Nana’s Jam Cake

Blackberry jam in a cake? Yup! Nana’s Jam Cake features a tasty combination of peach preserves, blackberry jam and warming baking spices. Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

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jam and warming baking spices.  Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

What are some of your favorite family recipes? You know, the ones that have been passed down from generation to generation. Maybe the recipes have been slightly tweaked and edited over the years, but the general idea is the same. They are the recipes that everyone in your family knows and loves.

jam and warming baking spices. Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

My sister and I are fortunate in that we saved my grandmother’s recipe box after she passed. That old wooden box is literally stuffed with index cards. I remember many of the recipes from family gatherings, and it’s fun to read her notes in the margins. One of my favorites? Her Old Fashioned Pound Cake recipe – I’ve made that cake dozens of times, and it’s just a darned good pound cake!

Nana’s Jam Cake

Today’s recipe also comes from the collection of recipes that have been passed down through the years…except this one wasn’t passed down in my family. This recipe for Nana’s Jam Cake comes from a long-time reader who was kind enough to share one of her family’s favorite recipes.

Blackberry jam in a cake?  Yup!  Nana's Jam Cake features a tasty combination of fruit preserves, jam and warming baking spices.  Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

I wasn’t familiar with the concept of a jam cake prior to seeing this recipe, but a quick google search confirms that jam cakes are a popular “old fashioned” recipe. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I can absolutely see this cake being the kind that a grandma would pull out of the oven whenever the family visits. It just has that classic home-baked feel to it.

At first glance, I thought Nana’s Jam Cake might be similar to a fruitcake. After all, there are all sorts of fruits and nuts in this one:

  • Blackberry jam
  • Peach preserves
  • Crushed pineapples
  • Raisins
  • Pecans
Blackberry jam in a cake? Yup! Nana's Jam Cake features a tasty combination of fruit preserves, jam and warming baking spices. Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

However, this cake is not dense like most fruitcakes. It comes out of the oven with a familiar cake-like texture, and it is packed with flavor! I wouldn’t say that any of the individual ingredients overpowers this cake – rather the overall flavor is a tasty combination of the individual ingredients.

Despite the various fruits and jams, this cake isn’t as sweet as I thought it might be. Don’t get me wrong – it’s sweet. It is a dessert after all! But as Laura put it, “This reminds me more of a breakfast cake.” Then again, Laura thinks anything with nutmeg in it reminds her of breakfast cake. As for me? I’ll gladly take a slice of Nana’s Jam Cake for breakfast or dessert or any time in between.

Blackberry jam in a cake? Yup! Nana's Jam Cake features a tasty combination of fruit preserves, jam and warming baking spices. Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

Nana’s Jam Cake is a fun recipe, and I can just imagine Nana pulling this warm cake out of the oven on a cold weekend afternoon. Thanks to Kim for sharing one of her family favorites with us! Happy baking, my friends!

Did you bake Nana’s Jam Cake at home? Leave a comment and let me know what you think, or better yet grab a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). Cheers!

Blackberry jam in a cake? Yup! Nana's Jam Cake features a tasty combination of fruit preserves, jam and warming baking spices. Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

Nana’s Jam Cake

Blackberry jam in a cake? Yup! Nana's Jam Cake features a tasty combination of fruit preserves, jam and warming baking spices. Grab a slice for dessert tonight!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 441kcal



  • Preheat oven to 275°F.
  • Grease and flour a 9”x13” cake pan; line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Set pan aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes on medium speed).
  • Add eggs two at a time, mixing after each addition until well combined.
  • Using a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add buttermilk, blackberry jam, peach preserves and crushed pineapples; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add raisins and pecans; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Transfer batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 60 minutes.
  • Increase oven temperature to 325°F and continue baking for 45-60 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out mostly clean.
  • Let cake cool in pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cool.
  • {Optional} Dust top of cake with confectioner’s sugar prior to serving.


Recipe courtesy of Kim S.
Blackberry jam in a cake? Yup! Nana's Jam Cake features a tasty combination of fruit preserves, jam and warming baking spices. Grab a slice for dessert tonight!

Looking for more classic cake ideas? Check out these other favorites, too:

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  1. Cant wait to make this soon for me can i use vegan butter / coconut milk and skip raisins as am not a big fan of raisins i never had jam cake before perfect for my after office snacks love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

    1. Hey Ramya! Yes, you can absolutely change this recipe to make it vegan. I haven’t used vegan butter in this recipe myself, but I imagine it would work well. And feel free to omit the raisins or maybe just use a different dried fruit instead!

  2. 5 stars
    I love going through old recipe boxes! It’s like a treasure trove. This jam cake sounds delicious and I have lots of blackberry jam in my pantry from this summer! I can’t wait to use it in this cake!

    1. My sister and I both enjoy going to used book stores and flipping through old cookbooks – like the old church cookbooks and things. There are some really great recipes hiding in there…and some really questionable ones, too. Haha! But either way it’s fun. And this cake really is a fun one – it’s like fruit cake, but not nearly as dense and heavy.

  3. 5 stars
    David, this is such a unique and interesting cake with both peach preserves and blackberry jam. And I have to agree, some of my best recipes are handwritten on old index cards, lined paper that has yellowed over the years, etc., and passed down through the generations. What a sweet and sentimental cake for you to highlight here.

