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Lemon Blackberry Cake

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This Lemon Blackberry Cake is a moist lemon cake that’s loaded with fresh blackberries and layered with mascarpone whipped cream and lemon curd. It’s perfectly moist, deliciously dense, and the perfect blend of sweet and tangy.

Lemon Berry Mascarpone Cake

I am swooning over this Lemon Blackberry Cake. It’s similar to my lemon blueberry cake, but with different berries. And it is, quite literally, perfection. It’s a homemade, lemon layer cake with fresh blackberries baked right in. Nestled between each layer is a generous layer of the perfect mascarpone whipped cream and lemon curd.

If you’ve never had mascarpone whipped cream, I suggest you try it immediately. It’s like regular whipped cream, but thicker, more of a mousse. Its subtle flavor complements literally whatever you pair it with!

So, next time someone asks for a lemon birthday cake or you’re just craving a lemon or fruity dessert, you’ll know exactly what to make!

side view of a lemon cake with a slice cut out topped with fresh blackberries and lemon.

Key Ingredients

  • Oil – Make sure you’re using a neutral oil such as vegetable oil.
  • Lemons – We’ll need both the zest and the juice to give our cake the perfect lemon flavor. If you don’t know how to zest a lemon, here’s a helpful tutorial for you (you don’t even need a zester!).
  • Lemon or Vanilla Extract – If you want the extra zing, go with lemon extract.
  • Sour Cream – If you don’t have sour cream, plain Greek yogurt can be used in its place.
  • Buttermilk – You could also use milk, but the texture won’t be quite as moist and tender. Otherwise, you can try this simple homemade buttermilk.
  • Blackberries – We’re mixing fresh blackberries directly into the cake batter, then also using them for garnish.
  • Mascarpone cheese- Check your grocery store, usually in the specialty cheese section. This can be an expensive ingredient, but my preferred brands are Belgioioso, Trader Joes, and Vermont Creamery.

How to Make Lemon Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Step 1: Make the Cake

  1. Prepare the pans: Grease and flour three 8-inch baking pans, and I recommend lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients: In a bowl, mix together sugar, oil, eggs, and lemon extract and beat until it’s well combined. Then add in the lemon zest and sour cream, then mix until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk: In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk and lemon juice. Mix on low speed until the flour is combined. Give the batter a good stir with a spatula.
  4. Add the berries: Toss the berries with a little bit of flour, then gently fold half of them into the cake batter.
  5. Bake and cool: Divide the batter evenly between three 8-inch baking pans, then top with remaining blackberries. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

Step 2: Make the Frosting

Some people do have issues making mascarpone whipped cream. I recommend reviewing the full tutorial (linked above) before beginning. It’s not meant to be stable like buttercream, it’s still a whipped cream. It is however, much thicker and easier to work with than traditional whipped cream.

  1. Chill the bowl. Place a mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer to chill for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Beat the mascarpone: The key to a smooth textured whipped cream is to slowly bring the mascarpone cheese to a liquid consistency. Start by beating it on a low speed while slowly pouring in the heavy cream until it reaches a liquid consistency (about 1/4-1/2 cup of cream).
  3. Whip until stiff peaks. Once it’s more of a liquid consistency, add the remaining heavy cream and increase the mixer to high speed, beating until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar and lemon extract and beat until stiff peaks form.

Step 3: Assemble

  1. Level the cakes: If you find the cakes have domed, use a cake leveler to cut the domes off the top of each layer. However, the tops may not be completely flat due to the berries. This cake is quite moist, so you want to avoid ripping the outside.
  2. Frost and fill: Place a dollop of frosting on a cake board, then place the bottom layer on top. Use a piping bag to pipe a layer of frosting around the edge and over the top of the first layer, then spread half the lemon curd on top. Add the second layer of cake, repeat with the frosting and lemon curd, then add the final layer on top. I like to invert the top layer so it’s nice and flat on top. If you want to see how I do this, I included some step-by-step photos of the process in my Lemon Raspberry Cake recipe.
  3. Decorate and chill: Top with remaining frosting then garnish with extra berries. I do recommend chilling the cake before serving to allow the frosting to rechill.
side view of a slice of lemon cake on a blue and white plate.

Why is My Lemon Cake Not Fluffy?

This cake is more dense than it is light and fluffy, but if it’s extra dense and flat, there could be a couple of reasons for that.

  • Use fresh baking powder. The expired baking powder won’t do what it’s supposed to do which is create a lighter, fluffier texture. Make sure it’s fresh before adding it to the batter.
  • Don’t substitute ingredients. Wherever possible, I do not recommend making substitutions. True buttermilk will always produce better results than a homemade substitute.
  • Properly measure the flour. If you are not weighing ingredients, make sure to use the fluff, spoon and level method to measure the flour. Scooping your cup directly into the flour is the surest way to add too much flour, resulting in a dense cake.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. Over-mixing the cake batter can cause a dry, dense texture. Mix everything only until just combined and avoid mixing too much for the best results.

