Back in the day, when sugar was difficult to come by in certain rural areas of America, jam was often used as the sweetener. Homemade jam and preserves were more abundant in most household cupboards, and not only provided sweetness, but were used as flavoring agents, in baked goods. This bundt cake recipe, founded in areas of Appalachia where mining was predominant, and resources often scarce, became a classic favorite, and still remains popular in the south today.
Bundt cakes are hardier desserts and can hold up to additions like jams, jellies or preserves. The batter tends to be more structurally sound, than a Genoise (French sponge cake), while still offering a soft-crumb consistency. Nuts, spices and a touch of cocoa are folded into this Tennessee bundt, giving it colors that are similar to a red velvet cake, minus the red dye, but with a delicate wintery taste. Allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg give each bite a warming sensation that I often associate with the holiday season however, its balance of flavors make it an enjoyable treat most any time of the year.
The caramel frosting, quickly made on the stove top, provides a glossy finish to roll down the sides of this swirling bundt. The contrasting tastes of toffee with a mildly nutty fruited cake makes it perfect with a cup of coffee or tea at mid-afternoon, or served for dessert on a chilly night. The recipe calls for seedless jam, but if you don’t mind a few seeds, any berry jam will do just fine.
1 1/2 cups whole pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk, or 1 cup whole milk with 2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 cups seedless blackberry, huckleberry, boysenberry or blueberry jam
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
(Makes 1 Cake)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 10-cup bundt pan.
- In stand mixer or large bowl, cream butter and sugar on high speed for 3 minutes. Add vanilla and mix for 1 minute. Add eggs one-at-a-time, mixing in between.
- Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and spices, mix on low for 1 minute. Add buttermilk and mix for 1 minute. Add jam and mix, just until combined, about another minute. Fold in chopped pecans.
- Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.
- Remove and let cool in pan for 30 minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool completely.
- In a saucepan combine, brown sugar, whipping cream and butter. Whisk over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Whisk in powdered sugar. Set aside, whisk again, repeat, until cooled, about 10 minutes total.
- Place cake on stand or plate and pour frosting over top of cake. Enjoy!