    1. I absolutely agree with you, Kristy – I’ve never come across a recipe quite like this one. One of the things I love about cooking and baking is how there’s always something new to learn. This cake turned out quite well – much like a fruitcake, but not as dense and heavy. Great for this time of the year! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    David, my grannie used to make jam cake, but I can’t remember what was in it or how it tasted. I’ll need to try this and she if it gives me food memories.
    When we lived in the USA in Kentucky, jam cake were a nostalgic cake that was basically a white cake with jam between the layers. I like the sound of your cake much better.

    1. So this was my first time baking (or really hearing about) jam cakes. It was kinda cool! I love learning new things in the kitchen, and it was fun baking an “old-fashioned” recipe like this one. And you’re right…a jam cake really could mean a lot of things. Happy baking, Ron!

  5. 5 stars
    The texture of your nana’s cake looks divine and so light! Love how it uses both peach and blackberry, such a delicious combination I’m sure!

  6. 5 stars
    This jam cake looks perfect for the holiday season! I love jam as a middle layer in a cake, but I’ve never tried a cake that had jam stirred into the batter. I can see how the texture and flavor would be amazing. I need to try this cake! Really does look perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. 😋

    1. I hadn’t tried a cake like this either, Shannon…but I do love trying different things in the kitchen. This one turned out well! Now I want to try it with other jam flavors and seasonings…

  7. 5 stars
    Those family recipes passed down through the generations are the best aren’t they David? This jam cake looks delicious and has nutmeg and ground cloves which are exactly the spices I would expect to see in a Christmas holiday bake! Yum!

    1. Family recipes really are a lot of fun. I enjoy looking through old cookbooks for different and unique recipes. Some of them are really cool…some of them are, well, different. Haha. This one turned out well, and the baking spices are great for the holiday season!

  8. You had me at “breakfast cake,” David. I love old-fashioned foods, and I love the way you’ve described this cake, so I’ll for sure be giving it a try. Fortunately, it’s not a tradition in my family, so I’ll feel free to mess around with it. In my family, you do NOT make even the slightest changes to grandma’s recipes. I once did, and my mother and aunt fed what I’d made to the dog. I’m not kidding.

    1. Old-fashioned foods are a lot of fun, aren’t they? Sometimes I’ll stumble across a recipe that really leaves me scratching my head, but more often I find ones that make me want to jump in the kitchen and try ’em out. Wait. Your aunt fed your food to the dog? Yikes! Well…lucky dog!!

    1. This was a fun cake to make – I’d never used jam mixed into cake batter like this. It reminded me of the flavors of fruit cake, but the texture was WAY better! Thanks, Frank!

  9. 5 stars
    I absolutely love family recipes like this, David – I think of them as heirlooms. My mom’s spinach salad that she clipped from a utility bill in the ’70s is one of my favorites.

    Just looking at the texture of this jam cake, I know I’d love it! Many thanks to your Nana and to you for sharing the recipe.

    1. Wow – a recipe clipped from a utility bill!? That’s crazy…and really cool! (And even better that you love the recipe, too.) This is a fun recipe for sure. I’d never used jam mixed into a cake batter, but this turned out well. And great for the holiday season, too!

  10. 5 stars
    This is my kinda cake – packed with so much flavor and texture! A while back, while I was working at Bellsouth, someone once brought in a plum cake – she had used baby food plum puree and plum jam! That cake was absolutely delicious! So, I can imagine how good this is! Have any left still? I can do a detour on my way down from NY and grab a slice or three? 😉

    1. Baby food in a cake? Now that’s different! But now that I think about it, it’s a clever way to work pureed plums into a recipe. I bet it would work well in a bread/cake like this one! Sadly, no leftovers of this one left…but there are other leftovers hanging around if you get lost on the way home! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Oh David, I can’t belive I missed this last year! I have a tear as I write this. I am so, so glad you added proper instructions to my Nana’s beloved jam cake. I am going to share this with my sisters! I was in Asheville with my daughter last Christmas and I really did no baking, but this year I am gearing up, starting with stollen for a friend’s birthday. The blackberry jam cake is next. I was looking around today to see if there was a blackberry jam cake like it anywhere. Well there are not. Some have the pineapple but NONE have the peach preserves. wWen I saw this on google my heart flip-flopped as I remembered sending it to you.

    I am so touched that you tried it out and published it on your blog (and kept the name!) Also, I LOVE that you baked it in a 9×123. I have never done that. Only loaves and ring pans. I like that you can cut it neatly into squares this way. I don’t know if I every told you this, but my mother also made them (Nana was her mother-in-law), and we were never allowed to eat them for at least a week (2 weeks were better). The cakes stayed tightly wrapped in foil until they were deemed “ready. Then the cakes were iced with caramel icing and decorated with candied cherries and pecan halves.

    Thanks again David!

    1. Hey Kim! No worries at all – the holidays are a busy time of the year, so I totally understand why you might’ve missed this one. You absolutely sent me this recipe a year (two??) ago, and now it’s in our file of favorites. It’s a great one to bake during the holiday season! And of course it has to keep the name “Nana’s Jam Cake!” 🙂

      Interesting note that you weren’t allowed to get into this cake for a week. I mean it makes perfect sense as the flavors would meld together. I don’t think I have enough patience for that! If this cake is sitting on the kitchen counter, then it’s getting eaten! Cheers, and enjoy your time in Asheville this year. It’s getting chilly at night here, but the days are still warm!

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