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A Jam-Swirled Brown Butter (Perfect) Cake for Spring

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As someone who liked to draw outside the lines from a young age, I like projects that require you to get a little messy. This cake is just one of those projects.

Photo by Posie Harwood

Instead of requiring precise construction (like a pie crust) or intricate attention to detail (like cake frosting), this recipe actually encourages you to splatter and smudge. The surface of this cake should look like a sugared Jackson Pollock painting. Streaks of berry jam swirled across the surface serve two purposes: They give the cake a stunning appearance and they make every bite jammy and sweet.

Photo by Posie Harwood

This is an old Eagle Brand recipe, but I’ve adapted it significantly: The original recipe has a thin layer of sugar cookie dough pressed into the base of the cake pan; I’ve skipped that part. (Don’t get me wrong, pouring cake batter over cookie dough is a brilliant idea, and I’ll be bringing you a recipe for exactly that in the coming weeks. How’s that for something to look forward to?)

This week, however, called for a quieter sort of indulgence. With a slew of busy days ahead of me, I wanted a simple—but no less special—cake waiting for me after dinner. Instead of full-fledged decadence, I’ve opted for something a little less flashy.

Photo by Posie Harwood

Restraint doesn’t equal less flavor. Condensed milk and brown butter give the cake a very moist crumb, and each tender, buttery bite has a modest, nuanced sweetness (thanks, brown butter) that helps to emphasis the fruit. On that note, I suggest using the best jam or preserves you can find. If you make your own, so much the better. I’ve used a mix of strawberry and raspberry, but any variety will work nicely.

Photo by Posie Harwood

If your jam is on the thicker side, heat it up just slightly so it loosens a little before dolloping it over the cake batter. It will be easier to swirl. And then just have at it with the swirls, make a mess with the jam—it'll look cool regardless of how haphazardly you do it.

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Berry Butter Cake

1e4d7b52 fd4f 4798 ae19 d0f715768358  ry 400 Posie Harwood
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Makes one 8-inch square cake
  • 10 tablespoons butter at room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup berry jam
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What's your favorite straightforwardly delicious cake? Tell us in the comments.

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Fruit