Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blackberry Jam Cake: My Year of Brethren Food

My fist attempt at adapting a recipe from my great-grandmother's Brethren cookbook, Jan. 17, 2011.
Regular readers of this blog know that I committed to using my great-grandmother's Brethren cookbook as a resource for new recipes this year.  A few days ago I realized that I needed to make a cake and since the cake was for MY birthday, I figured I could choose anything I wanted.  If I'd given the members of my family the choice between Blackberry Jam Cake and ANYTHING chocolate, I'd have been eating Blackberry Jam Cake alone.  But my kitchen was operating under a dictatorship, if only for one day.

There were lots of cake recipes in my great-grandmother's cookbook, but I picked the Blackberry Jam Cake because it sounded so strange and because I love blackberry jam.  I also felt too lazy to go to the grocery store.  I had everything I needed to make Blackberry Jam Cakes-- eggs, sugar, butter, flour, blackberry jam, sour cream and baking soda (just called "soda" in the cookbook).  It had basic ingredients amounts, but that was the whole recipe.  It had no instructions, oven temperature or baking time.  I'd just have to figure that out for myself.  It also said the cake should be baked in layers and topped with "white icing" although there was no recipe for anything called "white icing" in the entire cookbook.  I felt a little discouraged until I reminded myself that I'd baked cakes before-- lots of cakes-- so how hard could it be?

After reading at the basic ingredient list, I constructed my own recipe that included the addition of chocolate chips (my nod to the chocolate lovers in my family) and I decided to frost my cake with Seven Minute Frosting.  My recipe for Seven Minute Frosting is copied from one of my grandmother's old cookbooks, which I no longer have, so I'll need to include it in a separate posting once I locate the original source.  If you want to make this cake in the meantime, any recipe for Seven Minute Frosting should do, although I'd avoid those that use corn syrup.  Truth be told, I think this cake might be even better with a lemon glaze instead of a true frosting.  I'll keep working on it.

Blackberry Jam-Chocolate Chip Cake 


  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup blackberry jam (I used a mixture of blackberry jam and grape jelly because I didn't have quite enough blackberry jam.  When I combined the amount of blackberry jam and grape jelly I had in the refrigerator, it equalled EXACTLY one cup.  I figured this was a good sign.)
  • 5 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Parchment paper
  • 1 cup mini-chocolate chips 
  • 1 batch of Seven Minute Frosting
Cake batter ready to go into oven.
  • Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place room temperature butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth.  
  • Add sugar and beat until butter and sugar are combined.
  • Add wet ingredients (blackberry jam, sour cream and three eggs) one at a time.  Beat on low speed after you add each wet ingredient until fully mixed.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the mixing bowl one half-cup at a time to avoid making a mess.  Beat on slow speed between additions.
  • When batter is fully combined, divide batter into two equal parts and pour into two 9" cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper. 
Baked blackberry jam cake will be fairly brown and pull away from the side of the pan when fully baked.

  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 28 to 30 minutes.
  • Cake will be done when it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  • To assemble cake, place one layer of cake down on a cake pan.  Top with Seven Minute Frosting to completely cover cake layer.  
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips over icing and add a 1/4 blob of icing in center of cake.  (This is to help prevent the top layer from sliding off.)
  • Add top layer of cake and use rest of icing to frost cake.
  • Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of mini-chocolate chips on top.
Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of each layer.