A Southern Classic
I had been baking for years before I heard of a blackberry jam cake. As a New Englander, maybe that wasn’t surprising. If I had been a southerner, I probably would have had my Grandma’s recipe. Regional specialties abound and this is one of them. I started doing research and some referred to them as hailing from Kentucky, while others named Alabama. What they had in common was blackberry jam incorporated into a fairly spice-laden batter. Cloves and allspice seemed to be omnipresent, and in big doses. Buttermilk was a common dairy component along with butter. Some had raisins, golden or dark, while others incorporated chopped dates. Nuts, usually pecans, lent crunch. Some were Bundt style, while others were layer cakes and most sported a caramel icing, frosting or glaze. I had some Crofters Blackberrypremium spread and decided to put it to good use with this old-fashioned layer cake. When I bake with jam I often like to use no sugar or low-sugar jam, such as this. More fruit means more flavor, not just sweetness!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup chopped dates,
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup seedless blackberry jam
- For the Cake: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat two 9-inch round pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper, coat paper with spray and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, allspice, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt to aerate and combine; set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk in 3 batches, mixing so that a few streaks of flour remain. Briefly beat in dates and nuts, then fold in blackberry jam until batter is smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pans and smooth tops with small offset spatula.
- Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a tester comes out with a few crumbs clinging. Cool pans on racks until just warm, then unmold cakes onto racks directly to cool completely, peeling away parchment if it sticks to cake.
- Frosting and Assembly: Make sure layers are cooled before starting frosting recipe. Once your frosting is ready to use you must use it immediately before it hardens. Place one cake layer on a display plate. Prepare frosting and immediately pour about one-third of it over cake layer, using an offset spatula to help cover the cake and encourage it to begin to drip down the sides. Place second cake layer on top and pour remaining icing on top, again encouraging it to drip down the sides. Frosting will set up quickly and cake may be served at that point, or store under a cake dome for up to 24 hours.
- There is really one tip for this cake but it is a biggie: it’s all about the frosting. You HAVE to be ready to use it the second it is ready. It will be nice and fluid like in the image below.
- But if you wait even 15 to 30 seconds, it starts forming a crust. Be organized and be ready to use it.