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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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
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
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 and variations