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Author Notes: When I saw these fresh blackberries at the market, I thought of making my own version of my maternal grandmother's special Sunday dessert, something she called Jam Cake--though hers had more like 8-10 thin layers--I'll do more on another version--this time, I wanted to keep it smaller. The cream here is a cream cheese frosting (home-made) and the cakes are almond-flavored with a little ginger--very refreshing! Had a lot more blackberries, but hey, people in the house like to snack, so I had to make do with what was left, but normally, I'd put at least twice as many, a full pint, so go for that amount with your own. The lemon curd is quite simple, and an old family recipe, especially good with homebaked gingerbread and some whipped cream, spread on a warm scone or as a dip for big gingersnaps. Adjust the baking time to your own stove--they're not all alike; just keep the oven light on and when it looks done, it probably IS--don't let the cakes overbake--they are thin and don't need much time. Store in the fridge between eating times, but let the cake get to room temp before serving as the cold makes the cake layers a bit stiff (though it keeps the creamy topping from melting). This cake can also be re-created very well with fresh blueberries or with raspberries. —BeijingRose
- 1 pint fresh blackberries
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
Lemon Curd, Cream Cheese Frosting
- Juice & zest of two whole lemons
- 4 large egg yolks, separated from the whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter,softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter two cake pans. Mix in a large bowl the flour, salt, baking soda and ginger. Mix in a smaller separate bowl the softened butter, sugar, oil, eggs and almond extract with a good whisk to blend. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and blend well, but DO NOT BEAT, as this would make the cake tough. Set aside.
- Pour the beaten egg yolks for the lemon curd into a small, non-stick pot, add sugar, 4 TBSP softened butter, lemon juice and zest and stir well. Cook gently on medium low heat to melt the butter, then turn it up to medium and cook until it simmers gently, whisking to keep the ingredients moving and well-blended. When the mix starts to bubble a little and will coat the back of a spoon, it's done. Take off the heat and place the small pot in a bowl with a little ice to cool.
- Mash together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, almond extract and butter, in a separate bowl and stir until smooth and well-blended.
- Pour 1/4 of the cake mix into each of the two buttered baking pans and bake on 350 for 7-10 minutes (according to your particular oven), but watch the cakes because they will be thin, so they will cook quickly. When they have turned light golden and a little bubbly-looking on top, with slightly browned edges, they're done. Run a knife around the edge and take each layer out with a wide metal spatula. Set between wax paper layers to cool.
- When layers are completely cooled: Layer 1: spread on 1/2 the thickened lemon curd. Layer 2: spread on 1/2 the cream cheese frosting and cover with fresh blackberries/blueberries/raspberries. Layer 3: spread other 1/2 of the thickened lemon curd (reserving a TBSP for a decorative topping). Layer 4 (top): Spread the rest of the cream cheese frosting, top with the TBSP of reserved lemon curd and 3 berries, then the rest of the berries. Serve warm. Between serving store the cake in the fridge to keep the frosting solid and the berries firm, cover with foil.