Baker Bettie

Fluffy Lemon Rosemary Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Learn how to make this unique and light and fluffy lemon rosemary cake with lemon cream cheese frosting complete with step by step pictures. This is my favorite fluffy yellow cake recipe that always comes out tender and moist! 

Fluffy Lemon-Rosemary Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I made a cake this weekend. That sounds like a small statement. But listen to me when I say: this is a big statement!

Cake is my baking arch enemy. I have just had so many failures with cakes. If you saw my last post, you know that this was the cake I had planned to make for my birthday.

I decided to make a giant cookie instead because I knew it would be far less stressful and much more enjoyable for me to eat. But I was determined to make this cake anyway. And man, am I proud of it!

Fluffy Lemon-Rosemary Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting with a slice taken out

We bakers are known for our patience. Well, let me tell you this: I am not patient! Not at all. And this cake took me all freaking morning to make so it also took all my energy to keep myself in the cake baking game. To keep myself from taking any shortcuts and to just plain finish.

I give those wedding cake bakers mad cred. They deserve it.

A slice of Fluffy Lemon-Rosemary Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I kept the look of the frosting on this one simple. The reasons for this is 3-fold.

#1: I wanted it to look a little old fashioned.

#2: I pretty much only like cream cheese frosting and it’s not the easiest to work with as far as decorating.

#3: Let’s be honest, I don’t have any cake frosting skillz (with a z). This is the best I could do. One challenge at a time, folks! One challenge at a time.

The cake turned out really light and fluffy! I am pretty pumped about the success! So I wanted to try something different for this post. I did step-by-step photos to help your cake turn out as light and fluffy as mine did!

Let me know how you feel about me doing my posts like this for the future. Helpful? Annoying?

Click here to skip all the way down to the recipe!

All of my ingredients measured out and set in place

Everything is going to go a lot more smoothly if you get all your mise en place (getting everything in it’s place) before you start.

Trust me. Then you know you need to run out in the ice to get more sugar before you actually start mixing anything (not that I had that problem or anything).

Hopefully you also put those eggs and that buttermilk out in enough time to come to room temperature too! You want a fluffy cake right? Okay, then. Let’s do this right!

2 cake tins buttered and floured to prevent sticking

Preheat your oven to 350F! (not really sure why that deserved and exclamation mark)

Spray two 8″ or 9″ cake pans and dust with flour. Tap out the excess flour and set pans aside while you get your batter together! (things are getting exciting! more exclamations!)

Dry ingredients being sifted together

Gather up a large bowl, a sifter, the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar and set aside for later. Sift together everything (minus the 1/4 cup sugar).

Dry ingredients being sifted together with a whisk and colander

I like to use a whisk to speed things along since I don’t have a hand crank sifter. Baker’s trick!

Dry ingredients all together in a bowl being whisked

Give it all one more quick whisk to combine everything and set the dry ingredients aside.

All wet ingredients measured out and ready to go

Moving on to the wet stuff! Grab your egg yolks, melted butter, oil, vanilla, buttermilk, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary.

Wet ingredients whisked together in a bowl

And give them all a quick whisk together and set aside.

Whew! This is hard work.

Egg whites after being whipped until fluffy in a mixing bowl

Now whip your egg whites in the mixer with the whisk attachment. Stream in the 1/4 cup sugar you reserved earlier with the mixer on high just until stiff peaks form. Like those ^ up there!

You just made simple meringue yo! Good for you!

The fluffy meringue in a bowl

GENTLY move the meringue from the mixing bowl into a clean mixing bowl and set aside. GENTLY! Capiche?

The wet ingredients being poured into the dry ingredients

Finally, we can start making the batter! Add that dry ingredient mixture to the mixing bowl and with the mixer on low speed gradually pour in the wet ingredients.

Dry and wet ingredients being mixed together in stand mixer

Mix for only about 10 seconds then shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Mix for about 20 more seconds on low speed and shut off. We don’t want to over develop the glutens here! We took all this time to get everything together let’s keep things light and tender!

