blackberry almond layer cake

Erlend’s birthday was this past weekend, and, gasp, we did not celebrate with cake. In fact, he specifically requested that I *NOT* make cake and make him a cobbler instead. I was aghast, but to be honest with you guys, he’d been making this request for years and I’ve just been ignoring him all this time. Because, alas, while I’ve been #teamcake my whole life, he’s been #teampie. Opposites attract, what can I say?

But between you and me, the only reason why I finally caved and made him a birthday pie was because I’d accidentally bought a half flat of berries that needed to be used up fast (seriously—why do berries go bad so quickly?). Even after making a generous berry cobbler, we still had a few flats to burn through. So I made this blackberry almond cake!

I’ve always liked the combination of blackberries and almonds—the nuttiness kind of helps cut away the tartness of the fruit. I decided to take the white cake from my book, Weeknight Baking, but make it with almond milk and extract instead. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t work out since almond milk is much less fatty than traditional whole cow’s milk, but it worked out really well! The almond milk gave the cake a really fine and tender crumb. And for even more almond flavor, I topped it all off with an almond German buttercream frosting.

Are you guys familiar with German buttercream? It’s basically my new favorite thing. Whereas Italian and Swiss buttercream recipes instruct you to make a meringue and whip butter into it, German buttercream is made by first making a pudding, then whipping butter into it. The result is a dreamy frosting that’s easy as heck to pipe, with the taste of vanilla pudding. It’s absolutely perfect with the blackberries and cake—every bite tasted like berries and cream. Enjoy!

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Some baker’s notes:
  • This cake is made up of multiple components: a quick blackberry jam, pudding for the buttercream, and the cake and frosting itself. Both the blackberry jam and the pudding will need to be cooled to room temperature before using in the cake and frosting recipes. As a result, it can take a long time to make this cake from start to finish. I suggest breaking it up over multiple days, since both the jam and pudding will keep in the fridge for up to one week. Just be sure to warm both to room temperature before using in the full recipe! I made the blackberry jam and pudding on Day 1, the cake on Day 2, and then finished by making the frosting and decorating on Day 3. 
  • When making the cake batter, it’s especially important that your butter, milk, and egg whites are warmed to room temperature—this batter will curdle if some of the ingredients are colder than others.

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