Berry Week: Annie’s Blackberry Cake

Blackberry Cake - InsideNanaBreadsHead

Hooray for summer berries and Berry Week! Fresh produce from the farmers market is one of my favorite things about summer and each year I look forward to hitting all the fruit stands. Fresh berries, peaches, watermelon and all those glorious veggies make me happy to my core.

This week, our Theme Weavers band of bloggers is taking on summer’s bounty with Berry Week. Contributions include pies, cakes, cocktails and breakfast treats so stay tuned and plan to visit all this deliciousness.

Berry Week Logo

Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic – Fresh Strawberry Pie
Madelyn @ La Petite Pancake – Berry Sangria

Anne @ From My Sweet Heart – Summer Berry Terrine with Mascarpone
Jeanne @ Inside NanaBread’s Head – Annie’s Blackberry Cake (below)

Lauren @ Grier Mountain – Vanilla Gelato with Peach-Blueberry Compote
Kat @ Tenaciously Yours – Strawberry Smash

Megan @ Country Cleaver – Strawberry Basil Sorbet Bellini
Haley @ Girly Girl Cooks – Strawberry-Rhubarb Stuffed French Toast

Christina @ Buffy & George – Raspberry & Cherry Pie (gluten-free crust)
Beka @ Kvetchin’ Kitchen – PNW75 Berry Cocktail
Monica @ The Grommom – Papaya-Berry Crisp (gluten-free)

Madeline @ Munching in the Mitten – Cherry Clafoutis
Allison @ Decadent Philistines – Raspberry Marshmallows (2 ways)

Blackberry Cake & Vintage Square Cakestand - Inside NanaBread's Head

Now let’s talk cake! I am a self-proclaimed Pie Girl. Basically, it’s because I despise dry, over-frosted cake. Yuck. I’d rather skip dessert all together than eat dry cake. Luckily, this is not that cake.

I first got this recipe from my dear friend Annie. We worked together in an elementary school front office for years and became soul sisters. She shared this gem with me and I shared it with my mom and sisters. Now it’s a family favorite. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to make and absolutely packed with blackberry flavor. I know some people hate the M word (rhymes with hoist) so I’ll refrain. Just know that this cake is the furthest thing from dry.

Annie’s Blackberry Cake

For the cake:
1 box white ‘super moist’ cake mix (18 ozs.)
1 box black raspberry or raspberry Jell-O (3 ozs.)
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup milk
4 whole eggs
4 Tablespoons seedless blackberry jam
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar (to taste)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons seedless blackberry jam
fresh blackberries for garnish

To Make the Cake:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. The original recipe called for three 8″ round pans for a layer cake. I used a vintage square tube pan I found at an antique shop last summer, but you could also bake this cake in a 13″ x 9″ rectangle pan (even easier). Generously grease & flour your baking pan(s) and set them aside.

Next, put the coconut & pecans into a food processor and pulse until both are well combined and ground into small pieces; set those aside, as well.

Combine the cake mix, dry Jell-O powder, oil, milk and blackberry jam in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Gently fold in the berries, coconut and pecans until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into your pan(s) and spread it into a smooth, even layer.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. My square tube pan took 40 minutes. A 13″ x 9″ square should take 25-30 minutes, and three round layers should take 20-25 minutes. As with all recipes, baking time may vary depending on your oven, so keep an eye on it for the last 10 minutes and check it often with a toothpick. Once it’s done, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans until cool to the touch.

To Make the Whipped Cream Frosting:

While your cake is cooling, place your mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator and chill for at least 15-20 minutes. Once chilled, remove from the fridge and add the cream, sugar, vanilla and jam to the bowl. Beat on medium-high to high speed just until firm peaks form.

If your cake is still warm to the touch, put your prepared whipped cream in the fridge and wait until the cake is completely cooled to prevent your cream from melting. Once the cake is cool, you’re ready to frost.

For my tube pan cake, I used a serrated knife to cut the cake into two even layers. If you use a 13″ x 9″ pan, simply top with whipped cream frosting and sprinkle with fresh berries. For a layer cake, stack one layer at a time onto a serving plate and fill with 1/2″ of the whipped cream, then top with last of the whipped cream and fresh berries. I had extra berries, so I tossed them with some sugar and used them between my layers as well.

