Thursday, March 13, 2008

[Cake] Olga's Jam Cake

Okay, here's another from my Baba's trove. I was starting to think I didn't have anything useful to add, cooking-wise - then I realized that, at the very least, I have all my Baba's recipes. Which, if nothing else, you should go make the Borscht. Trust me on this.

Anyhow, here's another of her recipes growing up. You might find it a bit dry - I don't. The combination of the crumbliness of the cake and the jam holding it together works really well. I used Raspberry Preserves this last time - go for seedless. Strawberry also works really well with this.

Baba's Jam Cake
1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
3 cups AP flour
1.5 teaspoon baking powder (less if wanting a denser consistency)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sour cream
18-24 Ounce jar of Fruit Preserves (your choice of flavor)

* Set butter & margarine out so they soften
* Cream butter/margarine & sugar (aka put them in the mixer, and let them mix for 3-5 minutes on medium. The color will lighten and it'll get a little fluffy)
* Mix everything but the flour together
* Mix in flour with a spoon (practically, I do everything in my kitchenaid, paddle attachment, then add the flower in small installments, on low.)
* Take 3/4 of the dough and put in a 9x12 pan (or cookie sheet, but it needs to be 1-1.5 inches deep). Make it even with a knife/spatula/etc.
* Pour your preserves over this (1.5 pounds, aka 18-24 ounce jar) Using a knife, spread it evenly over the cake
* Take that last 1/4 of dough, add flour, and roll it out into strips. Make a lattice, taking care to include all 4 sides of the pan.

This was the hardest part for me, never having made it before. What I did was to take the last 1/4 of dough, put it on a sheet of wax paper, fold the wax paper over (so it's covered) then roll out to about the right length. Stick in the freezer 20-30 minutes. Bring it out, and quickly cut the strips with a pizza cutter, and lay them out. I didn't do anything fancy - one strip on each edge (yes, some will be too long. Cut them short.), then lengthwise, then widthwise. You're making a crisscross pattern. If you want to get fancy do every other stripe in one direction, then the other, then finish the first direction, then the other.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Watch it starting at about 40 minutes. One thing you're also looking for, besides being Golden Brown on the lattice, is that the jam/preserves "crystallize". It winds up being just a little crunchy, probably due to the jam caramellizing (is that how it's spelled?). The first time I did it it came out perfectly. The second time it didn't gel, and so you didn't wind up with that wonderful texture. My only other thought, besides "I pulled it out too early", was that I used Jam instead of preserves. Ironic since it's called "Jam cake", so I bet I just pulled it early.
-- TBD

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