Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pistachio and Rose Water Meringues


There were a million things I should have been doing this weekend. Packing for my upcoming trip; planning my menu for next week's dinner party; finish reading a book I started eons ago so I can start reading the others piling up; purging my closets of clothes highly unlikely to be ever worn again; making order out of the disorder in one of the storage rooms in the basement; doing some research for recipes on my list to try. In other words, anything other than trying out a new recipe. Without too much hesitation, I decided the best use of my time would be to finally get around making Ottolenghi's Pistachio and Rose Water Meringues. (Spoiler Alert: It was or at least I thought so!) The first time I saw a photo of these beautiful, love at first bite, giant, chalkwhite, glossy confections, I was awestruck. However, the discovery made after tasting them was even better. They were unlike any other meringue I had ever tasted. It was their textural contrast, the crunchy exterior and pillowy interior, that redefined what I thought a meringue really was or could ever be. I was in meringue nirvana.

I couldn't have been happier with my decision to spend time in the kitchen. Because giddy may be the best word to describe how I felt when the Pistachio and Rose Water Meringues came out of the oven.


Two kitchen tools are essential to creating a thick, shiny and billowing meringue and ultimately these crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside meringues. Those tools would be: a standing mixer with a whisk attachment and a metric measuring scale. They make what almost seems impossible, possible. You might be able to get away without having a metric scale (although precision in this recipe is rather important), but not without a standing mixer. If by chance you don't have one or other, this confection should more than justify the purchase of one or both of them. Or maybe I should be a little more emphatic and say they most definitely will.

The techniques for making these meringues is different from most other meringue recipes I have come across or tried. But then again no other meringue has looked or tasted like these. To start, the sugar is heated in a 400 degree (F) oven for approximately 8 minutes before slowly added to the slightly beaten, frothy egg whites. While heating the sugar may seem a little unusual, the heat helps to stabilize the egg whites. 

The meringue recipe called for use of superfine sugar. Also known as caster sugar or Baker's Sugar. If you cannot find any of these sugars, you can make your own superfine sugar by processing granulated sugar in a food processor until it has the texture of fine sand (it worked perfectly). Weighing your sugar on a digital scale before putting it in the food processor helps to ensure your sugar measurement remains accurate. If you don't have a scale and are using the measuring cup method, add a couple of extra tablespoons of sugar before processing to account for the reduction in volume.

In his cookbook, Ottolenghi: The Cookbooka Lebanese brand rose water (e.g., Cortas) was recommended. However, I used Nielsen Massey's Rose Water Extract instead. Regardless of which rose water brand used, know that it has a sweet distinctive, but not at all overpowering flavor. One which not everyone may be a fan of. For this reason, I recommend you add only one teaspoon of the rosewater when adding the sugar to the egg whites. Taste your meringue before deciding whether to add the second or even a third teaspoon of the rose water. Alternately, forget using the rose water altogether and use two teaspoons of vanilla. (Hint: If you use a clear vanilla extract, your meringues will be as white as a billowy cloud in the sky.)


As soon as you take the sugar out of the oven, turn the temperature down to 225 degrees (F). To aid in reducing the oven's temperature from 400 degrees (F) to 225 degrees (F), I left my oven door slightly ajar for a couple of minutes. Not sure if this really works to helping bring the oven temperature down, but at least I felt better.

Ottolenghi's recipe called for whisking the egg whites, sugar and rose water on high speed for 10 minutes, or until the meringue is cold. Somewhere around the 6 minute mark I tested the meringue. While it wasn't 'warm', it wasn't quite cold. But it was thick and had the right kind of glossy sheen. Torn between following the meringue master and trusting my instincts, I ended up whisking the meringue for almost 8 minutes before turned almost 'too thick' and lost its' beautiful glossy sheen. Beating the mixture for 8 or 10 minutes is not as important as having your meringue hold it shape when lifted from the bowl and retain a homogenously silky texture. 


The meringues are shaped using two large spoons (think slightly larger than a tablespoon). One spoon to scoop up a large dollop of meringue (think medium sized apple) and another spoon to scoop onto the prepared baking pan. Instead of first placing the meringues in a plate of finely chopped pistachios, I placed them directly on the pan and then sprinkled pistachios over them. Next time, I will be a little more generous with the pistachios.

I used two 12"x18" baking pans lined with parchment paper. Because the meringues almost double in size during the baking process, I recommend putting only six (6) mounds of the meringue on each. 


