Berries + Yogurt + Flour, Eggs, Butter, Vanilla and Sugar = Berry Swirl Yogurt Cake - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Berries + Yogurt + Flour, Eggs, Butter, Vanilla and Sugar = Berry Swirl Yogurt Cake

August 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit | 71 Comments
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Yes, that’s an equation, an equation for something that just might blow your mind.  It blew mine.

Double Berry Swirl Greek Yogurt Cake - Incredibly moist, with thick ribbons of blackberry and raspberry puree

Before we moved from Manhattan to the town I grew up in, we spent a few years in another town while our new house was being renovated.  We lived in a huge apartment complex surrounded by vast, beautiful meadows, streams filled with tadpoles, froggies, fish, and all things cool to a curious, young, nature loving girl.  I won’t regale you with the huge highway overpass that roared above us over the parking lot, or the main roadway with a constant barrage of passing cars less than a mile away.  Instead, I will keep us in the place where nature loomed and bloomed with not much time left.

Double Berry Ribbon Yogurt Cake
My fondest memory of this garden apartment complex of Eden, nestled within the asphalt, was the wild blackberry and raspberry bushes hidden in one small area tucked between the pussy willows, cattails, and thick brush.  We would sit in the middle of this circle of bushes and pick plump, juicy, berries for hours, our lips, fingers and shirts stained purple and red.  I took this for granted.  Surely there’s wild bushes like this everywhere, right?  When we moved into our new house, I figured I’d have a whole backyard of them!

Unfortunately, the beautiful meadows and streams were eventually mowed down to build a modern, state -of-the art high school and more apartment complexes, but we were already moving out when this began.  Once we moved into our new home, I forgot about wild berry bushes.  I loved cooking, but basic stuff since I was too young to think about or dabble in preparations calling for berries, outside of fresh berries topped with cream.

Cut to several years later.  Once I hit the big 1-4, I’m baking and cooking on a pretty regular basis, thanks to a few cookbooks gifted to me by my grandmother.  Within a year or two, I’m inhaling all cookbooks like oxygen, pouring through gourmet magazines, reading a few chapters of Larousse Gastronomique nightly, and watching  hours upon hours of Jacques Pepin showing me every cooking technique known to man (at that time).  I watched numerous cooking shows, but Jacques was the man.

I was falling madly in love with all things food, all things sweet and savory, all things plated and lovely.

This food exploration renewed my intense love of two berries with a deep fervor, two berries that I used to hang with and know very well, raspberries and blackberries.  I wanted to bake with them, cook with them, make sauces with them, jam them, jelly them, you name it.  However, no wild and free berry bushes to be found.  My berry passion led to many trips to the market, but was diluted with pints of mediocre, somewhat squashed berries in plastic containers with holes.  If I didn’t act quick, they’d morph into plastic containers of white, green or gray fuzz, forgotten in the back of my refrigerator fruit bin.

You never know how good you had it until you want to cook and bake with it.

                             Like snowflakes, no two berry swirl cakes are alike

Cut to present.  A friend of mine attended a wedding in Seattle last summer.  One morning he called at the end of his daily workout and run.  As he was walking through the parking lot of the hotel he was staying at, he let out an audible ‘wow’ type of gasp.  He told me there were tons of wild blackberry bushes around the parking lot, loaded with some of the biggest blackberries he’d ever seen.  He took a photo with his cell and sent it to me.  I let out an audible ‘wow’ type of gasp as I listened to him eat those gorgeous berries in the photos.

“Wow, theesh are the jooshiest blackberriesh I’fe ever tayshted in my life!” He exclaimed, his mouth full of berries, pissing me off jussst a little because I wanted a bush to pick off of!

This was one of the photos he sent me.  Nice lookin’ Seattle wild blackberries!

The rest of his trip led to occasional phone calls and texts about how wherever he went, there were always blackberry bushes close by.

