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Benjamina Ebuehi’s Lemon and Berry Summer Cake

This lemon and berry cake boasts layers of soft lemon sponge sandwiched together with a raspberry and blueberry compote and whipped mascarpone. At once celebratory but unfussy, it's the ideal bake for any gathering.

From the book

Benjamina Ebuehi


This is a proper big, fat summer cake with all the best things. A soft, lemony sponge that’s super-easy to make (no mixer required), layered up with creamy mascarpone and lots of fresh berries. This is for the summer parties and the family BBQs where you want to go big.

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For the sponge:
200g (7oz/¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
360g (12¾oz/2¾ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
360g (12¾oz/1¾ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
5 eggs
200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) milk
100g (3½oz/scant ½ cup) neutral oil (such as sunflower or vegetable)
grated zest of 2 lemons
1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
For the syrup:
100ml (3½fl oz/scant ½ cup) lemon juice
120g (4¼oz/scant 2 /3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
For the compote:
300g (10½oz) blackberries
200g (7oz) blueberries
150g (5½oz/¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
juice of ½ lemon
200g (7oz) raspberries, plus extra to serve
For the mascarpone filling:
350g (12oz/generous 1½ cups) mascarpone
200g (7oz/scant 1½ cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar
270g (9½oz/1¼ cups) cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) double (heavy) cream

Essential kit

You will need: three 20-cm (8-in) round cake pans,


Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/ 350°F/gas mark 4). Grease three 20-cm (8-in) round cake pans and line with baking paper.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and mix to combine.

In a jug (pitcher), mix together the eggs, milk, oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the melted butter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 20–25 minutes until nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

While they bake, make the lemon syrup. Add the lemon juice and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for 1–2 minutes and set aside to cool.

Prick holes across the surface of the cooked cakes and spoon the syrup evenly over each one. Let them cool completely and, if you’re making them in advance, wrap well in plastic wrap.

For the compote, add the blackberries and blueberries to a small pan with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a low boil and cook for 2–3 minutes until the berries are softened and syrupy. Stir through the raspberries and set aside to cool.

For the mascarpone filling, add the mascarpone and icing sugar to a bowl and use a whisk to beat until just smooth. Mix in the cream cheese and vanilla until you have no lumps, then use a spatula to gently fold in the cream. This filling is easy to overwhip so be careful!

To assemble, use a serrated knife to level the cakes if they are uneven. Place one cake on a cake stand or serving plate and spoon on just under a third of the mascarpone filling, spreading it out evenly with a palette knife. Top with some of the berry compote and place the next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with more mascarpone and berries and place the last cake layer topside down. Finish with the remaining mascarpone and some fresh raspberries.

Make ahead: Make the cake layers up to 2 days in advance and keep them well wrapped. Make the berries the day before and store in the fridge. The mascarpone filling should be made just before assembling.


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From the book: I’ll Bring Dessert: Simple, Sweet Recipes for Every Occasion

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