The meringues bake for approximately two (2) hours. During the baking process rotate your trays, back to front and top to bottom, every thirty minutes to ensure they bake evenly.

To test the meringues for doneness, lift from the pan, gently prod to make sure the outside is completely firm and the center is still a little soft. You might be wondering 'how do I test the center without breaking open one of the beautiful meringues?'. Without the benefit of having x-ray vision, you have to trust the two hour baking time and the constant 225 degrees (F) oven temperature will work its' magic. But if for any reason you have trust issues, go ahead and break one open (but you really shouldn't have to). When the meringues are done, the inside will have a marshmallowy-like texture.


Considering this was the first time I made the Pistachio and Rose Water Meringues, I could not have been more thrilled with how they tasted and looked (not yet to the level of Ottolenghi perfection but each one was uniquely beautiful). I cannot wait until you experience their amazing contrast of textures. Crunchy on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside. 

There are an almost infinite number of variations to these meringues. Instead of using rose water and pistachios, use vanilla and pistachios or vanilla and almonds or hazelnuts. Or use vanilla only and swirl some cooled melted dark chocolate into the meringue mixture and lightly dust with cocoa powder before baking them. Or maybe add some espresso powder (about 1/2 teaspoon) along with the cooled melted dark chocolate into the meringue mixture before baking them. The possibilities are almost endless.


If you are looking for a new, eye-widening, incredibly scrumptious confection to serve to your family and friends, make these Pistachio and Rose Water Meringues. Nothing may be more impressive or show stopping than a cake stand piled high with these blissfully divine meringues. Nothing. 

Recipe
Pistachio and Rose Water Meringues (inspired by the Pistachio and Rose Water Meringues from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)
Makes 12-14 large meringues

Ingredients
3 cups (600 g caster, superfine, or Baker's sugar)
10 1/2 ounces (300 g) free-range egg whites, from about 9 to 10 large eggs
1 -2 teaspoons rose water (or 2 teaspoons vanilla, see Notes below)
1/2 cup (60 g) raw pistachio nuts, finely chopped

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Spread pistachios on a flat plate and set aside.
2. Separate egg whites. (Reserve egg yolks for another use.) Place in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, ensuring the paper comes up the edges of the pan. Spread sugar evenly on baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes or until sugar is hot, over 212 degrees (F). The sugar may begin to dissolve at the edges.
4. While the sugar is in the oven, whisk the egg whites on high speed until the whites begin to froth up (about 1-2 minutes). 
5. After removing the sugar from the oven, reduce the oven temperature down to 225 degrees (F).
6. Carefully and slowly pour the hot sugar into the whisked whites. Add the rose water. Whisk mixture on high speed for up to 10 minutes or until the meringue is cold and looks homogenously silky. At this point, they should keep their shape when you lift a bit from the bowl. Note: Taste the meringue. If you want a more distinctive rose flavor, add a bit more and fold in. 
7. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Put a small dab of the meringue on the underneath corners of the parchment paper so it sticks firmly to the pan.
8. Have two large spoons (oversized tablespoons) ready. Use one of them to scoop up a big dollop of meringue (the size of a medium-sized apple). Then use the other spoon to scrape it off and place on the baking sheet. Generously sprinkle the top of each meringue with the finely ground pistachios. Repeat to  make more meringues, spacing them well apart on the pan as they will almost double in size in the oven. Note: Alternately place the meringue on the plate of chopped pistachios. Roll the meringue so it is covered with nuts on one side. Gently place the meringue on the prepared baking sheet. 
9. Place in oven and bake for approximately 2 hours. To check for doneness, lift them from the pan and gently prod to make sure the outside is completely firm and the center is still a little soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on baking sheet.
10. The meringues will keep in a dry place, at room temperature, for quite a few days. 

