Almond Birthday Cake With Lemon Curd, Blueberries, and Mascarpone Frosting

Mom's Birthday Cake - 1

My mother's birthday cake.

I haven’t been home for my mother’s birthday for years – not since my Freshman year in college, when my parents forced me to live at home so I could finally get my driver’s license (to this day, I am thankful that they made me do that). But my trip coincided with her birthday (no, I’m not allowed to say which birthday it was), and I was very excited to have the opportunity to make her a birthday cake.

Mom's Birthday Cake - 2

Not sure if the lemon curd drizzle "works," but I like the blueberry decorations.

My mother is a big fan of lemon desserts, so I was determined to make something with a lemon accent. I’ve also been hankering to have the almond cake from The Cake Bible again, ever since I made those almond cupcakes for my coworker. And since it was berry season in Oregon, I decided to include a berry accent. I originally wanted to use raspberries, but since blueberries were half the price, I went with those instead.

In the end, I decided on making a double batch of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s almond cake, and baking it in 8 inch by two inch cake pans, which created a marvelously towering cake. I filled it with lemon curd (store bought – I didn’t have time to let my own set up) and blueberries.

Mom's Birthday Cake - Center

The lemon curd and bueberry filling.

I also thought long and hard about my frosting options. Like me, my mother isn’t a fan of classic, all-butter buttercream frostings, and she’s always thought that powdered sugar frostings were too sweet (she doesn’t share my love of Safeway cupcakes). So I opted for a whipped-cream, marscarpone frosting. I was really excited about it, and flavor-wise it was spot on. But I did something wrong, because the frosting texture was all off. Instead of being light and creamy, the frosting had an unappealing grainy texture – as you can see from the photos. I think that I overwhipped something at some point – although I swear to God I tried as hard as possible to not overbeat the mascarpone.

Mom's Birthday Cake - Crumb Coat

The crumb coat.

It was still a beautiful cake – and one that I would make again, although perhaps with a cream cheese frosting instead. The almond cake really tastes of almonds – the almond extract subtly enhances the flavor of the nuts themselves. And the sweet almond cake pairs nicely with the tart lemons and blueberries. The frosting isn’t too sweet, and has a nice tang and complexity to it – if the texture had held up it would have been perfect.

Mom's Birthday Cake - Piece

A finished slice.

Almond Cake With Lemon Curd, Blueberries and Marscarpone Frosting

Almond Cake

Adapted from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Makes 2 8 inch by 2 inch cake layers

4 large eggs
1 and 1/3 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 and 1/3 2 and 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
2/3 cup unblanched sliced almonds, toasted and finely ground
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
24 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 pint blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8 inch by 2 inch cake pans with parchment paper, then butter again and coat with flour.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the eggs, ¼ of the sour cream and the extracts. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 ½ minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure.

Scrape batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake layers cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, before gently transferring them to a rack to cool. When cool, frost each half with a thick coat of lemon curd. Top one half with blueberries, then place the other cake on top, lemon curd side down. Frost with marscarpone frosting (recipe follows).

Marscarpone frosting
Adapted from 52 Cupcakes

1 pound marscarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1-1/4 cups heavy cream

Beat the marscarpone, cream and confectioners’ sugar until medium-soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful no to overbeat. Use immediately.



  1. Bonnie said

    I disagree! It was perfect. I LOVED the marscapone whipped cream frosting even with the funny texture. It tasted fantastic! It was the best birthday cake ever!

    • moderndomestic said

      You are my greatest fan, I think. What did you guys end up doing with the rest of it? It was so big!

  2. Amelia said

    Oh wow, that is absurdly tasty looking. I want to get some cake flour.

    • moderndomestic said

      So, when I was in Seattle I could always get cake flour, but I find that the DC grocery stores are really hit or miss. I have no idea why – it seems like a pretty basic ingredient to me. Like, even the Whole Foods doesn’t carry it regularly, and yet they have every kind of gluten free and specialty flour known to man.

  3. It’s GORGEOUS! Very impressive with the height and all. Well done!

    • moderndomestic said

      Thanks! Those eight inch by two inch cake pans totally makes it look like a three layer cake, but it’s only two!

  4. Wow, looks amazing!

    • moderndomestic said

      Thanks! It was good.

  5. Nonna said


    • moderndomestic said


  6. Rebecca said

    It looks divine. It looks like something you could only buy at Whole Foods. I can’t believe you made it! But I have a question about the recipe, sifted cake flour? I thought you didn’t have to sift cake flour.

  7. mary said

    I love lemon-y desserts too. This look beautiful.

    • moderndomestic said

      I’d actually love to make a lemon cake – maybe with a white chocolate mousse for the filling, and a lemon frosting. Mmm . . . so many ideas . . .

  8. Phil said

    I love chocolate, but I typically prefer a non-chocolate dessert like this. If only they could all look as delicious as this one!

    • moderndomestic said

      I am the same way! If I really want chocolate, I prefer a piece of chocolate, rather than a chocolate cake. I mean, not that I don’t like chocolate cake, but I often prefer fruit-based or vanilla desserts. Glad to know someone else feels the same way.

  9. […] made this stellar almond birthday cake with lemon curd and mascarpone frosting. This photo, as usual, comes from the IFA Food Porn photo […]

  10. Karine said

    Wow! Your cake is stunning. I am going to make it this week for the party I have. Thanks! 🙂

  11. Karine said


    I little bit adapted your recipe and it was delicious! I pulbished a post about it and Iinked the recipe to your blog.


  12. Vera said

    I had the same issue: Grainy Texture the last two times I made Tirmisu. The custard mixture tasted perfect – but not Silky/Creamy like served in authenic Rest….. Did you every get any feedback on how to avoid the grainy texture? Or maybe what happened?

    My recipe for Tiramisu is from America’s Test Kitchen, so I trust it completely, but like you – I do not know what I did wrong – both times!.
    If you find out – let me know.
    V in Portland, Oregon

  13. Lucy said

    Shouldn’t that be 3 1/3 cups cake flour? The original (half) recipe in my TCBis 1 2/3 cups…

    • moderndomestic said

      Yes – thank you for catching that! I’ve updated the recipe.

  14. constantlycathy said

    I made this cake last night for a coworkers birthday and it came out perfectly! I left it in the fridge overnight and the cake became very dense, almost like pound cake. The frosting hardened up a little bit, but even the thin layer I used was still moist and perfect. It received rave reviews! Great work!!

    Also – I tried Martha Stewart’s Mascarpone Frosting: I think that whipping the cream separate from the mascarpone/sugar mixture and then folding them together at the end makes a big difference in being able to control the texture. I also think it’s the heavy whipping cream that becomes grainy and not the mascarpone.

    In any case, it was wonderful, and I can’t wait to make it again!! Thank you!!

  15. […] sent me the Almond Birthday Cake with Lemon Curd, Blueberries and Mascarpone Frosting that she made for her mom’s birthday. Not only are her photos just absolutely stunning, the […]

  16. […] Cathy hit me up for birthday cake recommendations this week. She finally decided to make the almond cake with lemon curd and marscarpone frosting that I made for my mother’s birthday, and it came out great! She even had better success with […]

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