Kentucky Jam Cake

Serving size:8
Total Time:
Kentucky Jam Cake


  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 warm batch Kentucky Caramel Icing (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup seedless blackberry jam
  • 1 cup raisin
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 21/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 20 oz canned crushed pineapple, undrained

Day 1: In a small bowl, combine the raisins and pineapple (with juice). Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans (or use nonstick baking spray with flour) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until they are well blended. Mix in the jam. At this point it will look like blackberry soup. Turn off the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the buttermilk and blend. Add the second half of the dry ingredients, again mixing on low speed until just combined. Use a spatula to fold in the pineapple and raisin mixture. Fold in the pecans.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool the cakes in the pans on top of wire racks for 10 minutes, then carefully turn the cakes out onto the wire racks and let cool completely.

When the cakes have cooled, make the icing. Place the bottom cake layer on a serving platter. Use a knife or an angled spatula to ice the top with a very thick layer of icing, being generous, as this will be a filling layer. Do not ice the sides. Add the second layer of cake and frost the top only.

Sass It Up: If you want to make this cake super-impressive (as if it weren’t already), add fresh blackberries around the rim of the top layer of the cake before the frosting sets. This will carry your blackberry theme through with an exclamation point. Go “Southern hostess” and squirt some whipped cream topping onto each serving plate and then add mint leaves and a blackberry in the center, y’all!

Modern Variation: Use golden raisins in lieu of brown.

Old School: This cake was originally made in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. If you want to try it this way, bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Kentucky Caramel Icing

    • 2 cup none
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup whole milk
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter

    Kentucky Caramel Icing: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Slowly add the milk and bring the mixture back to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to lukewarm.

    Add the vanilla and stir to blend. Pour the caramel mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or leave in the pan and use a handheld electric mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the icing has a smooth consistency.

    Sugar Momma's Notes: The icing cools and thickens quickly. You may want to frost one layer, then put the saucepan back on low heat and give it another whirl with the handheld electric mixer to soften it enough to apply the top layer of frosting. Or you can transfer the frosting to a glass or other microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power in 25-second intervals, stirring in between, until it has a spreadable consistency.

    Old School: Double the frosting and spread icing on top and sides if you insist that every bite of cake needs to be slathered in caramel.

    Recipe courtesy of Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe Has a Story by Kimberly “Momma” Reiner and Jenna Sanz-Agero/Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011.