Notes: (1) If using a 12"x18" sized baking tray to bake the meringues, you will need two of them. Put no more than 6 meringues on each tray as they almost double in size during baking. (2) If your oven isn't wide enough to put trays on a single rack, rotate the trays every 30 minutes to ensure even baking. (3) When whisking the egg/sugar mixture, check the consistency and temperature of the mixture starting at 6 minutes. It is important for the meringue to remain shiny and hold its shape when scooped with a spoon. (4) Instead of rose water, consider using vanilla extract. If using the rose water, recommend begin using only 1 teaspoon when whisking the egg/sugar mixture. Taste before adding the additional teaspoon. While I loved the taste of the meringues made with 2 teaspoons of the rose water, some found the flavor too overwhelming. (5) A standing mixer with a whisk attachment is a must for making these meringues. (6) Strongly recommend using a metric scale to measure the ingredients. (7) The recipe makes 12-14 humungous meringues. If you only want or need 6-7 of them, cut the ingredients in half.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cinco de Mayo Round-Up

Happy Cinco de Mayo! However you decide to celebrate, I hope it includes some great food and beverages. And it goes without saying, a really good tequila! One of the great things about the foods typically enjoyed on Cinco de Mayo is they are all great year round. I mean, can you imagine if we waited to eat guacamole and drink margaritas once a year? The mere thought of this is almost unfathomable. So here are some recipes to include in your fiesta as well as in any of your upcoming gatherings.
















Amy's Shortbread Cookies - Cinco de Mayo Style


Monday, May 1, 2017

Apple Cake


A foodblogger recently posted to Instagram a photo of some of the 'vintage' Gourmet magazines she scored from her parents house. As someone who only recently and discretionally purged years worth, or rather decades worth, of some of my food magazines, I thought how much happier her parents must have been to see their collection find a good home. Freeing up storage space, the icing on the cake. If her parents were anything like me, I would venture to guess many of these magazines had not seen the light of day in a very, very long time. However, as ridiculous as this may sound to many of you, the idea of putting any source of inspiration in a recycling bin is something on par with making any one of life's gut wrenching decisions. Over the years I became incredibly skilled at rejecting all of the myths framed as rational arguments for reducing my food magazine collection. Myth 1: "All of the recipes can be found online." Definitely not true. Myth 2: "It would take you two lifetimes to make all of the recipes in those magazines." Probably true. But one newly rediscovered recipe could make a meal legendary. Myth 3: "Along your collection of cookbooks, it isn't humanly possible to find the magazine with the recipe for a dish you had made once, maybe twice." Some of us with strong visual memories can usually find the needle in the haystack. Although, as time goes on and the number of cookbooks and magazines continue to increase, I may be forced to accept this one as fact.


The Instagram post caused me to shift my attention from boxes of stored food magazines to the significant number of cookbooks I had not opened in awhile. Quite awhile actually. Parting with food magazines is one thing, but parting with cookbooks?! Unless they are going to a home of someone I love, this would be sacrilegious in my world. As I scanned the bookshelves, my eyes were drawn to my collection of Maida Heatter's cookbooks. For those of you who, for any number of reasons had never heard of or made any of her recipes, she is genuinely a baking goddess. Definitely someone to learn from. A self-taught baker, she graciously shared her knowledge of baking in nine cookbooks. It was in her first cookbook, Maida Heatter's 1974 edition of the Book of Great Desserts, where I gain confidence as a baker as my knowledge of baking deepened. Her books might best be described as containing recipes falling into those elusive 'heirloom and 'foolproof' categories. "Her recipes are known for their precision; each step in integral, each ingredient is essential. Her sense of time and care when it comes to baking are impeccable...." wrote Food52 in a great tribute article shortly after her 100th birthday last September. As precise as they may be, all of her recipes are easily accessible to the home baker.


I pulled one of my two copies of her book Maida Heatter's Best Desserts Book Ever off the shelf. (Yes, I have two of these books. I won't even begin to explain why I have two of them.) As the weather was a bit gloomy, I was in the mood to bake a cake. As I was skimming through the book, the "Apple Cake from the Catskills' was one of the recipes catching my attention. In her description, she wrote 'once you have made it you will want to make it again and again'. Simple, genuine, honest, words and a prophetic endorsement. After reading them, there wasn't any doubt as to which cake I would be making.


Other than finishing the cake with a confectionary sugar glaze instead of a confectionary sugar dusting, I wasn't going to make any other recipe ingredient changes on my first attempt at baking this cake. Sometimes you need to, or rather should, trust the baking goddess.


The recipe specified Granny Smith apples. So Granny Smith apples it was going to be. 


The most time consuming part of assembling this Apple Cake is peeling, coring, and cutting the 1 3/4 pounds of apples into a 1/3" dice. Some of my pieces may have unintentionally and only slightly exceeded the 1/3" size. Fortunately, that didn't seem to be a deal breaker in this cake.


