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Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake is the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Don’t miss this one if you love lemons!

slice of Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake on a square white plate

Tell me I’m not the only one who is forgetful. It seems like at least once a day I walk into a room and can’t remember why I went in there. I try to chalk it up to having too many things going on in my brain at once, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.

Recently, I bought some lemons for a specific baking purpose. But afterwards, I could not remember why I got them, no matter how desperately I tried. Not wanting them to go to waste, I decided to make the best of it and come up with some way to use them. And that is what brings us to this coffee cake.

This soft-yet-dense coffee cake is bursting with lemon flavor. There’s lemon juice and/or zest in each of the three components of the cake. If you love lemon, then I think you’ll adore this cake!

slices of Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake on parchment paper

Added to all that lemon flavor is a good dose of cream cheese. I spread the sweetened cream cheese filling between layers of cake batter to create a distinct line of filling. But if you prefer, you can swirl it with the top layer of cake batter for a little different look.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but I would think the flavors of this cake might lend themselves better to a pairing with your favorite tea. It’s also a lovely sweet treat for breakfast or brunch. I’ll gladly take a slice for dessert, too!

Love lemon? Visit the Recipe Index for more lemon recipes!

More Lemon Cake Recipes

Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

This sweet, tart Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake is a must-make for lemon lovers!

This sweet, tart Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake is a must-make for lemon lovers! - Bake or Break


For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • juice of 1 medium lemon

For the cake:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 3/4 cup (177ml) milk


To make the topping:

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and lemon zest. Add the butter and mix with a fork or your fingers until the mixture forms crumbs.
  2. Refrigerate the topping while you make the rest of the cake.

To make the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until thoroughly combined. Mix in the egg and lemon juice. Set aside.

To make the cake:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and lemon juice, and mix well.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of milk. Mix just until combined.
  4. Transfer about half of the cake batter to the prepared pan, and spread evenly.
  5. Top with the filling mixture, and carefully spread it to cover almost to the edges.
  6. Dollop the remaining cake batter on top of the filling. Gently spread the batter to cover the filling.
  7. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the top of the cake.
  8. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before serving.


For efficiency's sake, I recommend zesting and juicing both lemons before you start making the cake. My favorite tool for zesting citrus is a Microplane.

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Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

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    23 Comments on “Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake”

  1. Am glad to see I am not the only person that believes in the hereafter, I tell friends I go into a room and ask what am I hereafter.

    Lemon is my favorite flavor and will be trying this one soon.

  2. Did you ever remember why you bought the lemons?

    I will definitely try this coffee cake. Lemon is a cheerful flavor for the spring.

  3. I am totally obsessed with all things sweet and lemon lately…I really think this cake is going to push me over the happy edge.

  4. I think it would be a great cake matching with a smoothie for a relaxing tea time! Such a great coffee cake mixing with lemon cream cheese, such a creative recipe šŸ™‚

  5. Hi a Friend brings me a ton of lemons every year from Louisiana. I squeeze them all and freeze in ice cube trays, and the bag them.How much lemon juice do you think is in a average lemon ? 1/3 or 1/4 cup ????

  6. Hi Jennifer! Happy New Year! What a great list of favorites! And not surprising this recipe made the list! I’m making it tomorrow and, given the group of willing eaters I’m serving, one just won’t do it. Do you see a problem with doubling this and using a 9 X 13 pan, or would you recommend I make two 8 inch square? Also, I would rather not refrigerate coffee cake but because of the cream cheese filling, I’m supposing I would have to? Your opinion is appreciated, thank you!

  7. Made this tonight and it’s delicious! Thanks for the tip on taking care of the zest and juice first before diving into the recipe.

  8. Can you freeze it?

  9. Question can I use a bundt pan instead of an 8 inch flat pan

    • Hi, Margaret. This recipe won’t make enough batter to fill a regular Bundt pan. The volume of a regular Bundt is about twice that of an 8-inch square pan, but without testing it myself, I can’t give you a definitive answer for how it would need to be scaled.

  10. I love this recipe!. I’m making it for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding. I added some elderflower liquor to match the Wedding Cake. I will enjoy it with my English tea.

  11. I cooked this cake today.
    My verdict: wow, wow and wow!!!
    I recommand it

  12. The picture looks SO delicious. I am a bit confused by part of the recipe so if you don’t mind, please clarify. Under DIRECTIONS: To make the topping, it says to Combine the flour, sugar,…….
    but it does not say how much of the flour goes into the topping versus how much of it goes into the cake part.
    Thanks for a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it.

  13. Never mind. I was looking at the ingredients higher up in the article then see it broken up below. Thanks again.

  14. Iā€™m making this now. I cooked for 35 minutes at 350. It was still jiggly in the center so I put it in at 375 for additional 15. I will let you know how it turns out.

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