Layer after layer of buttery yellow cake doused in limoncello are stacked tall, separated with lemon curd, and iced with Blackberry Italian Meringue Buttercream. This cake is spring on a plate and as delicious as it is impressive.
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature (How to quickly bring buttermilk to room temperature.)
- 16 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 9 large eggs, at room temperature, and separated (You’ll need 9 egg yolks, but only 5 egg whites.)
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 3 1/4 cups + 2 tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup Limoncello (optional), to brush over the baked cake layers
FOR THE FILLING AND FROSTING:
- 1 recipe Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 10 oz good quality seedless blackberry jam
- 30 oz lemon curd
- 1 – 3 tsp lemon extract (optional)
MAKE THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two or three 9-inch round cake by greasing and flouring them, and lining the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. (How to prepare cake pans.)
- Add buttermilk, melted butter, oil, vanilla, and 9 egg yolks to a bowl or large measuring cup and whisk with a fork to combine.
- Add 5 egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and sprinkle in the cream of tarter. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form when you lift the beater from the bowl. With the mixer running, gradually sprinkle in 2/3 cup of the sugar and beat until glossy, stiff peaks form. Transfer egg whites to a separate bowl. Rinse and dry the bowl.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 2 cups of sugar to the bowl of the electric mixer. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low just to blend the ingredients.
- With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the buttermilk mixture to the flour, mixing just until it’s incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 15 seconds.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter until incorporated. Fold in the remaining egg whites as gently as you can, mixing until just barely incorporated.
- Add about 1 cup of batter to each pan and use the back of a spoon to gently spread it in an even layer across the bottom of the pan.
- Bake the layers for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are golden and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. The cake should spring back when touched. Watch carefully – thin layers can overtake quickly. Remove the pans from the oven and place on wire racks. Let the layers cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans before flipping the pans upside down on the wire racks to remove the cakes.
- Rinse out the pans. Grease, flour and line the pans with parchment paper. Fill the pans with 1 cup batter, and continue baking until you have 8 layers of cake.
- Once all the cake layers are baked and cooled, brush the tops of each layer with about 1 tablespoon of Limoncello. (This step is optional, but delicious.)
*Once all the layers are baked, they can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days before filling and decorating.
FILL AND DECORATE THE CAKE:
- Make one recipe of Italian Meringue Buttercream. Once complete, beat in 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract and 10 oz good quality blackberry jam.
- If your lemon curd is on the sweet side and you want it to be a bit more tart, stir in 1 -3 tsp lemon extract.
- Gently unwrap one of the layers of cake and lay it on a serving plate. Spread 4-5 tbsp of lemon curd in an even layer across the cake, leaving about 1-inch gap around the edges of the cake round. Top with another layer of cake and more lemon curd. Repeat until all the cake layers have been used.
- Frost with a generous amount of Blackberry Italian Meringue Buttercream and decorate with flowers and fresh blackberries if desired.