Lemon Blackberry Cake with Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

I love all things lemon, and cake is no exception! 

For my birthday this year, I wanted to make a simple lemon cake with cream cheese frosting. 

But my birthday falls on the first day of autumn and lemon isn’t exactly a “fall” flavor. Since blackberries are end-of-summer fruits, I thought they would complement the lemon well and be a nice transition into the new season. 

My lemon blackberry cake recipe not only has black berries in the frosting which gives it a beautiful berry color and sweet flavor, but there are fresh black berries folded into the batter as well as blackberry puree as an extra layer of filling.

Lemon finds its way into the cake through juice and zest from a fresh lemon. To optimize the lemon flavor further, I used a homemade lemon curd as the main cake filling.

Making Lemon Blackberry Cake

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and greasing 2 9-inch cake pans with a little butter. Check out my tip of using butter wrappers.

Now sprinkle in some flour (a spoonful should do) and rotate the pans until the flour coats the bottoms and sides evenly. Dump out any excess flour.

Then line the pans with parchment paper that was cut into circles so they fit perfectly in the bottom.

Repeat the butter and flour steps. Greasing and flouring the pans before and after putting the parchment helps the cake from sticking.

Next, sift together dry ingredients like all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. I add a pinch of turmeric (just a pinch!) for a bright yellow color, but it’s optional. Set the mixture aside.

In another bowl, add butter, oil, and sugar. Beat with a hand-held or standing mixer until it becomes light and fluffy which may take 1-3 minutes. Now add 3 eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Finally stir in some vanilla extract.

To incorporate the dry and wet ingredients, I use the creaming method. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamy mixture and stir it until everything is almost (but not fully) incorporated. You still want to see traces of flour.

Then add 1/2 of the liquid. In this case it would be milk and lemon juice. Once again only mix it a little with traces of milk still visible.

Continue mixing this way with another 1/3 flour, then all the milk and juice, and finally the last amount of flour. Add a bit of lemon zest and fold the batter until everyone is incorporated.

As for the blackberries, rinse and fully drain them. If there are large berries, cut them in half. Otherwise, leave them whole.

To prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom of the cake when baking, add 1-2 teaspoons of flour to them and gently toss. Then fold the berries into the cake batter.

Evenly pour the batter into the two cake pans and place on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes on a wire rack. Then use a butter knife to loosen the edges and turn the cakes onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Making Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

I love cream cheese frostings for fruit based cakes. The tanginess goes well with the sweetness of the fruit.

My favorite cream cheese frosting can be found here along with my carrot cake recipe. The frosting recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.

By adding blackberry puree to it, the color changes from off-white to a beautiful pinkish lavender. And it tastes amazing!

Start by pureeing or mashing the blackberries. I heat them up in the microwave first so the juice is easier to extract.

Once mashed, put the pulp in a small strainer over a bowl, and press through. Make sure all the juice comes out, leaving only seeds in the strainer.

If the liquid looks too watery, microwave it in increments of 10-15 seconds until it becomes the consistency of a thick syrup. Set it aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, buttermilk powder, vanilla, and salt for 2-3 minutes until it becomes creamy and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Next, add cubes of cold cream cheese, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Finally, fold in the blackberry puree in small amounts until you get the color you like. You can mix it in thoroughly for a uniform color, or leave streaks of blackberry sauce for a marbled look.

You probably won’t use all the puree. Using too much may result in a less firm frosting. Instead, reserve the extra puree to add to the filling later.

The frosting can be covered and kept in the fridge until about 30 minutes before frosting the cake. It can be kept chilled for several days or even frozen and thawed out overnight before using.

Decorating the Cake

For testing purposes, I only made half the cake and frosting recipes, and used a smaller cake pan.

This is essentially what you see in the photos: a single 8 inch cake, sliced in half lengthwise, filled and frosted.

Making the recipe as written will produce a taller cake where you’ll be able to see all the layers more clearly.

