 minutes until they’re fluffier than a poodle at a dog show.
  6. Add Eggs: One at a time, like a conga line, mixing gently after each addition.
  7. Alternate Dry and Wet Mixtures: Start and end with dry, mixing on medium. It’s like a dance for your ingredients — two steps dry, one step wet.
  8. Pour and Bake: Get the batter into the pans and into the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes. It’s not a sun tan; don’t let it burn.
  9. Cooling Time: Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack like they’re lounging in a hammock, then turn them out to cool completely. Patience is a virtue here.

For the Frosting:

  1. Cream Cheese and Butter: Whip these together until they’re smoother than a jazz tune.
  2. Add Flavor: Lemon extract, zest, and a pinch of salt. This is where the magic happens.
  3. Powdered Sugar Tango: Add it in halves, beating to a perfect consistency like a fluffy cloud.
  4. Consistency Check: If it’s too thick, add lemon juice. You’re going for spreadable, not pourable.
  5. Color Me Yellow: A drop or two of food coloring, and mix until it’s as light and fluffy as your dreams.

Storage Options:

For keeping your Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting as fresh as a daisy, you’ve got options! First up, if you’re not serving it immediately, pop it into the fridge. This cake likes to chill — it keeps the frosting firm and the cake moist. Think of it as a little spa retreat for your dessert. If you’re thinking long-term relationship, you can freeze it. Just make sure to wrap it up snugly in plastic wrap and then foil; it’s like a winter coat for your cake. When you’re ready to reunite, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Remember, this cake doesn’t like to rush — let it come back to room temperature slowly before serving for the best flavor experience.

Variations and Substitutions:

  • Butter Be Gone: If you’re out of unsalted butter, go for a salted one and skip the pinch of salt in the recipe. It’s about balance, like yoga for baking.
  • Oil Swap: No vegetable oil? Any neutral-tasting oil will do the trick. Think undercover agents — they blend in.
  • Buttermilk Blues: Don’t have it? Mix milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and wait for it to curdle like a sour mood — works like a charm.
  • Egg-citing Alternatives: If eggs are a no-go, try applesauce or mashed bananas. It’s unconventional, but so was rock ‘n’ roll at first.
  • Flour Power: Out of all-purpose? Cake flour can swoop in for a lighter crumb, just add 2 tablespoons extra per cup.
  • Sweetener Switch: If powdered sugar is as scarce as hen’s teeth, blend granulated sugar until it’s as fine as beach sand.
  • Lemon Lament: No extract? Double the zest or use pure lemon juice, and your cake will still sing a lemony tune.
  • Color Creativity: No yellow food coloring? The cake will still taste like a dream, even in its natural hue. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts!

Creating this Lemon Velvet Cake is like painting with flavors, each step a brushstroke to a masterpiece. And when you’re done, you’ll have a slice of citrus heaven, sure to brighten the dreariest of days and bring a smile to even the most discerning of dessert aficionados. Enjoy the process and the delicious outcome!

Lemon Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Indulge in a zesty baking adventure with our Lemon Velvet Cake! This recipe features a symphony of unsalted butter, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, fresh lemon zest, and lemon extract, all swathed in a creamy and tangy cream cheese frosting for a truly luxurious dessert experience.
3.72 from 149 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12


For the Cake:

  • 150 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 330 g granulated sugar
  • 118 ml vegetable oil
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 355 ml buttermilk
  • 15 ml finely grated lemon zest
  • 10 ml lemon extract
  • 1-2 drops concentrated yellow gel food coloring
  • 3 large eggs brought to near room temperature
  • 315 g all-purpose flour correctly measured via spooning into the measuring cup and leveling off
  • 5 g salt
  • 7.5 g baking powder
  • 2.5 g baking soda

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 225 g cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 225 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 2.5 ml lemon extract
  • 5 ml finely grated lemon zest
  • A pinch of salt
  • 625 g powdered sugar sifted
  • 5-10 ml lemon juice adjusted as necessary to achieve the desired consistency
  • 1-2 drops concentrated yellow gel food coloring optional


For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Thoroughly grease and flour two 20cm (8-inch) round cake pans that are 5cm (2-inch) deep.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the vegetable oil, vanilla extract, buttermilk, lemon zest, lemon extract, and yellow gel food coloring. Whisk these together until well integrated, then set aside.
  • In a separate medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Once sifted, whisk these dry ingredients to ensure even distribution.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened unsalted butter and granulated sugar using an electric mixer set to medium-high speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. This process should take approximately 4 minutes.
  • To the creamed butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time, beating at a medium speed for about 20 seconds after the addition of each egg.
  • Incorporate the dry and wet ingredients into the butter mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Do this by adding one-third of the dry mixture first, mix until just combined, then half of the wet mixture, followed by another third of the dry, the remaining wet, and finally the last of the dry, mixing only until just combined after each addition. Take care not to overmix.
  • Once the batter is prepared, divide it equally between the two prepared cake pans. Place these on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. To test for doneness, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs or clean.
  • After baking, allow the cakes to cool in their pans on wire racks for about 15 minutes. Subsequently, carefully remove the cakes from their pans and allow them to cool completely on the wire racks prior to frosting.

For the Frosting:

  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the room temperature cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
  • Introduce the lemon extract, grated lemon zest, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and blend again to incorporate.
  • Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar in two batches, mixing on medium-high speed until smooth after each addition.
  • Check the consistency of the frosting after incorporating the sugar. If the frosting appears too thick, add lemon juice one teaspoon at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the desired consistency is achieved.
  • If using, incorporate the yellow gel food coloring, mixing thoroughly until the frosting is uniformly colored and fluffy.


  • Once the cake layers are completely cooled, apply the frosting evenly between the layers, on the sides, and atop the cake. The Lemon Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting is now ready to be served.
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3.72 from 149 votes (149 ratings without comment)

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