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A Delicious Jam Cake ... Another Yummy Recipe

Updated on December 3, 2014

Delicious... very yum!

Actually, the cake is not quite as dark as the picture shows.  The color was more of a light purple.
Actually, the cake is not quite as dark as the picture shows. The color was more of a light purple.
Where's my fork?
Where's my fork?

In the beginning ...

When I found the jam cake ingredient list among my mother's recipes, I thought jam, what jam?, then put the recipe aside. My son and I baked other cakes and pudding-type desserts and these recipes were used in several hubs I have written. If you read these particular hubs, you know that my mother, who was born in 1895, had quite a collection of recipes written on the back of used envelopes and other odds and ends of paper. My oldest sister rewrote them in a notebook when she was in high school.

There were no explanations or directions on this recipe, like many of them, so I thought again about the jam. Both of my parents had quite a talent for growing fruits and vegetables. My father cultivated a grape arbor and many different fruit trees, among them were a variety of apple trees, peach, plum, pear, serviceberry, and what is now called nectarine. He also had planted quince bushes and quite a number of black raspberry patches. In the woods could also be found persimmon trees and prolific blackberry patches along with thousands of chiggers. Just typing that word makes me itch.

I could not remember my mother baking the.jam cake but do remember my father's very favorite fruit (next to persimmons, that is) was black raspberries, and was sure that would be the ingredient used. Of course, we did not purchase jams from the grocery store but made our own which was thick with fresh picked fruit and little sugar. It was sweet enough on its own. I also remember that he did not care for seeds and that is why he did not enjoy red raspberries as much ... the ratio of seeds to the fruit of reds (though truly excellent tasting) is higher. Black raspberry jam had to be the one because of the flavor, the consistency, and because he loved that fruit.

Batter in one of the pans
Batter in one of the pans

The jam cake recipe

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening (we used Crisco because my mother did or she used a similar product)
  • 3/4 cup blackberry jam (for best results use homemade but see note further below)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour (we used all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon soda in 1/3 cup sour milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Since there were no instructions, we just creamed the shortening and sugar together, then added the eggs and mixed for a few minutes. The flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg were mixed together and then added with the soda and sour milk and jam.

The batter was poured into two nine inch round cake pans which had been lined with parchment paper. Baking temperature and time: 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Check regarding doneness as ovens vary.

Cooking the icing ... sure looks delicious
Cooking the icing ... sure looks delicious
With the icing
With the icing

The icing

There was no icing recipe with the cake so we decided to use one similar to penuche.

  • i cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (we used canned milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Boil the above ingredients for several minutes, stirring often. Cook until almost a soft ball stage. A soft ball stage is when a teaspoon of the mixture can be formed into a soft mass that holds its shape when dropped in cold water (gathered up with your fingers).

Remove from heat and add 3-1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar. Mix well. We dipped the 'icer' in warm water for a smoother surface.

More about jams and jellies

Commercially produced jams and jellies do not have the flavor I expect from an expensive or fairly expensive product. For example, my son made a trifle for Thanksgiving. The store was out of fresh strawberries so I bought 'strawberry jam' and planned to find the fresh fruit elsewhere. I don't care much for seeds in jams but the jam I bought looked no different from jelly and the strawberry flavor was minimal.

The same is true of the blackberry jams ... the fruit juice used for jelling overwhelms the actual berry flavor, at least in my opinion. I seem to have sensitive taste buds. What I would suggest for trifle, the jam cake, or any desserts using jam or jelly is to make your own. You can use products like Certo or Sure-Jell or other pectin products as they do not disguise the true berry flavor so much but I would probably buy some fresh ripe fruit in season and make it without the pectin. Add a minimum amount of water to the mashed or sieved fruit, add the sugar, and 'cook it down' to the desired thickness or consistency. This process must be watched constantly so that it does not scorch or burn. Also do not boil on medium or high as this will also give the jam/jelly an overheated/overcooked taste. Stir with a flat-ended turner during this time. You can remove it from the stove at any time and cool it a bit or put some in the freezer to check the consistency. If too thin, continue cooking. There was a reason people preferred home made!

I hope you enjoyed this hub and will try the jam cake. My panel of testers loved it. Remember, what you can make yourself is truly better.


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    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks so much for your comments. I corrected the hub with the addition of the jam at the same time as the dry ingredients and milk, though it shouldn't matter. Sometimes, I also have recipes with the imprecise quantities and, when that happens, I look for a similar product in my Betty Crocker or maybe Joy of Cooking book and see the quantity recommended. Sometimes that works but, occasionally, there is no similar cake or other. Then, I try looking on line. Again, thanks!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Interesting. I have a few old recipes from great-grand aunts, and they contain annoyingly imprecise measurements such as "handful of flour," or worse, 2 heaping spoons of flour," or "butter the size of a walnut." Umm...people all have different sized hands; spoons come in a staggering array of sizes; likewise, walnuts come in different sizes....

      This sounds good, though, and I'd like to try it. You did not mention at what point you added the jam....

      Bookmarking, voted up, useful and interesting.