Friday, April 16, 2010

Kentucky Jam Cake

Well, we did it again. State number 2, Kentucky presented us with two solid choices: Kentucky Derby Bundt Cake (which looked fantastic) and Kentucky Jam (which was something we would probably never pick). We went with the later to expand our horizon. I'm a chocoholic and so it's hard to choose fruit/vanilla/spice flavors over it but we went with it and I am super glad we did! 
 This cross between basic buttermilk and spice cake was moist, dense, and not too sweet. Here's what ya need:

Dry Ingredients:
All-purpose Flour --3 cups
Baking Powder -- 1 tsp
Salt -- ¾ tsp
Cinnamon -- ½ tsp
Cloves, ground -- ½ tsp
Nutmeg, ground -- ½ tsp
Allspice -- ¼ tsp
Dried Currants -- (1 cup) WE DID NOT USE THESE!!

Wet Ingredients:
Buttermilk -- ¾ cup
Seedless Jam -- 1 cup (Any kind of JAM you want. We chose strawberry. Make sure it is seedless and that you don't substitute preserves or jelly)
Vanilla Extract -- 2 tsp

Creaming Ingredients:
Unsalted butter -- 1 ½ sticks
Granulated sugar -- 2 cups
Eggs -- 6
For the Caramel Frosting
Light brown sugar --1 cup
Heavy cream   -- 1 cup
Unsalted butter  -- ½ stick
Vanilla extract --1 tsp
Kosher salt -- 2 pinches
Chopped Pecans -- (eye ball this... as much or little as you like)
And here is what ya do:
1. Preheat oven to 335 and place the baking rack in the middle position. Line the bottom of two 9x2 inch round pans with parchment paper
2. Measure dry ingredients and wet ingredients into separate bowls. Whisk together and set aside.

3. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes. (If you have a standing mixture, USE it! That will save your arm much pain!) Do this until well creamed.
4. Add eggs one at a time
5. Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients about a quarter at a time. Scrape the sides of mixing bowl with spatula and mix for about 20 seconds with each addition
6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake about 35-40 minutes (edges will be just crispy and a toothpick should come out clean in the center)
7. Cool cakes 15 minutes and invert onto a wire rack.
8. To make caramel frosting, measure all ingredients into a heavy bottom 2-quart pot and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium high and heat until 240 degrees (use a candy thermometer). Since our candy thermometer didn't work, we had to eye ball it. Don't be concerned when it starts boiling. Be patient until it begins to resemble a non-hardened caramel sauce. You'll know!

9. Immediately remove mixture from heat and let rest one minute in the pot. Transfer into another bowl and mix for about five minutes with standing mixer or hand mixer. 

10. Once cakes have cooled, use caramel frosting to assemble the layer cake. Add pecans as you see fit.
11. OPTIONAL: we LOVE frosting, and this recipe didn't come out with goo-gobs. Next time we make this recipe, we plan to double the caramel frosting so we can get some on the sides of the cake (you'll see the pictures). Feel free to double this, if you too like frosting!
It came out moist and warm and spicy and light. It was so tasty. The frosting was to die for. I'm usually not a fan of any nuts in my dessert but the pecans added a nice toasty crunch. Mmm... I guess I'm a convert after all! Happy Eating!

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