Patriotic Summer Berry Cake

Can I just tell you guys how hard it is, readjusting to having the whole family together again?

I know, listen, I’m not supposed to talk about how hard it is, but seriously…it’s hard. Period.

It’s thrilling and wonderful and fantastic and dreamy and lazy, but it’s also all “ummmm…this is how I’ve been doing things for the last 9 months, so why are you asking me to do it that way?”

For both of us.

Imagine it: you’re a dude. You’re basically a bachelor because you’re family is a few thousand miles away. You have most of your free time to yourself, and you’re doing things your way…the easiest way, or the fastest way. Cause it’s only you.

Now imagine you’re a chick. You’re pretty much a single parent, to a teenager, because your husband is a few thousand miles away. You have half the time you usually have, and you’re doing things your way…the best way you can manage in the time you have. Cause it’s only you.

Now put those two worlds back together. You would think that you fall right back into place; the place you were in for the previous 9 1/2 years of your marriage. In fact, you expect it. You have been expecting that since the day you had to say goodbye. The fact of the matter is, though, that you each had to make adjustments to your new lifestyle, and now you are in new habits that you didn’t even know you created.

Some of his make way more sense than yours, which is pretty annoying cause you’re supposed to be awesome. Then you realize that you’re only asome without ‘we,’ and you stop being stubborn and admit that maybe, just maybe, you could change things up a bit.

Of course, sometimes, you just bake a really yummy cake and put it in front of the Hubster to distract him from the fact that even when you’re not right, you’re not gonna change, cause you like it that way, darn it.

I used a basic, delicious white cake recipe, but I made it better for summer by adding plenty of lemon zest and lots of fresh blueberries. To help prevent the blueberries from sinking too much, I tossed about a tablespoon of the dry cake ingredients with the blueberries before adding them to the cake batter. They still sank a bit, but not too bad.

Next, I made a strawberry filling to go in between the layers. I simply sliced some up, crushed half of them, then mixed them all together with some sugar and let them sit for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

Once the cakes were done, I piped a ring of whipped vanilla buttercream and filled it with some of the strawberry filling, then repeated with the remaining layers (I made a 4-layer, 6-inch round cake).

After applying a simple crumb coat, my cake was ready to be dressed up for Independence Day. 🙂 I used the same spoon technique to decorate my cake that I used on my Death by Chocolate Mum Cupcakes. If you decide to use this method, it helps to use a separate spoon for each color of frosting.

To do this technique, you could use a large round decorating tip with each color, but…

…you really only need to snip the end off of the bag to get the same results.

This technique couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is pipe a dot of frosting onto the outside of the cake, then use the back of a spoon to basically smear the dot to the side.

To use multiple colors, just repeat the process, alternating betweent he colors.

After I did the first three rows, establishing a pattern, I finished the cake by doing the pattern in a vertical pattern. It’s easier to do this way because you’re able to smear each dot of frosting without worrying about smudging the row below it.

Once the sides of the cake are complete, continue repeating the pattern on the top of the cake. The only difference between the top and the sides is that you need to make the dots slightly smaller as they spiral in on the top of the cake.

I finished my cake up with some cute, fun mini pinwheels that I got at Michaels Craft Store.

This cake was a huge hit for me. Everyone really loved it, and it was gone in no time. 🙂 I love it when that happens.

Honestly, the decorating technique is a bit time consuming, but it’s stupid easy, so it balances out. And the end result is very impressive, even though it took hardly any work at all. It also results in the perfect amount of frosting per bite. It seems like it would be too much, but it really ended up being just right.

I think the best thing about it is how easily modified it is. You could change up the colors and theme to go with any holiday or occasion.

As for the cake itself, it’s become the new favorite for the Hubster. He really loved it, and said he wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂 A seal of approval if ever there were one.

If you want to make an impressive, delicious, easier than it looks statement cake for the upcoming holiday, I can’t recommend this one enough! Enjoy!

