Monday, December 17, 2012

The CHRISTMAS CAKE or Old-fashioned Southern Jam Cake with Cooked Filling and Easy Caramel Icing

Sometimes there aren’t words to describe emotion or taste . . . when you take a bite of this lusciousness on your fork you will understand what I mean. It’s beyond the realm of my vocabulary. Make it 2 to 4 days ahead and store covered, allowing it to mellow and the flavors to mix and the cake becomes moist. It’s a bunch of stuff in the cake, but easy to make. Many people refer to this as The Christmas Cake.

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup oil
6 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup buttermilk
3-3/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup blackberry preserves or jam, finely chopped
1 cup yellow raisins
1 cup fig preserves or jam, finely chopped
1 cup pear preserves, finely chopped
1 cup nuts, toasted and chopped
6 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Cream sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy; add oil and mix well. Add egg yolks; mix well. Add mixture of soda and buttermilk alternately with mixture of flour and spices; mix well. Add jams and or preserves, raisins, and nuts; mix well. Fold in egg whites. Reserve 1-1/2 cups of batter for filling. Pour remaining batter into 3 greased and floured cake pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool on wire racks. Spread Jam Cake Filling between layers of cake. Frost with Caramel Icing. NOTE: you can substitute your favorite jams. I have used Plum Jelly in place of one of the jams; sometimes use Strawberry Jam; and sometimes I use the Blackberry Preserves twice in place of the pear for a darker cake – it’s up to you.
Jam Cake Filling
1-1/2 cups reserved Jam Cake batter
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Simmer until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool.
Easy Caramel Icing
3 cups sugar
1 stick butter (not margarine)
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
Pour 1/2 cup sugar in a small, heavy skillet, and melt over low heat, stirring as needed. Place remaining sugar, butter and whipping cream in saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour melted sugar slowly into boiling mixture, stirring constantly. (Adjust heat under mixture, if necessary, so it will be boiling when melted sugar is poured in. This prevents the sugar from lumping.) Cook to soft-ball stage (use a candy thermometer if available.) Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, add a dash of salt and beat until thick enough to spread.

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