It’s time again for me to flex my kitchen muscles and explore a little more of the culinary history of Kentucky. I really enjoyed the spoon bread recipe I made back in the fall, which you can read about here. I decided to go sweet this time around, because in the end, it’s really all about dessert isn’t it? Isn’t it? Oh well, I think it is. So I tried out the Blackberry Jam cake that belonged to the Wasan family, which originated in the mid nineteenth century. And as always, I just had to throw in a little twist at the end, because that’s just who I am. So let’s fire up that oven!
I enjoy a good jam cake; they are moist and somewhat dense, and if well-executed require no adornment. No icing, no glazes, not even a shower of powdered sugar, which as far as cakes go, makes them a great idea if you’re short on time. Since I don’t come across them regularly, I’m never surprised when I talk to people who have never had one, or possibly not even heard of them. I like the versatility of them too, so you can pick whatever flavor of jam you would like to use, and should you be a spice lover, you can add a little extra warmth or kick to it as you choose. They are historically important and (in my experience) are predominantly Southern, although I obviously think people from all over should make and enjoy them.
This particular recipe dates back to the 1850s in Kentucky, and being a baker with moderate experience, I was surprised to see the size of the recipe. Most of my standard cake recipes are around the two and a half-cup of flour, two-egg variety. This one calls for four cups of flour and six eggs. Yep, you’re going to get a big ol’ cake out of this one. Of course you’re more than welcome to adjust the amounts to suit your purpose or occasion. But for this first time, I wanted to keep it as true to the recipe as possible. And this is considerably more than what I normally make for our household. So quite a few people will be benefitting from the size of this cake, which falls right in line with my philosophy on cooking; it’s best when shared.
As far as ease, it rates high. The ingredients are common and easy to acquire, and throwing it together takes no time. It does have to bake for quite a while longer than most cakes – I left it in for an hour – but is well worth the wait. It has a beautiful ruby-brown color, and if you could bottle up this scent and sell it, you’d be a ka-billionaire. And yes I just made that up for the purposes of this post. Feel free to use it in everyday conversation. As a final personal touch, I decided to throw on a citrus buttercream to make it extra rich and decadent, because honestly, who doesn’t love a good buttercream? As I said before, this is a great, versatile cake, and I think that using this recipe for any spring or early-summer events you may have would be ideal, although anytime really is the right time.
I am truly enjoying this cookbook. I think that the recipes in it are made even more valuable by their historic value, and provide a great look back into the cooking culture of Kentucky. I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and that you might give this recipe a try. Keep coming back to the blog, as I will very likely be trying more recipes in the future!