My blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake has incredibly moist and tender crumbs with beautiful notes of Earl grey, pockets of jammy blackberries, and an airy mascarpone frosting. Thank you to Filippo Berio for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Beyond Sweet and Savory possible.
After an incredibly long and cold winter, I couldn’t be more excited that spring is here. To celebrate spring, I’m excited to partner with Filippo Berio to share a delicious cake recipe, my blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake. This cake is an adaptation of my mom’s chiffon cake. Her chiffon cake is an easy sponge cake made with milk and a bit of olive oil for richness. I used her base recipe and infused it with Earl grey tea and blackberries to up the flavor factor. Of all the cakes I make and love, this is one of my favorites!
- Eggs: you'll need six large eggs for my blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake. Make sure to use room temperature eggs. When it comes to baking, room temperature eggs allow them to disperse evenly into the batter trapping air. During baking, the air expands, producing light, airy, evenly baked treats. Batters made with room temperature ingredients are smooth and evenly incorporated. Cold ingredients don’t incorporate evenly, resulting in dense texture. Take eggs and other dairy products out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before baking. Bring cold eggs to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. Don’t use hot water which will heat them unevenly, and the whites will start to set.
- Olive oil: when it comes to baking, choose a quality fruity olive oil. Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil is my go-to. With a subtle and delicate note of olive with an exceptional high smoking point, it's perfect for baking. Cakes made with olive oil tend to bake up with a moist and tender texture compared to ones made with butter. If you can't find Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil, their California Extra Virgin Olive Oil or their Delicato Extra Virgin Olive Oil would be a great substitute.
- Blackberries: for this cake, I used fresh blackberries to create a textural contrast. If you can’t find fresh blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are great alternatives. It’s best to use fresh fruit for this cake. Frozen blackberries have a higher water content and will change the texture of this cake.
- Cream of tartar: is an acid to help stabilize and give more volume to the beaten egg whites.
How to make the Earl Grey sugar
The best way to infuse Earl Grey flavor into the cake batter is making Earl Grey sugar. Combine 2 tablespoons of loose Earl Grey tea leaves with ½ cup of sugar in a spice blender and process until fine. If you don't have a spice blender, use a pestle and mortar to blend the ingredients together.
Tips for making the cake
Make the frosting and Earl Grey sugar the day before. Sift the dry ingredients together and prepare the cake pans first. Whip up the egg whites and transfer them to another bowl before using the same bowl that you used to beat the egg whites to make the cake batter. I'm a bit lazy when it comes to washing dishes, so I like to work in a way to minimize the amount of dishes I have to clean.
For this blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake, I used two 8-inch cake pans. If you don’t own 8-inch cake pans, you can also bake the cake in two 9-inch or 10-inch cake pans. This works just as well, but you’ll have a shorter and wider cake versus tall and skinny. To make it easier to decorate later, divide the cake batter evenly among the pan. The easiest and most accurate way to do this is to use a kitchen scale. Place your cake pan on top and begin pouring batter into the pan and making sure all the pans have the same amount. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use your measuring cups instead. Don’t forget to smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Tips for a moist cake
Everything that goes into making a cake affects its flavor and texture. Besides measuring the right ingredients and following instructions to the t, there are a few essential steps for getting a moist cake. Preheat your oven to ensure the proper temperature. Opening the oven door during baking creates great fluctuations in heat and causes your cake to collapse, which is a big no-no for a layered cake!
Over-mixing the batter will incorporate too much air resulting in the cake falling and becoming dense. Don’t overbake or the texture will be dry. Place the cake on the middle rack so the heat is distributed evenly between the top and bottom. Check for doneness 5 minutes before the required baking time because not all ovens act the same. The best method for testing a cake’s doneness is with a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake. When it comes out clean, the cake is done.
Tips for frosting a semi-naked cake
Cake decorating is not my forte, so I’m going with the semi-naked cake look. If you’re skilled at cake decorating, go for your favorite style. The first thing is to level off the top of each cake layer so both sides are flat. Flat and even layers add stability to your finished cake. I like to use my serrated knife for this job.
For frosting, I used an offset spatula to spread about 1 ½ cups of frosting for all the layers and the remaining frosting for the sides of the cake. Apply a thin layer of frosting to the sides of the cake, starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top. Once the sides are covered, use your bench scraper and smooth the sides of the cake until they’re straight and you have some areas of cake peeking through.
Tips for decorating the cake
When it comes to cake decorating, I love to keep it simple. Fresh fruits and fresh flowers are my go to. Start with a few fresh Alstroemerias, or Peruvia lilies, and a scattering of blackberries or your favorite berries. Use flowers that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. With this blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake being packed with flavor, you don't need much! Once you're done decorating the cake, let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. Refrigeration helps the whipped mascarpone cream adhere to the cake layers and ensures a neater slice.
Blackberries and Earl Grey flavors meld together in this incredibly moist and tender blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake. The light and billowy texture is a result of both Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil in the cake and the whipped egg whites being folded with all their aeration into the batter just before baking. The fruity elegance of olive oil and the beautiful bergamot note of Earl Grey tea leaves create an exquisite flavor.
With every bite you get a light, springy texture from whipped egg whites, moist and tender crumbs from the olive oil with beautiful notes of Earl Grey, jammy pockets of sweet blackberries, and an airy mascarpone frosting.
This blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake delivers in all areas, packed with flavor, light as a dream, and a complete stunner! Don't be surprised if there isn't any leftover. Mine didn't even last an afternoon!
Blackberry Earl Grey olive oil cake
- 2 8-inch cake pans
- Spice grinder
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tbsps Earl Grey tea leaves
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated, room temp
- 1 cup milk, room temp
- ½ cup Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 ½ cups blackberries
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 16 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups blackberries for serving
- To make the frosting, in a stand mixer attached with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar on medium speed until the cream is thick. Add in the mascarpone and whip on medium-high speed until firm peaks form. Be careful not to over whip or the frosting will turn into butter. Transfer the frosting to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make the Earl grey sugar, process tea leaves and ½ cup of the sugar until leaves are finely ground.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the bottom with olive oil. Set aside.
- Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment on medium-low speed until frothy, 2 minutes. Add cream of tartar and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Gradually add remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time, waiting for 10 seconds before adding another tablespoon of sugar. Continue beating until mixture is thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. The egg whites will look like shaving cream. Transfer the whipped egg whites to a clean bowl.
- In the same bowl that you used to whip the egg whites, add Earl Grey sugar and egg yolks. Beat for 5 minutes or until thick and pale, and doubled in volume. Gradually add milk and olive oil, beating until well combined.
- Add in the sifted dry ingredients and beat until well combined. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cake batter in four batches with a rubber spatula, until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Scatter ¾ cup of blackberries over the batter. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Place cake pans on the middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, immediately turn the pans upside-down on the cooling rack and leave to cool completely in this position.
- When the cakes are completely cooled, turn them right side up and carefully run a small knife around the edge of the cake pan to help release the cake.
- Peel off the parchment paper. If the cakes dome a bit, use a serrated knife to trim it so the cake is level.
- Using a serrated knife, split the cake in half horizontally. You should get 4 layers.
- Place one cake on a flat serving plate. Spoon 1 ½ cups of mascarpone frosting on the cake and spread it evenly across the top.
- Place the second cake layer on the frosting and press down slightly to even out the cake. Repeat with the remaining layers.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the sides of the cake with remaining frosting.
- Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake to achieve a naked look.
- Decorate with flowers and blackberries.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving and up to 3 days.
- When ready to serve, slice the cake into 8 pieces, transfer to plates, and top with fresh blackberries.