You should have everything you need for this cake in your refrigerator or pantry. Which means, if there was ever a cake you could bake on a whim, this would be it.

The sequence of making the batter is unlike that of most cake batters. It begins with beating the eggs to mix. Then beating in the oil, vanilla, granulated sugar and apple juice (or Calvados or applejack). Lastly, the sifted dry ingredients are mixed in at low speed until the batter is smooth (and it will be on the thick side). 

I thought my favorite Nordicware Heritage Pan fell within the recommended bundt pan size (13-14 cup capacity) for this cake. I learned after the fact it wasn't (it's capacity is 10 cups). Whether or not it was my lucky day or lucky pan, it worked. You need a large capacity pan to hold the batter, apple/nut/raisin, and spiced sugar mixture. Unless you place a baking pan under the bundt when it goes into the oven, the intoxicating aroma of the cake baking will be ruined with that of burnt cake drippings. Because I love the finished look any any cake baked in this pan I would use it again in the making of this cake.  Only next time I will put a pan lined with aluminum foil underneath to catch any overflow drippings.


Even if you use a non-stick bundt pan, you will still need to be prepared it using a vegetable spray (or butter) and dusting of flour (of fine bread crumbs). 

This Apple Cake is layered. After pouring in half of the batter into the pan, half of the apples/raisins/walnuts and half of the spiced sugar mixture are added. This sequence is repeated again before the cake is tightly covered with aluminum foil and placed onto the lower rack of a preheated 350 degree (F) oven. Once the Apple Cakes bakes for 25 minutes with the tight aluminum foil cover, it continues to bake for another 75 to 85 minutes without it. (Important note: You will cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil for the last 25-30 minutes of baking to ensure the top does not over brown.) The total baking time for this cake ranges from 1 hour and 40 minutes to 1 hour and 50 minutes). My baking time was closer to 1 hour and 50 minutes (but this may have been due in part to the size of my bundt pan).

After the baked cake is removed from the oven, it should be allowed to rest on a cooling rack for 20 minutes before it is unmolded. And then allowed to cool whether you are finishing it with a confectionary sugar glaze or dusting of confectionary sugar. I waited at least 30-40 minutes before glazing.


Maida Heatter was right. You will want to make this cake again and again. The exterior of the cake had a perfect crunch-like texture and the interior is not only moist, but evenly fruity and spicy. It is everything a great apple cake should be. If you love apple cakes, you will be mad for this one. 


After I posted a photo of this cake on one of my social media pages, a friend asked if the recipe called for the flowers. Laughing, I told her it didn't. But I just couldn't resist decorating this cake with some of the most beautiful blooms from the white flowering crab apple tree. In the event you don't have any edible or non-toxic flowers available to you when you make this cake, please know it is equally beautiful without them. And definitely, no less delicious. 

Happy May Day everyone! I hope you bring someone important to you flowers today! I also hope you make this Apple Cake. Because just as the baking goddess Maida Heatter said, 'once you have made it you will want to make it again and again'.

Recipe
Apple Cake (a very slight adaptation to the Apple Cake from the Catskills recipe in Maida Heatter's Best Dessert Book Ever cookbook)
Serves 10-12 

Ingredients
Spiced Sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (or canola oil)
2 teaspoons good quality vanilla 
1/3 cup apple juice (or Calvados, applejack or brandy)
Generous 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (divided)
Generous 1/2 cup raisins (divided)
1 3/4 pounds (about 5-6) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3" chunks (divided)

Glaze
1 1/4 cups confectionary sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
2 to 3 Tablespoons whole milk (begin with 2 Tablespoons and add in 1 teaspoon increments if needed)
Pinch of sea salt

Directions
Spiced Sugar
1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cinnamon.
2. Whisk until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven. Spray a 13-14 cup capacity bundt pan and dust with flour or fine bread crumbs. Tap out excess. Set the pan aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs to mix.
4. Add in oil, vanilla, apple juice and granulated sugar, beating until blended.
5. On low speed, add the dry ingredients. Beat only until smooth.
6. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.
7. Sprinkle with half of the chopped apples, walnuts and raisins. Press down lightly into the batter.
8. Sprinkle 3 1/2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar over top. Note: This is approximately half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
9. Repeat with remaining batter, apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon sugar.
10. Cover the top of pan with aluminum foil, folding down to make it airtight. Note: If batter comes to top of your bundt pan, dome the aluminum foil as the cake will rise.
11. Put bundt pan in oven. bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Note: Place a baking sheet under the bundt pan as the the batter may drip over sides of the pan.
12. Return cake to the oven and continue baking for 75 to 85 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cover pan loosely with foil during the last 30 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. 
13. Remove from oven. Place bundt pan on cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes.
14. Top the pan with a wide cake platter or cake stand. Turn the pan and plate upside down. Remove the pan. Let cake cool completely before icing. Note: Wait at least 30 minutes or the icing may melt into the cake.

