This apple and blackberry cake is quick cake to make and the perfect transition from summer to fall. A tender vanilla cake is topped with tart apples and sweet, juicy blackberries to produce a light and refreshing flavor profile.
This lightly spiced blackberry cake has a touch of lemon zest and cardamom is not overly sweet, and comes together with a cloud of fresh whipped cream.
This blackberry apple cake is a nice early fall dessert or a side for a sweet breakfast or brunch. While the recipe is written to be made in a round cake pan, this snack cake can easily be made in a square pan to suit your needs.
Have an excess of blackberries? You have to try this no-churn blackberry ice cream!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Early fall treat - the pairing of apples and blackberries is the perfect bridge from summer to fall. It's bright, refreshing, and lightly spiced with cardamom instead of going straight into heavy fall spices.
Tender vanilla cake - a light and perfectly textured vanilla cake holds the cooked fruit. A bit of lemon zest makes it feel more exciting while keeping the texture moist, but open.
Easy snack cake - the cake batter comes together quickly, and the fruit gets tossed on top. The apples can be sliced and fanned out across the top instead of diced if you'd like to make the cake look more polished.
- Apples. Any tart baking apple will work in this recipe (Granny Smith, Braeburn, Fuji, Pink Lady, etc).
- Blackberries. Fresh blackberries should be used in this recipe. Any size is totally fine!
- Lemon. The zest of one lemon helps keep this cake bright and flavorful.
- Sour cream. This adds moisture to the cake, and also extra flavor. Greek yogurt or buttermilk can also be used.
- Cardamom. Cardamom pairs nicely with lemon and blackberries. If you don't have (or enjoy) cardamom, feel free to use cinnamon instead.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
Substitutions and Variations
- Swap blueberries or raspberries for blackberries.
- Use frozen blackberries instead of fresh. No need to thaw them!
- Greek yogurt or buttermilk can be used in place of sour cream. Look for full fat versions.
- Use cinnamon instead of cardamom if you prefer that spice.
- Add a crumble or streusel topping on top of the fruit before baking.
- Use a 9" square baking pan in place of a round pan. A 9" round pan can also be used, reducing the baking time slightly.
How to Make This Recipe
Hot tip! If you'd like the cake to have a more polished look, thinly slice the apples rather than dice them. When adding the fruit, fan out the apple slices, then add the blackberries around them.
One: Toss the diced apples and blackberries in sugar and set aside.
Two: Cream together the butter and sugar until combined.
Three: Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
Four: Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.
Five: Add the flour and dry ingredients and mix until mostly combined, but some flour still remains.
Six: Use a rubber spatula to finish folding in the flour by hand.
Seven: Transfer the batter to a prepared cake pan and spread evenly to the edges.
Eight: Top the cake with all of the fruit, evenly dispersing the blackberries on top.
- Measure the flour using a digital scale or use the fluff, spoon, and level method.
- Don't overman the dry ingredients into the batter. Only mix until just incorporated.
- If the blackberries are very large, cut them in half.
- The areas around the fruit may look wet or underdone even though the rest of the cake is done. Take care not to over bake.
- Thinly slice and fan the apples around the cake for a more decorative look. Nestle the blackberries around and in between.
Be sure to use baking apples that hold structure and don't get mushy (i.e. granny smith), correctly measure the amount of apples, don't underbake, and remove the cake from the pan to cool to allow the air to circulate.
Lightly spray or grease the bottom and sides of a cake pan. Place a 2-inch strip of parchment across the middle bottom of the pan that comes up and hangs over the sides. Then, cut a round of parchment that fits into the very bottom of the pan.
After baking and cooling the cake for 10 minutes, use the "handles" from the 2-inch strip to lift the cake and transfer it to a wire rack.
Yes, and there is no need to thaw the blackberries first. However, if any are very large, they should be cut in half prior to tossing with the sugar and adding to the cake.
Store the apple and blackberry cake lightly covered at room temperature for two days. This cake is best served the day it's made.
I do not suggest freezing this cake.
Apple and Blackberry Cake
- 8" cake pan
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer
- Rubber spatula
- 1 cup tart apple peeled, cored, and diced into small pieces (about 1 large apple)*
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 lemon zested
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease the bottom and sides of an 8" cake pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
- Add the prepared apples, blackberries and sugar to a bowl and toss to combine. Set aside while you prepare the cake.1 cup tart apple, 1 cup blackberries, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt.1¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until creamy, about 2 minutes.6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 lemon
- Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for one minute until fluffy2 large eggs
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides.½ cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until almost fully combined. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix in any remaining flour by hand.
- Add the cake batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Gently add the fruit over the top of the cake in an even layer.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no wet batter.
- Note: Some areas around the fruit may look under done, even though the cake will be done. They will finish setting during the cooling process.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- Serve with a drizzle of honey and fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar.