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Blackberry Almond Layer Cake

yield: 1 8-inch, three layer cake
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Ingredients

For the Quick Blackberry Jam

  • 8 ounces blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tightly packed tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • a pinch of kosher salt

For the White Almond Cake

  • 3 cups (12 ounces) cake flour
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (10.65 ounces) unsweetened almond milk, at room temperature
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

For Almond German Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cup (12 ounces) almond milk
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (1.5 ounces) cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Instructions

For the Quick Blackberry Jam

  • In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the blackberries, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Toss to combine until the fruit is completely coated. Cook, over medium heat, until the most of the berries have burst and their juice is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack to cool completely before using in the cake. The jam will keep, for up to 1 week, in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For the White Almond Cake

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously spray the three cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with a parchment paper circle each. Spray the parchment, too.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat on low until just combined, about 15 seconds. Add the butter all at once and beat on low until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter throughout, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup (8 ounces) of the almond milk all at once and increase the mixer to medium. Beat until the batter is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. While the batter is mixing, whisk together the egg whites, remaining 1/3 cup (2.65 ounces) almond milk, and almond extract in a large liquid measuring cup. Reduce the mixer to low and add the egg white mixture in two or three additions, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition, then beat until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans. If weighing the batter for even layers, note that this recipe makes around 50 ounces of batter; pour 16.65 ounces into each cake pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the top of the cake should bounce back when gently pressed, and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out with a few crumbs attached. Cool completely in the pan(s) on a wire rack before frosting.

For the Almond German Buttercream

  • Pour the almond milk into a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and eggs in a medium heatproof bowl. Once the milk is at a simmer, ladle approximately 1/2 cup of milk into the eggs and whisk to combine. Repeat with two more 1/2 cup additions, then pour the warmed eggs into the pot. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the pudding turns thick and lumpy, about 3 minutes. Once the pudding begins bubbling, continue cooking and whisking for 2 minutes more.
  • Pour the custard into a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula to press the pudding into the sieve and discard any remaining lumps. Immediately whisk in the almond extract. Set the bowl on a wire rack and cool completely before proceeding with the next step.
  • Once the pudding is at room temperature, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the pudding, one or two tablespoons at a time, one right after the other. Once all the pudding has been incorporated, use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  • Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high until the frosting is light and airy, at least 5 minutes. Use immediately, or scrape into a ziptop bag. The buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm to room temperature in a double boiler or microwave and rewhip before using.