P.S. For an excellent video tutorial on this decorating technique, check out my friend Leslie’s gorgeous ombre version!!!

Summer Berry Cake (Lemon-Blueberry Cake with Strawberry Filling)
Makes 2 8- or 9-inch round layers or 4 6-inch round layers


6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups (270 grams) cake flour
1 3/4 (350 grams) cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 cups fresh blueberries

4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups (4 sticks or 252 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 lbs. (about 8 cups or 1000 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons (60 to 90 ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
Food coloring (optional)

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch or 4 6-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper; set aside.
Combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a one quart measuring cup, or a medium bowl, and whisk together; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients (reserve 1 tablespoon and toss with the blueberries). Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand or until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or streaks of dry flour, about five minutes. Add the egg mixture in two or three small batches, beating on low until combined in between each batch. Scrape the bowl, add the lemon zest and flour coated blueberries, and mix for another 20 or 30 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before assembling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, mash half of the strawberries. Stir int he remaining sliced strawberries and the sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for 5 minutes. Beat in the sugar and salt until combined. Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream and whisk on high for 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add more cream, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Stir in the vanilla and food coloring.

To assemble: Once the cake is cooled, pipe a ring of frosting on the outer edge of the first layer. Fill the inside of the frosting ring with strawberry filling, then place another layer of cake on top. Repeat this process until all layers are used. Decorate as desired.

Recipe by Darla

Leave a comment


  1. Emilia says

    That cake is beautiful! I’m going to have to try that out sometime.

    I go through almost constant adjustments like that since my husband’s job requires him to be gone for 2.5 months at a time and then home for the same. I love it when he’s home, and I miss him when he’s gone, but there is always that time figuring things out again when he comes home and leaves again.

  2. Jennifer S E says

    Your cake is simply beautiful. I first saw it on Instagram (@beginingbaker) and immediately had to read your blog to learn more!! Thanks for sharing it. You really did an amazing job!!!!!

  3. Lara says

    You are so clever Darla – this cake looks absolutely amazing! I LOVE reading your blog and get so much inspiration from you. All the best with readjusting to family life, I’m sure everyone experiences the same feelings after a long time apart. Hang in there! Sending Aussie love xx

  4. Brandy says

    I’m so glad you posted this because I went to a family dinner tonight and I wanted to take a dessert. I didn’t decorate the way you did, I simply made white swirls, and I added some raspberries to the filling and it was a hit! Yum! Thanks!

  5. says

    That looks so amazing – great job!

    And yeah, been there. If they trust us enough to get s*** done while they’re gone, they should let us do it all our way when they’re home! 😀

  6. Erica says

    What an awesome cake! I loved this honest and funny post 🙂 I’m sure you and your husband will fall comfortably back into your rhythm very soon. Especially if you continue to ply him with cakes like this!

  7. says

    It is hard. It really really is. But that’s okay, it will iron itself out as long as you can keep your sense of humor about it (which you seem to be doing beautifully!) and eat huge pieces of that cake!! One piece, two forks.

  8. says

    Love the cake! I will be using your decorating technique to make my birthday cake today ! *My birthday was Thursday- and I turned 30, but I am celebrating with my entire family toady!* So excited! Thank you for the excellent tutorial!

  9. says

    Delicious cake and fabulous tutorial 🙂
    You’ll get it all worked out. Being apart for so long it’ll take time to get back in a groove but you know you will. And honestly, lets face it, men and women sometimes just don’t do things the same and can’t see eye to eye on how it should be done.

  10. Mary Guimbarda says

    If the cake is completed and won’t be served for a number of hours, is it best to refrigerate or leave at room temperature? Mine will be served after dinner, but I want to complete it in the morning.

  11. says

    Eeek! Geobaching seems so difficult for everyone. It seems like it would actually be more difficult to adjust to than just returning home from a deployment.

    I wanted to let you know I’m including your amazing cake recipe in a Fourth recipe round up on my blog tomorrow! It looks so beautiful and tasty I knew it had to be one of my features as soon as I saw it.