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Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake is covered in caramel icing. This southern cake is a special dessert any time of year and it is very popular for Christmas.

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing

 

What makes this cake so special is the Blackberry Jam that’s mixed into the cake batter. It gives the cake a sweet and slightly tangy flavor that is accentuated by the ultra-sweet caramel icing.

In addition to blackberry jam this cake is also flavored with chopped walnuts and lots of spice: cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing

 

More traditionally, Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake have three layers, but it is much easier to make a 2 layer cake and you need one less cake pan.  🙂

If you like spice cake and you like caramel icing, you will love this cake.

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing

 

The cake layers are fabulously moist from all the jam added and the spices are so fragrant in every bite.

This is a distinctly southern cake that I believe has its roots with German settlers. It is very popular not only in Kentucky, but Tennessee as well.

Some Kentucky Jam Cakes use pecans so feel free to use them instead of walnuts.

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing

More Southern Cakes

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake is an old-fashioned southern layer cake with walnuts and caramel icing. Perfect for the holidays!
PREP: 20 mins
COOK: 40 mins
TOTAL: 1 hr
SERVINGS: 18

Ingredients

Cake Batter

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blackberry jam
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Caramel Icing

  • 10 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • walnuts for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time, scrapping down sides of the bowl in between additions.
  • Add the buttermilk, baking soda and jam and beat until incorporated.
  • Whisk together flour, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture in batches, beating just until combined. Stir in walnuts.
  • Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until they feel firm when pressed down on. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn them out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Prepare Caramel Icing. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add brown sugar, bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  • Stir milk in and transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Use electric mixer to beat mixture while gradually adding powdered sugar.
  • Place bottom cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Gradually pour about half the icing on top. You want the icing to have cooled enough so that it all doesn't run off the sides. Let the icing set up some and then place second layer on top.
  • Pour remaining icing on the top layer. Decorate with walnuts if desired.

Notes

For best results, have your eggs, jam, and buttermilk at room temperature.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern

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Recipe adapted from Nashville Eats

Blackberry Jam Cake on a cake stand.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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14 thoughts on “Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake”

  1. Found a recipe for this in an old Kentucky cookbook and eager to try it. Any thoughts on how to reduce fat a little without sacrificing tradition and taste?

  2. My Aunt Ruby (born 1907) received a very similar recipe from her grandmother. It was called Casey Creek Jam Cake and was named for that area of Kentucky. I have been enjoying this jam cake with caramel icing since I was a little boy. I was born in 1942. In our family it was not and is not made as a layer cake. It is a single layer baked in a tube Pan. The icing recipe is a little different but it is still caramel. The hand written note on the recipe states, “recipe over 100 years old – since civil War”, My daughter now makes this cake. Seven generations of our family have been enjoying this treat at Christmas. My Great Grandmother, who began the tradition, was born on a ship coming from Ireland in the 1800’s. Thanks for the Memories.

    1. I love this story Jim. My maternal grandmother was an excellent cook and she baked and cooked from scratch all the time. I was in my teens when she passed and never thought of trying to ask for recipes. Although so many of her baked goods I think she did with a little bit of this a little bit of that! I would love it if you would share your family recipe. It sounds wonderful.

  3. This cake was a big hit for Christmas this year. It’s easy to make and a beautiful, tasty delicious end result!

  4. Can I make this with a seedless blackberrry jam? I am unsure if there is a texture difference between seed in & seedless? Thank you

  5. Elaine Haley

    Nope on the blackberry pie filling but you could use strawberry but it will be a very different cake. Cake freezes well and also keeps well unfrozen for quite some time sealed in a cool tin. Mother put grape juice in hers about 1/3 cup but you can use liquor. I suggest a very sweet grape wine or even a blackberry cordial. Also I make them with Pecans since the hickory nuts mom used to put in them are hard to find now. Mother’s recipe also has molasses and more spice. She made 50 to 100 of them each Christmas for gifts.

  6. Can the sponges be baked in advance and frozen to be decorated at a later date? If so how long for?

    Thank you

  7. This is a good, dense, old-fashioned cake with an easy to make frosting. I used one recipe to make two smaller cakes (6-7″), split them in half and frosted them with 1 1/2 batches of the frosting. One was used for a 93 year old’s birthday and the other was for a luncheon.

    1. Emily Hutchinson

      My mother made this every Christmas. She made it about 2 weeks ahead and wrapped it uniced, in foil. Every couple of days she’d pour a little bourbon over the layers and then re-wrapped it.
      She kept in in a cool, dark place and iced it just before Christmas.

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