Flowering Berry Cake

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sometimes my birthday gifts come in the form of food. Baby isn't here yet, so I made this flowering berry cake for our close and hilarious friend Kristen, who is celebrating a big birthday today. Love you, love you!

There's so much inspiration all around us on this island that goes into my cooking, that my mind never stops moving and my pregnant swollen fingers are continually writing down ideas. Every morning when I walk through our neighbor's farm fields and see the beautiful rows of veggies they're plowing between, or harvesting, or their myriad of gracious gifts to us in the form of fruits, vegetables and goodies I don't even know the names of because they're only native to this country... or seeing our basil plant growing wild again, my mind immediately jumps to, oooh, what can I cook with this?

 And then I saw this photo on Pinterest of a meringue, from Manger, that inspired me so much I had to bake a cake. A beautiful one totally inspired by the look of hers, and inspired by a recipe from my dear friend Ash, who is one of the most amazing bakers I know.

This cake is absolutely delicious; it is so moist, and tastes similar to the divine almond cake at our wedding. Exactly what I was hoping for!

Flowering Berry Cake {Inspired by Manger & Ashley Cooper}
{serves 6-8}

1 C butter at room temperature, cut into slices
1 3/4 C sugar
2 1/2 C cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 whole large eggs
1 C buttermilk // or 1 C milk and 1 lemon's worth of juice *squeeze lemon into measured milk and let sit for a few minutes
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. {I used a hand mixer and it was much easier and quicker!} Set aside.
Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, almond, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar in a separate bowl.
Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the butter & sugar mixture, mixing after each addition. Mix until totally combined.
Pour batter into two well-greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until you can put a knife in the middle of the cake and it comes out clean. Please check your cake during the last ten minutes as my oven here in Japan works differently than those back home!

Whipped Frosting
1 small or medium container of heavy whipping cream
1 TBS vanilla extract
1/2 C sugar

Using a handheld or upright mixer, combine all of the ingredients and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. 

Once the cakes have completely cooled, place one on a cake stand or plate. Put a thin layer of whipped cream on top. Place the second cake on the whipped cream and cover the cake completely. Add berries, flowers {though remember to remove before eating!} and fresh basil for a garland.


  1. What a beautiful cake! Um...can you move next door to me so I can just come eat all the time?

  2. This looks DELICIOUS!

    I cannot wait for your cookbook to come out!

    I'm sure baby enjoyed his little taste from you too :)

  3. your cakes are amazing!!!!!!!
    miss you pretty girl,
    love - lanneybear

    1. Laa, laa lanolin? Like the sheep's wool?!

      Miss you more.

  4. gor.geous. my tummy is sad it's not enveloping that sucker.

    1. I'm sad too. Wish you were here!

  5. It looks too pretty to eat! I bet it was fabulous!

  6. Your food is always so so pretty.

  7. Wow, what a stunning cake! I'd replicate it this second (love baking), but unfortunately I don't have an oven at the moment. Enjoy! :)

    1. I'll just eat some for you (:

  8. Looks amazing and I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks! Send me a piece puhlease!

    1. If I could get it fresh to you in Canada, I would Christine! (:

  9. Soooo beautiful. Almost too pretty to eat, but think I could oblige:)

    1. Haha - I think you should. It's delish. (:

  10. I agree with the comment above mine, way too pretty to eat!

  11. Oh my goodness this looks divine!!! Might have to make this over the weekend!! :) Thanks for inspiring me!

    1. Thanks for trying it! I'm not kidding - it is suuuch yummy cake!

  12. Hilary from Canada:
    Hello Amanda,
    Beautiful cake. I have made many of your recipes and they have all turned out terrific. Also, just read The Hidden Art of Homemaking which you recommended.
    Yes, very inspiring! Did you mention that you were at L'Abri? If so, for how long were you there and what was it like?
    Your blog is so interesting because it covers so many topics, cooking, travel,
    inspirational thoughts.....
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Hilary! What a nice comment to find. Yes, I went to L'Abri twice the year I lived in Italy... both times I went for a few weeks and absolutely loved it. Everyone stays in a chalet, cooks together, studies together and has discussions around meals. It's still very much how I imagine it was when the Schaeffers first started it. If you ever get a chance to go, it's an incredible learning experience.
      Thank you again!

  13. That looks DELICIOUS!

  14. the frosting looks particularly delicious!! i am excited to pin and try for later!


  15. Yum. That is one amazing looking cake! What a great bday treat!

  16. Hi Amanda,

    I'm making the cake now and noticed it has not baked through and I've had it in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes. I'm wondering if the settings here are different than what you were using in Japan?




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