Glaze and Assembly
1. Whisk together confectionary sugar, vanilla, and milk until you have a thick but pourable consistency.
2. Pour icing over the cooled cake. Allow icing to set (approximately 15 minutes).
3. Serve immediately.

Notes: (1) The original recipe called for a dusting of confectionary sugar versus a confectionary sugar glaze. (2) Use a beautifully shaped bundt pan to give this cake an impressive presentation. The Nordicware Heritage Pan is one of my favorites. It is only a 10 cup capacity, however, it worked perfectly. (3) Mixing the glaze in a pourable glass measuring cup makes it easy to evenly ice the cake. (4) If you want your cake completely glazed, double the confectionary sugar glaze ingredients. (5) I very lightly pressed the apples/walnuts/raisins and spiced sugar into each batter layer as I was unsure if they will evenly sink into the batter during batter. The light pressing turned out to be a good idea.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sugared Jam Cake


"Don't take mirrors seriously. Your true reflection is in your heart." (Anonymous) Over the course of the past several months I have become slightly addicted to yoga. While I may never or rather will never master any of the poses, yoga has enabled me to come to the place where 'progress not perfection' matters more than anything. Considering I am a first born, perfectionist Virgo, this way of thinking is nothing short of a head spinning, 'who is this?', 180 degree shift. And almost nothing can keep me away from this newly discovered guilty pleasure. Not even the first pose in the restorative class, the extreme heat in hot yoga, or the angst causing, recycled circus mirrors lining some of the walls. Amongst my running-yoga friends it seemed I was the only one who viewed the mirrors in the same suspicious way. Until one day one of them decided to look at herself in one of the mirrors in her house before taking the three minute drive to the yoga studio. Before teasingly cursing me for bringing her attention to these mirrors, she said 'the person who left the house was not the same person who showed up for yoga'. Well, there are moments of redemption, and then there are MOMENTS of redemption. This was definitely the latter. Imagine how good it felt to have an incredibly fit, self-confident friend also believe there was something a little off with the mirrors! It felt almost as good as this what I believed was going to be a ruined Sugared Jam Cake!


For an Easter eve dinner I decided to make and bring this Sugared Jam Cake to my sister's house. Although I had never made the cake before I completely trusted the recipe. Yet in spite of reading the recipe a couple of times, I made what I thought was going to be one of those epic fail cakes. I had made one those mistakes you realize a minute too late you can't reverse.


Each of the elements of the Sugared Jam Cake was insanely delicious. The homemade Blueberry Blackberry Jam was better than any small or large batch jam you could buy in the gourmet section of any food store. The cake itself had great texture and an even better taste. But I worried using too much of the jam in the cake was going to the deal breaker. So I texted my sister to tell her I was bringing the cake, but would also back-up plan dessert, just in case. Why I was even bringing a cake I thought I ruined was completely out-of-character for me. But a small part of me held out hope that the parts of the cake would override the whole of the cake.

I could go on endlessly about the Blueberry-Blackberry Jam. It's relatively easy to make and should be something you have in your refrigerator all of the time. Yes, all of the time. There are two important things you need to know about it. First, it yields two cups of jam. Since you only need 3/4 cup for the cake, you will have plenty left to spread on toast, over peanut butter, over whipped ricotta cheese on crostini, or eat directly off of a spoon. Second, the process of making this jam takes almost 4 hours. Would recommend you make the jam at least one day before you plan on baking up this Sugared Jam Cake.

