Lemon-Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Emma Becraft, Entertainment Editor

Below is a recipe for a cake that includes 2 layers of lemon cake and sandwiched in between is a layer of chocolate. To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 3 9-inch round cake pans,
  • An electric mixer,
  • A pot to boil water,
  • 4 mixing bowls,

For ingredients:

2 Layers of lemon cake-

  • 1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups of cake flour*(refer to the bottom for a substitute I used)
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (it may seem like a lot, it’s not)
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • ⅔ cup of vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup vegetable shortening at room temperature
  • 1+ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of buttermilk*
  • 2 small lemons or 1 large lemon worth of zest grated and finely chopped

1 layer of chocolate cake-

  • 1 cup  of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ⅓ cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of espresso powder (Optional, enriches the flavor)
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1+ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of boiling water

Cream cheese frosting-

  • 2 (8-oz packs) room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 cup of butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2+ teaspoons of vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache-

  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup of heavy whipping cream


Lemon cake instructions:

Whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour*, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer to first beat together vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, vanilla extract, and lemon extract. Mix these ingredients at high speed until light and fluffy. 

Beat in eggs one at a time, fully combining mixture after each egg. 

Fold in the lemon zest (take a spatula and mix in lemon zest).

Fold in dry ingredients (flour mixture) just like you did the lemon zest and alternate with buttermilk*. You should fold in ⅓ flour mixture and then fold in ¾ buttermilk at a time and take turns adding them in the liquid/ egg mixture.

DO NOT over-mix the batter. As soon as it has no lumps, put the batter into 2 of the 3  greased- either with butter or nonstick spray-pans and bake it at 325 F for 30 minutes. Then to test if it is fully cooked, take a toothpick, and insert it in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it is ready, if batter sticks to it, bake it for another 5 minutes and repeat the process. Let cake pans cool while you bake other cake and make the frosting.

Chocolate cake recipe instructions:

To save time, make this while lemon layers are baking/cooling off.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a bowl. Then, with the electric mixer, add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. When mixed thoroughly, add the ½ cup of boiling water, mix only until combined, and immediately put it in the greased pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes until you can test it with a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Cream cheese frosting recipe:

Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth. Then add powdered sugar and vanilla extract until fully combined. At this point, you can add food coloring if you’d like the frosting to be colored. For the cake shown below, I divided the frosting into 3 bowls and made each bowl a darker blue than the one before and put the darkest blue on the top and worked my way down creating the ombre effect.

Chocolate ganache instructions:

Heat the heavy whipping cream for 30 seconds at max and pour over a bowl of the chocolate chips. It should be liquid enough to be smooth when you stir it but it should also be thick to where it slowly drizzles and does not all fall out at once. It should be around the consistency of honey.

To assemble:

Begin by putting frosting on the bottom of the cake platter so the bottom layer of cake sticks. Then, as you stack the layers, make sure to put a thin layer of frosting between each cake, so they stick together. Then, to frost the cake, you start with a dollop of frosting on top and you spread it around and there should be some overlapping excess frosting which you will then use to frost the sides. If you are using the chocolate ganache you can drizzle that over the top when you’re done frosting.

*Cake Flour- You can substitute the 1 ½ cup of cake flour by taking 1 ½ cup of normal flour, removing 2 tablespoons and adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

*Buttermilk- When making buttermilk substitute, each cup of buttermilk, use one cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for 5 minutes. I like to use vinegar because I need lemon juice for recipes and white vinegar isn’t used in baking as often.


Tips and tricks-

If you have the time you can refrigerate the cake layers wrapped in plastic wrap for at least an hour, they become less crumbly and it’s easier to frost.


You can put the chocolate ganache in a squeeze bottle and it makes it easier to control the drip.