Sweet Treat Showstopper: Lemon and Blackcurrant Stripe Cake

Third-place winner of our Sweet Treat Showstopper was Melissa Dow who made a lemon and blackcurrant stripe cake. Now, this cake is impressive. (Just look at it!) It has pink vertical stripes! Plus, the flavors sound like a winning combination: tart lemons, sweet berries, and sweet buttercream. Truly a showstopper. 

Lemon berry cake

Melissa followed a recipe from the baking cookbook, Sweet: Desserts from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Oh. We found a video of the cake being made here

Prep is in Three Parts:  Fruit Puree – Buttercream – Cake

Puree Ingredients

  • 10½ oz (300g) blackcurrants or mixed berries, fresh or frozen
  • 1½ oz (40g) blackcurrants or mixed berries, fresh, for garnish
  • ¼ c (50g) granulated sugar

Puree Instructions

Heat currants or berries plus sugar over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes until the fruit has softened and the sugar dissolved.

Puree in food processor or simply by crushing. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

Set aside ½ c (100g) for the buttercream, the rest (¼ c /50g) for the cake top.

Buttercream Ingredients

  • ¼ c (85g) light corn syrup (or golden syrup)
  • ½ c + 1T (120g) granulated sugar
  • seeds of ½ vanilla pod (or vanilla extract)
  • 4 large eggs yolks
  • 1¼ c +1T (300g) Smith Brothers Farms unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, room temp
  • ½ c (100g) black currant (or mixed berry) puree

Buttercream Instructions

Sugar Syrup: corn syrup, sugar, vanilla into medium saucepan on low heat to dissolve the sugars.

Place yolks into bowl (stand mixer or other), use whisk attachment to beat at med-high speed until yolks are thick and pale yellow in color. OK to leave mixer on while you check on syrup.

Sugar Syrup: Give it a stir, then increase heat to medium, simmer until bubbles begin to appear. Swirl the pan gently and continue to simmer until there are large bubbles all over the surface of the syrup.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the (very hot) syrup in a slow, steady stream down the edge of the mixing bowl into the beating yolks. After all the syrup has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and continue to beat for about 10 minutes, until the outside of the bowl is no longer warm.

Add the butter, one cube at a time, fully incorporating each cube before adding the next. When all the butter has been added, scrape down the bowl and beat again for another minute until the buttercream is very smooth and light.

Add ½ c (100g) of the fruit puree into the buttercream & beat on medium speed until fully incorporated.

Cake Ingredients     12”x15” shallow rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper

  • 8 large Smith Brothers Farms eggs, separated
  • 2/3c +2T (140g) granulated sugar
  • 1½ T granulated sugar
  • 1T fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4t lemon zest
  • ½ c +1T (80g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 t salt
  •  confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Cake Instructions

  1. Place yolks, sugar (2/3 c + 2T /140g), and lemon juice into bowl of electric mixer; use whisk attachment on med-high speed for about 3 minutes until pale & thick. Transfer to mixing bowl.
  2. Sift flour and salt mixture directly over egg mixture in two batches, folding through with spatula after each addition. Sprinkle lemon zest on top and set aside.
  3. Place egg whites in clean mixing bowl; use whisk attachment on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the 1½ T granulated sugar; continue to whisk until firm peaks form.
  4. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture until incorporated; finally, fold in the rest of the whites until combined.
  5. Scrape mixture into lined baking sheet. Even the surface out with a spatula and bake for 15 min. at 400F (200C) or until light golden brown & toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven, place pan on wire rack to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.


  1. Dust top of cake (still in pan) with powdered sugar before flipping upside down onto clean kitchen towel (powdered sugar keeps cake from sticking to towel). Carefully peel away the parchment. Trim only the very edges of the cake, just to straighten the sides (baking sheet will have angled sides that you’ll want to be rid of).
  2. From the short end of the cake (12” side), gently roll the cake up (along with the kitchen towel). This is to “train” the cake, ready for rolling up again later. After about 20 minutes, or when no longer warm, unroll the cake.
  3. From the 12” side of the cake, cut into (3) 4-inch “strips”.
  4. Spread each of the strips with about 3oz (85g) of the buttercream.
  5. Take one of the strips and start rolling from the short end. Continue the “rolling” with the other 2 strips, continuing on from where each previous piece finishes, until you have one large cylinder. Turn cylinder onto your serving plate so that it’s sitting on one of its flat ends.
    FYI -The cake is only 4-inches tall (without icing/topping).
  6. Spread the remaining buttercream over the tops and sides of the cake, smoothing with a spatula to create an even surface. Dribble the remaining fruit puree on top, and finally, top with fresh berries. You can set aside for about an hour at room temp before serving (or in the fridge if it’s an especially warm day).

Notes from Melissa:

  • The cake recipe, as done here, is very lightly lemon flavored. If you like lemon, use more zest…
  • This cake is extremely spongy, very similar to angel food, not at all a typical dense cake.
  • The buttercream is made from yolks, not whites. This was new for me, but it was not a problem– did not taste “yolky” and the hot sugar syrup cooks the yolks, so all is well and good.
  • Happy Baking!


Be sure to check out the recipes for first place (stuffed pistachio pizzelles) and second place (gluten-free mocha chocolate chip cake) too!