Black Currant Cake is a gorgeous Summer dessert that is super easy to make using simple ingredients. The tart flavor of black currants (cassis) is balanced out by the maple cream topping drizzled over the cake. This dessert will surely become a family favorite, especially when served with a scoop of ice cream on top.
Black Currant Cake
This easy black currant cake is made completely from scratch using fresh black currants (cassis) and pantry staples. It's literally packed with black currants - I used 2.5 cups of them for this small cake. What makes this cake stand out from others is that it's topped with the delicious thick maple cream that is easy to make from scratch (takes about 5 or 10 minutes). Maple cream balances out the tartness of the black currants and also creates a beautiful presentation. This recipe provides step-by-step photos and instructions.
Serve it warm for breakfast, brunch, midafternoon snack, or as an after-dinner dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! This is the best homemade summer cake to make during the short black currant season! It will become your new favorite sweet treat that you will be tempted to not share with anybody.
Why make it
- Make something different. Fresh black currants (cassis) can be difficult to find and are not that common in the United States so that alone makes this cake stand out from the rest of the Summer desserts.
- Simple ingredients. This recipe uses simple ingredients and is literally stuffed with fresh black currants (I used 2.5 cups of them!).
- It's an easy, quick dessert that is nice to have after any weeknight dinner. It also looks gorgeous and is perfect for special occasions and for entertaining guests. Just like this peach and blueberry skillet cake.
What are black currants?
Black currant is a type of berry, also called cassis. It is commonly grown in Central and Northern Europe. Unfortunately, black currants have been banned to grow in the US since 1911 because it was believed they spread fungus that damaged pine trees. In the last 2 decades, some states started removing the ban on growing black currants, and we now can get to enjoy them (if we can find them!). The overwhelming majority of black currants (cassis) are still produced in Europe.
Black currant nutrition
Black currants are highly nutritious and packed with antioxidants. They are very rich in Vitamin C and Polyphenols (plant-based substances that help boost the immune system and heart health). Black currants are also a good source of Vitamins A, B-5, B-6, and E.
- Flour. Use regular all-purpose flour. You can also use gluten-free flour - this cake has been tested with King Arthur gluten-free measure-for-measure flour.
- Baking powder and baking soda. Make sure both are fresh so that the cake rises.
- Butter. I use salted butter and did not add any extra salt. Use softened butter at room temperature. You don't need to use much - only 2 oz (or half a stick of butter).
- Low-fat Greek yogurt adds a tang and moist texture to the cake. I love baking with Greek yogurt and avoid using as much butter as I can get away with by replacing some of it with Greek yogurt - which is what I did in this recipe.
- Sugar. Use regular granulated white sugar.
- Eggs make the cake moist and light.
- Vanilla. Use the highest quality vanilla extract.
- Black currants. I used 2.5 cups of fresh black currants.
- Maple syrup is cooked down together with the heavy cream to create the most delicious topping for the black currant cake.
- The heavy cream is combined together with maple syrup to make the topping.
How to make black currant cake
Below is the overview with step-by-step photos and instructions on how to make the black currant cake. For the complete recipe with measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card.
1) First, you will start by preheating the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle. Grease the sides and the bottom of the cast-iron skillet with butter. (Note: I used a 10-inch round high-sided cast-iron skillet. You can also use a 9x3-inch springform pan.)
2) Next, in a large bowl, mix 2 cups of black currants with ½ cup of sugar. Set aside.
3) Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
4) Then, in a separate bowl, beat softened butter, sugar, and 2 eggs for about 2 minutes on high speed until very light in color and fluffy. Add vanilla and Greek yogurt and continue beating until very creamy and light in color, for about 1 more minute. Keeping the mixer speed low, mix in the flour mixture until combined. Do not overmix.
5) Transfer the cake batter to the baking pan.
6) Top with 1 cup of black currants (mixed with sugar) - scattered across the whole surface of the cake.
7) Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and top the cake with one more cup of black currants (mixed with sugar) - scatter them across the top of the half-baked cake.
8) Bake for 25 or 35 more minutes (depending on your oven), until the cake turns golden, and the tester comes out clean in the center. Total baking time should be between 45 minutes and 1 hour (depending on your oven and the type of baking pan you use). When the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool. That's what the cake should look like straight out of the oven when baked for a total of 45 minutes or 1 hour:
9) Top the completely baked cake with ½ cup of fresh currants.
10) Drizzle the cake with maple cream (see below how to make it).
How to make maple cream
1) While the cake is baking, make the maple cream.
2) Combine ½ cup of heavy cream + ¼ cup of maple syrup in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or longer, constantly stirring, until the sauce reduces somewhat and thickens.
3) Remove from heat and let it cool. You can even put it in the fridge to cool it off quicker.
4) When serving, drizzle the black currant cake with the maple cream.
Baking tips and recipe notes
- Use a scale to measure flour or aerate the flour well. Aerate the flour by fluffing it with a spoon and adding it into your measuring cup with the spoon instead of just packing the flour into the cup. This will prevent the flour from overpacking. Overpacking the flour results in a denser cake texture.
