Four layers of light and fluffy vanilla cake with homemade blackberry lavender jam, and white chocolate buttercream. This cake is nothing short of delicious. Every bite is layered with fresh berries, hints of lavender, and sweet vanilla cake. The perfect berry-filled cake for any and all occasions.
As if you could not tell from Tuesday’s blueberry galette, I am really excited about the arrival of berry season. I have decided that this is the summer I will embrace fruit-based desserts. You guys know I’m all about chocolate, but right now I’m loving fruit-based sweets. I’m having a lot of fun creating recipes using my favorite fruits.
Plus, after sharing mostly chocolate desserts over the last five and a half years. I think it’s time to branch out…at least a little. Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing chocolate next week!
Anyway, I’m very excited about this cake and so happy with how it turned out. I was nervous when I set out to make this cake, as layer cakes can be a little intimidating. Fortunately, not only did this cake turn out pretty, but it’s also really good. Some layer cakes can be dry and flavorless, especially layer cakes of the non-chocolate variety. But trust me, this cake is soft and bursting with flavor.
A layered naked cake has been on my list of “must make recipes” for a while now. I actually made a strawberry naked cake back in March (have you guys made it? It’s another favorite and a must make if you happen to have extra strawberries lying around). But this blackberry lavender cake is totally different. It has the look of a more classic naked cake with its split layers and a light coating of frosting on the outside.
Cream Cheese Buttercream & Assembly
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- one 8 ounce block (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
- 1/2 – 1 cup (120ml-240ml) blackberry jam
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) whole milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 5 and 1/2 cups (660g) confectioners’ sugar
- optional: blackberries for garnish
- optional: purple or mauve food coloring
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, diced & softened to room temperature
- 2 and 1/2 cups (295g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
- 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water
FOR THE LAVENDER MILK
- In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the milk to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and immediately add the lavender.
- Set aside to steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, then discard the lavender.
- Cool milk completely before using in cake batter.
- Can be made 1-2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
FOR THE LAVENDER SYRUP
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and add the lavender.
- Simmer the syrup for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and steep until completely cool.
- Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, then discard the lavender.
- Can be made 1-2 days ahead. Cover and keep at room temperature until ready to use.
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Grease three 8-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.
- Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans. Stir the sour cream and cooled lavender milk together until combined.
- Set aside.
- Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Or if using a handheld mixer, any large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat the ingredients together on low speed for a few seconds to gently combine.
- Add the butter, vanilla, and about 1/2 of the lavender milk/sour cream mixture.
- Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl.
- Whisk the eggs into the remaining lavender milk/sour cream mixture.
- With the mixer running on medium speed, add the egg mixture in 3 additions, mixing for about 15 seconds after each addition.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl, then mix for about 15 more seconds until batter is completely combined.
- Avoid over-mixing. Some small lumps are OK.
- Pour batter evenly into cake pans.
- If desired, weigh them to ensure accuracy.
- Bake for around 20-22 minutes or until the cakes are baked through.
- To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake.
- If it comes out clean, it’s done.
- Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.
- The cakes must be completely cool before leveling and frosting.
- Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface.
- Discard (or crumble over ice cream!).
- Generously brush lavender syrup on the top of each cake.
FOR THE FROSTING
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low.
- Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, more milk if frosting is too thick, or an extra pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
- Frosting should be spreadable and creamy, not runny.
- If desired, divide frosting in half and tint half light purple. I used 2 drops of this mauve food coloring.
ASSEMBLE AND DECORATION
- Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, cake turntable, or serving plate.
- Spread a thin layer of white frosting on top.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used Wilton 1A piping tip) with 1/2 cup of white frosting. (Or use a zipped-top bag with the corner snipped off.)
- Pipe a ring around the outer top edge of the cake to create a “dam.”
- Pipe a second ring of white frosting a couple inches in from the outer ring to create a “bull’s eye.”
- Spoon and spread blackberry jam in the gaps. Top with 2nd cake layer and repeat, then place 3rd cake layer on top. If there’s any remaining, spread a thin layer of white frosting all over the top and sides of cake to create a crumb coat.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Finally, spread the purple frosting all over the top and sides. I use and recommend an icing spatula to apply the frosting. If there’s any extra frosting, pipe decor on top. I piped a swirled border with Wilton 1M piping tip.
- Garnish with blackberries.
- Refrigerate cake for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.