Jam-Filled Bundt Cake
We are having some crazy weather here in Seoul today. Our old little house is lined all the way around with ancient sliding windows that are rattling like crazy in their tracks, and I’ve got one cat curled up in my lap and the other huddled at my side. Seems like a good day to abandon all other plans and stay right here inside with my two little living space heaters and a hot cup of coffee. And maybe some cake, because why not?
I didn’t bring back any real souvenirs from our time in Europe, but you can be sure I raided the markets for some edible reminders of our time there. Probably my favorite thing that I brought back was a little jar of sour cherry, vanilla and chocolate jam. If I have one culinary goal for the summer, it’s working out a recipe for this stuff so I can put up as many jars of it as possible while cherries are in season.
While I was at Bangsan Market the other week, I picked up a Bundt pan on a whim. When I got home and rooted through the cabinets for inspiration for how to christen it, there sat the little jar of jam, which I had been saving.
I actually made this cake three times before deciding to post about, because I wanted to be sure of it, and making it three times in a row so close together was really helpful for spotting ways to improve the cake.
The first thing I will say is that you’ve got to cream the hell out of the butter and sugar, and then beat it really well again after the eggs are added. How well is really well? About four minutes with an electric mixer before the eggs are added and another three after.
What will happen if you don’t? Below are photos of two of the three cakes. The first one obviously was overfilled, but I didn’t even care because it was so good. If you look closely at the outside, you can see holes where air bubbles were trapped between the sugar and butter — this is what makes the cake light and fluffy. In the photo below that, if you look at the crumb on the cake and the outside of the cake, you can see it isn’t light enough — I got lazy the second time and didn’t beat the eggs, sugar and butter well enough. It made a big difference. Sifting in the flour is also essential to getting a good crumb.
Now, as for how not to overfill, so you don’t end up with the jam volcano that was the first cake (although, honestly, if I were making this cake just for me and B and not for presentation, I’d probably overfill it again — it was really good), see the photo below:
That’s too damn much jam. There should only be about half as much, if you plan on taking this cake out in public. Otherwise, you know, I say go for it.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup jam
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Do not preheat your oven -- to give the Bundt cake a light color on the outside, start baking in a cold oven.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and beat for about 4 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice and beat for another 3 minutes.
- Combine the salt, baking powder and flour and sift into the wet mixture, adding the milk in intervals and mixing lightly with a spoon or spatula as you go.
- When all of the flour mixture and milk are added and the batter is well combined, spoon about a third of the batter into a well greased and floured Bundt pan. Gently spoon the jam along the center of the cake, making sure it doesn't touch or go near the sides. Use a spoon or butter knife held vertically to gently push the jam down toward the top of the cake (the bottom of the pan). Spoon in the rest of the batter and smooth over the top, tapping the pan firmly on the counter to make sure the batter fills any crevices.
- Place the pan in the oven and set it to 375 degrees F (about 190 C). Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning the cake out onto a cooling rack.
- When the cake has completely cooled, mix together the powdered sugar and milk until there are no lumps. Spoon the mixture over the top of the cake and allow to set before serving.
Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.