I contemplated a permanent move to Seattle, but only for a second.  Although it’s an awesome city in a beautiful and bountiful state, I need a little more sunshine in my life.  My ‘Seattle Me’ image contained tons of buckets in lieu of a purse, picking blackberries from every bush I saw, so much so that I would have to balance an extra bucket on my head, not unlike the Chiquita chick and her naners.

My history with yogurt is a bit different.  Okay, a bit is an understatement.

I hated it.

Yogurt, to me, was a bunch of annoying, little plastic containers that dominated our fridge since my mother ate it  They would come tumbling out and hit the floor while I was reaching for sandwich fixings or pudding cups, some cracking open on impact – white, fruity goo all over the floor.  I would actually gag while I was cleaning it up.   I hated, Hated, HATED how it smelled.

How could she eat this crap?”,  I’d mutter faintly under my breath while cleaning up the mess.

Don’t let these skinny swirls of berry fool you, because…..

My freshman year of college, there was a little truck on campus one day that was just giving yogurt away – Dannon yogurt.  One late night, craving something sweet, but nothing but our free Dannon haul in our mini-fridge, I had no choice but to confront my yogurt demons.  I was so hungry, I didn’t care..I was going to eat it.  One spoonful and BOOM, an explosion of creamy and tangy with sweet strawberries swirled throughout, sort of like pudding or custard, and I love puddings and custards.

Yogurt, why did I hate you so for so long? 

Well, now I’m obsessed, and I eat a container almost every day, and bake with it quite often.  As mentioned above, it’s in this cake, the Greek style, which has been my new favorite for a while now.

When I decided to take advantage of an abundance of gorgeous, plump blackberries and raspberries I found at the farmer’s market, I started with a blackberry swirl pound cake recipe I’d bookmarked at Martha Stewart’s site  (wow, Martha is making a lot of appearances on my blog as of late).

Naturally, I wasn’t going to leave raspberries out and, of course, I was probably going to change something.  That something was my former foe, yogurt, yogurt instead of the sour cream called for. I had the urge to experiment, and I did,  I mixed each berry puree with some of the cake batter prior to swirling them in, hoping for the best.  Wow, this gave me thick ribbons of berry, instead of thin strips of berry, within the cake, exactly what I was hoping for.  Success!

Make this cake..I promise you will love it, even if you don’t like berries and/or yogurt.  I converted someone who hated both, that’s how good it is.

….when you mix some of the batter into the berry purees before spooning it on and swirling it into the batter, then cut into a slice vertically, this is what you get.  Thick ribbons of berry.

Double Berry Ribbon/Swirl Yogurt Pound 'like' Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: one 9-inch by 5-inch loaf cake
adapted from Martha Stewart,
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan (or ½ cup neutral oil, like canola or coconut)
  • 3 ounces blackberries (about a scant ¾ cup)
  • 3 ounces raspberries (about a scant ¾ cup)
  • 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Greek Yogurt, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; then butter parchment. In a food processor, puree blackberries with 1 tablespoon sugar. Wipe out processor and puree raspberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Pour/scrape into separate bowls and set aside (you can strain them into the bowls if you don't like the light bite of seeds that do not break down). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter (or oil) and 1¼ cups sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with Greek yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  3. Stir two to three tablespoons of the cake batter into the bowl with the blackberry puree until uniform. Stir two to three tablespoons of the cake batter into the bowl of raspberry puree, until uniform.
  4. Pour half the plain batter into the pan and dot with ½ of the blackberry puree -batter and half the raspberry puree-batter. It will seem like it takes over all the plain cake batter, but don't worry, it all works out in the end. Swirl/marble lightly using a skewer or knife. Top with remaining plain batter and dot with remaning raspberry and blackberry batter as you did with the first layer. Again, swirl the puree-batter mixes into the plain batter - pushing a skewer or knife all the way to the bottom for a full marble.
  5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1¼ hours. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan and place on a serving plate; let cool completely before slicing.


Double Berry Swirl Greek Yogurt Cake - Incredibly moist, with thick ribbons of blackberry and raspberry puree
This cake is entered in the #cakelove bloghop! Come VOTE and/or enter your cake!

