Lemon Cheesecake Cake is a beautiful and delicious, three-layer cake recipe to make for a special occasion!
Lemon Cheesecake Cake:
Bake this cake for spring, Easter, Mother’s Day or for your favorite friend who loves lemon! There are two layers of cake with a layer of cheesecake in the middle in this Lemon Cheesecake Cake. I use the Sunny Lemon Cake recipe from my favorite go-to cake baking book: Piece of Cake by Camilla Saulsbury. One bowl, no fuss cakes… tons of recipes. I seriously love this book and use it all the time. You need two 9-inch pans and one 9-inch springform pan too. It sounds like a lot of work, but I usually make the cheesecake one day, toss it in the freezer overnight, and then make the rest of the cake the next day. Not a big deal.
- cream cheese
- sour cream
- heavy whipping cream
- vanilla extract
- all purpose flour
- baking powder and salt
- lemon zest
- freshly squeezed lemon juice (use regular or Meyer lemons)
- lemon-lime soda
- powdered sugar
The cheesecake is prepared first. You’ll want to give it some time in the freezer to become very firm before you assemble the cake, so I like to bake the cheesecake one day and finish the recipe the following day.
There are two lemon cake layers. And then there is lemon frosting.
How to assemble a Lemon Cheesecake Cake:
- Put one layer of cake on a serving platter. For flat, even cake layers (that will stack very nicely!), I recommend using insulated cake strips. I use them for all of my cakes and they work perfectly!
- Top the 1st cake layer with a little bit of frosting.
- Place the cheesecake on top of the 1st layer of cake.
- Spread a little frosting on top of the cheesecake.
- Place the 2nd layer of lemon cake on top of the cheesecake.
- Add lemon frosting to the top, and frost the whole lemon cheesecake cake. I use an offset spatula to spread it evenly on top and then down the sides.
It’s best to let the lemon cheesecake cake chill for a while before serving and cutting. The more firm the cake is, the easier it will be to cut clean slices. You can even make it the night before and let it get really chilled and firm. It’ll soften up quickly at room temp. Keep it chilled when not serving. Chill leftovers too.
The best thing about this cake is that you get to eat cake and cheesecake in the same dessert! It’s a decadent treat, but that’s expected for a special occasion, right?
Decorate your lemon cheesecake cake however you wish. You can keep things simple, or you can add malted eggs for Easter.
Using edible flowers (like orchids) is another pretty, easy way to decorate a cake. Sometimes you can find edible flowers at your grocery store- packaged among the fresh herbs. I stopped by a local florist and asked if they carried any edible flowers- they did! Using flowers might be a nice idea for a Mother’s Day cake too.
I have a lot of cheesecake cake recipes, so be sure to check out the others! You might also like to try this Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake too.
Lemon Cheesecake Cake
- Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup lemon lime soda (Sprite or 7-Up)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (might need a little more)
PREPARE THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a 13x9 pan on the lower third rack of the oven and fill it halfway with water. Place another rack on a level above the pan. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan on the rack above the roasting pan. Bake the cheesecake for 40 to 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
PREPARE THE CAKE LAYERS:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and spray two 9-inch pans with nonstick spray with flour (baking spray). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk, butter, shortening, zest, and juice to the bowl. Use an electric mixer on low speed to combine (1 minute). Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed 2 minutes. Add the soda and vanilla and beat on low speed for 30 seconds until incorporated. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the pans cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pans and turn the cake layers onto rack to cool completely.
PREPARE THE FROSTING:
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating on low speed until blended. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the lemon zest and 1/4 cup lemon juice; beat on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until fluffy. If the frosting appears to be too thick, add an additional tablespoon or two until you get a nice consistency. Cover and refrigerate the frosting until you are ready to assemble the cake (it will firm up a bit upon chilling).
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
- Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Spread a couple of spoonfuls of frosting on top. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *Tips). Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer and spread a couple more teaspoons of frosting on top of the cheesecake. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake. Pile the frosting on top of the 2nd cake layer, spread it to the edges and down the sides of the cake. Decorate as you wish! Keep this cake refrigerated until serving. It's okay to make it 24 hours in advance and keep it in the refrigerator.
- *Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.
- *The pan of water in the oven will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking while baking.
I am a fairly new baker and am wonderful with bundt cakes. I took this on as a challenge since I had never made a homemade cheesecake AND have only iced a layer cake once. Of the 20+ bundt cakes I tried in 2019 through date, this cheesecake cake is my new favorite. It received rave reviews and I have a request for two cakes this weekend. Kudos to you on this amazing recipe with great instructions!
Made this for our Easter dessert! Thank you so much for this recipe! It was easy to follow and the results were amazing! It was so good there wasn’t any left over!
