Rustic Fruit Desserts

December 3, 2009

When I was a child I would often help my grandma in her big kitchen. She'd sit me atop the shiny red stool that was always next to the big wooden island, and I'd watch as she'd go in and out of her perfectly organized and well stocked pantry, gathering ingredients for whatever sweet treat we were going to bake. At the end, she'd always let me lick the spoon, and to this day that's my favorite part.

A while ago, I met the authors of Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More. Perusing through their delicious cookbook gave me flashbacks to my grandma's kitchen and the wonderful treats we'd bake together. While I'd never heard of a pandowdy it's now a word I've adopted as a fun exclamation, "Well, hot pandowdy!" (You try it, I bet you'll like it too). The book is packed with comforting rustic (hence the name) indulgences such as Upside-Down Pear Chocolate Cake, Fig and Honey Cream Galette, and Grandma Freeman's Jam Cake with Brown Sugar Rum Glaze - all broken out into the four seasons.

Hmm, which one shall I make for Christmas?

Grandma Freeman's jam cake with brown sugar rum glaze
(printed courtesy of authors Cory Shreiber and Julie Richardson)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups fruit jam (your preference)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan.

To make the cake, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add half of the flour mixture and mix, again just until combined. Fold in the jam until evenly distributed, but do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting the cake onto the cooling rack. Place a baking sheet or some parchment paper under the rack to catch the drips when you glaze the cake.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch fine sea salt
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons rum

To make the rum glaze, stir the butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt together in a small pan over medium-high heat. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then pour in the butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the rum, then pour the glaze over the cake while it is still slightly warm.

Storage: This cake is a keeper! Wrapped in plastic, it will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days.



ali's picture

Sounds lovely!
I'd like to give it a try, but can't tell from the directions how the jam is incorporated into the batter.
Is it after the flour and buttermilk have been added?

Sheri Wetherell's picture

Hi Ali,
After all the batter ingredients are incorporated you fold in the jam at the very end. Mix until it's evenly distributed into the batter, but not over mixed. Then pour the batter into your pan. Hope that helps! Let me know how it turns out!


ali's picture

Thank you for clarifying that!
A jam cake batter sounds interesting, and i'd be happy to try and see what it tastes like.
Thanks for your kind response!

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Becca's picture

Did anyone try this recipe? Saw it in the cookbook yesterday and would love to hear how you liked it! The idea of an heirloom recipe is a wonderful thing.