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  1. This looks SO heavenly! :-) In leaving Washington I left my own little berry patch chock full of blackberries, but I was so excited to find GOOSEBERRIES here in Amsterdam. :-)

  2. What a marvelous cake! I really love those beautiful swirls.



  3. These are gorgeous! They look so moist and fresh! The pictures are terrific!

  4. Love the berry swirls…I know I’ll be making this one.

  5. These are beautiful! And I really love those berry pictures!

  6. I relate to your story so well- in reverse. After growing up/living in NY my whole life, I now live in Canada with a luscious raspberry bush right in my backyard. I’ve been picking them everyday!!!!

  7. I need to make this ASAP!

  8. What a wonderful memory you shared about the berry bushes… Sounds heavenly! And I love this recipe… just the kind of flavors I love! The pictures are fabulous too… I especially love the pictures of the swirled batter… Beautiful post!

  9. There are no words to describe how badly I want to eat this right now LOL. This looks and sounds awesomely delicious as usual, Lisa! <3

  10. Your pics are particularly beautiful in this post! The cake looks awesome, but to be honest so do the fresh berries: they really are gorgeous.

    I enjoyed reading your trip down memory lane. Funny how our attitude toward certain foods changes over time…

  11. The berry swirls in the cake are absolutely gorgeous!

  12. Oh wowwwww, the photos of the batter are just AMAZING! This looks insanely beautiful, and im sure it tastes even better! I mean how could it not with such a gorgeous mix of flavours. Truly beautiful!!

  13. Wow!! the photos are mouth watering… The berry swirl is absolutely delicious

  14. These are beautiful even before they are baked. Can’t wait to give them a try.

  15. So so pretty.

  16. What a gorgeous bread, this looks fantastic!! So glad I found your blog, new follower! xoxo

  17. Whoa, so pretty! This is a gorgeous cake, and I LOVE yogurt cake so I definitely need to give a try. :)

  18. I live and have lived in Washington State my whole life, it’s true Blackberries are every where in the Pacific North West

    • I’ve heard they’re a nuisance to many and they look for ways to get rid of them! I guess these bushes grow like weeds, huh? Personally, I’d be loving it!! lol The Pacific Northwest is such a haven for wild berries and nature’s best edibles!

  19. Beautiful berry swirl cakes. I like that you made puree first then swirled it in, for people that don’t like the seeds it’s perfect. I have wonderful memories of my backyard being full with boysenberries and it was such a treat when we wanted a quick snack during our swimming time.

  20. Lisa, if there’s anything I love more than your creative recipes and passion for food, it’s…your sense of humor and ability to create a picture board as you tell a story and turn a phrase (“Eden nestled within the asphalt…”)

    Oh, your berry/yogurt pound cake. Sometimes, ya just wanna eat fresh and simple without all the bells, whistles, and circus elephants.

    Btw – why can’t Mo mow down the Sawx and Angels like every other team?? (sob, sniffle)

    • Thank you, J! First off, can’t believe we lost to the worst offense in baseball, especially after scoring 4 runs off of Haren. Sick of seeing AJ’s implosions – but sad to see Mo declining :( Can’t get mad at him when he blows it.

  21. Everything you do always comes out so beautiful, and this is no exception. I want to come over for a slice and a cup of tea :)
    *kisses* HH

  22. I just got the ingredients to make this, it should be done in 2 hours. I am very excited. Especially because the raspberries will be coming from the garden, summer will be flowing throughout the house once this pops in the oven.

    • Let me know how it turns out for you, Alexander! :)

      • It was utterly heavenly. I couldn’t find any blackberries so I made cinnamon cherry ribbons in their place. One issue that I did have however was that the sugar amount seemed a little immense and even after reducing the amount it was still quite sweet. The whole house smells of summer though, as expected and I have your lovely recipe to thank for that.

  23. This may be the prettiest pound cake I’ve ever seen!

  24. This cake looks amazing! Those ribbons of berries… HEAVEN! I love it!

  25. Wow! This looks so beautiful and with all those berries and yogurt, it must be just delicious. We have quite a bounty of berries, so I will definitely be making this. Thanks for the great recipe!

