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Almond Layer Cake with Blackberry Buttercream




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almond cake with blackberry buttercream frosting

This celebratory Almond Layer Cake with Blackberry Buttercream is an elegant combination of the perfect yellow cake with an unusual tangy berry frosting…don’t be surprised if this easy layer cake becomes your most requested dessert.  

Almond layer cake with blackberry buttercream, garnished with berries

My almond layer cake looks fancy but is just a good old fashioned butter cake with a fruity frosting…

I’m always on the lookout for a new special occasion cake, and this one is a nice mix of special without being over the top.  The fresh blackberry frosting not only gives it a gorgeous (and natural) pink color, but a bright flavor that keeps this cake from being too rich.  The candied almonds give it an unexpected crunch. 

Almond cake with blackberry buttercream topped with fresh blackberries and candied almonds

This is an all butter cake that’s easy to pull together, adapted from my Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream.  

The cake itself is light and fluffy with a subtle almond flavor. I think it might become your favorite all around yellow cake recipe, and you can change up the extract for different flavors. I can imagine it going well with all kinds of frosting, including basic vanilla or chocolate, so you can adapt it for lots of different birthday requests :)

almond layer cake with blackberry buttercream topped with blackberries and candied almonds

Why do I use 8 inch cake pans?

  • I love to use 8 inch cake pans when I’m going for a special occasion vibe in my desserts.
  • 8 inch pans create a taller cake overall, which makes a more dramatic presentation.
  • 8 inch pans create a cake that looks a little more professional, or bakery style, as opposed to homemade.
  • If you don’t have three pans, just bake two layers first, and then bake the third layer later, it won’t be a problem.

Can I convert this cake to my 9 inch pans?

  • Yes, this almond cake recipe can be made in two 9-inch pans.  The cooking time won’t be dramatically different, but keep an eye on it on the early side.

an almond layer cake with blackberry buttercream being sliced

While vanilla and chocolate are still the favorites for layer cakes, I love to feature fruit in my desserts.  Some of my favorite cakes feature berries:

Almond layer cake with blackberry buttercream

tvfgi recommends: non-stick 8 inch cake pans

I love these Chicago Metallic non stick cake pans, the 8-inch makes the perfect tall layer cake, whether you’re doing 2 layers, or going for 3. The pans are nicely insulated and cook evenly. The non-stick surface releases easily, but I always put a round of parchment at the bottom for added security.

*Pan care: hand wash and don’t use any harsh abrasives for longest life. Be sure to dry thoroughly before storing. Don’t use any metal utensils with your pans and they’ll last you many years. 

a slice of almond layer cake with blackberry buttercream

almond cake with blackberry buttercream frosting
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3.9 from 19 votes

Almond Layer Cake with Blackberry Buttercream

This celebratory Almond Layer Cake with Blackberry Buttercream is an elegant combination of the perfect yellow cake with an unusual tangy berry frosting...don't be surprised if this easy layer cake becomes your most requested dessert.  
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Yield 16 servings

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks, or 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1-1/4 cup half-and-half (or whole milk, or buttermilk)

For the blackberry buttercream

  • 3 sticks, or 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4-6 Tbsp blackberry puree, see note below
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp half-and-half or milk

For the garnish

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries

Instructions

For the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper. Note: if you don't have three pans, bake two layers first, and the third later.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  • In an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Don't skip this step, it's important for the cake's texture. (You can also use a hand held mixer.)
  • Add the eggs, one a time, letting each one get fully incorporated before adding the next. Blend in the extract.
  • Turn the speed to low and blend in the flour mixture. While the mixer is running, slowly add the half-and-half, or milk, and stop when everything is fully incorporated. I like to mix my batter a little bit by hand at the end, to make sure everything from the sides and the bottom of the bowl is fully incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the three cake pans, and bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed, golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without wet batter on it.
  • Allow the cakes to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove and cool fully on a baking rack.

For the frosting

  • In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until very smooth. Add the powdered sugar, a couple of cups at a time, and mix until smooth.
  • Add the blackberry puree, vanilla extract, and milk, and blend until smooth.
  • You can adjust the amounts of these liquid ingredients to get the color, flavor, and texture you want in your frosting. More blackberry puree will produce a darker color and a more tart frosting. If your blackberries are very sweet, you can also add a little lemon juice in place of some of the milk to make the frosting a bit more tart.

For the garnish

  • To make the candied almonds, add the sliced almonds and sugar to a saucepan, and heat until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. Stir a few times to coat the almonds in the sugar. Be careful, as the almonds can burn quickly!
  • Transfer the candied almonds onto a sheet of parchment paper, and allow to cool.
  • Coarsely chop or break up the candied almonds into smaller pieces, and arrange them around the top of the cake along with the fresh blackberries.

Notes

To make blackberry puree, cook about 2 cups of blackberries in a small saucepan until they release their juices and thicken slightly (this should take just a few minutes). Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pushing the berries down to extract as much juice/puree as possible. For me, this resulted in about 1/3 cup puree, which I used just about all of in the frosting. Your milage may vary depending on the size and juiciness of your blackberries.
You could use blackberry jam in a pinch.