This has been my daughter’s go-to request for her birthday for two years now. And it’s been requested by a friend as well. Absolutely a wonderful cake. Total winner!!
Can I use the freeze dried lemon zest?
How many people will this serve?
I’d say 12 comfortably. A small slice is totally enough 🙂
this is so good. the cheesecake recipe alone is the tastiest cheesecake I ever ate. Then the frosting and the cake flavored with the lemons, meyer lemons, mmmm. all together and wow. I couldn’t stop eating it.
I was wondering if this cake could be frozen, either assembled or pieces for a couple of weeks? Thank you so much for the recipe.
Possibly! Maybe wrap the pieces individually and then assemble later?
I made this yesterday for my son in laws b day party
It was a huge success—I didn’t freeze the cake just
chilled it overnight–then used my big bench scraper
to put it on the cooled lemon cake—didn’t have a
problem–loved it-very impressive
Anytime I want to make flat cakes, I decrease the oven temp. by 50 degrees and increase the baking time by 30 minutes! Works every time 🙂
That’s a pretty cool tip!
I couldn’t find the Meyer Lemons, but made the cake with regular lemons,
it was to beautiful and worth the time and the calories. I was wondering
how the filling would work in a fresh strawberry cake. My four year old
granddaughter said “this receipe is a keeper”!
Omg!! I made this cake for our Easter dinner – it’s divine! The Meyer lemon flavor is incredible! And everyone who had it was really impressed as well!
I was not totally confident about making this beautiful cake, as I rarely make cakes (I do make an awesome cheesecake tho), and I followed your recipe to the letter and it was perfect. I also did it in stages as you suggested – making the cheesecake the night before and then the cake in the morning, icing & then assembly. Soooo much easier – too easy!! Love the one bowl cake recipe.I was shocked how simple to make it all. It was easy to slice into perfect thin slices and I used the Cadbury ‘mini’ eggs to decorate it. Thank you, thank you for sharing this – you are amazing!
I am looking a the pictures of the cake assembly and the third picture shows some type of darker filling, like maybe a glaze or somthing. Did I miss somethine as I was reading the directions? I would really like to make this cake but want to make sure all steps are correct.
P.S. Can’t wait for your cookbook to come out.
Hey Chris, no extra filling there… the camera must have just picked up some darker light where those edges meet… sorry it looks confusing. Just follow the steps as written!
Made this for Easter dessert and it was a hit! Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as yours, my layers didn’t bake nice and flat but the frosting more than made up for that.
I made this today for Easter dessert I hope it taste as good as it looks.
This is so gorgeous. I am on a meyer lemon kick lately. I have 3 bags I’m working on right now. I see this in my future.
This looks yummy. I loce making mini cheese cakes as they are just enough dessert after dinner. Thinking I may try this, minus the cake, but frost the individual mini cakes and decorate!
I am a little confused as to why the cheese cake needs to be frozen and not just refridgerated. Surely when it starts to defrost it will wet the cake. I am looking forward to making this tonight.
You really need to be able to pick up the cheesecake and handle it with your hands… need to trim the edges cleanly and place it onto the cake layers without breaking it into pieces! There isn’t any problem when it defrosts… I’ve made several different kinds of cheesecake cakes & they’re all fine w/ a frozen cheesecake.
Love! I love lemon cheesecakes and love yellow cake stacked with cheesecake. And it’s a beauty!
I used to buy this type of cake at Sams. It looks awfully close to it. I am praying it is because I have been searching for the recipe for a while, I have tried several things. Now I will totally be trying this.
I have a couple questions. What do you use for vegetable shortening? Crisco? Can I use butter flavored? For the sprite or 7 up, can I use diet? And would light sour cream be ok?
I used butter-flavored Crisco, diet 7-up and full-fat sour cream for mine 🙂 I’m sure light sour cream would be just fine.
I made this yesterday for an early Easter party. It was easy to make, beautiful, and everyone loved it! Thank you!
Yahoo! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
And to make this cake really decadent – Instead of joining layers with frosting use lemon curd. Love this recipe.
Yes! Nice idea. I might be a little worried about the cake layers being slippy slidy with the lemon curd in there though. The frosting acts as a rather nice glue holding the layers together.
So lovely, Lori! Lemon and cheesecake are both favorites of mine. Thanks for the insulated cake strips tip, too!
This looks amazing! So pretty and SO delicious! 🙂
I love Lemon anything..this looks so good
This cake is so pretty, Lori! I just love anything lemon this time of year!
So beautiful! In fact, too beautiful to eat. Love everything meyer lemony 🙂
Thank you for sharing Lori!!…I’ll make this for my 43’s birthday at the early of April. Thank you so much!
