I love a cake recipe that is both simple and surprising, and this Blackberry Sage Almond Cake checks both of those boxes. The buttery pound cake-like base is flavored with sage and lemon, then studded with fresh blackberries before baking. It’s easy to whip up the batter, too.
You might find yourself reading through this recipe and saying – Hey, isn’t sage a savory herb? Sage is a savory herb and I use it regularly in all kinds of fall dishes, including Thanksgiving stuffing. Sage occasionally appears in desserts, but it is often used in cocktails, where it adds a nice contrast to citrus and a real depth of flavor to vodka- and gin-based drinks (though you can incorporate it in many beverages). Here, fresh sage is very finely chopped and added to the cake batter along with lemon zest and vanilla extract. The herb blends beautifully with the lemon and makes the dense, tender cake feel rich and complex.
I poked blackberries into the cake batter after spreading it into the pan, as the thick batter is not ideal for folding in delicate berries. You can use other types of berries in this base recipe, as well, but I recommend sticking to fresh berries. Frozen berries will give off more liquid and tend to lose their shape when baked, so they won’t look quite as nice in the finished dish.
This cake is baked in a tart pan, which gives it a beautiful look both before and after slicing. The cake itself is relatively simple – though it packs in plenty of flavor – so the tart pan really elevates it into a dessert that is a good choice for entertaining or for a special occasion. I serve the slices with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. It can be sliced and served warm, or cooled to room temperature.
Blackberry Sage Almond Cake
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves (5-6 leaves)
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup almond meal
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat salt, vanilla, sage and lemon zest, then beat in the eggs. Add in all purpose flour and almond meal and mix at low speed until the batter comes together.
Pour batter into prepared tart pan and spread into an even layer. Arrange blackberries evenly over the top of the cake, pressing them gently into the batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden around the outer edge and set in the center. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before serving. Cake can be served warm or at room temperature.