Easy Berry Compote Recipe on Cake (4 Ingredients)

Need a last-minute dessert? With just 4 simple ingredients, enjoy this delicious deep-flavored, low-effort berry compote over a store-bought cake. It’s a super easy recipe, popular and berry-intense! And it’s not just great with cake…

A berry compote is very similar to a berry sauce. The fruit is just kept chunkier. I love that you can make it ahead and there are so many ways to use it.

berry sauce on slice of pound cake on plate.

What to expect

The star of the show is berries. To make a compote, you are simply cooking the berries with a little sugar and lemon juice.

We’re using frozen berries because they are less expensive, available all year round, picked at their peak, and taste just as good as fresh when making sauces and jams. Of course, fresh berries work fine too.

Two shortcuts enable you to pull a dessert together in under 30 minutes without compromising taste 1) frozen berries (which don’t need washing or hulling) and 2) a store-bought cake. The berry sauce itself only takes 15-20 minutes and uses just 3 simple ingredients.

And check out below lots of other creative ways to use this homemade berry sauce.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

store bought pound cake, frozen mixed berries, lemon, sugar.
Store bought pound cake, frozen mixed berries, lemon, sugar.

Frozen berries: Use one type or a combination of berries such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Find them in the frozen section of your grocery store. You can also use fresh juicy berries if you prefer.

Cake: If you are making a dessert with cake, almost any plain cake will work. I buy a classic pound cake, but you can just as easily use a white, lemon, orange or poppy-seed loaf or muffin. Angel food cake would be great too and even a brownie.

Variations

Optional garnishes: Jazz up the cake and compote with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or strawberries, lemon zest, and/or toasted cake crumbs.

Added flavor for the compote: A pinch of ground cinnamon or ginger powder are great additions. For a touch of warmth, add a little vanilla extract. Give the compote a subtle orange flavor with a splash of orange juice or Grand Marnier.

Sweetness: You can substitute the white sugar with maple syrup. Start with a smaller amount of sugar and add a little bit more if you need.

For a lower-calorie version, try a sugar substitute or less sugar. You can also leave out the sugar and add 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds or flax seeds which will act as a natural thickener.

How to make berry compote

frozen berries, sugar and lemon juice in pot.
Add the berries, sugar and fresh lemon juice to a sauce pan
berry sauce mixture cooking in pot.
Cook covered on low, then uncovered on medium heat until it thickens a bit.
finished berry mixture in pot.
The compote should coat the back of a spoon when it’s ready. It will thicken more on standing.
cut out paper heart on top of half the pound cake.
Cut cake into slices, cubes or a heart shape (with a cutout paper template).
heart shape cut from pound cake on cutting board.
Freehand cutting is fine too!
berry sauce over heart shaped pound cake with ice cream on top, garnished with toasted cake crumbs.
Top cake with the mixed berry compote and ice cream or whipped cream. Add toasted cake crumbs for garnish if you like (see tip).

Tip for cake crumb garnish

To make a toasted cake crumb garnish, crumble a small piece of cake, place the crumbs on a baking sheet, then toast them at 400F/204C for about 4 minutes. Cool, crush further if needed and sprinkle on your dessert.

How to serve this berry compote recipe

Let’s start with the cake dessert first.

As far as presentation goes, play with the design. I’ve shown one option here that I used for Valentine’s Day – cutting the cake into a heart shape. Instead, you can simply use slices or cut the cake into cubes and spoon over the sauce then top with whipped cream.

Here are several more great ways to serve the berry compote.

  • As a dessert topping for ice cream, panna cotta or cheesecake.
  • As the perfect topping for a baked brie appetizer.
  • Layered in a parfait with yogurt, granola, fresh fruits, and your favorite toppings.
  • As a filling in between cake layers (like a strawberry shortcake). Top with whipped cream and fresh berries.
  • Swirled into Greek yogurt or oatmeal
  • As a next level breakfast topping for pancakes, French toast and waffles.
  • In smoothie bowls – just add a couple of tablespoons.

Make Ahead 

  • You can make the berry compote up to a week or two ahead and keep it in the fridge.
  • The cake can be cut several hours or a day ahead. I suggest keeping it in an airtight container, a zipper lock bag or well-covered in plastic to maintain freshness.
  • This homemade sauce freezes well.

Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between a berry compote, berry sauce and coulis?

While they are all similar in ingredients, homemade berry sauce is cooked to a smooth, pourable fruit mixture. A coulis is cooked then pureed and strained through a fine mesh sieve to create a very smooth sauce. A compote is a cooked chunky fruit sauce with more texture. All three are often used as toppings or drizzles over desserts or breakfast items.

Can you turn a delicious berry compote into a jam?

Absolutely. Cook the fruit compote longer to thicken it more and turn it into a jam.

berry sauce over heart shaped pound cake with ice cream on top, garnished with toasted cake crumbs.
Berry compote on cake makes a great easy Valentine’s dessert with strawberries or raspberries.

More berry recipes

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berry sauce on slice of pound cake on plate.
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5 from 8 votes

Easy Berry Compote on Cake (4 Ingredients)

Need a last-minute dessert? With just 4 simple ingredients, enjoy this delicious deep-flavored, low-effort berry compote over a store-bought cake. Super easy, popular and berry-intense! And it's not just great with cake…
Prep Time8 minutes
Cook Time22 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 600 grams frozen berries (mixed or any combination), (21 ounces/4 cups frozen or 2.7 cups thawed) raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, etc.
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (or maple syrup) add more if you like it sweeter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or to taste
  • 1 store-bought pound cake loaf, Note 1

Optional Garnishes

  • ice cream, toasted pound cake crumbs (Note 2), fresh berries, lemon zest, whipped cream

Instructions

  • The recipe makes about 2 cups of berry compote (enough for 6-8 desserts)
  • MAKE COMPOTE: Put the frozen fruit, sugar and lemon juice in a medium pot. Cover pot and heat on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until juices begin to release. Uncover, increase heat to medium heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. It should coat the back of a spoon. Note that compote will thicken a bit on standing so don't overcook or it will turn into jam. Taste and add more sugar or lemon if needed – and a pinch of cinnamon or ginger powder if you like.
  • PREPARE CAKE: Note 3.
  • ASSEMBLE COMPOTE AND CAKE: Spread 3-4 tablespoons of berry sauce in a shallow bowl or plate. Place piece of cake on top. If desired, add on top a little more berry sauce, small scoops of ice cream (I used a melon ball scoop), another drizzle of sauce, then a sprinkle of toasted cake crumbs (note 2) or lemon zest. Serve immediately. And be sure to check out other great ways to use the compote, Note 4.

Recipe Notes

  1. Cake options: Use pound cake, angel food cake, poppy seed cake, orange cake or muffins. Even a brownie will work.
  2. To toast cake crumbs: Heat toaster oven or oven to 400F/204F. Crush a small piece of cake (about 2 inch/5 cm square) into crumbs with your hands and place onto a pan lined with foil. Toast in oven for about 4 minutes (watch they don’t burn). When cooled, crush further if needed into finer crumbs.
  3. ย Cake presentation: To make a shape (heart or diamond for example), cut straight through the full height of the cake using a cookie cutter or a cut-out paper shape as a guide. Free hand cuting is fine too. If cake is thick (high), cut it horizontally in half or thirds. Other options are to just slice the cake into portion sizes (you can also make shapes after slicing) or cut it into cubes (and spoon sauce on top).
  4. More ways to serve berry compote:
    • As a dessert topping for ice cream or cheesecake.
    • As a topping for a baked brie appetizer.
    • Layered in a parfait with yogurt, granola, and fresh fruits.
    • As a filling in between cake layers (like a strawberry shortcake). Top with whipped cream and fresh berries.
    • As a breakfast topping for pancakes, French toast, yogurt, oatmeal and waffles.
    • In a smoothie – just add a couple of tablespoons.
  5. Variations to the compote: Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, ginger powder or vanilla extract. Add a splash of orange juice or Grand Marnier. Cut calories by leaving out the sugar and adding 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds or flax seeds as natural thickeners.
  6. How to make whipped cream.
  7. Make Ahead: You can make the berry compote up to a week or two ahead. Cool it, pour it into a clean jar or container, then refrigerate. The cake can be cut several hours or a day ahead and kept in a ziploc or sealed container to keep it fresh. The compote can be frozen for a month.ย 
ย 
Nutrition values are estimates including pound cake and berry compote.ย 

Nutrition

Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 469mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!
5 from 8 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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