Because of the whipped cream frosting, this cake must be refrigerated. It’s also best when eaten within 48 hours. That’s one of the reasons my family makes this for family gatherings. It’s a lot of cake to consume for two people in one weekend. If that’s an issue, you might consider baking this as cupcakes and freezing them un-frosted. Then when you need a cake fix, you can thaw as many as you want/need and make just enough whipped cream for those few.

If you’re thinking “I’m not really a blackberry fan” then try it with raspberries or strawberries. Don’t like pecans? Substitute toasted almonds. Allergic to nuts? Leave them out! I draw the line at coconut. It’s just too good to leave it out, but if you have to I promise to look the other way. It’s not brain surgery – just cake. Tweak it any way you like. Food should be fun, so play with it!

Now all that’s left to do is to dig in. My cake is going to Mom’s house. Luckily, she’s a good sharer. Speaking of sharing, here… I saved you a piece.

Blackberry Cake - A Slice - Inside NanaBread's Head

Note: This recipe was adapted from a copy of a recipe taken from an old unspecified spiral-bound cookbook. It is credited to Billie Kendrick of Springdale, Arkansas. Her original recipe called for a heavy fudge-like frosting made with one pound of confectioner’s sugar. Since I’m not a buttercream fan, my family and I opt for a lighter whipped cream topping. I also took the liberty of adding blackberry jam to the cake batter for extra flavor. My heartfelt thanks go to Ms. Kendrick for her perfect summer berry confection and to my sweet friend Annie who was kind enough to share it. XOXO


Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

28 responses to “Berry Week: Annie’s Blackberry Cake

  1. juanitascocina

    I have been waiting for this gorgeous cake!!!!

  2. This looks amazing!! I mean it’s beautiful!! Pinning!

  3. This cake screams summertime! I love recipes with Jell-O in them. Yum :)

    • I haven’t been using much Jell-O lately (exception: my divinity recipe), but it’s so good in this cake! It gives it such a flavor boost. And blackberry anything is fabulous in my book.

  4. That thing is HEAVENLY!!!! Come to mama!!

  5. Big Sis

    Love this Cake!!! I’ve made it raspberries also – delicious! :)

  6. Ohhhh BEAUTIFUL cake Jeanne! 2 summers ago, I developed this new found passion for blackberries. And so I’m always looking for new ways to bake with them. I LOVE the berry jam in the cake…what a great color. And great idea to switch from the original chocolate to the whipped cream frosting. It looks light and luscious. I am SO envious of your square tube pan! So glad to have this wonderful recipe for my new favorite berry! : )

    • I added the jam to get even more blackberry flavor (because I love blackberries but hate the seeds). It’s a perfect balance – just enough jam to give it great flavor and just enough fresh berries to give it body. I also love the ground coconut & pecans in this cake. I hope you’ll give it a try and then let me know what you think, Anne.

      PS – Your terrine is gorgeous. Our gelatin pairings today are further proof that great minds really do think alike.

  7. Looks heavenly! I like the way you’ve been sprucing up your photos with little captions – the blog is looking great!

  8. I’m not much of a cake fan either (bars and brownies 4LYFE!), but I could easily get behind a blackberry cake stuffed with jam. That first picture is gorgeous!

  9. Yes!! Any cake with jello in it is my fave, and this one looks perfect.
    My boys are gonna LOVE it! Pinning now–the photos are lovely!

    • Thank you, Monica. You’ll have to let me know what you think if you make it. I’d be interested to see what tropical fruits could be subbed, as well. Pineapple would rock, I think. Can you imagine? Pineapple with coconut (and macadamia nuts instead of pecans) would blow my mind!

  10. laurengrier

    Be still my heart. This cake is gorgeous, Jeanne! Bravo! Now, can you pass me a slice?

  11. mjskit

    Fabulous cake! Blackberries AND blackberry Jam – irresistible! I’m loving berry week!

  12. Pingback: » Black Raspberry and Cherry Pie with a Gluten Free Crust Buffy & George

  13. Good call on the whipped cream vs buttercream icing. Whipped cream always goes best with anything with berries. Those blackberries look like little jewels on top of the cake – so pretty!

  14. this reminds me of my families Strawberry Cake we use strawberry jell-O in it. Makes it so moist! Gorgeous pics ; )

  15. Pingback: A Week at My Mom’s | Inside NanaBread's Head

  16. Pingback: Black Raspberry and Cherry Pie with a Gluten Free Crust - Strawberries For Supper

  17. Pingback: Papaya-Berry Tropical Crisp {Gluten-free} - Monica Swanson

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