This ultra-light lemony-basil chiffon cake, paired with lemon mascarpone frosting
and fresh berries, will melt in your mouth.

Summer Cake prof

We know a blackberry is one thing and a raspberry is another, but who knew there was a whole different type of berry called a black raspberry??? Not me. So when I recently came across black raspberries at my local farmers market, I knew these special berries were coming home with me.


The easiest way to tell black raspberries apart from blackberries is by their core. Blackberries have a white core while black raspberries are hollow in the center, similar to their red cousins. Fruity and less tart than blackberries, black raspberries have a unique flavor that’s not really similar to any other berry. We found them to be delicious! My little one actually said, dee-yi-shish after almost every berry he ate. This didn’t surprise me because he loves berries and asks for boo-biz, raz-biz and straw-biz multiple times a day. What did surprise me is just how much he appeared to love black raspberries. These days his berry of choice is very clear, more bak raz-biz pees!

We enjoyed eating them alone and on top of our morning cereal, but I felt the urge to do something more with them. They seemed like little black stars that needed an opportunity to shine a bit, but what to do?


A summery, lemony cake or a galette with mixed berries are the two ideas that came to mind. I went with a cake, an anniversary one. You see, last month Petit World Citizen celebrated its first anniversary. Reason to celebrate, non? YES!!!! And a light, almost airy, summery cake topped with fresh flowers and berries–bright and beautiful–is what I envisioned. Lemon and basil were also on my mind so I found a way to bring them all together. I have to say that I was pretty excited at the result. The flavors complemented each other so well!


This cake is fun and simple to make. The hardest part for me was trying to take photos of the cake before my little one picked off each berry and put them into his little mouth, taking a break only to say de-yi-shish. As I looked at him–mouth filled with berries, fingers stained with black raspberries and shirt stained with red raspberries—I thought it was a great way for us to celebrate Petit World Citizen’s first anniversary.


As for the galette with mixed berries that
 I also had in mind, well I didn’t give up on it. You can take a look at it here, Black Raspberry and Blueberry Galette

Summer Garden Cake
(Lemon-Basil Chiffon Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting and Fresh Berries)

Serves 8-10

1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
zest from 1 lemon
2 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
basil leaves, for garnish
edible flowers, for garnish
assorted fresh berries, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F/ (180C). Line an 8×2-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Do NOT butter the pan or parchment. Grate the zest from the lemon and set aside.

In a bowl, sift and combine the flour and baking powder. Add 1/4 cup sugar. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, egg yolks and water. Add basil. In a third bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until the egg whites are frothy. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then fold in the egg whites. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Then, run a thin knife or frosting spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen cake. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, remove parchment, and allow to cool completely.

Martine’s Note: At first I intended to make this a one layer cake. While the cake was baking in the oven I changed my mind and decided to bake another one so I could have two layers. Note the recipe is only for one layer. You will have to plan and adjust, increasing the recipe accordingly, if you’d like two or more layers.

Lemon Mascarpone Frosting
Yield: 2 cups

2 cups mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until combined, about 1 minute. Please note, DO NOT OVERBEAT. The mascarpone cheese will curdle if you beat it too long. Again, mix/beat only until the ingredients are combined.

When the cakes are totally cool, place one layer on a serving dish. Spread a layer of frosting on top and then place other cake layer on top. Spread a layer of frosting on the top of the second cake layer and enjoy decorating the rest of the cake with fresh basil leaves, flowers and fresh berries. Serve slices of the cake with extra berries as a light and refreshing summer dessert.

The design for this Summer Cake was inspired by Manger’s Garden Cake.

I used basil leaves and edible flowers to decorate this cake. If you don’t have access to either, use the safest flowers and leaves available, but be sure to remove them appropriately before eating your cake.

Happy Summer!

11 thoughts on “Summer Garden Cake with Black Raspberries

    1. Hi Shanna, thank you! Did you get a chance to try the cake? If so, I’d love to get your feedback! I should have mentioned in my post that I chose a chiffon style (no butter) cake because I wanted it to be very light and airy, but one could easily have the same flavor combination (lemon and basil) in a traditional yellow/vanilla cake. I’ll update the post! Thanks for stopping by.

  1. – Happy Blog Anniversary, dear Martine! You have started a beautiful blog and its content got better and better. You have a blog which is a pleasure to visit and read the quality content.
    – Happy summer and what a beautiful summer cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers. So unique with basil in the chiffon and delectable mascarpone frosting. What a refreshing taste it must have.
    xoxo Fae.

    1. Dearest Fae, thank you for your kind words and best wishes. I’m so happy to hear you like the unique combination of flavors. I was very happy that what was in my head turned out well for the mouth and eyes! 😉 A very happy summer to you too!

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