Lemon & Blackberry Cream Cheese Swirl Cake

My cable modem died, so during that time I took the opportunity to go through some old Taste of Home magazines to ear mark recipes. I spent the morning flipping through pages and making photocopies when one recipe in particular struck my fancy.
The original recipe was called Chocolate Cheese Swirl Cake. The original recipe used a chocolate cake with a strawberry topping made simply from frozen strawberries, thawed then blended.
I love to bake cakes from scratch, but when those boxes of cake mix go on sale for under a dollar, I always grab some. Well, I’ve had a lemon box cake in the pantry for quite a while now, and I had some blackberries in the freezer, hence the birth of this tasty creation.
Lemon & Blackberry Cream Cheese Swirl Cake
8 oz cream cheese
4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 box lemon cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup canola oil
8-10 oz frozen blackberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
2 8-oz pkgs cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blackberry juice (from thawed blackberries)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9″ round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment. Dust with flour and tap out excess.
Place frozen blackberries in a shallow bowl and allow them to thaw. Once thawed, remove 1/4 cup of the juice to be used in the frosting recipe (see ingredient list above).
In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together an 8-oz package of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 of the eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix on medium high until creamy. Set aside.
With mixer on low speed, combine cake mix, the other 3 eggs, 1 1/4 cups of water and the canola oil for about 30 seconds. Beat on medium high for 2 minutes. Separate cake mixture evenly between the two cake pans.

Take the cream cheese mixture, and using a spoon, drop the mixture in several places on top of the cake batter in each pan. Use a butter knife to swirl the cream cheese through the cake batter, but don’t over mix it, you don’t want to blend it in. Don’t be alarmed, your cake will probably look lumpy. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until surface springs back when touched. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pan, peel off parchment, and allow cakes to cool on wire rack until completely cooled.
Using mixer with paddle attachment on medium high speed, blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Turn speed down to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Turn speed back up to medium high and bet until creamy. Slowly dribble in, while mixing, the blackberry juice. Scrape down mixer bowl and be sure everything is blended. Refrigerate until you are ready to frost the cake.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together blackberries and 1/3 cup sugar. Cook at a low boil until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out as much liquid from the blackberries as you can. Basically you will be left with just seeds and skin, this you can send this down your garbage disposal. Don’t feel guilty, your local waste treatment plant will happily turn it into renewable energy. :)
Place one cake layer upside down (flat side up) on cake plate. Spoon the blackberry soak onto the cake layer, smoothing with the spoon as you go. Allow to soak into the cake. Put enough on so that the layer is saturated.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  Mexican Cookie Rings
Spread some of the frosting on top of the soaked layer, frosting to about 1″ from the sides. You may want to refrigerate this layer for an hour to let the frosting set up to avoid slippage. Unless of course you are like me and you’ll argue with the cake layers back and forth as it tries to slide off the top (see next step).
Place a piece of wax paper (or if you have a second cooling rack, this works great) on top of the remaining cake layer so that it is now sandwiched between the bottom rack and the wax paper. Invert the cake and place it gently on the counter. Soak the flat side of the cake with blackberry soak. You may or may not have any blackberry soak leftover after this step. When done, carefully turn the layer over and place it on top of the frosted layer. Frost the sides and the top of the cake.
  1. I had quite a bit of frosting left over so I will save it for another goodie.
  2. Refrigerating the layers and the frosting is a good idea.
  3. If you have some of the blackberry soak left over, you may add it to the top of the cake before frosting.
  4. If you have more patience than me, you can refrigerate the cake and it will cut beautifully, no sagging :)
This cake is a sweet treat with a hint of cheesecake flavor to it. It’s even better if you let it sit in the refrigerator! After sitting in the fridge for a while it’s like eating cheesecake-cake. :)
A great summer dessert!

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  1. finsmom says

    I love anything with blackberries! Sounds like a really delicious cake – I love the sound of that frosting!

    The blackberries by our house are almost ready to be picked! Cant wait!

  2. SUGAR B says

    That looks darn GOOD! I love the color of the frosting! Perfect summer cake; thanks for posting the recipe!

    Remember, you are awesome! :)

  3. Debbie says

    Looks delicious Amanda. I love the frosting color! I use mixes a lot and add all kinds of things to them! They work great!

  4. Pamela says

    Looks wonderful. Nice decorating job with that colorful frosting. I always buy the cake mixes when they go on sale, too. They are great to fall back on. Really nice job.

  5. Patricia @ Brownies for Dinner says

    This looks great… perfect flavors for the summer. I also love the idea of the blackberry soak, I am going to give that a whirl sometime.

  6. Katrina says

    IT's thinks like this that make me really wish the people in this house liked cake. Gorgeous.

    But speaking of cake, the banana bundt came out of the oven a little while ago–see, it's not too cakey, kind of like banana bread or muffins. Plus I made it (with a bunch of changes) to see if it would be great to take to a meeting I have next week. We evened off the top/bottom and the scraps are mighty tasty! Can't wait to make the browned butter icing!

  7. Ingrid says

    YAY, for on sale cake & brownie mixes especially when they are "buy one get one"! Sometimes I'll even have a coupon! :)

    Great adaption! Your cake sounds MUCH better than a chocolate one. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I love how pretty you frosted the top.

  8. Lynda says

    What a beautiful cake and a yummy flavor combination- wish I had a piece now to go with my coffee!
    I like using a mix with added ingredients- it's ok to cheat! :)

  9. Tiffiny Felix says

    My gracious! Lemon and blackberries are so lucious together! And cream cheese…yummy…

    I also wanted you to know I've given you an award on my blog. Thanks for having such awesome posts! I've gotten more than a few great ideas and recipes here!

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