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Grandmother Lillian’s Christmas Jam Cake


Submitted by Marie Cavanah


  • 1 C butter (no substitutes)
  • 1 C dark molasses
  • 2 C sugar 4 farm fresh eggs (farmers market Kentucky Proud eggs)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1⁄2 C buttermilk
  • 4 C flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1⁄2 C raisins 2 C blackberry jam (home-canned jam from farmers market blackberries is best)
  • Caramel Icing - 2 C dark brown sugar
  • 7 Tbsp evaporated milk
  • 1⁄2 C butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9×13-inch pan or put batter in three 9” round pans if desired.

Cream together butter, molasses and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 

Add baking soda and baking powder to the buttermilk. Be sure to use a container with plenty of room at the top because once the baking soda and baking powder are added to the buttermilk the mixture will expand and rise.

In another bowl, mix together flour and spices. 

Alternate adding flour and buttermilk mixtures to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition. End with the flour mixture. Then stir inblackberry jam and raisins.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the center springs back and the cake slightly pulls away from the sides of the pan. This a heavy cake, so it may take a while for it to cook thoroughly. If the sides of the cake seem to be cooking too fast, lower the temperature to 350°.  

Caramel Icing:

In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir well and reduce heat so mixture boils gently. Cook for 7 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Beat icing with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes to thicken. Ice cake quickly. Makes 12 servings.

Note: If making cake rounds, blackberry jam between the layers makes a nice filling. 

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