Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Cake Odyssey

My maiden voyage into a year's worth of new cake recipes is scratch from beginning to finish.  I saved the recipe for Caramel-Iced Blackberry Jam Cake from the November 2009 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.  I, or my mother, have subscribed to this periodical off and on for many years.  It's a great source for all things in life:   housekeeping and fashion, child-rearing and relationship issues, personal development and yes, cooking and baking! 

My personal favorite!

I don't recall the accompanying article that came with this recipe, but one thing I do remember is that it came from Paula Deen.  I can always count on Paula to offer me a great recipe worth trying.

Caramel-Iced Blackberry Jam Cake
Here's What You Need:
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup vegetable shortnening
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
2 cups seedless blackberry jam

Filling and Icing:
1 cup seedless blackberry jam
1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup blackberries, for garnish

Here's What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 10-in. round cake pans.  Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and lightly oil the sides.  Set out the buttermilk so it can come to room temperature.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Give it a spin or two with the whisk to get it mixed up.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the shortening and granulated sugar on medium-high for 5 minutes or until it's pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  The reason I recommend setting the buttermilk out at the beginning is because if you add it ice cold from the fridge to that fluffy butter/sugar mixture, it's going to go into shock and curdle up.  You don't want that to happen.  Baking is like a chemistry experiment.  Exact measurements and temperatures generally will determine a success or failure.

With a spatula, stir in the pecans and raisins, then stir in 2 cups jam until well blended. 

Two notes here:
  1. I skipped the raisins.  I've never been a big fan of raisins in my food.  Only in my adulthood have I grown to appreciate an oatmeal raisin cookie.  Otherwise, save them for snack time please. 
  2. I finely chopped the pecans for this cake only because my two boys and husband are not big on nuts in their food and I thought if I ground them up more finely than directed, perhaps they would never know the pecans were even in there!  Sneaky, I know.  That's how I roll sometimes. 
  3. And lastly, baking this cake requires 3 cups of blackberry jam.  I used jam that I made last summer and I about broke my arm reaching into the freezer and pulling out THREE JARS of this heavenly, glorious concoction.  I thought of all the toast and pbj sandwiches I could have enjoyed with those three jars.  But after tasting this cake, I'd say it was a sacrafice worth making
I just realized that was actually three notes.  I always have more to say...

The batter looks like blueberry yogurt!
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  This is not your typical cake batter.  I likened it more to a brownie batter.  Much thicker.  I also did not have the required size pans.  Mine are 9-inch so boy did these cakes bake up tall! 

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Carefully flip the cakes onto the cooling racks, and remove the parchment paper. Cool completely.

To prepare the filling and icing:
Place one cake on a cake plate, bottom side up.  Spread 1 cup jam evenly over top.  Leave about a 1/2 inch border around the outside edge.  Place the other cake, bottom side up, over jam. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in brown sugar and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low, and cook 2 minutes,stirring constantly. Add milk, and heat to boiling on medium, stirring constantly.  (I used the 1% milk we keep in the fridge.)  Transfer to a large bowl. With the mixer on medium-high speed, beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Immediately pour over the cake and push it to the sides allowing large drips to, well, drip down the sides!  It's fun creating these little globs and drips.  There's no wrong way for it to turn out.  Let the cake stand for the icing to set. To serve, garnish cake with blackberries.

Terrible lighting for this photo.  Sorry!
Needless to say, my boys weren't big on this cake.  More for Jenna and me, I say!  She loved it!  I knew she would.  Jenna has an appreciation for different tastes.  I overheard Owen tell Evan something along the lines of me being the "worst Mommy" simply because I didn't bake a chocolate cake.  Hey!  I like chocolate cake the most too, but this wouldn't be a very exciting Cake Odyssey if all I baked were chocolate cakes.  Now would it?! 

(insert chirping crickets) 

"Ummm, yes Mommy, twelve chocolate cakes sound good to me!"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog! I enjoy hearing from my readers!