Lemon Blackberry Cake is moist, thanks to a layer of blackberry jam and a fresh blackberry garnish, but also delicious and easy thanks to starting from a box cake mix.
I am not a cake person but let me tell you I ate more than once slice of this.
This blackberry lemon cake is so good you'll be stomping your feet and praising Jesus or Allah or Lilith. Or Tom Brady.
But you know what I’m saying.
If you're looking for more simple desserts, I got you.
Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe (Just 3 Ingredients) is one of the most popular recipes here as is Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust. People also like Easy White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.
This was inspired by a small home farmstead I drive by on my way to the paper. They sell blueberries and strawberries--I already have guys for that. But I don't have anywhere to buy fresh blackberries.
Blackberry season in Maine lasts about a minute so I grabbed cash before I drove home and stopped at the stand.
I'm not a huge fan of fruit in baked goods unless it's a pie. So I decided the best thing to do was add blackberry flavor as a jam layer and a garnish with fresh berries.
My recipe relies on a box of lemon cake mix and premade lemon frosting so you’re eating cake faster than you can pick a pint of blackberries.
Okay maybe not that fast, the cake does need to chill before you frost it.
- Lemon cake mix
- Instant lemon pudding box mix
- Canola oil
- Large eggs
- Fresh lemon juice
- Fresh lemon zest
- Blackberry jam (seedless)
- Fresh blackberries for garnish
- Baking spray (a mix of oil and flour) for pans
See recipe card for quantities.
You’ll be making a two-tiered cake! So extra! So fancy! You can do this.
You'll prepare your pans, spraying the insides with a baking spray or rubbing the insides with butter and sprinkling flour over the butter.
I urge you to place rounds of parchment paper inside each pan to help your cakes release once baked.
If you don't have parchment rounds on hand, its easy to make your own by tracing an outline of the cake pan on a rectangular piece of parchment.
Then just cut out the circle.
You can use that circle as a guide to cut out one more round.
Make the batter, bake at 350F for approximately 25 minutes and let the cakes cool on wire racks.
You'll turn the cakes out onto a plate once completely cool.
Then add a layer of blackberry jam to your base cake layer.
Top with the final cake layer.
Chill the cakes then frost them.
Frost a thin crumb coat then chill once more before adding a final layer of frosting.
Garnish with fresh blackberries and serve.
If you're going to a party and need a dessert made in an afternoon, this is not the recipe for you.
This cake turns out best if you make the cake layers a day before to allow them time to completely cool and chill before frosting.
Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe (Just 3 Ingredients is a good choice if it's a Saturday afternoon and you need a dessert for Saturday night. It takes a couple minutes to whip together, 15 to 20 minutes of baking time and then into the fridge to chill while you're getting ready.
Hint: Use sturdy cake pans. If your pans are thin and flimsy, your cakes may burn. I love these Nordicware 9-inch round aluminum cake pans.
- Cake Mix – You can swap out the lemon cake mix for plain white or yellow cake mix if you like but the flavor won’t be as lemon-centric. You could make a chocolate blackberry cake also.
- Frosting – Make homemade or use a white frosting or a glaze.
- Blackberry Jam – Use blueberry jam or lemon curd or strawberry jam.
- Blackberries – You can use fresh blueberries or strawberries for garnish but the sourness from the blackberries won’t be present.
- Two 8-inch or two 9-inch sturdy cake pans (I have and love these Nordicware)
- Offset spatula (6-inch or 8-inch or similar fine)
- Microplane zester
- Parchment paper
Ideally store this cake in a covered cake container for up to five days in the refrigerator.
Similarly, wrap well twice with plastic wrap and place in a cake box or a cake container and freeze for up to three months.
Be sure to leave the fresh blackberries off the cake if freezing.
Make sure the cake is cool, even cold or slightly frozen before adding the layer of blackberry jam and before frosting. A room-temperature or warm cake will crumble easily under the pressure of an offset spatula and make a mess of your work.
You can frost the cake and spread jam with a knife but your job will be exponentially easier and neater if you use an offset spatula. You can pick up a frosting spatula almost anywhere.
- 1 box lemon cake mix 15-ounce
- 1 box instant lemon pudding box mix
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, reserved
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, reserved
- ½ cup blackberry jam, seedless (I used Trappist Preserves)
- 1-2 containers (16-ounces) lemon frosting
- Fresh blackberries for garnish
- Baking spray for pan
Mix up the cake mix in a large mixing bowl, according to package instructions.
Add egg one at a time, breaking into a small bowl first to make sure the eggs are fresh and you don’t get shells in your cake mix.
Beat in lemon pudding mix packet.
Using a Microplane grater, grate the lemon rind until you have a shower of zest. (do this on a piece of wax paper or a cutting board to make measuring and collecting the zest easier.)
Add zest to cake mixture.
Squeeze a half a lemon for the juice and add to the mixture.
Beat until fully combined.
Prepare your cake pans by spraying with a non-stick spray, preferably a baking spray like Baker’s Joy or your store brand version of it. Baker’s Joy has oil and flour in it and helps with easy release of your baked goods.
Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan–again this helps keep the cake from sticking.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes on the same oven rack. Switch the cake pans around halfway through baking if you’ve got hot spots in your oven.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Check the bottom of the cake pan, if it still feels warm to the touch, don’t touch them yet.
Once cool you’re going to invert the cakes one at a time onto a plate to release them from the pans.
Place a large plate, covered with parchment, over the cake and then turn both cake and plate upside down.
If you don’t have parchment, you could use wax paper or foil but the point is that it will be easier to maneuver the layer of cake for stacking if you can just slide it off a piece of parchment paper.
If you’ve sprayed and parchmented well enough, you should be able to pull the pan away and the cake should release onto the plate with a satisfying thud.
Repeat with the second pan.
Add ½ cup of blackberry jam to the top of your base cake and spread lightly using an offset spatula. Try not to let the spatula touch the cake itself–only the jam so you’re not spreading crumbs around.
Top with your final cake layer. Cover with plastic wrap.
Put the two-tier cake in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for at least an hour, preferably several hours. This makes it so much easier to frost and have an elegant looking result.
Final cake preparation:
Add freshness and flavor to the store bought frosting by scooping it into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and adding the teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and teaspoon of fresh lemon zest.
Beat for just a minute to combine the juice, zest and frosting together and add a bit of air to the frosting.
Using an offset spatula, first frost the top of the cake being careful not to touch the cake itself.
Then frost the sides.
Add a second layer of frosting, if desired.
Add blackberries that have been washed and well-dried to the top of the cake.
Slice and serve immediately.
Store well-wrapped in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can freeze the cake wrapped in at least one layer of plastic wrap and then placed inside a cake storage container for up to three months.
if freezing, leave the fresh blackberries off.
Be sure to frost the cake when it is very cold or slightly frozen, it will be much easier.
Frost with a light hand. You don't want your knife or offset spatula to touch the cake, only the frosting while smoothing it out.
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Check out Easy Lemon Dessert Recipes
An offset spatula, six inches or so, is best for frosting cakes in your home kitchen. You don't need a spatula larger than that unless you're frosting really large cakes. Sometimes offset spatulas are called palette knives.