Vanilla, Rosemary & Blackberry Layer Cake

blackberry cake2

Hello! Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year?

I do hope you had a fantabulous Christmas stuffed full of love, laughter and ludicrous amounts of food.

And so, here we are in the chilly depths of January. New Years resolutions have been made and broken and I think we could all do with a little cheering up….Ta Da! here is a vibrant fruity hued beauty that’ll do just that!

I made this tower of deliciousness for the lovely Fiona at work. She is a freelance designer who frequents the hot desk next to me and shares my love of Radio 4, especially Womens Hour and The Archers. As the rest of the team happily chew over the latest shenanigans on TOWIE or CBB, Fiona and I like to mull over the latest action from Ambridge. Although, ‘Action’ is probably too strong a word as the pace of this stalwart soap is positively glacial.

Happily, the whole team loved this layer cake. It has 3 layers of vanilla sponge, soaked in an aromatic rosemary syrup and sandwiched then slathered in a fresh blackberry buttercream. I took inspiration from Lily Vanilli for the fantastically camp blackberry ‘pineapple’ decorations.

Guaranteed to banish the January blues in one slice!

Vanilla, Rosemary & Blackberry Layer Cake

200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2-3 tablespoons full fat milk

150ml water
150g caster sugar
1 X 10cm rosemary sprig

250g fresh or frozen blackberries
80g granulated sugar
200g salted butter
200g unsalted butter
600g icing sugar

Pre heat oven to 175C.
Grease and line the bases of 3X15cm sandwich tins.
To make the sponges, beat the butter until soft. Gradually add the caster sugar and vanilla bean paste. Beat until the mixture becomes pale a fluffy.
Sieve the flour and fold in gently until just combined. Fold in the milk so that you have a soft dropping texture – Do not over beat as you will get a tough sponge!

Divide between the 3 tins and bake for 20mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the sponge comes away clean.

While the sponges are baking you can crack on with you rosemary syrup. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the rosemary and turn off the heat. Leave to cool.

Once the sponges are baked, ,let them rest for 10 minutes or so. Then, using a pastry brush, liberally dribble the cooled rosemary syrup over the sponges. Leave to cool completely then remove from the tins. If you have time ( I never do ) wrap the sponges in clingfilm and leave to rest overnight.

For the fruity frosting, combine the blackberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the berries start to break down, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
Lower the heat and simmer until compote coats the back of a spoon, this takes about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool down slightly. Push compote through a sieve into a clean glass bowl to remove all the pips. You can keep the compote in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Beat the two butters together until lightened in colour. Sieve in the icing sugar and keep beating. Add the compote and beat again until the whole mixture is super fluffy and light.

Sandwich the rosemary infused sponges together with the buttercream. Top with blackberries and rosemary.

Love Lemony x


  1. This is absolutely beautiful, and sounds delicious! Such cute blackberry pineapples! 🙂 Happy New Year to you, too, and best of continuing luck with your wonderful blog! 🙂

    • Oh thank you! your lovely comment has cheered me up after a very challenging day! Thanks for taking the time x

  2. I wanted to make this cake for a birthday as the birthday girl loves berries and purple but doesn’t like rosemary. Can I substitute the rosemary for something else in the syrup please? Hoping so!

    • lemo9809 says:

      Hi! You could just put in a vanilla pod or just leave the syrup out altogether – it will still be a nice moist cake. I hope your friend enjoys it! x

  3. Thank you. Might try the vanilla pod. Fingers crossed. Also I am going to try and make the lemon drizzle cake but use lime instead. Do you think it will work?

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