Lemon berry mascarpone cake is a light and delicate lemon cake with fluffy mascarpone frosting and mixed berries. This simple yet elegant cake is made in less than one hour and is packed with lemon and berry flavors that are perfect for any occasion!
If you've tried my lemon cookies or lemon bars, you'll know I love lemon desserts!
The first time I tested this lemon berry mascarpone cake, it was dense and similar to a pound cake instead of light and fluffy.
I used the reverse creaming method instead to make the batter, which is one I commonly used working as a pastry chef.
This resulted in a light, fruity, and moist texture that paired perfectly with the mascarpone, berry, and citrus flavors!
why you'll love this recipe
- Elegant, yet simple cake recipe: This mascarpone lemon cake uses simple ingredients and comes together in less than one hour!
- Versatile: You can make it with any type of berry or flavored frosting.
- Berry cake: It's topped with tons of fresh berries so it really packs a berry-flavored punch!
- Perfect for any occasion: It is the best cake for Mother's Day, Easter, or any other special occasion!
ingredient notes & substitutions
Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!
Lemon zest: Fresh lemon zest is recommended! You can substitute lemon extract if needed, but it will not have the same fresh flavor.
Sour cream: Sour cream gives this cake a ton of moisture so that it stays soft and moist for days. You can substitute plain Greek yogurt instead, it will do the same thing!
Milk: Whole milk is recommended because it gives the cake added richness and fat that also helps keep it moist. You can substitute it with another kind of milk but it may be a bit drier.
Heavy whipping cream: Heavy cream is going to be mixed with the mascarpone, making it light and not too sweet. Do not substitute it for another type of cream or it will not thicken.
Fresh berries: I chose strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries but any of your favorite berries will work! I do not recommend using frozen berries as they are too soft and watery.
Mascarpone cheese: You can find this near the cream cheese at the store. It has a similar taste but is creamier and sweeter than cream cheese.
Jam: The jam gives the berries a beautiful shine and makes them juicy. You can use any kind of jam you want, like strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, or raspberry.
Before you start, line a square 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper on all four sides. Then preheat the oven to 350 F.
STEP ONE: Make the lemon sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar. This helps release the natural oils in the lemon for the most lemon flavor!
STEP TWO: Combine the dry ingredients. To the same bowl, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Use the paddle attachment on low to mix. Then add in the cubed room temperature butter and mix on low speed for 3 minutes until it resembles sand.
STEP THREE: Mix in the wet ingredients. Add the oil, sour cream, egg, milk, and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl. Mix on low until everything is just combined.
STEP FOUR: Bake! Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
STEP FIVE: Make the mascarpone frosting. In a stand mixing bowl or with an electric hand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cold mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.
Then mix in the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. Mix until stiff peaks form. Do not over mix or the cream will look clumpy and curdled!
STEP SIX: Decorate the cake! In a separate bowl, combine the strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberry jam until combined. Spoon the mascarpone frosting over the top to the edges of the cake. Then spoon the berries on top. Enjoy!
expert baking tips
- Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the "metric" button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
- Let it cool before frosting. If the cake is still warm, the frosting will melt right off of it!
- Use your favorite berries. Not a fan of one of the berries used? Feel free to replace it with your favorites, or use just one kind of berry!
- Make it ahead of time: You can easily assemble it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. For best results, I recommend waiting to add the berries on top until right before serving, because the fruit juices will bleed into the frosting.
storage & freezing
Mascarpone cake will last for up to 4-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. If you plan on making it ahead of time, I highly recommend leaving off the berries so that the juice doesn't seep into the frosting!
You can freeze the cake with or without the frosting in an airtight container for up to one month. I don't recommend freezing it with the berries on top.
Definitely! I have included instructions in the recipe card below for a two-layer 6-inch cake instead of a sheet cake.
Yes! Feel free to use fresh blueberries, all of one kind of berry, or a combination of your favorite type of berry!
I don't recommend using frozen berries because they hold too much moisture and end up mushy and liquid.
You can make a lemon buttercream frosting, or substitute the mascarpone with cream cheese instead!
Yes! The frosting is room temperature stable so it will hold up well while serving. I do recommend storing it in the fridge overnight to keep it fresh.
more cake recipes to try
Lemon Berry Mascarpone Cake
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp cake flour *see notes for measuring!*
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream room temperature
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 whole egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese cold
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream cold
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the Mixed Berries
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- ¾ cup chopped fresh strawberries
- ⅔ cup fresh raspberries
- 1 tablespoon strawberry, blackberry, or raspberry jam
- Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
- In a stand mixing bowl, combine the lemon zest and sugar by rubbing it together with your fingers.1 ½ cups granulated sugar, 2 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- Then add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until combined.1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoon cake flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Add the cubed butter and mix on low speed until it looks like sand.5 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
- Then mix in the oil, egg, milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract until just combined.¼ cup + 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 whole egg, ½ cup whole milk, ½ cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the cold mascarpone with the powdered sugar until combined.4 oz mascarpone cheese, ½ cup powdered sugar
- Then add the cold whipping cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.½ cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Whisk on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until stiff peaks form. Do not overmix or the frosting will look clumpy and curdled.
- Gently combine the chopped strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and jam in a medium bowl.1 cup fresh blackberries, ¾ cup chopped fresh strawberries, ⅔ cup fresh raspberries, 1 tablespoon strawberry, blackberry, or raspberry jam
- Spoon the frosting over the top of the cooled cake to the edges, then add the berries on top. If you plan on serving it later, I recommend leaving the berries until right before serving. Otherwise the berry juice will spread into the frosting and it won't look as pretty.
- This cake will last for up to 4-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- You can freeze the cake with or without the frosting in an airtight container for up to one month. I don't recommend freezing it with the berries on top.
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.
We made this cake this weekend for a family celebration and it was perfect. It was so easy to make and the mascarpone frosting on top was so creamy and delicious without being too "cheesy" which I was worried about. Blackberries were overpriced at the store so I used blueberries instead but it was delicious regardless!