  26. Reducing the sugar is a good idea! That said, cherries are sweeter than raspberries and blackberries, which are tart, unless they were sour cherries?

    • They were sour cherries, now on the next day the cake is even better and the ribbons are more defined. It is so good and velvety that I will be gifting away the second one I made. This is definitely a recipe I will be falling back on because it is simple and the results are amazing.

  27. Wow that sounded like a Utopia where you lived with the wild berries. Reminds me a little of one of my brief apartments of residence in elementary school. The apartments were surrounded by grass and trees. There was this one huge tree very close to my buddy’s apartment building that was incredible. It was nearly hollow inside and had closely spaced branches that we could climb up; A secret hangout spot hidden away from the world — perfect for imaginative kids. Unfortunately it was cut down soon after for blocking the AC unit or something silly. We moved away soon after, but I’ll still always remember it fondly. Anyway, love your sharing snippets of your childhood. This cake looks so yummy!

  28. You brought back my childhood berry-picking memories! We had raspberries in the yard and wild strawberries in a ditch at the end of the street. Now I make do with the rhubarb that grows at my mother’s and contemplate planting her huge backyard with lots of berries. I always use yogurt in cakes too, because I’m obsessed and I can’t stand sour cream. :) Oh, and the cake? Gorgeous!

  29. Love the swirls! What a gorgeous looking cake!

  30. Oh, I’m so glad, Alexander! I was also going to suggest using only half of each berry puree-batter combo in the cake, then using the other half of each berry puree-batter combo to make another cake :)

  31. THis cake is gorgeous! I love the photo with the ribbons of berry, lovely, moist crumb! You have such awesome and extraordinary recipes and writing! Glad I found your blog!

  32. Beautiful cake !
    No doubt a delicious one as well

  33. Gorgeous cake! Cool berry ribbons!

  34. So beautiful and colorful. Berries rule, wish we could have fresh one at their best year round

  35. The look real moist and delicious. Love those blackberries they look so plump and sweet. Your photos really bring out the colors. Nice job once again :)

  36. Saw this on foodgawker and had to see more. I printed the recipe, can’t wait to make it! I’m a major blackberry lover myself!

  37. wooow, like this berry cake, swirls are pretty.

  38. oooh Lisa, the berry swirls are so pretty! I love raspberries and blackberries too. Over here in Australia, blackberries are so rampant they are considered a noxious weed and the plants are sprayed with poison to kill them off. We were lucky once to find a patch of juicy, ripe, unsprayed berries on our friend’s property, the berries didn’t make it back to the house :) Can’t wait for summer to hurry up and get here so I can make this ckae.

  39. thanks for joining the #cakelove bloghop!! i LOVE the berry swirls in your bread. this looks soo moist and decadent!

  40. That swirled cake batter looks so good! I bet it was *berry* delicious :D

  41. Thanks for linking up and I LOVE this cake from the moment I saw it!

  42. What a gorgeous cake – almost too pretty to eat! It must be heavenly with vanilla ice cream!

  43. beautiful colourful cake looks healthy and delicious

  44. This cake looks amazing! Already pinned for future reference:)

  45. Absolutely gorgeous! Cake-Love indeed! Thank you for sharing =).

  46. I’s love reading Larousse Gastronomique or watching Chopped while enjoying this beautiful and bet delicious berry swirl bread!

  47. Oh my! This berry swirl pound cake is beautiful! I love the overhead shots! I think I WILL make one and just stare at it for awhile:) Thanks for the recipe, Lisa! P.S. My mom and oldest sister used to eat plain yogurt when I was a kid~yuck!