Almond cake with blackberry buttercream pin.

 

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20 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Felicia MacDonald
    March 27, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, I made this cake today for my Dad’s birthday. Because of what’s going on in the world and the fact that I have to do a grocery run again, I didn’t have enough of everything to make it, so I cut the recipe in half. It turned out and it was delicious! I made a butter cream Maraschino Cherry Frosting as I didn’t have the blackberries for the buttercream. We dropped it off on his doorstep and wished him a Happy Birthday! Sad, but for now, it is the way it has to be. Hopefully, he will love it as much as my son and I did. Thanks for all the great recipes on your site! It brought happiness to my kitchen today. :)

  • Reply
    Ivy Moonen
    January 13, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Hi! I am planning on making this cake for my friend’s 18th birthday this weekend, and I’m really looking forward to it :)
    How long would you say it keeps? And does it need to be refrigerated? Thank you so much, looking forward to making this stunning cake!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 13, 2020 at 7:59 pm

      You might make the cake layers a day ahead, cool and wrap and leave at room temperature, then frost when ready. The whole cake can stay out for 24 hours, but I’d probably refrigerate after that.

      • Reply
        Ivy Moonen
        January 17, 2020 at 4:50 am

        Great, thank you so much!!!

  • Reply
    Sandra Amos
    January 3, 2020 at 1:31 am

    Hi, can you please confirm my translation of cup weights into weight? 1 cup flour = 125g. 1 cup sugar = 200g. 1 cup butter = 250 g. 1 cup milk = 250 mls
    I am making a birthday cake for my sister and thinking of 3 layers in 9″ tins. What do you suggest re quantities?
    I would be really grateful if you could get back to me ASAP please as will be baking next Wed. 8th.
    Love the idea of blackberry buttercream, does the flavour come thru’ quite well?
    Thanks so much

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 3, 2020 at 8:10 am

      Hi Sandra ~ yes, the flour and sugar are right, I say 225 grams for the cup of butter, and I measure milk at 230 grams. Hope this helps and good luck! I’m here if you have any other questions.

      • Reply
        Sandra Amos
        January 8, 2020 at 1:16 am

        Hi Sue – thanks for your answer. I am baking today and as mentioned am using 2 x 9″ pans, each layer will be about 2 and half ” deep so am planning to use 6 eggs and all other ingredients by half again. Do you think this will work? Also am using sour cream as have used before and like end result. Would you think this would be fine and to use 1 1/2 times as much? Also using BP and a little baking soda to activate the sour cream. It would be great if you see this message early today as I said am baking later.
        Thank you so much.
        Sandra

        • Reply
          Sue
          January 8, 2020 at 8:08 am

          I think 1 1/2 times the recipe should work for the 3 9″ pans. I’m not sure about the eggs since I haven’t tried this, but again, it sounds ok to me.

  • Reply
    Monika
    September 5, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    3 cups all purpose flour.
    So some people write that 1 cup is 150 grams, while others say 120.
    (Others say something else entirely, but whatever.)

    How many GRAMS of flour do you use here?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 8, 2020 at 8:06 am

      I use 125g for my flour weight.

  • Reply
    Beverly, Retired pastry
    September 3, 2019 at 6:49 am

    To make this even more of an Almond Cake, I recently read to add almond flour in place of wheat flour in recipes that one could successfully substitute 1/4 the amount of wheat flour with almond flour, which be a nice addition to this “Almond Cake.”
    Secondly: I love how buttermilk and sour cream make baked goods such as cakes, muffins, and quick breads go from good to great! To substitute buttermilk in these types of recipes, baking soda needs to replace part of the baking powder. For one cup of buttermilk (instead of milk or half’nhalf), one would decrease 1 tsp baking powder in the recipe and add 1/2 tsp. baking soda

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 3, 2019 at 7:38 am

      Thanks Beverly, I love the idea of using some almond flour here, I bet the texture would be nice. And I adore buttermilk, I always have a quart in the fridge!

  • Reply
    Laura
    September 2, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Sue, this cake has me ready to turn the oven on and bake away! The frosting color is gorgeous and sounds so great, and almond cake is one of my all-time faves! Love this!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 2, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks Laura, it’s a winner for sure!

  • Reply
    Southerner Forever
    September 2, 2019 at 9:37 am

    This looks absolutely delicious, and I look forward to preparing it in my kitchen! In one of the photos, the blackberry buttercream that is between layers looks much darker than that which is used for the sides and top of cake. Illusion or purposeful?

    Love your website and recipes!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      The slight shade variation was just a little experiment with adding more blackberry puree to the frosting, good spotting!

  • Reply
    Susan
    September 2, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Sooo.. my daughter is getting married next summer and I really think I’ll be pitching this recipe as the wedding cake! It’s SUCH a beautiful cake, Sue !

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 2, 2019 at 7:15 am

      That would be beyond exciting for me :)

  • Reply
    Stella
    September 2, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Can’t wait to make it, headed out the door to get blackberries. I love that you included the info about not having a third pan. Needed that info. Love your recipes!! Thank you for sharing Sue.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 2, 2019 at 7:16 am

      Hope you enjoy it Stella!