Blackberries were never something I ate growing up. Being from the Chicagoland area, we didn’t have more than blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries to be excited about in the summer–and don’t get me wrong, we were! It wasn’t until I moved west though that blackberries, huckleberries, salmonberries, and my most favorite, marionberries, came into my life. This summer I’ve teamed up with The Oregon Berry Commission to share some fun new uses of Oregon berries in the kitchen.
Let me be the first to say that I had my doubts about blackberries, which is why that was the way I leaned over creating a recipe with raspberries. Blackberries are difficult to pick, as they have very sharp barbs and are beloved by bees and wasps (then again, raspberries aren’t all that easier!). The dark, tart fruit also has the ability to grow like a weed in Oregon, which makes them easy to find in the summer months. It’s even easier to find them frozen–less damage to your hands too! If using from a frozen state, I prefer to thaw prior to use in the Lemon Cake with Oregon Blackberry recipe below.
Remember to use berries liberally! Their tartness is the perfect compliment to the rich cake and sweet glaze.
Lemon Cake with Fresh Oregon Blackberry Glaze
- 2 c all purpose flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 3/4 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 c butter, softened
- 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 c sour cream
- 2 T lemon zest
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- Parchment paper (for cake pan)
- 1 round cake pan, 9 inches
For Blackberry Glaze
- About 2 cup (16oz) fresh or frozen Oregon Blackberries (see note about storing at bottom of recipe) – reserve 1/2 c of prettiest berries to top cake and put in between layers
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c lemon juice (or to taste)
- 1/4 c butter, melted
In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and sugar together and cream. Bring the mixer down to medium-low and add each egg, fully incorporating after each one. Add flour and sour cream little by little, interchangeably until fully combined. Now slowly add 2 T lemon juice and zest. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Trace outline of your pan(s) on parchment paper (you may use 2 pans and fill halfway or 1 pan and cut the cake in half out of the oven–it’s up to you! I usually do the 1 pan option as it saves on dishes) with a pencil. Cut out circles and place in bottom of the pan. Quickly pour cake batter into the pan to keep on top of the parchment. Swiftly slam pan on the counter top a couple of times, not enough to upset the cake batter but enough to persuade any bubbles in the batter to escape. Bake cake for about 60 min (for 1 cake – 30-40 min for 2 smaller pans). The best way to tell doneness is to use a long toothpick to assess crumbs. Cake should look golden brown and the toothpick should be able to enter and come out of the cake without more than a single crumb attached to it. Once done, remove from oven, and then turn the cake over on to cooling rack. It should slide out of the pan quite easily.
Allow to cool for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Begin prepping the glaze. In an electric mixer, combine butter, lemon juice and remaining zest on medium speed. Turn down to a low speed and add the powdered sugar slowly, 1 cup at a time (I suggest to taste, however you may also add above 2 cups should you have a sweeter tooth/enjoy a less runny glaze). I like the consistency to be a bit opaque and runny, as pictured below. Messy cakes are more fun!
Assemble cake on to cake plate, cut in half lengthwise (if you’re not sure how to do that, check out this cake cutting tutorial). Don’t get upset if your cut is a little high or low – this will be an amazing cake regardless. If you really hack it up, turn it into a trifle (can you tell I’ve messed up before? Whip up some cream and layer up small pieces of cake, whipped cream, glaze and top with some fresh slices of lemon and blackberries. It will still be delightful). Remove top half of cake and spoon on some glaze – just enough to spread a nice thin layer. Add in up to 1/3 c of blackberries, but remember to keep some for the top!
Carefully put the top layer on, being sure to match your slice width where possible so the cake is even. If the top layer is very uneven the glaze will fall off to one side only. Now for the fun part – spoon the rest of the glaze on top of the cake, allowing it to flow freely down the sides and on to the cake plate. Because of the mess, I suggest either a cake plate with a well to catch the glaze or a nice piece of parchment paper underneath to allow the glaze to pool. This stuff is not fun to clean off your counter tops, trust me.
Top with a mound of fresh berries and zest some extra lemon on that cake, baby! Serve immediately, or store at room temperature.
These particular berries I picked from PDX Food Love’s yard and stored in a mason jar in the fridge for about a week – they developed a lovely juice, which I used very liberally in the glaze. This is similar to if you thaw frozen berries in the fridge. Topping the cake with some of the juiciest berries can make for an attractive cake, but be warned, the juice can bleed into your glaze making it a little less “perfect” (note the below picture). Whatever you’re looking to achieve in looks, know it’s going to be delicious regardless.