Recipe Tips

  • Toss the berries with flour. Coating them in a light layer of flour can help prevent them from sinking in the batter as the cake bakes depending on the size of the berries.
  • Use bake-even strips. Bake even strips prevent the edges of the cake from cooking too quickly which, in turn, prevents the cake from rising in the middle. The less you have to cut off the top, the better!
  • To fill your cake, I suggest filling a piping bag with frosting to ensure an even thickness throughout.
a partially eaten slice of layer cake with a bite on a fork.

Preparation and Storage

The best way to prep your lemon cake ahead of time is to bake the lemon cake, but wait to add the frosting. Regardless of how you store them, be sure the cakes are completely cooled.

Frosting: I do not recommend preparing the frosting in advance, it’s best when prepared fresh and directly frosted onto the cake.

Unfrosted cake layers: In you plan to frost within 48 hours, store these in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not stack them together as the layer are quite moist and they will stick. To freeze the layers, wrap it in plastic wrap followed by foil, and freeze them for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw to room temperature then frost and serve.

How to Store a Frosted Cake: An assembled lemon berry mascarpone cake must be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for for 3-4 days. For best results, you may want to place a piece of plastic wrap on the cut edges to prevent them from drying out.

overhead of a slice of lemon blackberry cake with mascarpone frosting on a plate.

Lemon Blackberry Cake

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 28 minutes
  • Total Time: 58 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 slices


This Lemon Blackberry Cake is a moist lemon cake that’s loaded with fresh blackberries and layered with mascarpone whipped cream and lemon curd. It’s perfectly moist, deliciously dense, and the perfect blend of sweet and tangy.


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 2 lemons- zested and juiced 
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon (or vanilla) extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) sour cream, at room temperature 
  • 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (236 ml) (or milk), at room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 12 ounces blackberries, washed and dried
  • 23 tablespoons (15.6g) all-purpose flour

For the frosting:

  • 2 ¼ cups (532ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 cup (130g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) lemon extract 
  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese, cold
  • 1 jar (10 ounces) Lemon Curd


For the Cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round baking pans, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides. Prepare the bake even stripes if desired.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and lemon extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated, scrape down the bowl as needed. Next, add the lemon zest and the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. Next, zest 2 lemons into the batter and then juice the lemons to get 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Set the lemon juice aside. Add the lemon zest, and sour cream to the wet ingredients and beat until well combined.
  4. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Alternate adding half the dry ingredients followed by half of the liquid ingredients (buttermilk and lemon juice) and mix on a lemon speed just until the flour starts to incorporate. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  5. Toss the blackberries with 2 tablespoons of flour, and add additional if needed. If the blackberries are large, cut them in half, then gently fold the blackberries into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the three pan, about 1 ¾ cups of batter per pan. Drop the remaining blackberries on top. Bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes.  Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the Frosting: 

  1. Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill.
  2. Spoon the cold mascarpone whipped cream into your bowl and beat on a medium-low speed (speed 3 on your stand mixer). Slowly pour in the heavy cream, allowing the mascarpone cheese to turn to a liquid consistency.
  3. Then increase the mixing speed to high (speed 8-10) and beat it until soft peaks form.
  4. Next, add the powdered sugar and lemon extract, beating on low until sugar is incorporated. Then continue beating at high speed until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble 

  1. Use a cake leveler to cut the domes off the top of the cake if needed. Place a dollop of frosting on the cake board and place the bottom layer of cake on top of that.
  2. Place half of the whipped cream in a large piping bag fitted with a large open round tip, or simply cut off the end of the piping bag. Pipe a layer of frosting and spread it evenly. Then spread half of the lemon curd over the mascarpone frosting.
  3. Add the second layer of cake and repeat the above steps using all of the remaining lemon curd. Next, add the final layer of cake on top inverted. 
  4. Use the piping bag to fill in any gaps between your layers and to create a crumb coat. Using an offset spatula or icing smoother, wipe away the excess frosting, leaving you just enough to coat the outside of the cake. Do not mix your crumb-coating frosting back into your icing if it has cake debris in it.
  5. Proceed to frost the top and sides of the cake using the offset spatula with the remaining frosting. Garnish with leftover blackberries. 



Wherever possible, I do not recommend making substitutions, but in a pinch the below will work. 

