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Playing Patti LaBelle's Jammin’ Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing


For the Jam Cake
  • Softened butter and flour, for the pans
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup blackberry or elderberry preserves (one 12-ounce jar)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup seedless dark raisins
For the Berry Filling
  • 12 ounces (about 2 2/3 cups) fresh blackberries or blueberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberry or elderberry preserves
For the Caramel Icing
  • 1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Serves: 12 to 16


To make the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the insides of two 9x1 1/2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with waxed paper rounds. Dust the pan sides with flour and tap out the excess flour.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and salt together. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Continue beating until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the preserves. Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, alternating with two equal additions of buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula, and mix just until smooth. Fold in the pecans and raisins. Divide the batter equally among the pans and spread it out evenly.

Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean and they have slightly pulled away from the sides of the pans, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the inside of each pan to release the cakes. Invert and unmold the cakes onto the racks and discard the paper. Using a wide spatula, turn the cakes right side up and cool completely.
Place one cake layer, upside down, on a 9-inch cardboard cake round or the removable bottom of a 9-inch tart pan.
To make the filling: Gently toss the berries with the preserves in a small bowl. Arrange the coated berries in a single layer on the cake layer. Cover with the second cake layer, top-side up. Place the cake on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
To make the icing: Do not make the icing until the cake is assembled. Bring the brown sugar, cream, butter and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking almost constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the mixture cook at a low boil, without stirring, for 2 minutes (use a timer). Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; mix until smooth. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of iced water and stir just until the icing cools a bit and thickens slightly but is still pourable, about 30 seconds.
Using a rubber spatula, immediately scrape and pour the warm icing over the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, smooth the icing over the cake top, coaxing the excess icing down the sides and letting it drip randomly. Let the icing set. (The cake can be stored at room temperature, covered with a tall cake dome, for about 8 hours.) Slice the cake with a thin, long knife dipped into hot water between slices, and serve.


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