Lemon Berry Mascarpone Cake is made with lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and mixed berries for a fresh flavor dessert. Buttermilk and vegetable oil create a moist and tender cake that’s topped with a rich and creamy mascarpone frosting. This easy homemade cake is ready in under 1 hour.
This moist cake is light, fluffy, and paired with a creamy mascarpone frosting. Mixed berries are slightly sweetened and produce a syrup-like juice for the perfect topping.
When you are short on time, like I am as a busy mom, this simple cake is a go-to that’s ready in under one hour. Just like lemon mascarpone cheesecake, your friends and family will think you spent hours in the kitchen making this beautiful dessert with fresh lemon flavor.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make. This lemon berry cake uses simple ingredients and has a beautiful presentation. No complicated steps necessary!
- Fresh flavors. Seasonal berries, lemon zest, and lemon juice add a burst of flavor to this homemade cake.
- Sized for any occasion. This 8-inch square cake is perfect for everyday occasions or any special occasion!
Ingredients You'll Need
Lemon Cake Ingredients
- All-purpose flour. Provides a majority of the cake tenderness (a balance of not too tender and not too dense).
- Cake flour. Adds a bit of lightness to the cake crumb.
- Baking powder and baking soda. Leavening agents that allow the cake to rise and have a fluffy texture.
- Salt. Added to the batter to enhance the sweetness of the cupcakes.
- Granulated sugar. Adds sweetness to the cake. When granulated sugar creams with butter, air is incorporated into the batter, which creates the perfect light and tender cake.
- Lemon juice and zest. Adds a pop of citrus flavor to the cake.
- Oil. Creates a moist cake. Use a neutral flavored oil such as vegetable or canola oil.
- Eggs. Adds structure, moisture, and richness to the cake. Bring eggs to room temperature.
- Vanilla. Always select a good quality pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk helps create a softer and more tender cake. It’s also key for activating the baking soda. Use room temperature buttermilk to create a smooth batter.
- Berries. Made with a combination of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries for a fun fruit topping. You can substitute your favorite berries or change the ratio of the berries.
- Granulated sugar. Added to the berries to enhance the fruits’ natural sweetness. Also creates a delicious juicy syrup that’s perfect for drizzling over the cake.
- Mascarpone cheese. An Italian cream cheese similar to a traditional cream cheese, but with a sweeter and richer flavor. Use cold for best results.
- Lemon zest and vanilla. Adds flavor to the frosting.
- Powdered sugar. Sweetens the frosting and dissolves into a smooth consistency.
- Heavy cream. Whips the frosting into a light and airy consistency. Make sure your heavy cream is very cold.
- Frozen berries. If fresh berries are not in season, you can substitute with frozen berries. Place in a bowl with the sugar and allow the berries to thaw together at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Cream cheese. Substitute full-fat cream cheese for the mascarpone cream cheese. The frosting won’t be as rich or creamy as using mascarpone, but it’ll pair well with the cake and berries.
Equipment & Tools
- 8x8-inch cake pan.
- Parchment paper. Line the bottom of your pan to prevent the cake from sticking.
- Digital kitchen scale or measuring cups. Using a scale will give you the most accurate measurements.
- Measuring spoons.
- Large bowl. Used to combine wet ingredients and for mixing the frosting.
- Medium bowl. Used to sift together the dry ingredients. Rinse the bowl and use it to combine the berries with the sugar.
- Whisk. Makes it easy to combine the wet and dry ingredients.
- Rubber spatula.
- Handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Easily whips the mascarpone frosting into the proper consistency.
- Offset spatula or knife. Used to spread the frosting over the cake.
Before you begin: Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Grease and flour an 8x8 square cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and read the recipe from start to finish.
How to Make Lemon Cake
Sift dry ingredients. Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Combine sugar and lemon. Use your fingers to mix the sugar and lemon zest.
Add wet ingredients. Whisk the oil, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla with the sugar mixture.
Combine ingredients. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter.
Bake. Pour the batter into the pan and bake.
How to Make the Berries and Frosting
Macerate berries. Combine the berries and sugar and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Mix mascarpone cheese. Using a mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, and vanilla.
Add powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
Add heavy cream. Slowly pour the heavy cream into the mixture and beat until light and fluffy.
Decorate cake. Spread frosting over cooled cake and top with the berries.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use room temperature ingredients. Ensure the eggs and butter are at room temperature to incorporate evenly.
- Sift the flours. This will break up any lumps and combine easily and smoothly with the wet ingredients.
- Do not over whip frosting. Once you add the heavy cream to the frosting, mix it for 2 to 3 minutes but not longer. Overmixing will cause the frosting to curdle.
- Cool your cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before decorating, or the mascarpone frosting will melt.
- Lemon curd layer. If you love lemon desserts as much as I do, spread a layer of lemon curd over the lemon cake before adding the frosting. It’s a great way to use the juice from the zested lemons in this recipe.
- Cream cheese frosting. This cake would also be delicious with cream cheese frosting or strawberry cream cheese frosting from strawberry cupcakes.
- Whipped cream frosting. Make whipped cream and top with the macerated berries for a lighter topping.
Storage & Freezing Tips
Store leftover lemon berry mascarpone cake in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving, if desired.
Note: I don’t recommend freezing a whole decorated cake. For the best texture, freeze the unfrosted cake for up to 3 months and spread the frosting over the thawed cake up to 1 day before serving. Add the berries just before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you should store mascarpone frosting in the refrigerator.
Undermixing the frosting can cause it to become runny. Overmixing can cause it to curdle or become runny.
Yes, you can evenly divide the batter between two greased and floured 6-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 350°F/177°C oven for 27-30 minutes.
I would use heavy cream because it has a higher fat percentage necessary for whipping and holding its shape. If replaced with half-and-half, you would need to add butter to increase the fat content, but I have not tested this.
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Please leave a starred rating and comment below if you make this Lemon Berry Mascarpone Cake. I love reading your feedback! And if you’d like to make this recipe later, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest! Happy Baking!Print