white layer cake with blackberry buttercream

i don't remember the last time i made a layer cake. (turns out it was this chocolate peanut butter marble cake back in april.)

there's no sign of them on here. sure, i've made plenty of cupcakes, but layer cakes just seem so much fancier. they seem like they take more time, more fussing, more waiting for the layers to cool so i can ice it. but i bet all in all, cupcakes and layer cakes take the same amount of time and fussiness to make.

in the last year or so, jason and i have become big fans of cook's illustrated and america's test kitchen. i found this recipe looking for who really knows and ended up on their white layer cake. i was sold as soon as i read "almond extract" in the ingredients list.

in fact, the cake is so good, it could definitely win on it's own. with a light vanilla or chocolate glaze, it would make the perfect sheet cake. so even if you aren't a fan of blackberry buttercream - or buttercream in general - make the cake. it's that good.

but let's get on to the star of the show - the blackberry buttercream. it's the perfect blend of super sweet and creamy, like any buttercream, and tart from the berries. i've said it before, but i'll say it again - the tartness of the blackberries is a really nice compliment to the sweetness of the buttercream. and the almond in the cake. it's the perfect combo.

white layer cake
adapted from cook's illustrated
40 minutes plus cooling time, serves 12

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. set oven rack in the middle position. preheat oven to 350F. spray two nine inch cake pans with non stick spray. dust pans with flour.
  2. whisk together milk, egg whites, and almond and vanilla extracts. set aside.
  3. in a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. add butter and mix until it forms coarse wet crumbs.
  4. add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. add remaining milk mixture and beat another 1 minute.
  5. divide batter evenly among the two pans. smooth out the batter so it's even in the pan.
  6. bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. let the cakes cool in the pan a couple minutes before inverting. cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours. frost with blackberry buttercream.

blackberry buttercream
adapted from the novice chef
10 minutes, makes plenty for a two layer cake (divide in half if your crew doesn't care for buttercream so much)

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
6 cups confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons strained blackberry puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  1. beat butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. slowly add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. add blackberry puree, vanilla, and almond until blended.
  4. add remaining sugar half a cup at a time, blending after each addition.
  5. when all the sugar is added, beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.


  1. Save me a pice! That looks amazing!!!!

  2. That's a beautiful cake! The almond extract sounds great in the cake, and that frosting looks amazing.

  3. Beautiful, beautiful cake. It all sounds so wonderful!

  4. Okay testimony here folks, I got to have a piece of this cake and it was amazing!!!

  5. This is probably the coolest colored buttercream I've ever seen!

  6. I grabbed this recipe from foodgawker when I was looking for birthday cake recipes to try out. It was terrific! I made an almond buttercream to put on instead of the blackberry one, and it worked out well.

  7. I have plenty of blackberries to use up and what could be better than this beautifully colored and flavored cake. On my list for sure!

  8. I'm VERY excited to try this recipe! In fact it's inspired a full berry-themed-brunch menu for me -- I'll be sure to share pictures after I give it a whirl

  9. Skip the almond extract and double the vanilla and I'm all over it, like buttercream on layer cake.

  10. Excellent! Super delicious. I didn't have cake flour, but found a great tutorial from Joy the Baker. It turned out really well, and I'll be making it again for a baby shower this weekend. Thanks for the recipe :)

  11. you have captured my soul .. with this cake Simmy I follow my heart happy

  12. I just made this cake today I would make a few adjustments

    For the Buttercream:
    use salted butter (or add salt it makes a huge difference!)
    I pureed two boxes of blackberries with sugar and a little cinamon and put all of it in the butter cream versus the 6 tablespoons, it really makes for a good buttercream!

    For the cake if you don't like almond,
    I suggest doing 1 1/2 tsp almond and 1 1/2 vanilla tsp

    but its cooling now and it should be delicious :)

    great recipe!

  13. One of the best cakes I've ever made. I love the contrasting flavors!

  14. I really loved the post so I used my Digg account to digg it.. It's hard to find knowledgeable individuals on this matter, but you sound like you already know what you're talking about! Thanks A rise in Amazing A lot more.

  15. I often do not comment on blogs but your blog has such a method and writing model that I have no choices but to remark here. Nice submit, keep it up.

  16. How do you strain the puree?

    1. Blend the blackberries in a blender or food processor until pretty smooth. Then either use a fine mesh strainer (pour the puree into it and use a spatula to push the juice through) to strain out the seeds & chunks or use cheesecloth. If you're using cheesecloth, put the puree in the middle, pick up the corners, and twist it into a ball. The pressure from twisting will squeeze the juice out & leave the seeds in the cheesecloth. It's a really messy process - and may stain your fingers (not to mention clothes and maybe your countertop) but it works. Discard the solids & just use the juice in the buttercream.

  17. I have made this twice now and it is so good! Thanks for the great recipe. It's a new favorite.

    1. thanks andrea, i'm glad you liked it. i've made the cake a few times too - it also works great as cupcakes - and have made the buttercream with a couple different fruits. strawberry has become a fast favorite around here.

  18. Do you serve the cake with anything? sorbet, ice cream, fresh fruit...? Looking forward to making this soon!!

    1. I served it all on its own, but some fresh berries would be nice.

  19. I hope you're still blogging and see this... My family always got birthday (and wedding) cakes from a favorite bakery. I mean at least two generations. My grandmother was the only one who got one not chocolate or vanilla, and hers was always white cake with blackberry buttercream. She died many years ago, but this recipe (and the resulting cake) brought tears of joyful memories. Thank you.

    1. Hi Katie, I'm so glad to hear you liked the cake and it brought back such good memories for you. I'm always amazed at how many memories I have tied to food.

  20. I would like to make this recipe for an upcoming baby shower, can you tell me if it will yield 24 cupcakes and what cooking time, so they don't burn. Thank you

  21. Could you tell me how much I one cup of flour in gram , and also one stick of butter in gram. Thanks

  22. Taught my g-daughter this recipe to teach her how to read a recipe and cook it. Came out delicious.


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