Southern Blackberry Jam Cake
Fresh berries can be a little tricky to use in cakes - it's hard to know how much liquid they'll release, or how sweet they'll be before you start baking. They are notorious for releasing far too much juice and ruining a batter - or for being so tart that the cake isn't nearly sweet enough.
Some ECG (that's an Evil Culinary Genius) figured out that the fabulous flavor of fresh berries can be captured easily - once the berries are either pureed and sweetened, or when they are made into jam. The Southern Jam cake takes advantage of this second method. Blackberry (or other berries) jam is stirred into the cake batter - giving the cake the flavor of the berry and lending it's sweetness as it does.With blackberries, the cake itself turns a pretty pale purple color, and the spices in the batter give the finished cake a flavor reminiscent of a mild spice cake.
Blackberries tend to be on the tart side, so when assembling this cake I use a sweetened filling. I repeat the blackberries in the filling to intensify the subtle berry flavor. The filling also serves to help keep the cake moist. And this cake is delicious with either a simple vanilla buttercream, or the beloved cream cheese frosting. It's hard to go wrong with this one!
Southern Blackberry Jam Cake
- · 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- · 1 teaspoon soda
- · 1/2 teaspoon salt
- · 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- · 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- · 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- · 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- · 2 cups chopped pecans, toasted and divided
- · 1 cup raisins or chopped dates, optional
- · 1 cup butter
- · 1 1/2 cups sugar
- · 3 eggs, beaten
- · 1 cup blackberry jam, seedless
- · 1 cup buttermilk
- Fresh blackberries - to garnish cake
Blackberry Filling (recipe below)
- Butter and flour three nine inch cake pans. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a medium skillet over medium low heat, toast pecans until fragrant. Divide in half. Set 1 cup of pecans with which to decorate the cake, and mix the other half with the raisins.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Sift about a half a cup of the flour mixture over the nuts and raisins, and toss to combine.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar, and beat until fully incorporated and again light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add blackberry jam and mix well.
- Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, working in three batches and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth after each addition. Stir in half the nuts (1 cup) and raisins.
- Divide the batter evenly among the three cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until springy to the touch, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto wire cake racks and cool completely before frosting.
- Spread Blackberry Filling between layers. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese frosting.
How to Make Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup blackberry jam
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Stir in vanilla extract and blackberry jam, mixing well to combine.
- Working in batches, beat in powdered sugar. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you work.
- Chill filling until ready to use.
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