There is something so ideal about a perfectly imperfect cake and this may be the ultimate in that category. The blackberry lavender combination is perfect for summer when blackberries can be grabbed fresh from your local farmer’s market. You will love the tartness of the blackberries in contrast to the light and fluffy cake layers all topped with a sweet buttercream frosting – it truly feels like summer in a cake!
I originally found this recipe via Half Baked Harvest, who I love and tend to source most of my recipes from. Her recipes are super approachable and her food styling is a sight for sore eyes. Her version of this cake includes a white chocolate buttercream frosting which did not excite me. I only tolerate white chocolate in very specific instances and I felt white chocolate was a bit out of place for this recipe. So I followed her instructions (for the most part) for the cake and improvised when it came to the buttercream and assembly. I ended up using this recipe for a simple buttercream which I found via a family friend who makes stellar baked goods and it did not disappoint!
Now I’ll be honest, I made this cake pre-COVID when gathering for events was not frowned upon. My family hosted a gathering on my parents’ land for about 25 people and I was asked to bring a dessert. I wanted to make sure I brought something that was not only pretty enough to set out for guests but also large enough to feed a group of people that large. I ended up baking the cake layers in two 9-inch round pans rather than the 8-inch pans suggested in the original recipe. I just figured this would make the cake go a little further upon serving which worked out perfectly!
Since I made this adjustment, I just kept my eye on the baking time and ended up being able to bake the cake layers for slightly less time than the original recipe. As for the buttercream frosting, I Am Baker has a ton of tips on her post regarding how to make the perfect buttercream, so I would read through that before making the buttercream.
After making the cakes, jam, and buttercream separately, it was time for assembly – perhaps my favorite part of any baking project! I truly feel like anyone could make this cake and have the final product look stunning. I think my best advice for assembly would be to have fun with it! Half Baked Harvest styled her cake with additional fruit and a few various flowers which were gorgeous. I did not have access to the exact items she used so I made do with using leftover blackberries and some eucalyptus to enhance the look of the cake (even though it is beautiful on its own). Use whatever you have on hand and again – have fun and don’t stress!
I made sure to be a little messy on assembly of the layers of this cake. I think that only enhances the imperfect look. By spreading the buttercream and jam all the way to the edges of each layer, the rich blackberry jam color beautifully swirls into the outer buttercream of the cake and results in a beautiful final product! I then finished off the cake with a few small branches of eucalyptus. I really feel as though a little goes a long way here. Once I had the eucalyptus placed where I wanted, I added a few piles of blackberries and placed them strategically to help cover the ends of the eucalyptus branches.
And there you have it, a perfectly imperfect cake that pleases the eyes just as well as it does the taste buds! If you decide to make this cake, I hope you enjoy the process (and eating it) as much as I did. Remember, you can have your cake AND eat it to!
Source: Cake recipe by Half Baked Harvest
Source: Buttercream recipe by I Am Baker
Blackberry Lavender Cake
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
blackberry lavender jam
- 6 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons dried lavender
- 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- large pinch of salt
- 1-3 tbsp whole milk as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by lining with parchment paper then butter or spray with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the canola oil, yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and buttermilk. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake about 30 minutes or until the tops are set and edges are golden.
- Remove from the oven and let stand to cool for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen if needed. Remove cakes from pans and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before assembly.
For the jam
- Add blackberries, honey, lemon juice, and lavender to a medium-size pot and set to high heat and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling use a potato masher to break up the berries (you can also use a fork to do this). Continue to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by 1/3. Remove from heat and let cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
for the buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, start mixing the ingredients on low until the sugar incorporates with the butter.
- Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Adjust the consistency with milk as needed.
- Using a large serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally.
- Spoon a small amount of buttercream onto your serving dish. This is optional but I find it helps to keep the cake from sliding around which is great especially if you are transporting the cake.
- Begin layering by placing one cake layer on your serving plate. Then add about 1/4 of the buttercream and spread evenly. Follow by adding about 1/4 cup of the jam and spreading evenly with a spoon. Make sure to spread both the buttercream and jam to the edge of each layer if you want the jam color to show through on the outside of your cake.
- Repeat step 10 for the next two layers. Finish by adding the final cake layer and topping with buttercream. Add additional buttercream to the sides of your cake and top with berries or flowers as desired.