The berries, sugar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice macerate for 2 (yes 2) hours before the cooking process begins. After bringing the mixture to a boil at medium-high heat and cooking for 5 minutes, the heat is reduced to medium. It will continue to cook for 20-45 minutes. My cooking time was closer to 30 minutes. Due to the fact this isn't summer fresh berry season and berries are super summer ripe, it took a little longer for the jam mixture to thicken to the right consistency. The riper the berries, the shorter the cooking time. The recipe called for mashing the berries with a potato masher during the cooking process. However, I wanted the jam to be slightly textured with pieces of berries, so I didn't mash them to smithereens. After the jam thickens and cools (it needs an hour to cool before jarring), divide and put into 2 jars. Hint: I am helping you not make the same mistake I did.


The cake is one of those only two bowls and a whisk needed ones. While it calls for the use of freshly grated nutmeg, you can use ground nutmeg. It also lists vanilla bean paste as one of the ingredients, but you can use vanilla extract). Other than that, you should have all of the other necessary ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator. When it all comes together your batter should be on the thick side.


Half of the batter is spread over the bottom of the buttered-floured parchment paper lined 8 inch backing pan. The remaining batter is spooned into a pastry bag. After piping a ring of the batter around the edge of the pan, you will spread 3/4 cup of the homemade jam in the center of the ring. And not the full 2 cups of jam like I did! The remaining batter is piped over the top of the jam and smoothed with an offset spatula.


The cake bakes for 55-60 minutes in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven. To prevent the top from over-browning you may need to cover it loosely with aluminum foil for the last 30 minutes of baking time. Note: I didn't cover mine. The finished cake will have a slightly domed, beautiful golden brown top. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick along the edge of the cake. If you insert it in the middle, jam will come out and you won't be able to determine the doneness of the cake's crumb.


After the cake rests for 10-15 minutes, remove from the pan onto a cooling rack. Invert the cake before putting on a cake stand or platter. To give it it's jelly doughnut finish, the entire cake is brushed with melted butter and then sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar mixture. If there was ever a cake perfect for both brunch and a dinner party, this Sugared Jam Cake would be the one. 


So what happened when we finally cut into the cake? Well, the bottom layer of the cake was almost completely absorbed by the jam so it didn't have the cake/jam/cake layered look when it was cut. In spite of this, everyone devoured their slice. They were in jelly-jelly doughnut heaven. Although I was relieved it got rave reviews, next time I will definitely make this cake with only 3/4 cup (maybe a full cup) of the homemade jam. Not only will make this cake again and again, I will definitely make the jam again.

The finished cake photos may not cause it to be one to go viral or get hundreds or thousands of likes. But trust me, the recipe is one that should. Sometimes what we think we see with our eyes doesn't tell the whole story. If you love jelly doughnuts, you and everyone you serve it to will fall deeply, madly in love with this Sugared Jam Cake. If this cake were in a bakery, you should willingly stand in line to get it. It's that good.

Recipe
Sugared Jam Cake (inspired by the Sugared Jam Cake recipe from Bake from Scratch: Artisan Recipes for the Home Baker cookbook)

Ingredients
Blueberry-Blackberry Jam
1/2 pound fresh blackberries
1/2 pound fresh blueberries
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 1 medium or large sized lemon


Cake
2 1/2 cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
3/4 cup Blueberry-Blackberry Jam

Topping
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Blueberry-Blackberry Jam (Makes 2 cups aka MORE than you need for this cake)
1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon and allow to sit to 2 hours.
2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stirring frequently, cook for 5 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium and cook, while stirring frequently, until mixture thickens (ranges from 20-45 minutes, berry ripeness will affect cooking time). During this phase, use a potato masher to mash berries, leaving some berries still intact.
4. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 hour.  Divide and transfer to 2 clean jars. Jam will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line an 8 inch baking or springform pan with parchment paper. Spray with baking spray and lightly flour. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla bean paste.
4. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring until just combined. Batter will be thick.
5. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth surface.
6. Spoon remaining batter into a piping bag.
7. Pipe a ring of batter around the inside edge of the pan.
8. Spoon 3/4 cup of the Blueberry-Blackberry Jam into center of the ring.
9. Pipe remaining batter on top of jam. Smooth with an offset spatula.
10. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in side of cake comes out clean. Note: May need to cover with foil for the last 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. 
11. Allow cake to cook in the pan for 10-15 minutes.
12. Run an offset spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen cake before turning out. Turn cake back over (to dome is on top).

Topping and Assembly
1. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
2. Brush top and sides of the cake with the melted butter. 
3. Sprinkle with sugar mixture, pressing into sides of cake.
4. Serve and enjoy.