Fluffy Lemon Rosemary 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!

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!

Sometimes I think I should start a separate blog called A Love Letter to Dessert. Or maybe just A Love Letter to Cake. So many flavors, so many fillings, so many different kinds of frosting. It makes me think of the segment of my high school math class about combinations and permutations–remember that? Where you total up the number of all the different ways a collection of things can be combined? Like if you have chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla, you could make a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and vanilla frosting–or a vanilla cake with chocolate filling and peanut butter frosting, etc., etc.?

There have got to be thousands of cake permutations–or is it combinations? (Either way, look, math was useful! It can be applied to cake! Thanks, Mr. Cox!) I occasionally spend a little too much time thinking about these many configurations, but I’m happy to hit pause on my Cake Permutation daydream for this particular combination of lemon-rosemary cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. It is dessert nirvana. As someone who doesn’t really go for food trends, I am all for the current craze over the marriage of citrus and herbs in sweet treats. (Can we please just let lemon and rosemary get married already–I mean, you love who you love, right?)


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary


  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 8-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice, zest and rosemary.
  2. Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° until edges begin to brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and juice; beat until smooth.
  4. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate leftovers.