To decorate a 2 layer cake, spread a few tablespoons of cream cheese frosting on one of the cake layers.

Top with the store-bought or homemade lemon curd, spreading it evenly over the cake layer. Try to leave a 1 inch gap around the edge. This will prevent the filling from leaking out of the cake when the other layer goes on top.

If you have reserved blackberry puree, drizzle it on top of the lemon curd, gently spreading it out.

Then place the second layer on top of the curd and frost the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Store in the fridge but take it out at least 60 minutes before serving.

My fluffy yellow cake is lemony and sweet, and pairs beautifully with the tart lemon curd, plump berries, and the tangy and creamy frosting.

A perfect dessert to celebrate the end of summer, the beginning of fall, or a special birthday!

What My Kids’ Say:
11 yo: The cake is spongy, the blackberries are sweet and tart, and the frosting is creamy, sweet, and unbelievable.
8.5yo: The berries are sweet and the cake is delicious.

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Lemon blackberry cake with blackberry cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Joby’s Test Kitchen
A fluffy lemon cake with fresh blackberries, tart lemon curd, and sweet blackberry cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2 Layer Frosted Cake

Ingredients
  

Lemon Blackberry Cake

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (120g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pinch turmeric, optional
  • 4 tbsps (56g) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup 180ml oil
  • ¾-1 cup (144-192g) granulated sugar
  • 3 medium-large eggs, room temp
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk, room temp
  • ¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained well

Additional Ingredients:

  • extra flour for dusting
  • 1 cup lemon curd (store-bought or homemade)

Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • ½ cup fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained well
  • 12 tbsps (168g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3-4 tbsps buttermilk powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp salt
  • 8 oz (1 block) cream cheese, chilled and cut into cubes

Instructions
 

Lemon Blackberry Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, flour, and line 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside. Sift all the dry ingredients into a small bowl and set aside.
  • In another bowl, add the butter, oil, and sugar. Beat with hand-held or standing mixer until light and fluffy, 1-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  • To this mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Stir until almost, but not fully, incorporated. Next add 1/2 the milk and 1/2 of the lemon juice, again stirring until almost, but not fully incorporated. Continue mixing this way, with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and all the milk and lemon juice. Finally, add remaining flour and the lemon zest, and fold until everything is incorporated.
  • Make sure blackberries are fully drained. Cut large ones in half. Add 1-2 tsp of flour to them and gently toss. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom. Fold the berries into the cake batter.
  • Evenly pour the batter into the two cake pans and place on the middle rack in the oven. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
  • Let cake cool in the pans for about 10-30 minutes on a wire rack. When cooled, use a butter knife to loosen the edges and turn the cakes onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Puree or mash the blackberries. I like to heat them up in the microwave first so the juice is easier to extract. Once mashed, put the pulp in a small strainer over a bowl, and press through. Make sure to get all the juice out, leaving only the seeds in the strainer. If the liquid looks watery, microwave it in increments of 10-15 seconds until it becomes the consistency of a thick syrup. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, buttermilk powder, vanilla, and salt for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the cubes of cream cheese, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then fold in the blackberry puree in small amounts until you get the color you like.
  • You can mix it in thoroughly for a uniform color, or leave streaks of blackberry sauce for a marbled look. Using more puree will result in a creamier, less firm, frosting.
  • Save any extra blackberry sauce to add to the filling.
  • Keep frosting covered in the fridge until about 30 minutes before frosting the cake. Can be kept chilled for several days or frozen.

Decorating the Cake

  • Start with a few tablespoons of the cream cheese frosting on one of the cake layers.
  • Top with the lemon curd, spreading it evenly over the cake layer. Make sure to leave a 1 inch gap from the edge, which will prevent it from leaking out of the cake.
  • If you have any leftover blackberry puree, drizzle some over the lemon curd.
  • Next place the second layer on top of the curd and puree, and frost the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Keep in fridge, and take out at least 30-60 minutes before serving.
Keyword baking, blackberries, cream cheese, lemon

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