Lemon Blackberry Gluten Free Almond Flour Layer Cake
This Almond Flour Cake is light and fluffy, with a wonderfully rich flavour. Almond flour gives this cake a subtle nutty flavour, and it’s amazingly light and fluffy for having such a simple ingredient list. Almond flour works to tenderize and flavor. It has a rich flavour and pairs beautifully with summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and cherries. It’s by far my favoriting gluten free cake on the blog and dare I say my favorite layer cake in general on the blog. I served it and no one knew it was flourless and naturally gluten free. It’s that amazingly light and fluffy and delicious.
I used my go to for almond flour by Bob’s Red Mill to make this cake. Their Almond Flour is made from the finest California-grown almonds, which have been blanched and ground to a fine meal that is ideal for gluten free baking. Bobʼs Red Mill has all the products you need for all your baking needs while catering to those in your family who have specific food allergies This is actually the first layer cake I’m sharing on the blog that is solely made of almond flour with the exception of the touch of coconut flour in it. It’s naturally gluten free, the nut flour stepping in for any wheat. It’s one of my go to recipes for gluten free baking when I want to make a layer cake that turns out pretty perfect every time.
It’s a recipe I have made and loved from Epicurious. That version is a coconut cake version with a cream cheese and whip coconutty frosting. It’s wonderful but the recipe lends itself to more than just coconut flavours. It’s so versatile and I thought I would share the vanilla version with you that you can use as a base to make a layer cake with your choice of frosting and filling. I’m a berry lover and I love how the blackberries add a beautiful colour to the frosting and a nice pop of flavour in the cake. I decided to use a lemon curd between the layers. My homemade lemon curd is quite delicious and the perfect addition to this cake. You can use any fruity curd you would like and even a layer of jam that you like, or you could simply frost it in between layers. There are many options and fun ways to fill and top this cake.
When it comes to the frosting I did a basic buttercream adding some of the blackberry purée for colour. The more purée you add the more more colour you will see in the buttercream. As I mentioned in the recipe notes below - this makes enough frosting to make a baked cake - feel free to double if you want thick layers of frosting. I have also made this cake with a simple vanilla stabilized whip cream for the frosting. I made a double batch of it and did thick layers it with fresh strawberries in between - so so good!
Why all the eggs?
Let’s talk eggs. Your eggs must be room temperature because essentially you are whipping the whites into a meringue. So the same rules apply to the eggs in this cake. You may think - wow 10 eggs?!? That is a whole lotta eggs! And yes their are plenty of eggs in this cake just like there is in classic chiffon cakes, sponge cakes or angel food cakes. Most of these cakes have no added leavening, but depend on the air beaten into egg whites, egg yolks or whole eggs for their high rise and tender texture. It’s the air beaten into the eggs and the evaporation of steam during baking that lift and lighten them. Beating the whites with some cream of tartar, which is an acid helps stabilize the delicate foam. The eggs are essential for that lift especially in a cake with no leavening or flour in it. It may seem like a lot of eggs but keep in mind that you are making three layers essentially three cakes. Also these cakes need to be cooled inverted to prevent them from sinking and losing their lift - this one included.
This is a great celebration cake and it’s a naturally gluten free cake with the fluffiest texture. Yes there is some whipping involved but it’s a pretty straightforward recipe that is actually quite easy to make. You can frost the whole cake or leave it rustic with frosting in between and then piled high on the top. It’s versatile amazingly fluffy and fabulous.
I have partnered up with Bob’s Red Mill to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.
Makes 3 (9-inch cakes)
For vanilla layer cake
- 1¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Superfine Almond flour
- 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut flour
- 10 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For blackberry infused buttercream frosting
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons of blackberry puree (from about 1 cup of blackberries)
- ¾-1 cup of lemon curd (optional)
- ½-1 cup of blackberries sliced (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease pans very well and line bottoms of cake pans with parchment paper
- In large bowl, whisk together almond flour and coconut flour.
- In bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or using a regular mixer and mixing bowl) beat egg yolks at high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to moderately low and beat in vanilla extract and ALL BUT 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar. Scrape down bowl, then increase speed to high and beat until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Then reduce speed to low and gradually add almond and coconut flour mixture, scraping down bowl and folding in last of flour by hand. Mixture will be thick. Set aside.
- In clean dry bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat room temperature egg whites on moderate speed until very foamy, about 1 minute. Beat in cream of tartar, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar. Increase speed to moderately high and beat until whites hold stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.
- Fold 1 cup beaten egg whites into yolk mixture to lighten up the mix, then gently fold in remaining whites in three additions. Divide batter between pans, making sure to smooth the tops, and bake until layers are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. As soon as you remove them from the oven INVERT pans onto wire racks and cool completely, at least 1 hour. Run knife around cake layers to loosen, invert onto rack, and peel off the parchment.*
- Make the frosting: Puree ½ cup – ⅔ cup blackberries in a small food processor. Push through a fine mesh strainer to rid the seeds. You’ll have a 2-4 Tablespoons of puree.
- In a large bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add the blackberry puree, ( as little or as much as you want for colour) salt and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
Assemble cake (2 options)
- If using the lemon curd and blackberries: Place frosting in a piping bag with end cut off Set one cake on a plate or cake stand, pipe a thick strip of frosting around the edge of the cake. Then add ½ the lemon curd and spread it on evenly over cake within the frosted areas. Sprinkle over blackberries and then place second cake layer over and repeat. Then place last layer over and spread remaining frosting over cake. Top with more blackberries and serve.
- If keeping the cake plain with just the frosting: Layer cake, using approx ½-1 cup frosting between each layer, then frost top and sides with remaining frosting and serve.
- The layers in this cake will not rise the same way a regular cake does. To get the maximum rise in each layer though ensure 1) that you fold the whipped egg whites (meringue) into the batter gently to maintain their lift. 2) it’s important to remember to cool the cakes upside-down in the pans so that the sponge doesn’t fall flat.
- Cakes can easily be made ahead up to two days if individually wrapped tightly and refridgerated. They are delicate so handle with care while wrapping or sliding them in a large ziploc bag.
- Frosting amount will make enough to frost it into a naked cake - double the recipe if you want thick layers of it in between each cake layer and covering it in a thick layer.
- You can use any frosting you would like in this cake. It’s a versatile cake recipe that goes with so many flavour. Feel free to substitute the vanilla with coconut and layer with coconut whip and coconut flakes. There are lots of ways to play up the flavours.