Jam Cake

About 22 years ago, I visited my Grandma.  Grandpa had already passed away and this was the first time I had visited "down home" on my own.  My grandma and grandpa raised 13 children on a farm in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico - Colonia Dublan, to be exact.  I never lived there, but grew up referring to the farm as "down home".  

She was a wonderful lady. A true matriarch.  She (and my mom - the oldest of the brood with 10 brothers and 2 sisters) would joke that, to the brothers, pie came in round pieces.  On that visit, I questioned her and listened to her stories  as I had never done before.

This visit was when she told me that her beloved Charlie's (Grandpa) favorite cake was jam cake, especially blackberry jam cake.  I always envisioned it as yellow cake with jam spread between the layers.  Then she made one.

My vision was wrong.

Hers was so right.  It was a dense, moist, spicy cake. She didn't frost it, just glazed it, and served it with whipped cream.  Yum.  I didn't get the recipe.  This is the closest I have come.  It's just as I remember it.  I didn't have blackberry jam - it's the end of February, we have already eaten the blackberry - so I used plum.  I think you could use whatever jam you want, just vary the glaze.  I made a lemon glaze with this cake, but a vanilla glaze would be great with strawberry.

Here you go.

I also didn't have any buttermilk and didn't want to go to the store.  It is really easy to make, though.  Just put 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Fill the measure to 1 cup with milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes and use as buttermilk.  Easy.

Jam Cake

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup jam (whatever kind you want)
3 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan.
Cream butter and sugar.

Add the eggs and jam and mix it up.

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk to the jam combo.
Mix it up.

Spread into the prepared cake pan, it will be thick.
Bake at 350 for about 55 - 65 minutes.

Invert the cake onto a cake dish.  Let the cake cool slightly.  Poke it all over with a toothpick.  Pour the glaze slowly over the cake, letting it absorb into all the toothpick holes.

Serve with whipped cream if you want.

Lemon Glaze
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup powdered sugar

Combine the 2 ingredients.  Don't worry if it is lumpy.  Stir it up and let it sit.  Stir it again.  The lumps will go away.


Hungarian Goulash - slow cooker style

I remember the first snow of the season.  It was so pretty.  Everything was white and clean, fresh and exciting.  I loved it.  I am sure I will love it again next time winter is beginning.

I am over it for this year.

I want the snow to go away.


Over it.

That said, it is still very cold.  We are expecting even more snow this week.  It is still time for what I consider winter food.

This was something that my family really enjoyed.  It is really easy, as most slow cooker meals are.  Go ahead, try it.

Hungarian Goulash

3 pounds (use more if you want) beef, cut into chunks (I bought pre-cut stew meat at the grocery store)
1/4 cup flour (use cornstarch or rice flour if you are gluten-free)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large onion, large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup water (just fill the can 1/2 way)
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup sour cream (plus more for garnish if desired)

noodles, rice or mashed potatoes to serve with the goulash

Turn on your slow cooker to the high setting (you will turn it down later.)

In the slow cooker, combine the beef, flour, sugar, salt, paprika, dry mustard and cayenne. Stir it up.

To the beef mixture, add the onion, garlic, tomato sauce, water and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir it up.

Put the lid on the slow cooker and change the heat setting to low. Cook on low for 7 - 8 hours.

When the stew is cooked, remove the lid of your slow cooker and add the sour cream.

Serve over cooked noodles or rice or mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes.


Meyer Lemon Marmalade

I am on a marmalade canning kick.  It is really good and citrus is cheap this time of year.  It tastes good, too.  One of my kiddos has discovered Nutella and orange marmalade sandwich.  I know.
This recipe is for Meyer Lemons.  Don't substitute regular lemons - it won't work very well.  Meyer lemons are in a category all by themselves.  They are somewhere between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange, with floral undertones.
This marmalade is good on it's own, but try it with blueberry muffins or as a base for a berry tart.  Yum.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
4 cups sugar
6-8 Meyer lemons (about 1 cup of chopped up fruit and juice)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon butter
1 package (3 Tablespoons) of low or no sugar needed powdered fruit pectin
Measure the sugar into a bowl.
Using a zester or a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemons.  You don't want the pith (the white part), it makes it bitter. If you used a vegetable peeler, cut the strips into very thin slices.
Transfer the strips to a large pot and add the water and baking soda.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the peels have softened, about 5 minutes.
While the zest is simmering, cut the remaining pith from the lemons, working over a bowl to catch the juice.
Slice and chop the fruit.  Try and get out all of the seeds.  If you miss some, just tell people that is how you know that it is real. 
You should have about 1 cup of fruit and juice.
Add the fruit and juice to the pot with the zest.  Add the butter.  Sprinkle the pectin over the mixture and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add the sugar all at once.  Return to a full boil, stirring constantly.  Boil hard for one minute.  Remove from the heat.  Ladle the marmalade into hot sterilized jars and process them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Set the jars on a towel on your counter and wait for the "pings" that say that the jars have sealed.