Oh man. Sometimes you stumble upon something simple that is just AMAZING. This...THIS is one of those times.
Vanilla Cake with Blackberry Buttercream. 😀
You may remember that I made a Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Italian Buttercream for my oldest son's (James') 11th birthday. He's a chocolate everything guy when it comes to his birthday cake (and who can blame him?).
My daughter (Katie), however, chooses vanilla cake with vanilla frosting every year, as she must be the opposite of her brother in all things. My husband and son will try to talk her into chocolate, but it's a no-go. Vanilla-vanilla is what she wants.
I decided to make a new recipe, which I often do, and the vanilla cake was seriously the BEST I ever made. That said...the resulting cake (with marshmallow buttercream) was a gaudy disaster once my nine-year-old daughter got done with her cake requests. Covered *completely* in multi-colored sprinkles, topped with swirls of buttercream, royal icing flowers, and a gold glittery "9"...let's just say it wasn't exactly blog-worthy. (She loved it, though!)
But that cake! The vanilla cake was in my head. I knew that I needed to make it again. Maybe a different flavor combo this time. While at the peach orchard with the fam, I saw the HUGEST most beautiful blackberries I'd ever seen. I immediately knew what to do with them!
Just in case you're wondering...it's totally acceptable to make this blackberry buttercream and then just eat it with a spoon. You're welcome.
A few things worth mentioning regarding ingredients and hardware:
- The cake flour and coconut oil help lend the cake it's super soft and fluffy texture. I don't suggest substitutions for these! The buttermilk, however, can be substituted if you don't have it on-hand (instructions in the recipe notes).
- The recipe is for an 8" triple-layer cake. If you prefer to make a 6" triple-layer cake, I have details on that in the recipe notes.
- To ensure I have the same amount of batter in each pan, I use my kitchen scale (link [here]) and weigh the pans. It's hard to eyeball the amount when you're using three pans, especially if you don't have three and you're baking the cake layers individually.
- I use cake strips on my pans when making a layer cake, since they help the cake bake up flatter (see: easier assembly). If you're in the market for them, you can find them [here].
- The only sprinkles on this cake are edible flowers...*heart eyes*
Please, please treat yourself to this cake. I can't wait to make it again with a different buttercream. Or, you know, just eat it warm from the pan. Either way I'm a happy girl.
Other posts you may like:
Vanilla Cake with Blackberry Buttercream
- 4 cups cake flour (see note)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, soft but still cool (2 sticks)
- ⅔ cup virgin coconut oil, solid but creamy (see note)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (see note)
- 2 cups buttermilk (can substitute, see note)
- 12 oz blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease three 8" cake pans and set aside (see note).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer running on low, add the egg whites one at a time. Add vanilla bean paste (see note) and mix to combine.
- With the mixer running on low, alternate additions of flour and buttermilk. Add ⅓ of the flour, followed by ⅓ of the buttermilk. Repeat for remaining flour and buttermilk, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding the next.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans (see note). Affix cake strips, if using (see note).
- Bake for about 40 minutes, turning the cakes around at the halfway point to help ensure an even bake. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
For Blackberry Reduction:
- Combine blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, cook mixture until juices bubble and berries are soft.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture, discarding the seeds and pulp. Return the juice to the pan.
- Over medium heat, cook blackberry juice until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, taking care that the water doesn't touch the bowl. Cook mixture on medium heat until it reaches 160°F.
- Once the mixture reaches temperature, carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until white, glossy, and bowl is no longer warm to the touch, about 10 minutes.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add butter a few pieces at a time. Allow each addition to incorporate before adding the next. Once all butter is incorporated, add vanilla extract and whip until smooth, another 3-5 minutes.
- Add blackberry reduction and whip until fully combined.
- Frost the cooled cakes with buttercream. Top with fresh blackberries, if desired.Enjoy!