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This is a traditional Kentucky dessert, dating back more than 100 years. It was my mom Sally Clayton’s favorite cake as a child – and she loved it throughout her life, especially on her birthday. You’ll find that this is a very tasty, moist, elegant and impressive cake. When you make it – get ready to hand out recipe cards!

Jam Cake with Caramel Frosting

Serves: 8 to 10

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup blackberry jam*
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Caramel Frosting:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ to 2 cups powdered sugar
To make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream the sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Blend in jam. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture, then half the buttermilk. Repeat and mix just until blended. Stop the mixer and fold in raisins and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Place pans on a wire rack to cool.
To make the frosting:
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Take off heat and stir in vanilla, then powdered sugar until the right consistency is reached – thick enough to ice the cake but not lumpy. Let cool to room temperature before icing the cake.
  1. If the cakes have domed on the top, cut the top of the dome off so each section of the cake is fairly flat. Place one cake layer on the serving platter you plan to use. (Note: If you place pieces of wax paper around the edge of the serving platter and then put the cake on top, the paper will catch any frosting that drips when you ice the cake. You can then gently pull them out after you are done. This way, the serving platter stays clean.) Spread some of the frosting on the top of the base layer, about ¼-inch thick. Take the second cake layer and place it upside down on top of the icing (this way the smoothest side, which is the bottom during baking, is the top of your cake). Ice the top and sides with remaining frosting.
*Use any flavor jam, but blackberry is the traditional ingredient.

This recipe can be doubled, using three 9-inch cake pans.

High altitude: no adjustments are needed.



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