This is beyond gorgeous, Lori! So perfect for Easter. Elegant and totally decadent – Love it!
Lori…this is absolutely gorgeous! And, I KNOW is is scrumptious!
you know, I bought some of those cake strips and have never used them. I think it may be time to find them and get baking!
Love the layers and great idea making a lemon cheesecake cake. Perfect for spring 🙂
This is so cute! Thanks for another great recipe!
What a beautiful spring cake!!
Looks fantastic!! I love meyer lemons!
MMM the lemon cake looks super moist and dense! My favorite!! And the cheesecake, well it’s cheesecake! LOL
I still have yet to make a cheesecake cake…but it’s on my to-do this! I just need a good occasion for it because there is a real and serious danger that I will eat it all myself if there’s no one around to help me!
I love meyer lemons…this might just appear on my easter table!
This cake is luscious, the orchids atop are beautiful. Oh, and I love meyer lemons 🙂
This looks fabulous, and I just picked up some Meyer lemons today!
I can’t wait to make this dessert. I love lemon desserts and I also love your cheesecake cakes. Perfect spring dessert.
Beautiful! I’m loving the cheesecake layer with the lemon, sounds so fresh and inviting! 🙂
This is stunningly gorgeous!!! Meyer lemons are SO good, and with cheesecake AND cake? I’m so all over this!
What a gorgeous and delicious looking cake for spring! And such a great way to satisfy both the cake cake fans and the cheesecake fans in my family. One indulgent cake for all!
This looks soooooo good! That is one serious cream cheese layer. Love it!
I’m so making this for Easter with the last of Meyer Lemons! Thank you!!
Oh, Lori. I’ve wanted to try your cheesecake cake for a long time, but now I feel the urgency even more! I LOVE Meyer lemons! Luckily they make an appearance at the Costcos here a couple times a year so I don’t have to go to Whole Foods and spend a fortune on them. Looks fantastic!!
This cheesecake cake looks really beautiful. Looking at it seriously made my mouth water. You’re right, it does look like a great idea for a Mother’s Day cake. I think I’ll surprise my wife with this on Mother’s Day.
I love all things lemon and all things cheese cake! It’s settled. I’ll make this for a party at the end of April. Thank you so much!
Breakfast After 10
Such a pretty cake! I love the look of the edible flowers- a nice change from frosting ones.
This cheesecake cake looks stunning, Lori! I am a big sucker for anything cheesecake and this cake is seriously tempting! 🙂 Pinning! PS: Thank you so much for linking up to my lemon bundt cake!!
Nothing wrong with a double cake!
Those orchids! So pretty!
What a gorgeous cake and so festive for Easter! I love this! 🙂
This looks amazing. Lemon is my favorite all time flavor. I love the idea of combining cake with cheesecake. Can’t wait to try this – think it will be part of our Easter dinner! Thanks for linking to my Lemon Blueberry Marble Cake too!
Loving the Eater touch, it sounds delicious with the meyer lemon!
Such a pretty spring cake!
I am in total love with this! LOVE that cheesecake in the middle 🙂
Beautiful and so innovative, Lori! This cake is so you…”The Cheesecake Cake Queen”! So very lovely for spring, Easter, Mom’s Day & summer. Yes…saw your tweet about where to find edible flowers too late (you had tweeted you had found them at a florist). ONLY trust florists for this as they know their sources and can verify the flowers are a) edible and b) grown organically (no pesticides or sprays). This tip comes from Toni Elling, of Meadowsweets, who once guested on Martha Stewart’s television program…waaaay back in like 1995 or 1996. She showed how to candy violets. I did them for a BIG 3-tier bridal cheesecake. Again, your Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Cake is just beautiful and probably tastes even better! xo
Thank you for sharing…the perfect decadent birthday cake.
The flavor and the decorations of the different cakes scream Spring to me! We are still trying to get warmed up here in NJ, so seeing some sign of spring is very welcome!
Lori this is beautiful! The layers are PERFECT. Like bakery-quality. You could sell this cake! And the cheesecake layer, mmm, so good! All with lemon. And the cute eggs you put on top. So pretty! Pinning!
I love all of your cheesecake layer cakes and this one is no different. Such a great idea to decorate with edible flowers, they are so pretty!
Oh this looks lovely Lori!! I love lemon desserts, and cheesecake cakes are the bomb! Beautiful job!!!
Serious food porn! I love lemons, but especially meyer lemons (the juicy-ness never ends), amazing!
Are all orchids edible?
Yes, according to this website: http://www.gardenguides.com/68251-orchid-flowers-edible.html But wash prior to eating 🙂