  • Sour cream- use a plain non Greek yogurt. 
  • Buttermilk- Can be made using lemon juice or vinegar. Here’s the quick homemade buttermilk 
  • Lemon extract– sub with vanilla if needed
  • Frozen berries: Note that I have not tested this with frozen blueberries but it should work. Frozen berries may have more moisture than fresh. Toss in the batter when frozen and do not coat in flour


  • Review this detailed tutorial for Mascarpone Whipped Cream  if this is the first time serving. 
  • Storage instructions: the blog post contains more details, but a frosted cake but be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 
Nutrition Information:
1 slice
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Lemon Cake Recipe, Lemon Blackberry Cake, Lemon Dessert

Leave a Comment

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52 Responses
  1. Kevin

    My daughter and I made this cake for my wife’s birthday. A little nervous because it only had 10 reviews so far. It was amazing! One of my new favorite cakes. Not too sweet and a very good flavor combination. My wife loved it! It reminder her if Spring. Very refreshing. Dense cake…vibrant flavor with a wonderful frosting.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Thank you so much Kevin- I am so glad you took a chance on this recipe. I have a few different flavor variations and they are all winners!

  2. Grace O'Brien

    This is my new go to recipe when I need a cake with ‘WOW’ factor for special milestone celebrations. The recipe is easy to follow and the cakes are deliciously moist. The flavour combo of the blackberry’s, lemon curd and the mascarpone icing is to die for. I can’t recommend this highly enough. I have made it as per the recipe, but I have also made it using normal cream cheese icing (when I couldn’t get mascarpone) and frozen blackberries. I just pop the frozen blackberries directly into the cake mix that’s been poured into the pans before baking. Thank you for this very special cake recipe, from @graceys_table

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Thank you so so much Grace! I have to agree, this flavor combo is perfect! Thanks for sharing your tip for using frozen blackberries!

  3. Crystal

    Hi! I made this for my boyfriend for his birthday and he loved it! His brother wants me to make him one but with pineapple…. do you think that would work?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Crystal- So glad your boyfriend loved it! The pineapple option sounds delicious! I think this would work, but instead of baking the pineapple into the cake (because pineapple is so much more moist than a berry), you might want to bake the cake layer, then do a pineapple filling in between the layers.

  4. Blair

    This cake is fantastic. I made it for the first time last year for my sisters birthday and again this year (only using the mascarpone frosting recipe) because it is incredible! Seriously people will think you bought it from a professional bakery. Thank you! 🙂

  5. Emily

    I’m curious about making this cake for an upcoming birthday but would need to freeze it since I won’t be able to bake it right before the party. How well do you think it would freeze with the berries in there? Thanks!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Becky- Technically yes, but I don’t love the way the cupcakes bake with the berries in them, especially if the berries are large. They are a little lump and uneven. You could cut the berries into smaller pieces for better results.

  6. Gigi

    I made this cake recipe for my son’s birthday, and it was AMAZING! It was super moist and perfectly lemony! I followed the cake recipe opting for vanilla extract and milk. I only have 2 cake pans, but this didn’t seem to be an issue at all, my cake was still thoroughly cooked within the time listed. The frosting sounds delicious, but I didn’t get a chance to make it as my son specifically asked for buttercream frosting, so I will have to try it next time. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    1. Marian Locascio

      I made this cake for Christmas and everyone loved it, some mentioning that it was the best cake they’d ever had. I did a test bake a month before Christmas and, since it was only my husband and me, I halved the recipe and used two six inch pans. I used yogurt and made my own buttermilk as suggested. It worked. For Christmas I followed the recipe exactly but used three 9” pans, as that’s what I had. This also worked just fine. The layers may be a little thinner, but with all the absolutely wonderful frosting (and there’s more than enough) this cake was still high, moist and beautiful. I’ve followed the recipe twice now, but still have a question. In number 8 in the instructions it says “drop the remaining blackberries on top”. What remaining blackberries?
      The recipe has made it into my permanent recipe binder and it will probably become a Christmas tradition in my house. Thanks so much.

      1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
        Beyond Frosting

        Thank you so much Marian! This is amazing! Sometimes I save a few blackberries to drop on top of the cake batter once it’s been poured into the pan but I see that is not very clear. Thanks for the heads up!

  7. AJ

    This looks like the cake I need to make this weekend, but I don’t have 3 8-inch cake pans. I’m not sure how to adjust it to do it in 2 9-inch pans and would appreciate your thoughts on that.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Aj- I have not tested this recipe with 2 9 inch pans, I worry with the berries it will be a lot! Here are some general guidelines based on my VANILLA layer cake. If your pans are filled to the top, that’s too much- they will take longer to bake, dome a lot in the middle and the edges will probably crisp a bit more. You can also try 3-9inch layers and REDUCE the baking time indicated in the recipe.

