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Spice Up Your Holidays with Tennessee Jam Cake

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Gently fold the stiff egg whites into the batter for Tennessee Jam Cake.

Want to make a cake for Christmas ahead of time so you have one less thing to worry about? Try this recipe for Tennessee Jam Cake, which earned my mother a blue ribbon at the Kentucky State Fair one year. It’s an old-fashioned favorite that was one extremely popular in the South but isn’t seen too much anymore.

It’s better if you make it at least a week in advance to let the flavors coalesce. Don’t frost it, however, until the day you cut into it.

I have made the cake twice now in recent years. Both times I played around with the recipe, using whatever leftover jams I had in the refrigerator, as long as it equaled 2 cups. This year’s mix included fig, blackberry, strawberry and raspberry.

I also use whatever dried fruit on hand, which included blueberries, apricots, cherries and cranberries. They all work together with the cinnamon and allspice to create a winter treat.

When you are making this cake, exercise a little patience. I don’t have two mixing bowls, so I had to stop and clean the one I had used for main batter in order to whip the egg whites. No problem. Also, folding those stiff egg whites into the batter requires a slow, steady hand. It still went together in under 15 minutes.

Tennessee Jam Cake

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup blackberry jam
1 cup strawberry preserves
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 eggs, separated
1 cup ground pecans
1 cup chopped dried figs, raisins or dates, or any desired combination of dried fruit

Caramel Frosting:
½ cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rum
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 pound powdered sugar

Tennessee Jam Cake

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a tube pan.

Mix together flour, cinnamon, and allspice. Set aside.

Cream shortening for 1 minute before adding sugar. Add jam and preserves. Beat egg yolks and stir into sugar mixture. Mix buttermilk and baking soda and let sit for 1 minute. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately until well mixed. Stir in nuts and dried fruit. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 90 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let rest 10 minutes before turning onto cake rake. Immediately turn onto serving plate. Let cool before frosting.

To make frosting, bring margarine and brown sugar to a boil. Boil 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from stove. Add rum and stir well. Add evaporated milk and continue to stir. Add powdered sugar slowly until desired consistency is reached. Should icing get too hard or thick, add a few drops of hot water. Garnish with pecan halves, if desired.

Makes 1 cake.

From Annaliese Griffin

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