Monday, May 7, 2018

Black Raspberry Jam Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting

This past weekend I was invited to a Kentucky Derby/Cinco de Mayo Party. I had already made those delicious fresh guava mint frozen margaritas so I decided to do with the southern theme for a dessert to bring the host and hostess.

I googled southern desserts and came upon something I have never heard of before, a jam cake. After going google deeper, I read several recipes for Jam cake which seems to be a southern specialty. I knew I had to make one. 

Most of the recipes called for blackberry jam. I had a jar of black raspberry flavor. Close enough. What intrigued me about the recipe is that the jam is completely mixed in with the cocoa powder spiked cake batter.

There were all sorts of other wonderful things packing into this cake. Raisins soaked overnight in crushed pineapple and its juice. Cinnamon, nutmeg and clove powders and of course, pecans. 

I settled on a recipe called Aunt Murna's Jam Cake and tweaked it slightly. Also, my instructions below are a bit more detailed than the original. I added a few steps and details like crumb coating the cake and flipping the layers upside down. 

Whomever Aunt Murna is, I would like to thank her for turning me onto the joys of jam cake. I loved this recipe. Even though the recipe contains pineapple and jam and sugar, etc, the cake is not too sweet. The caramel frosting, however, is super sweet. A nice contrast. Best of all, it was a hit at the party.

Such a big hit that no one noticed before I left my house, I cut a slice out to create the photos for this post and then "glued"  it back into the cake with extra frosting. 


Thankfully, the hostess is a talented food and travel writer. So she especially understands this special type of cake craziness and it was a super fun party. 

Black Raspberry Jam Layer Cake
 with Caramel Frosting
(Slightly adapted from Aunt Murna's Jam Cake Recipe from Taste of Home)
*Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 slices
*Additionally, you will need to soak the raisins overnight and chill the crumb coated cake for 30 minutes. 


For the Cake:

  • 8 oz of crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 oz black raspberry or blackberry jam
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, plus some for decoration if desired. 
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4-6 cups sifted powdered sugars


Make the cake:

  • Combine the crushed pineapple and the raisins in a bowl, making sure the raisins are covered in liquid. Let stand 4 hours or overnight. 
  • Line two 9" round baking pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pans and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large separate bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
  • Place the cup of butter and cups of sugar in the bowl of your mixer and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next. 
  • Beat in the jam.
  • Add the flour mixture in thirds alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour.
  • Mix in the pineapple raisin mixture, then the pecans. 
  • Pour the batter into the pans, place in oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middles of the cakes come out clean.
  • Remove from oven. Lett the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool completely. 

Make the caramel frosting:
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Add brown sugar and milk and stir until melted.
  • Bring the mixture to a  boil, then remove from heat.
  • Let cool until the mixture is warm, not hot.
  • Transfer to a mixer or use a hand mixer to beat in the sifted powdered sugar. Add more milk or sifted powdered sugar to adjust the consistency. It should be spreadable.
Assemble the cake:
  • Tea show shets of baking paper and lay them all around the edges of a serving plate. 
  • Place one cake layer on the serving plate upside down. The parchment paper should be all around the cake on the edges but not underneath it. 
  • Cover the layer with frosting, Place the second layer upside down on top of the frosted layer and crumb coat the cake by spreading a thin layer of frosting on the top and the sides of the cake. TIP: You may want to separate 1/3 of the frosting to do this as not to get cake crumbs mixed in with the remaining frosting. 
  • Place the crumb coated cake in the refrigerator for 20-20 minutes.
  • Check the consistency of the rest of the frosting, If it has hardened, add a few tablespoons of milk and give it a few turns with a mixer.
  • Remove the cake from the refrigerator and cover the entire cake with frosting.
  •  Sprinkle the remaining crush pecans over the top to decorate. 
  • Cut and serve.

Like Layer Cakes? Try these:

Coconut Ginger Layer Cake

Chocolate Mousse Raspberry Layer Cake

Caramel Ginger Milk Chocolate Layer Cake

Five shades of Grey Ombre Layer Cake

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