Blackberry Jam Cake

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Preparation info

  • Makes one 10 inch tube cake, about


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This was a standard of the 19th-century American baking repertoire and deserves to be better known again. I came across the recipe so many times during a several month period—mostly in 19th- and early 20th-century handwritten manuscript cookbooks—that my curiosity got the better of me and I sat down with as many versions of the recipe as I could find and compared them. Only the more recent versions called for the cocoa, which imparts a very subtle flavor and a bit of color to the batter. Aside from that, most of the recipes were quite similar. The seedless jam is my innovation— I think it’s a little better than chomping down on those enormous blackberry seeds.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 2 tablespoons alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks/8 ounces/225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup seedless blackberry jam
  • One 12-cup tube or Bundt pan, buttered, coated with fine, dry bread crumbs, and sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray


  1. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. For the cake batter, stir together the flour, cocoa, spices, and baking soda; set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar with the paddle on medium speed until light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition.
  4. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and toss it with the raisins and walnuts to coat. Beat in ⅓ of the Hour mixture on lowest speed. Stop and scrape down the bowl and beat, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in half of the remaining Hour mixture, then stop and scrape. Beat in the remaining buttermilk, followed by the remaining Hour mixture. Beat in the jam, then the raisins and walnuts.
  5. Use a large rubber spatula to give a final stir to the batter, then scrape it into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until it is well risen and firm, and a toothpick inserted between the side of the pan and the central tube emerges dry, about 1 hour.
  6. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then unmold onto a rack to cool.


If you bake this cake during blackberry season, serve it with some sugared blackberries on the side.


Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage. Defrost the cake and bring it to room temperature before serving.