Another cake recipe? Who would’ve thought! This might be one of my favorite cakes to make, since it’s super easy, beautiful, and so delicious. With fresh fruit and a lemon soaking syrup, it’s the perfect summer dessert.
The idea for this cake was inspired by the book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. It is a beautifully illustrated book about friendship and life’s universal lessons. In it, the mole tells the boy his favorite saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake.” The illustration features a grand three-layer cake with fruit and whipped cream. So, I decided to try to recreate it!
I used my grandmother’s sour cream cake recipe for this cake. Sour cream cake is usually served as more of a tea cake, and it’s got a soft and tender crumb. It’s sort of perfect for this sort of thing, since it’s sturdy enough to withstand three layers, while still soft and fluffy enough to be delicious! Plus, it’s really easy to make.
To enhance the flavor of the cake, I decided to brush it with a lemon soaking syrup. It helps to balance out the sweet flavor and to keep the cake from drying out too much. Once you have your cake and lemon syrup, all that’s left is to assemble with some homemade whipped cream and some fresh berries. It’s that simple!
I decided to use blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, but you can use whatever combination you prefer. The tartness of the fruit goes so well with homemade whipped cream. To match the illustration, I really piled on the fruit on top (which I’m not mad about because they were so good!).
This cake is perfect for any sort of celebration you may have this summer. Store any leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Fresh Berry Sour Cream Cake
For the sour cream cake:
- 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the lemon syrup:
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the whipped cream:
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 lb strawberries
Make the sour cream cake:
- Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a medium mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and eggs together. Keep mixing on medium until light and fluffy.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a separate mixing bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream to the creamed mixture. Mix after each addition and make sure everything is completely combined before the next addition. Add the vanilla extract.
- Pour cake mixture into prepared cake pans and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown. When a cake tester is inserted, it should come out clean.
Prepare the lemon syrup:
- Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small-medium saucepan.
- Place over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and allow the syrup to sit at room temperature until needed.
Prepare the whipped cream:
- In a small-medium mixing bowl, combine the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat with a stand mixer or handheld mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Store in the fridge until needed.
- Once cakes are done, take them out of the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely in the pans.
- Once cooled, remove from pans and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Don't leave them for too long in the fridge or they'll dry out.
- Once chilled, using a serrated knife, trim the top so that it has a completely flat surface.
- Place your first tier on your cake stand or plate. Brush the top generously with the lemon syrup.
- Spread on the whipped cream and place an even layer of berries (slice the strawberries so they'll lie flat). Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on top or on the bottom of the next tier, just to ensure the layers will stick together.
- Place the second cake tier on top and repeat the process. Continue with the third tier and pile on the rest of the berries on top.
- Refrigerate for about 1 hour before slicing. Store in an airtight container, so that the cake won't dry out. Enjoy!