Meringue being gently folded into the mixing bowl of combined wet and dry ingredients

GENTLY fold 1/2 the meringue into the batter being very careful not to deflate the meringue.  GENTLY fold the rest of the meringue into the batter.

Fully mixed batter in the mixing bowl

You will have a few white streaks in the batter. They will bake out. You want to fold as little as possible to keep the cake light and fluffy!

Batter after poured into 2 cake tins

GENTLY divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans. Are you noticing a trend? GENTLE!

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, rotating 1/2 way through.

Cake layers after being baked and cooling on a rack

Cool on a wire wrack. Ignore the imperfections! The top will become the bottom!

All frosting ingredients measured out and ready to go

Make your frosting while the cake cools! Lemon cream cheese frosting!

Now frost your cake, take some pictures, and share with someone special!

Collage of finished cake photos and the frosting in a bowl

The cake is not overly sweet and I am obsessed with the herbaceousness that the rosemary brings! You’ve probably noticed the thing I have for rosemary in baked goods.

There were those one cookies and those one cinnamon rolls and those waffles too! If you aren’t down with it, leave it out! The cake with just lemon would be awesome too!

Hey! I baked a cake! And it doesn’t look terrible! And it tastes pretty darn awesome! Don’t worry, it will probably only take me like a year and a half to do another one.

One Year Ago: 
Cheddar Jalapeno and Thyme Quick Bread

Two Years Ago: 
Peanut Butter Banana Bacon Cake

Fluffy Lemon-Rosemary Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting with a sprig of rosemary and lemon wedge as decoration on top

A slice of Fluffy Lemon-Rosemary Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Fluffy Lemon-Rosemary Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting with a sprig of rosemary and lemon wedge as decoration on top

Fluffy Lemon Rosemary Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 14 Servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Learn how to make this unique and light and fluffy lemon rosemary cake with lemon cream cheese frosting complete with step-by-step pictures. This is my favorite fluffy yellow cake recipe that always comes out tender and moist! 


For the Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (280 gr) cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
  • 1 1/4 tsp (5 gr)  baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (2 gr) baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp (3.6 gr) Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 1 1/2 tsp if using Diamond kosher)
  • 1 3/4 cups (343 gr) granulated sugar (divided)
  • 10 tablespoons (140 gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 TBSP (44 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest
  • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature

For the Frosting

  • 8 oz (224 gr) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 112 gr) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup (298 gr) confectioners sugar


For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8" or 9" round cake pans. Dust pans with flour and tap out excess any excess.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. In another bowl whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, rosemary and egg yolks.
  3. For the meringue: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until foamy. With machine running, stream in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat at high speed just until stiff peaks form. Gently transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add flour mixture to the empty stand mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix for about 10 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape down the bowl. Mix again on medium for 20 more seconds just until combined.
  5. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the meringue just until incorporated. Then fold in the rest of the meringue. Be very gentle to not deflate the air in the meringue. You will have a few white streaks in the batter. Divide batter evenly between your prepared cake pans.
  6. Place pans on a half-sheet pan and bake on the center rack in the oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. The cake will begin pulling away Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and will no longer jiggle in the center when it is finished.
  7. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the sides of the pans to loosen cakes then invert on a greased wire rack. Allow to cool completely (about 1 more hour) before frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 661

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99 comments on “Fluffy Lemon Rosemary Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Pingback: Lemon Rosemary Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting | Oven Spoonful

  2. I made this yesterday and it is wonderful.  Not only delicious but lovely to look at.  Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. what are the ingredients to make the frosting for lemon rosemary cake? it doesn’t say here.

    • Hi there! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. My site recently went through some updates and some recipes get un-formatted. The ingredients were there, they just weren’t separated out into their own section. I have updated it so that it is now correct!

  4. I think I’m missing something here. What do you do with the other 1/2 of the maringue?

    • Hi Francine, the meringue is folded right into the cake batter in step 5. It creates a very light and fluffy cake. You can also scroll up in the post to see step-by-step pictures of what it should look like as you do this. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi,  not sure what I’m doing wrong but my cakes keep dropping in the center, I wouldn’t dare attempt to turn during baking. Do you think it’s because I live in Colorado at a high elevation? 



