Ready for a little dose of sunshine? I cannot get enough lemon everything right now, and realized last week that we’re missing one of the best combinations there is: Blackberry and lemon. We have the dreamy lemon raspberry lemon ruffle cake and coordinating cupcakes, the divine meyer lemon mascarpone cake roll topped with mounds of beautiful blueberries, but where’s the blackberries?
Crisis averted, friends! We now have the dreamiest lemon blackberry layer cake around filled with blackberry compote, meyer lemon curd and fresh whipped cream, covered in a blackberry Grand Marnier buttercream. I repeat, blackberry Grand Marnier buttercream! It might just make you forget about this whole winter thing.
Ok, truth be told, a cruise ship and a Mai tai is what would really make me forget about this whole winter thing, but today we’ve got cake and that’s pretty good too.
And I’m working on the cruise thing.
While eating a piece of cake.
But let’s talk about this cake! I used my go-to lemon layer cake because it’s light and tender and I knew it would pair delightfully with the meyer lemon curd. Speaking of which, why is meyer lemon curd so, so good? I mean regular lemon curd is good, but the meyer lemon one is a little sweeter, almost a little fruitier, and I think it just asks to be paired with blackberries.
What really makes this cake is the buttercream – doesn’t it always? I knew I wanted to make a blackberry buttercream of sorts, but I wanted the blackberries to be prominent – not just some background notes floating around. I thought about pureeing fresh blackberries, but that would add too much liquid and fail to deliver the flavor I really wanted. Then I thought jam, but I prefer fresh and I like having control of what goes into every component, which is when the lightbulb went off: Blackberry compote.
Yes! I could make an easy blackberry compote that would really bring all that flavor to the surface, and it was when that beautiful compote was simmering away on the stove that I realized it needed to be in more than just the buttercream. We needed a layer of it in the cake as well.
Look at that color!
I went with a really simple buttercream because I knew it could take a good amount of compote and still be easy to work with whether you want to simply frost the cake, or do some piping. The blackberry flavor came through right away, but because this buttercream is a bit on the sweeter side, I wanted something to balance it. Enter Grand Mariner! I have to tell you guys, I knew an orange liqueur would cut the sweetness, but I had no idea just how much flavor and brightness it would add. It adds this pop that brings all the flavors to the surface and enhances the blackberry beautifully. I’m mildly obsessed. And the color – the color is so, so good!
When I fist made the buttercream, I only added about a tablespoon of blackberry compote because I wanted it to be the lightest shade of pink for ringing and crumb coating the cake since I knew I was going to ombre and you always want what’s underneath the ombre to match your lightest shade in case any of it peeks through. More on this in the notes!
Finally, I made a second batch of buttercream to pipe some rosettes (I can’t help myself – I itch to pipe!) and divided it up so I could create an ombre effect in shades of blackberry. If you want to frost this cake and not do any piping, one batch of buttercream will be enough. If you go that route, you can be generous when adding the compote to the buttercream and create the color you want. If you have extra compote, I suggest topping the cake with it, kind of like what I did in the Caramel Apple Dream Cake with the caramel on top. It’s also beautiful topped with mounds of fresh blackberries!
Any way you frost it, this cake is a win!
I hope you guys give this one a try – I know you’ll love it, and I’ve added a bunch of extra tips and tricks in my notes so you’re completely hooked up!
- meyer lemon curd
- lemon layer cake
- 18 ounces (3 containers) blackberries
- 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- *Amounts for ringing and crumb coating or frosting regularly:
- 10 ounces (2 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
- 4 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons blackberry compote
- 3 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- Good pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- *If doing rosettes, you will need to make an additional batch:
- 15 ounces (3 and 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
- 6 and 1/2 - 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 4-5 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- 3 teaspoons heavy cream
- Remaining blackberry compote
- Good pinch of salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 12 ounces blackberries (2 containers)
- I recommend making the curd one day ahead and refrigerating over night so it is completely set up when it's time to assemble.
- I recommend baking cakes one day ahead, wrapping them in plastic wrap after they have cooled to room temperature and freezing over night. This makes assembly much easier.
- In medium sautee pan, add blackberries, sugar and lemon juice, tossing to coat. Cook over medium heat until berries start to break down and release their juices, about 6-8 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer berries for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 3/4 cup. You will have to help the blackberries along a bit by pressing down on them with a spatula.
- Remove compote from heat and strain. Refrigerate until ready to make buttercream.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter on medium speed for about 3-5 minutes.
- Start adding powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, so you don't have a sugar shower, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Mix in good pinch of salt.
- Add blackberry compote and continue to mix on medium-high speed for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add Grand Marnier, followed by heavy cream, one teaspoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency. I suggest mixing the buttercream at this point for a good 5-7 minutes on medium-high speed so it gets nice and fluffy.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. You want the whipped cream to be stiff when you fill the cake and you should make it when you are ready to assemble.
- Slice lemon cakes in half horizontally so you have 4 cake layers.
- Fill a piping bag, fitted with a round tip such as #805, with blackberry buttercream.
- Place first cake layer on a cake stand or cake cardboard and pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
- Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of blackberry compote in the center of the cake and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Next, spoon 1/3 of the meyer lemon curd on top of the compote and spread evenly with a clean spatula to prevent the colors from bleeding into each other.
- Next, spoon 1/3 of the whipped cream on top of the curd and spread evenly, again using a clean spatula to prevent the colors from bleeding into each other.
- Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers, compote, lemon curd and whipped cream.
- Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream (creating the color you want by mixing in additional blackberry compote) and top with remaining compote or fresh blackberries.
- If you are going to pipe rosettes, do a very thin crumb coat and refrigerate while you prepare the next batch of buttercream. Due to all the components and fresh whipped cream, I recommend letting the cake chill for a minimum of two hours prior to piping the rosettes.
- Cake is best served at room temperature.
- To pipe the rosettes:
- Prepare second batch of buttercream. Even if you know from the start you're going to do rosettes, I suggest making 2 separate batches of buttercream - they come out much nicer.
- Mix about 1/3 of the buttercream with a good amount of compote to get your deepest shade of blackberry.
- Fill a piping bag with star tip, I used #825, and pipe rosettes starting at the bottom of the cake. Once you complete the bottom row, create your medium shade and fill the same piping bag. You will notice by using the same piping bag, the colors will naturally start to blend into each other creating a beautiful transition from one color to the next.
- As you move up to pipe the second row, start in between the bottom ones so they are not directly on top of one another.
- Repeat the process with a third row creating your palest shade, which should come pretty close to matching your crumb coat.
- Pipe one row of rosettes around the top of the cake - I used all the remaining buttercream and just put all the different colors right in the same pippin bag so I got a swirl of colors! Refrigerate cake so it can set up.
- Remove the cake from the fridge at least 60 - 90 minutes before serving and fill the center with fresh blackberries.