      For two 9-inch cakes, they baked from 28-32 minutes. Baking times will vary due to how full the pans are, type of pans and true oven temperature. Please note these did “crust” a little more on the outside edge due to extended baking times and they rose quite a bite in the middle, so you’ll lose more of the “dome” of the cake

  8. Gabrielle

    Hi there, this cake sounds amazing!!! However maybe A tad to much lemon for my family. Would it turn out just as lovely without adding the lemon curd? Thank you

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Gabrielle- yes if it’s too much you can eliminate it. You might trying instead adding a little bit of lemon zest to the frosting which will help retain some flavor but not over power it!

  9. Rebecca Newble

    This looks great but I’m making for a teenager that doesn’t like lemon. If I eliminate the lemon additions would it be similar to a white cake with blackberries? Or would it take too much away from the taste?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Rebecca, it would be similar to a white cake with berries. You’d need to increase the buttermilk to 1 1/4 cups if you are eliminating the lemon juice. I would recommend baking the vanilla cake recipe from my vanilla layer cake but the batter is thinner, so the berries will likely sink to the bottom. Vanilla cake with berries and this frosting would still be good but definitely not the same cake.

      1. Rebecca

        Thanks for the feedback! I actually made it before I saw this and added a 1/4 cup water in place of the lemon juice. It turned out wonderful! Thank you so much for the recipe! This is a keeper and I loved the frosting! It was a hit with everyone!

  10. Ada

    Well it’s me again with another question!!!!
    Is it possible to make this one with frozen berries… any kind of berries?
    Thanks again and again

      1. Ada

        OMG There is always a doubt, no?
        Do you think I should thaw them first or would it be ok to use them frozen?
        I am really looking forward to make this one.

  11. Diana Muñetón

    Este cake es delicioso, además de las moras incluí arándanos, y el contraste de sabores me encantó, la suavidad es sorprendente. Muchas gracias, ojalá incluyeran la receta de la cuajada de limón.

  12. Jackie

    Hi…I want to make this cake this week for a birthday but I want to Use macerated blackberries like a filling between layers. How do you this this will turn out? And do I need to modify the cake recipe since I’m not putting the berries in the cake batter?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Jackie, that should work as long as you build up a big enough damn around the edge of the cake to hold the layers up. I’ve also made this with a berry compote. You do not need to make any adjustments to the actual cake recipe.

  13. Jean

    This is a really special cake. I’d say even nice enough for a wedding. I made this for a friend’s 40th birthday, and literally every single person came up to me and told me what a great cake it was, and it really was. Highly recommend!

  14. Jen

    Made this cake yesterday and ate some today. It was fabulous! The cake itself is nice and sturdy for layers but still very moist. The whipped frosting was nice and light. The whole cake has a nice lemon punch to it without using any lemon extract. Will definitely be making this cake again!

  15. Andrew

    This cake was so fun to make and absolutely DELIGHTFUL!! The frosting is to die for and it is so light and beautiful. I will definitely be making again!

  16. Jean

    It’s 1am, midwinter in Cape Town and I’m in the middle of this as a birthday cake for my little boy. I’ve substituted raspberries for blackberries. Batter is gorgeous and I’ve remembered to bake a dollop in a tiny tin for a taste! Btw I think there may be a typo where you mention blueberries.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Aww Jean! That is so sweet! I hope you enjoy! Thank you for the heads up on the blueberries! I corrected that.

      1. Jean

        Julianne, the baked raspberries have created significant dips in the top of the cakes. I wonder if blackberries would have been more solid? Will this look very uneven when assembled? I can do another one with just the lemon…

      2. Jean

        I went ahead and it turned out a delicious and beautiful cake – I actually did a pink ombre finish – but not exactly easy. The high edges of icing were not enough to stop the lemon curd spilling out the sides once the weight of the top layer went on. Then it all started to slide… I was able to spear it quickly with three bamboo skewers. It was gorgeous but not foolproof.

      3. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
        Beyond Frosting

        I love the idea of a pink ombre frosting! Wondering if your lemon curd was a little thin, or maybe a little too much between the layers. As long as the dam around the outside was thick enough, it shouldn’t have slid, but I am glad the bamboo skewers saved it!

  17. Jaime

    You are a wizard! All your recipes are excellent. I wanted to ask your opinion on an orange cake. I’ve been asked to do an orange cake. Do you think I could make this lemon sponge with orange instead? Maybe with orange zest and orange extract? Hmm. Thanks 😉

  18. Erin

    This cake looks delicious, Julianne! I’m an avid fav of anything lemon, and I haven’t really experienced many lemon-blackberry combinations in my life…I’m beginning to think that I’ve been seriously missing out? Gotta try something lemon-blackberry this summer!!! And this beautiful cake looks like a worthy option?

  19. Bob Bayer

    Yes, it is blackberry season! Have a lot of them growing on the edges of the fields around my house! This recipe looks real good.

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