happy birthday cake: jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache

jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache | everybody likes sandwiches

A day before my husband’s birthday, I handed him a cake cookbook and told him to pick himself out a birthday cake. So he picked this jam cake with a chocolate ganache, swayed in part, by the photo. I figured it would be a regular cake with jam in the center layer and then frosted. Nope. This was a southern jam cake where the jam gets stirred into buttermilk (or in my case, yogurt) and baked into the batter. No sticky jam layer here. It seemed a bit odd – raspberry jam batter with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure where this cake was going. Was it a spice cake? Was it going to be heady and overly sweet with the jam plus all the sugar in the recipe? What was with the ganache frosting? Wouldn’t whipped cream suit better? I decided to let go of my reservations and just ride this cake train out as written. It was a good move.

jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache | everybody likes sandwiches

I started getting all the ingredients together and shortly realized that my organic raspberry spread was a rather small jar – not the 1 and a half cups worth the recipe needed. It was close to midnight (I tend to do a lot of midnight baking ’round these parts) but I headed to the 24-hour supermarket and picked up a store brand jar of jam and soldiered onwards. The cake itself was easy to make, the batter upon final stir was light and fluffy and smelled fantastic. After dividing the batter into cake pans and baking, the scent coming from the oven was pretty wonderful: spicy and fruity and buttery. I let the cakes cool over night on the counter and the next morning I started with the ganache.

jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache | everybody likes sandwiches

jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache | everybody likes sandwiches

Initially, I was worried as the caramel and chocolate was super liquidy and I just didn’t think it would firm up to a good spreadable consistency. But after letting it cool on the counter for a good 3 hours, it turned out to be perfect. Creamy, glossy and dark – everything a good ganache should be.

jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache | everybody likes sandwiches

So how did this cake turn out? Pretty wonderfully, in fact. I can’t say it’s my new favorite birthday cake, but I liked it because it was different from the norm. The cake itself was dense and moist without being heavy – texturally, it was quite light. The flavour was well-spiced and the raspberry jam flavour was there, but if you didn’t know, you might not guess about the jam. Maybe next time instead of raspberry, I’d try a good homemade vanilla apricot jam. I think the cake recipe cut in half would be great in the summer as an everyday cake served with fresh berries and whipped cream. That ganache? Oh boy!! That’s the real winner here. You could really taste the salted caramel mixed into the bittersweet chocolate and the combination was a true winning moment. Cornelius was thrilled with his cake and our guests loved it too.

jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache | everybody likes sandwiches

What about the almonds? The thinly sliced toasted almonds decorated the sides and were sprinkled between the layers provided a nice earthy counterpoint and crunch. But how stunning are they pressed onto the sides of the cake? They reminded me of the kind of decorative stonework you might see on a 1960s building – I wish I could have taken a better photo. Trust me, it was as gorgeous to look at as it was to eat. Happy birthday cake indeed.

elsewhere: The easiest bread ever and I’m totally not kidding. Head to Poppytalk for the recipe and the discussion. It’s even easier than the famous no-knead bread!!! Bake up a loaf this afternoon.

jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache | everybody likes sandwiches

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12 comments to “happy birthday cake: jam cake with salted caramel chocolate ganache”

  1. 1
    Nicole   January 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Oh man, that looks great! I love the sound of the jam and spice together, but oh, the ganache!! I must frost something with that, soon.

  2. 2
    Sheena S.   January 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I like the sounds of this one. Always on the hunt for something new/different when it comes to birthday cakes!

  3. 3
    Angie   January 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    This recipe rocks!!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. 4
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe   January 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Your husband is a lucky man! Oh, what I give to have someone hand me a book of cakes and tell me to pick out whichever one I wanted, AND then make it for me to eat and enjoy. The cake sounds really interesting and the ganache looks downright dreamy.

  5. 5
    hag   January 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    That looks delicious! I was sold at salted caramel ganache! What a great idea to give someone a cake book and ask them to choose. You get to make something that you might not have chosen, and they get a cake they will really enjoy.

  6. 6
    kickpleat   January 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Yes, Nicole, yes you must. The ganache is pretty awesome….and the cake ain’t bad either ;)

    Definitely, Sheena.

    Thanks Angie.

    Yeah, he knows, it, Amanda. I wonder what it would be like for someone to give me the same treatment – oh to dream big!!

    Thanks Hag :)

  7. 7
    Joanne (Bijoux)   January 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I love the ‘pick what you like out of a cookbook and I’ll make it for you’ idea :) And I like the sound of this cake too – with the sliced almonds of course.

  8. 8
    Jess   January 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Your husband is such an out-of-the-box thinker when it comes to dessert, huh? I probably never would have chosen this if given an entire book of options, but in truth, the finished product does sound and look wonderful! That ganache sounds like a keeper!

  9. 9
    Julie   January 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Amazing! Yum.

  10. 10
    Joanne   January 18, 2013 at 3:43 am

    I’ve never heard of this kind of cake either but it sounds kind of dreamy. Odd, but dreamy.

  11. 11
    Catherine   January 18, 2013 at 4:07 am

    Hi Jeanette,

    Do you think this would work as a sheet cake? I love blackberry jam so would probably try that.

  12. 12
    kickpleat   January 19, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Thanks Joanne, it wasn’t something I’d probably pick out, so it’s a great way to get introduced into something new & different! And tasty too!

    Ha, totally, Jess. I never thought he would be, I even asked him if he looked at the recipe or just the photo!

    Yum, indeed, Julie :)

    Yes, odd & dreamy is probably an aft description, Joanne!

    Catherine, I have no idea if it would work as a sheet cake, but I have no reason to imagine why not. I’ve never made a sheet cake before (to be corrected for sure), but I imagine you’ll have to probably cut the recipe in half and reduce the baking time. If you do try, let me know how it turns out.

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