  8. I’m 42 years old, and this is the third cake I’ve made in my lifetime. I simply followed your recipe (and Googled exactly how to zest a lemon), and it turned out perfectly. My harshest critics–my wife and daughter–more than approved.

    Thank you for the precise instructions! I’ll be making another one soon.

  9. Your cake looks so lovely. And versatile! Going to try with lavender vs rosemary and frosting will be orange zest… wish me luck, thank you for the recipe!

  10. Pingback: Fluffy Lemon Rosemary Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting –

  11. Hello! I only have a Bundt pan on hand…would this be okay in there/any suggestions on how to modify the baking time? Thank you!


  13. Pingback: Enjoy Your Weekend |

  14. I’m about to frost my cake, which I have made exactly per directions, and I’m noticing my frosting is tinged a less pretty color because my vanilla extract is brown. Your pictures show a more frosty colored frosting. Is there a specific type of extract that I should have used to avoid turning the color of my frosting less pretty? p.s. it baked perfectly and smells wonderful, so I’m gonna enjoy it either way!

    • There is clear vanilla that you can buy. I usually stick to regular but I know most institutions use clear vanilla. The only downfall here is that I am quite sure that real vanilla is dark while artificial can be clear or dark. I think that I prefer to stick to the real and although it is not pure white, neither is this cake. My icing came out to match cake beautifully and I don’t mind that it is not pure white.

      • I agree! From my understanding all clear vanilla is imitation as pure vanilla is naturally dark. I prefer to stick with a pure vanilla flavor. If you are truly looking for a pure white cake though then you would need to use a clear vanilla.

  15. I understand most recipes will let you swap dried for fresh when it comes to spices and you just use less dried. Have you tried that, would you say it will work or should I only use fresh? I will be out shopping today and will try to hunt down some rosemary but when it comes to fresh herbs it seems some stores are not always trustworthy. I really want to save myself from making something and having it turn out wrong.

    • I would stick to fresh for this recipe. The fresh herbs really add a nice balance in the flavor and I don’t want to give you the incorrect measurement to swap for dried since I haven’t tried it.

      • I was shopping after writing to you about the rosemary. I agree that it is probably better to stick to the fresh and guess what? I managed to find a package of lovely fresh rosemary! Yay! So I have all my ingredients in order for this beautiful cake. I am so excited to try it. This will be a flavour that I am sure that I have never tried and I just hope my cake turns out as lovely as yours. Cake decorating is just not something that happens easily for me. Give me a pie and I will make a masterpiece. Give me all the tools imaginable and I still cannot make a cake that I would share a photo of, unless of course you want a laugh. So hopefully this cake makes me an artist. I can only hope.

  16. So I finally made this cake this morning. I did have the confidence to cut a few corners, but I have to compare this cake to chiffon cakes, which I do have a fair bit of experience with. It is such a beautiful cake. The smell is wonderful. I cannot wait to frost it, but I will contain myself because the frosting will make it better yet. All that lovely lemony flavour. i would definitely continue to make this in the 8# pan so it has a bit of height to it.

  17. Just made this cake this evening for my bf birthday tomorrow. The batter and icing tasted SOOO good! Ha And the cake baked nicely. I’ve refrigerated my icing overnight to ice in the morning. Since this is a cream cheese frosting does the whole cake have to be refrigerated or can it be left out? 

    • The whole cake can be left out at room temperature for a few hours (you’ll want to serve it when it’s room temperature so that it’s soft) but since it’s a cream cheese frosting you’ll need to store it in the fridge overnight wrapped well.

  18. I was wondering if you weigh your ingredients with a scale or jus use measuring cups? Which way do you prefer? Thanks!

  19. What type or brand are the flower shaped cake pans you used for the fluffy Lemon Rosemary Cake and where can i purchase some?

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