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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 on a cake stand.

Blackberry Jam

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 topped with walnuts on a cake stand.

More traditionally, this cake has 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.

Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake Origins

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.

Recipe Tips

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

Cook’s Note: Measure the Flour Correctly

When making cakes, it’s important to measure the flour correctly. The addition of even a little too much flour can make the cake dry. Fluff the flour up in the bag or container and then use a large spoon to spoon it into a large dry measuring cup. Overfill it a little and then run the back of a knife across the top to get rid of the excess.

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 minutes
COOK: 40 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour


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


  • 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, scraping 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.


For best results, have your eggs, jam, and buttermilk at room temperature.
Can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.


Calories: 566kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: layer cake

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Originally published October 21, 2018.

Recipe adapted from Nashville Eats

Blackberry Jam Cake on a cake stand.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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41 thoughts on “Kentucky Blackberry Jam Cake”

  1. This cake is amazing. I’ve made it several times for church functions. There is never a bite left! Since it is so rich, I do just one layer per cake plate. I split the layer and then spread blackberry jam between the two layers I made from slicing through the one layer.

    The icing is also easy to make and wonderful. This also freezers well before and after putting on the icing.

    I normally get three round layers per recipe. It’s just a bit too much batter for two layers in my pans. I use parchment paper liners also.

  2. Phyllis Drees

    I made this today and it came out perfect. I used Lucky Claver Farm blackberry jam made here in Kentucky….it has seeds and is so good. Thanks to the women on here who said using jam with seeds would make it moist. It was!

  3. wavelene Gentry

    A true Ky Jam cake is not a layer cake, My mother made them at 100 years ago and she made hers in a tube pan . Thanks

  4. Janet Robbins

    Made for a special friend, she loved it.
    I baked it in a disposable cake pan, I had enough batter left to fill a square disposable pan.
    So I also enjoyed the fruits of my labor.
    I also added a cup of fresh blackberries. I will definitely make again.
    Oh and the icing, just give me a spoon.

  5. I should probably wait until my family tastes it, but it looks so pretty! My great-grandmother used to make this cake & no one has been able to replicate it sincdaye she passed away. I hope this is close to hers!!

  6. Kellie Patterson

    I baked this today for my dad’s birthday. It taste wonderful but the top layer was so heavy, it started to slide off the bottom layer as I was pouring the Carmel Icing. What did I do wrong?

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