- Use butter at room temperature. It should be soft but not melted.
- Do not overmix the cake batter. Be sure to combine the ingredients thoroughly without overmixing. Overmixing will result in a dense texture.
- Grease the pan. Make sure to grease the baking dish really well with butter so that the cake doesn't get stuck. In this recipe, I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet and I greased both the sides and the bottom of the pan.
- The electrical mixer is optional. This cake is so easy to make, that you don't really need an electric mixer. Yes, it makes things easy, but you can totally whip up all the wet ingredients by hand, using a large fork or a whisk.
- Halfway through baking, add extra black currants on top of the cake for presentation purposes, and return the cake to the oven.
Can you make it gluten-free?
I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free flour and it turned it beautifully! Just follow the recipe as is.
What can you use instead of black currants?
- Red currants (Ribes rubrum) are your next best choice. They are shaped similarly to black currants and this recipe will work great with them.
- Blueberries would also work great in this recipe.
What baking dish can you use?
- A 10-inch round high-sided cast-iron skillet is what I used. Baking black currant cake in a cast iron skillet creates crispy, golden-brown edges with a soft and moist center. The cast-iron skillet heats through evenly resulting in a beautiful and consistent texture.
- A 9x3 inch springform baking pan is the next best choice. It allows you to seamlessly release the cake without any effort while still keeping its pretty shape! I like to line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper, which ensures an even cleaner release from the bottom portion of the pan.
- You can also use a regular 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan. Make sure it's high-sided (at least 2 inches high).
How to serve black currant cake
This simple cake can be served as-is with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast, a midafternoon snack, or a late-night dessert. Here are some ideas on how to dress it up:
- Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.
- Dust the cake with powdered sugar.
- Take it over the top with a dollop of whipped cream!
- Or, make a double batch of maple cream.
How to store it
This cake is best served the same day you baked it or the next day. It gets too moist on the third day, so keep it refrigerated for best results!
- Keep it at room temperature for the first 24 hours. If you plan to eat this cake within 24 hours, cool the cake completely, then just loosely cover the cake with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving spaces for air - this will allow the top of the cake to stay nice and crunchy! You can store the cake at room temperature this way for up to 24 hours.
- Fridge. Beyond the first 24 hours, store the black currant cake in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in a plastic wrap or freezer bag. After that, the black currants on top of the cake start getting soggy so it's best to consume this cake in 4 days or less.
- Can you freeze this cake? Once the cake is completely cool, freeze it within 2 days of baking. Wrap it tightly in an airtight plastic wrap and transfer it to a freezer bag or a sturdier freezer container. Freeze it for up to 2 months.
- How to reheat it. You can enjoy black currant cake straight from the fridge. Or, warm up a slice of cake in the microwave for 15 seconds.
Other summer desserts you might like
- Peach and Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake
- Peach Coffee Cake with Vanilla Glaze
- Peach Cream Cheese Cake with Streusel Topping
- Blueberry and Peach Skillet Cake
- Apple, Blueberry, Peach Coffee Cake
Black Currant Cake
- 2.5 cups black currants
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Note: I provide step-by-step photos on how to make this cake - scroll up above this recipe card to see these helpful photos.
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Grease the sides and the bottom of the baking pan with butter.
- In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of black currants with ½ cup of sugar. Set aside.
- I used a 10-inch round high-sided cast-iron skillet. You can also use a 9x3-inch springform pan.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda, together into a medium bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat 2 oz of softened butter, sugar, and 2 eggs until very light in color and fluffy, 2-3 minutes on high speed.
- Add vanilla and Greek yogurt and continue beating until very creamy and light in color, for about 1 more minute.
- Keeping the mixer speed low, mix in the flour mix until combined. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the cake batter to the baking pan.
- Top with 1 cup of black currants (mixed with sugar) - scattered across the whole surface of the cake.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and top the half-baked cake with one more cup of black currants (mixed with sugar) - scatter them across the top of the cake.
- Bake for 25 or 35 more minutes (depending on your oven), until the cake turns golden, and the tester comes out clean in the center. Total baking time should be between 45 minutes and 1 hour (depending on your oven and the type of baking pan you use).
- When the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
- While the cake is baking, make the maple cream.
- Combine ½ cup of heavy cream + ¼ cup of maple syrup in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or longer until the sauce reduces somewhat and thickens.
- Remove from heat and let it cool. You can even put it in the fridge to cool it off quicker.
- When serving, top the cake with ½ cup of fresh currants and drizzle with the maple cream.
- What kind of baking pan to use? I used a 10-inch round high-sided cast-iron skillet. You can also use a 9x3-inch springform pan. Or, use a high-sided 9-inch regular round cake pan (make sure it's at least 2 inches tall, or taller, not the short kind).
- Can you make it gluten-free? I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free flour and it worked great! Just follow the recipe as is.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.