This Lemon Cheesecake Cake is incredible! It has a creamy vanilla cheesecake layer between two lemon cakes. The entire cake is covered with pudding frosting and topped with fresh raspberries for a dessert that will impress everyone.
This cheesecake cake recipe is really my favorite choice because I love that it is two desserts in one. No need to choose a dessert when you can have both.
Why This Recipe Works
This lemon cake may look complicated, but it really is quite easy to do because it uses store bought mixes for some of the layers.
A fluffy Cool Whip frosting adds just the right amount of sweetness without overwhelming the cake flavors. We also added fresh raspberries to give it some color. Blueberries or blackberries would be great too.
Serve this lemon cheesecake cake for Easter or Mother's Day. Everyone will love the combination of lemon and cheesecake.
What You'll Need
This lemon cheesecake layer cake is very easy to make using a few simple ingredients from the store and ones that you may already have in your pantry.
For the Vanilla Cheesecake
- Cream Cheese - Use full fat cream cheese that has been softened to room temperature.
- Granulated Sugar - Sweetens the cheesecake and helps to smooth out the cream cheese.
- Sour Cream - Adds a tang and moisture to the batter.
- Vanilla Extract - Gives it a good vanilla flavor. You can also use vanilla bean paste, if you want to add flecks to your cheesecake.
- Eggs - Binds the ingredients together.
For the Lemon Cake
- Lemon Cake Mix - You will need two store bought lemon cake mixes to make this layer cake.
- Lemon Pudding Mix - Adds more lemon flavor and also makes the cake firmer, so it can hold the cheesecake layer better.
- Buttermilk - Gives the cake batter a richer flavor.
- Lemon Juice - Boosts the lemon flavor in the cakes.
- Canola Oil - Adds extra moisture to the cake and also makes the cake more moist and tender.
- Eggs - Binds the ingredients together.
For the Pudding Frosting
- Vanilla Pudding - Make sure you buy instant pudding to make this frosting. The cook-n-serve will not work at all. Want a more white frosting? Use white chocolate pudding mixes.
- Milk - Mixes with the dry pudding mix to make a thicker pudding. 2% or higher is recommended, so the pudding sets up the best.
- Cool Whip - Fold this into the pudding mix to create a light and fluffy frosting.
How to make a Lemon Cheesecake Layer Cake
Don't let the amount of ingredients and steps for this cake layered with cheesecake overwhelm you. Our cheesecake cake recipe is easy to make with our step-by-step instructions.
Make a Vanilla Cheesecake
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until very creamy.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat again. Add the eggs and mix just until combined. Do not over beat the batter because that is one of the reasons a cheesecake will crack.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate 4-5 hours or until completely chilled.
Bake the Lemon Cakes Layers
- Mix together the cake mix, pudding mix, and wet ingredients and beat until combined.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into 2 greased 10 inch cake pans.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Remove and cool completely.
Make Pudding Frosting
- Whisk together the pudding mixes and milk in a large mixing bowl.
- Refrigerate 5 minutes or until thick.
- Fold in the thawed Cool Whip gently.
Assemble the Layer Cake
- Use a long knife to level the cake layers, so they are even across. Place one cake layer on a serving plate.
- Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place on top of the cake. Make sure to remove the parchment paper liner.
- Place the second lemon cake layer on top.
Decorate and Serve
- Spread a layer of frosting over the entire cake. Spoon the rest of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with icing tip #12.
- Pipe dots of frosting vertically down the side of the cake.
- Use the back of the spoon to pull the frosting dots out horizontally.
- Pipe another row of dots over the frosting tail and pull out again. Repeat until the entire cake is covered.
- Add swirls to the top of the cake and add raspberries to the top.
- Refrigerate the cake for one hour before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Keep the decorated lemon cheesecake cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
The cake can also be frozen for 1-2 months, if properly wrapped. Place the cake in the freezer for 1 hour to set the frosting, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Place the wrapped cake in a freezer safe container and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Prep the baking pans, so the cake and cheesecake come out easily. Use a nonstick baking spray with flour for the cake pans and a piece of parchment paper for the springform pan.
- Make the cheesecake at least one day ahead of time. It needs time to chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours before you can layer it with the cakes.
- Use the same size pan for all the layers.
- If the cake and cheesecake layers do not match exactly, use a knife to trim the edges.
- Want more lemon flavor? Spread a layer of easy lemon curd to the top of the frosted cake before adding frosting swirls. Garnish the cake with some lemon zest.
- Once the cake is assembled, refrigerate it for 1-2 hours to allow everything time to firm up before slicing.
What is a cheesecake cake?
Basically, it is two cake layers with a full sized cheesecake in the center instead of frosting. The combinations are endless!
Do you need to refrigerate this layer cake?
Yes, a cheesecake cake needs to be refrigerated because of all the dairy in the layers.
Can this cake be made ahead of time?
Absolutely. In fact, I recommend making it 1-2 days ahead of time because the layers need time to chill, and the cake needs time to set/firm up.
Other Lemon Desserts
- Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars
- Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
- Strawberry Lemon Pie
- Lemon Coconut Cupcakes
- Lemon Bars with crust
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*The post for Lemon Cheesecake Cake was first published December 2012. It was updated with new photos and text March 2022.