  48. That is such a beautiful a goodlooking cake! I love that swirl. Really nice!

  49. I found myself wandering along a tree covered path. Warm sun rays pierced the swaying branches now and again, creating dancing shadows on the worn dirt road. I was feeling glum, having lost the Unicorn Cup at summer camp (again). Maybe next year, I thought. Suddenly a scent drifted gently by, beckoning me up a little hidden trail. I followed the path to a cute little house perched on a grassy hill. And that’s when I saw her – Lady Lisa – in her apron armor, with her rolling pin sword and pie tin shield. She offered me a slice of Double Berry Ribbon Swirl Yogurt Pound Cake. As I savored it, she and her gnome baking army performed the forbidden dance, making it rain. I raised my arms up to the sky, washing away my pain. I shall never forget her.

    • How could you leave out the part where the gnomes started selling my berry ribbon swirl cake on the side for extra money, soon stealing all my recipes and leaving me high and dry with a cute little house mortgage I could no longer afford, and a scant cup of flour?? DO NOT EVER mention those #@%#&%# gnomes again! ;>/

  50. So gorgeous! This really is calling out to me.

  51. It’s a wonderful cake!
    I made a few changes (as I wanted it to be non-dairy), and everyone just loved it.
    Thank you !:)
    You can see my post here, with a credit and link to your post

  52. WOW this is absolutely brilliant!

  53. mmmm… this looks super yummy!!! I loveeee yogurt!!

  54. I made these today, I made double batches and took some to my mother in law. She loved them as did my family. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. I did make one change to it though I couldn’t find plain vanilla Greek yogurt so I used the mixed berry one. Oh my God they were so delicious!!!

    • I’m thrilled to hear that, Lisette! It’s a favorite here and I’m excited for the fresh summer berries so I can make it all summer long. I’m definitely going to try it using mixed berry yogurt..I think your substitution is a fantastic idea – double the berry flavor! Thank you!

  55. They look so beautiful and delicious I would love to make these. But I’m just confused; is this recipe for one cake or two? Because in your note section of the instructions, you wrote that you separated the fruit puree to make two cakes, does that mean the amounts for the ingredients are for two cakes as well? Maybe I’m reading it wrong but I would like to make sure before making it. Thank you!

    • Hi, Patricia…the recipe is for one cake. I’m so sorry for the confusion..I will make sure it’s clear at the beginning of the recipe. I initially split the berry batters when I made two cakes, but tried it again using all of the berry batters in one cake, and it was even better!

  56. This looks super yummy can’t wait to try it….If I wanted a lemon flavor to the cake part….any suggestions? I love lemon and berry together.

    • Hi, Ingrid! If you want a lemon flavor in the cake add two teaspoons grated lemon zest and two tablespoons lemon juice to the wet ingredients in the batter. Let me know how it turns out for you!

  57. I am going to try this gorgeous cake. I can’t cook with eggs though (allergies). Think applesauce will be a decent substitute binder?

    • Hi, Ellen :) I’ve never tried it myself, but I’ve heard it works beautifully. Mashed bananas too, but then the cake might have a bit of banana flavor — not a bad thing. Could you please let me know how it turns out with applesauce? Thanks!

  58. Yummy! I edited the recipe, just a little, due to a lack of fresh blackberries… I was going to do raspberries and strawberries, only to find out that my strawberries had gone bad :( So then I was left with raspberries, apples, oranges, and lemons, and when life gives you lemons? Make raspberry lemonade muffins :) So I pureed the raspberries but bypassed the tablespoon of sugar (personally I think raspberries are sweet enough) and made the rest of the batter the same. Before I added the flour mixture and yogurt, I blended a lemon and mixed it in with the wet batter. Then proceeded as normal. Once it was all finished I spooned a little of the raspberry puree into the big bowl of batter and swirled it around, not too much though! Then I took a spoon and dropped bits into well greased mini muffin pans. They’re amazing!

    • Wow, Olivia! The mark of a true baker – the ability to make it happen when you’re missing ingredients, and turn it into something just as, if not more..amazing! Raspberry and lemon go so well together and my mouth is watering at the thought of trying that combo as a loaf! Thank you so much for coming by to let me know about your successful experience in making this recipe your own! :)

  59. Bake this

    • Hi, Wendy. I think you got cut off..all I see is “Bake this”.

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