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Last Updated on June 8, 2021 by Chenée Lewis
Just in time for your summer celebrations, this lemon and blackberry cake is a fantastic way to showcase summer berries for a special occasion! This cake is so moist and full of bright flavors, and it’s got a velvety blackberry buttercream frosting that makes it truly irresistible!
I really love baking with lemon, so this cake is a favorite recipe of mine! It’s based on my Lemon Coconut Layer Cake from my new summer cookbook! But for this cake, I added fresh, sweet blackberries to balance out the tartness of the lemon, and the balance of flavors was fantastic.
What to do with lots of blackberries?
Summer berry season is such an amazing time of year, and there’s nothing better than picking a big batch of fresh, ripe blackberries or grabbing some at the farmer’s market! And if you’re looking for something to do with all those berries, this lemon and blackberry cake is your best bet! We’re folding in fresh blackberries into the cake batter, and topping it all off with a blackberry buttercream frosting made with more fresh blackberries! If you’re a berry lover, you will adore this cake!
- lemon zest – adds that bright, tangy lemon flavor! Make sure you use a microplane zester and only zest the top layer of the lemon peel. I recommend using organic lemons because conventional lemons can have a waxy coating that prevents your cake from getting that maximum lemony flavor!
- granulated sugar – we’ll press the lemon zest into our granulated white sugar to make sure all of those lemon oils are released.
- butter – I like to use salted butter in most of my cake recipes, but if you prefer to use unsalted, just add ¼ tsp of salt in with your dry ingredients.
- eggs – your eggs should be room temperature before adding them to this lemon and blackberry cake recipe.
- vanilla extract – be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- vegetable oil – I like to use canola oil, but any light-flavored vegetable oil works well.
- cake flour – cake flour is great in this lemon and blackberry cake because it produces a light, moist crumb. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, see the tips below for a cake flour substitute!
- baking soda and baking powder – these leaveners help to give our cake a nice lift!
- blackberries – I like using fresh blackberries in this cake, but you can also thawed and drained frozen blackberries.
- sour cream – adds a nice moisture to this lemon and blackberry cake!
- fresh lemon juice – juice those lemons that you zested earlier.
For the Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
- blackberries – frozen or fresh work fine, but you may want to thaw them from frozen to make them easier to purée.
- fresh lemon juice – helps to add a nice tartness and complements the blackberry flavor perfectly!
- butter – as above, if you prefer to use unsalted butter, just toss in 3/4 tsp of salt to balance out the sweetness in this frosting.
- powdered sugar – just like with our cake flour, you’ll want to measure your powdered sugar by weight with a kitchen scale, or with the spoon-and-level method.
- vanilla extract – to round out the flavor in this blackberry buttercream!
For this 8-inch layer cake, you’ll need three 8-inch cake pans — these are my favorite! And I’d recommend a stand mixer to whip up your batter, as well as a microplane for zesting!
Tips and F.A.Q.
In this lemon and blackberry cake, the first secret is sour cream! The richness and acidity of sour cream ensures a soft, fluffy cake that stays moist! Another key step is adding a bit of vegetable oil for an even moister cake.
You sure can! I like to thaw them and drain them so that they don’t add too much liquid to the cake batter. For the blackberry buttercream frosting, you may not need to drain them since they’ll be puréed.
Absolutely! Homemade lemon curd always has the best flavor, but when you’re filling this blackberry lemon cake with lemon curd, store-bought works just fine.
If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a substitute to use in this lemon and blackberry cake recipe! All you need is all-purpose flour and corn starch. Just measure out 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour and replace 5 tablespoons of it with cornstarch. In grams, it’ll be 312 grams of all-purpose flour sifted with 40 grams of cornstarch. As I mentioned above, it’s best to measure by weight with a kitchen scale, but if you don’t have one be sure to use the spoon-and-level method to measure by volume.
Unfrosted cake layers can be made and stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to two days. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months, wrapped well in plastic wrap and heavy duty foil.
Once frosted, the cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days, and should last in the fridge in an airtight container up to 4 days.
This lemon and blackberry cake is an example of my love for lemon desserts! I used the amazing combination of lemon and blackberry flavors in my Blackberry Lemon Sweet Rolls, and my most recent lemony treat are these delicious Lemon Curd Cookies!
Another favorite blackberry recipe of mine that is perfect for summer is my No-Churn Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream with Biscoff Cookie Swirl. It’s so creamy and refreshing, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker to make it!
Lemon and Blackberry CakePrint Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
Equipment you may need
- 8-inch round cake pans
- zest of two lemons
- 1½ cup (300 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (114 g) salted butter - room temperature
- 3 large eggs - room temperature
- 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (55 g) vegetable oil
- 2½ cup (263 g) cake flour
- 1/2 tsp (3 g) baking soda
- 1½ tsp (6 g) baking powder
- 1 cup (144 g) blackberries - washed and dried
- 1 cup (230 g) sour cream - room temperature
- ⅓ cup (81 g) fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup (226 g) lemon curd - homemade or store-bought (see note)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, press zest into sugar to release oils.
- Add softened butter and cream 2-3 minutes or until fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, followed by oil and vanilla extract, mixing until incorporated after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Gently stir in blackberries to coat with flour mixture. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together sour cream and lemon juice until smooth.
- Add ⅓ of flour-blackberry mixture to batter and mix just until incorporated, then follow with ½ of sour cream mixture. Repeat; then finish with final third of flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
- Spoon batter evenly into three prepared baking pans and drop onto the counter from an inch or two of height to minimize air bubbles.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean.
Prepare Blackberry Buttercream
- Purée blackberries with a blender or food processor and push purée through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out seeds.
- Add purée and lemon juice to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat 5-10 minutes until reduced.
- Measure out 1/3 cup of puree and add to a large bowl with softened butter. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy and well combined.
- Add vanilla and mix well. Gradually mix in powdered sugar on low speed, then increase speed to whip for 2-3 minutes until buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Place one cooled cake layer on a cake board or cake stand.
- Spread a thin layer of blackberry buttercream over cake layer and use a piping bag to pipe a buttercream border around its edge.
- Add about ⅓ cup of lemon curd inside piped border and smooth to fill.
- Top with second cake layer and repeat steps 2 and 3.
- Top with final cake layer and continue to frost cake as desired.
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