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Raspberry and Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake

Renée Robinson

An Easy Sheet Cake That Tastes of Spring.

This recipe came about because I wanted a cake that tasted like Spring. And because I love my Orange Buttermilk Sheet Cake so much, I decided to see if I could come up with a version that used raspberries and lemons, instead of oranges. This time I blitzed a carton of raspberries and half a whole lemon in my blender and proceeded from there. I initially thought I would need to strain the puree in order to remove the raspberry seeds, but they pulverized completely in my Vitamix and there was no need for straining, which was great because I wanted this recipe to be as simple as possible. 

In order to emphasize the raspberry flavor, I added a small amount of raspberry extract. Not much is needed, but I think it worked well to gently enhance the raspberry flavor. 

I decided that lemon was the only flavor I wanted in the icing. The buttermilk already gives it some tang and plenty of lemon zest and juice added the perfect amount of tartness. But as we were tasting the icing, my son suggested adding a tiny amount of coconut extract in order to round out the flavor. We’ve been using coconut extract quite a bit lately in order to achieve fuller flavors in both sweet and savory dishes and it works brilliantly. You will not notice any discernible coconut flavor at all. It simply provides a fullness of flavor that isn’t there if you don’t use it. 

Slice of Raspberry Lemon Sheet Cake

The results are a delicate and tender cake with beautiful raspberry and lemon flavors. And after taking the photos and eating a couple slices, I decided I like it even better with more fresh raspberries on top, so I’d recommend adding a couple to each slice, rather than just one. One 6 ounce carton provides plenty for the top. The cake can be made ahead and the raspberries added before serving. As a matter of fact, this cake is so moist you’d be fine making it a full day ahead and adding the raspberries the next day.

If you are a fan of my Orange Buttermilk Sheet Cake and also love raspberries, I think you’ll enjoy this one, too. My original recipe for the Orange Buttermilk Sheet Cake can be found in the new issue of Raised Southern Magazine and in the Milk Street Community Facebook Group .

Raspberry and Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake

Recipe by Renée Robinson



How about a beautiful and easy raspberry sheet cake with buttermilk in both the cake and the lemon icing? Yeah, it's superb!

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  • Ingredients for Cake
  • 2 - 6 ounce cartons fresh raspberries, divided

  • 1/2 lemon, seeded, cut in half, rind and all

  • Buttermilk - approximately 1/2 cup

  • 2 sticks (one cup) salted butter

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1/4 teaspoon raspberry extract

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar/350 grams

  • 2 cups all purpose flour/278 grams

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

  • Ingredients for Icing
  • 1 stick salted butter

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, at room temperature

  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature

  • 1 pound powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract


  • Directions for Cake
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack placed in the center.
  • Combine one carton (6 ounces) raspberries and the half lemon in a blender (I used my Vitamix) and puree. Remove from the blender and put into a glass measuring cup. Add enough buttermilk to the mixture to measure 1 1/2 cups of total liquid. Put aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Whisk in the raspberry/lemon puree, eggs, raspberry extract, and sugar. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and either whisk until completely combined or use a hand held electric mixer on low speed.
  • Pour the batter into a half sheet pan (18” x 13” x 1”), which has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Spread evenly and bake for 20 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick and be careful to not over bake. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for only 5 to 10 minutes, at which time you will pour on the icing.
  • Directions for Icing
  • Melt the butter in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the lemon zest. Mix until combined.
  • Pour the warm icing over the cake and spread evenly.
  • Let cool, slice into 24 squares and place one or two raspberries in the center of every slice.


  • Half Sheet Pan - 13 inches x 18 inches x 1 inch

24 Responses

  1. I have a question about straining out the raspberry seeds. I don’t have a Vitamix, and my blender didn’t pulverize the seeds. I tried to strain them out but lost about half my raspberry volume. Do you think it’s worth my trying and leaving in the seeds? Thanks a lot.

    1. Hi, Karen. Oh, sure, I’d just leave the seeds in if I were you. I happen to enjoy them, but there are some people who do not. The cake will turn out very well. Please let me know how you like it!

  2. Can you tell me how to store this cake? I’m going to make it in the morning and serve that evening, and I don’t know if I should refrigerate it. Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Hi, Karen. This cake doesn’t need to be refrigerated at all. And it stays fresh for days. Please let me know how you like it!!

      1. I can’t thank you enough for the recipe and your helpful reply. The cake was great, and I’m going to make it again this weekend the day before we serve it. I couldn’t find raspberry or coconut extracts so used vanilla in both cases. Don’t know what I’m missing but loved what I got!

        1. I’m so happy to hear you liked it, Karen! I’m sure it was delicious with vanilla. The raspberry extract simply emphasizes the raspberry flavor and the coconut extract rounds it out and makes it fuller tasting. As you say, it’s still good without them. Thank you so much for letting me know!

    1. Hi, Linda! Yes, I think you could substitute blackberries and come out with a delicious cake. Please let me know how you like it once you make it!

  3. Renee, this turned out so wonderfully. The whole family loved it. Thank you so much for this genius recipe.

  4. Hello Renée from a Milk Street Community member! Looking for recommendations on pan substitution. 9″ square springform? 9X13 KAF rectangle? I’m the only dessert eater in the house, so when I make something like this, I share with my 2 baking buddies and a slightly more compact shape would be really helpful! Thanks–Sharon

    1. Hi, Sharon. So happy to see you here! Now, as to the pan shape, here’s what I’d really recommend. I know that other people have made my orange cake in smaller pans, but I don’t recommend it. Both of these recipes are specifically developed for a half sheet pan. The reason I say this is that the baking time and texture will be affected if you change the pan size. Plus, the icing is poured on the cake when both the cake and icing are warm. This enables the icing to partially melt into the cake. If the cake is made in a smaller pan, the icing is going to be wrong. How about if you make the cake in the half sheet pan, cut it into squares and prepare 2 platters of slices for your friends. Would that work? BTW, I’d love to have a couple of baking buddies. That is so great!!

      1. I successfully divided the orange cake in half to bake in a quarter sheet pan. It baked in the same time as the half sheet and was perfect for the 2 of us.

        1. Hi, Shelly! Yes, two quarter sheet pans will work perfectly. The baking time will probably be the same, but always check it a couple of minutes early.

    2. One half of this recipe would work in a 9 X 13 pan, without the need to alter the bake time………….

  5. My blender isn’t powerful enough to tackle lemon rind. I can juice and zest the lemon, but do you think I need to do anything else?

    1. Ronni, I would recommend you cut the entire half lemon into small pieces and put those in your blender. You really do need the entire lemon half for both flavor and texture. Do you think your blender could handle it if it’s cut into very small pieces?

    2. Ronni, I have a 30-year-old beehive Osterizer and I simply did as Renee suggested and cut it into quarters. I did add a couple of Tbsp of the buttermilk to facilitate the process, but it surprisingly pulverized the raspberry seeds as well.

  6. I made this and wow do I love it! I really enjoyed the Orange Buttermilk sheet cake and really, really enjoyed this raspberry one!! It stays really moist and is so flavorful.
    I don’t have a vita mix blender so I chose to strain out the raspberry seeds. I’m glad I did, I feel like seeds would have messed with the wonderful texture of the cake.
    Thanks Rene

    1. Dawn, I completely agree with you about straining out the seeds if your blender didn’t pulverize them. I had originally thought I would need to do the same, and was surprised when the Vitamix made that step unnecessary. I couldn’t be happier that you like it so much. Lovely!!!

    1. Hi, Jane! I used LorAnn Raspberry Extract for this cake and was very happy with it. You’re very welcome!

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