Berry Butter Cake

April 25, 2016
9 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger. Prop Stylist: Gerri Williams. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes one 8-inch square cake
Author Notes

A sweet butter cake with a delicate, moist crumb is topped with swirls of berry jam. Inspired by a recipe from Eagle Brand condensed milk. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8-inch square pan and sprinkle sugar to coat the bottom and sides.
  2. Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until it begins to brown and smell nutty. As soon as you see it browning, remove it from the heat, and set it aside to let cool.
  3. Cream together the remaining 5 tablespoons of room temperature butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  5. Add the condensed milk and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the 5 tablespoons of melted, cooled butter and fold it in (the batter might look too liquidy—it will come together!).
  6. Add the salt and flour and mix until the batter is just combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. If your jam is very thick, now is a good time to warm it slightly—just enough that it loosens a bit. Spoon dollops of jam over the surface of the pan and use a knife to swirl the jam across the surface of the cake.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving, or turning out into a wire rack to cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Julie
  • Kathryn R. Holmes/Monaghan
    Kathryn R. Holmes/Monaghan
  • louisez
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • SuperWittySmitty

56 Reviews

MICHELE L. November 21, 2023
I've made this a few times, but this time I tried adding 1/4 tsp baking powder just to see how different it would be. It definitely rose up higher and lighter (didn't take much). On balance, you could go either way. Make it as written for a denser cake, or add the baking powder for a slightly lighter cake. I think I like the lighter version.
Dani June 5, 2022
I would double the recipe as it comes out very thin
Laura May 11, 2019
For the 7 oz of sweetented condensed milk--is that to measured by weight or volume? Thanks!
Posie (. May 12, 2019
Volume -- I use half of a 14 ounce can which is standard at grocery stores!
MrsMehitabel March 12, 2019
I've made this several times and it is excellent. The browned butter and berry jam are extremely successful together. The dense texture of the cake is just... so lovable.

Once I forgot to add the butter, and that wasn't so successful. The texture was still dense, but a bit gummy, and the flavor was very bland and one-note. Obviously I don't recommend forgetting the butter! Otherwise, bake this with confidence!
Clio October 19, 2018
Fantastic recipe. So easy but really delicious. I've made this so many times, it is one of my go-to recipes if I need something quick and simple (and my boyfriend requests it often!). I have even topped it with peanut butter frosting once or twice. Yes it hides the pretty jam swirl, but the whole PBJ thing it's got going on is great.
Julie September 4, 2018
I made a double batch of this to use up the can of condensed milk, and split it between two 8x8 glass baking pans, one with blueberry preserves, the other with strawberry preserves. They were a big hit! The browned butter bits almost made it look like the cake had vanilla bean paste in it. My husband said it was almost like a pound cake (which he loves), so we'll probably be making this one again in the future.

The only things I did slightly differently was that I let the eggs sit at room temperature with the butter, and gave them a quick whisking, to add some air and give the cakes a bit more lift, before adding them in.
Kathryn R. July 31, 2016
My Mother found Condensed milk and Evaporated milk when we came to Canada from Calif. as I guess it was a novelty.I too prepared this cake because of the memory and the Condensed milk out of curiosity.Yes,I guess a good whisk of the eggs might make it a lighter cake..I will try it again only not so late in the day!??Odd,how a cake recipe can become such a puzzle or question mark!??I guess this makes it all so interesting/curious and novel!??Or a topic of Difference!?? Stay tuned!!
Kathryn R. July 30, 2016
Thanks 'SuperWitty'you are just great..I know one can be stuck with a great deal of cake,etc.??One question please..as I stated my cake at 'midnight'looked so professional and pretty BUT it seems very heavy in texture!!??I wish I might share a slice with you and have your 'take' on it!? Is it suppose to be so dense and heavy?It still looks pretty but not much rising and well,heavy!?? I am determined to get this right.I see the last message she has prepared it several times`!?? Thanks to All and you Superw....!!
SuperWittySmitty July 30, 2016
Yes, it was a solid cake, not airy or fluffy. I'm not really a cake person, I just made this because I wanted to try out condensed milk as an ingredient. Maybe it's one of those cakes where everyone gets a smallish piece , maybe a 2-inch square, as opposed to a big slice of birthday cake. I think it's good to make it a few times- maybe whisk the egg before adding- maybe that will do something?
Kathryn R. July 28, 2016
I guess the original has disappeared..this cake turned out wonderfully..pretty to look at and a hit.it is a buttery crusty around the edges type of cake and in the centre most pretty with the jam design..I would call it a heavy/light cake..thanks to all and especially Superwittysmitty for your interest..I`d say I hit a home run tonight..Night as it is past midnight and I am most tired...I am repeating myself..sorry...
SuperWittySmitty July 28, 2016
I'm so glad it worked out for you, Kathryn. If you keep making it, people will start talking: "Have you tried one of Kathryn's cakes? They're delicious? I wonder what her secret is?? "

I live alone and do not entertain very often so whenever I make this I have to eat it all myself and that can be a problem.
Kathryn R. July 28, 2016
I was cut off as I was ending my comment...so if it is a bit odd that was the problem..it is midnight here so I can only hope my first part did take!???SuperWittySmitty,I was checking your spelling of the name you go by and it zipped away on me..thank you all...here is hoping it all made sense..??!!I guess shorter is better!??A great substantial cake...pretty too!! Good wishes to all....I am thrilled by the results!!
louisez July 24, 2016
This is a wonderful cake. I just finished making my third in a row
-- on demand. My family seems to be addicted. I hope blueberry season isn't over -- I used homemade blueberry jam, and at the rate I've been making this cake, I'll soon run out. Thanks for a great recipe.
Kathryn R. July 16, 2016
I had been waiting/hoping to hear from you! It just goes to show how the mind/imagination works!! I shall take your tip and apply it and let everyone know my results!I am a bit of a perfectionist,though better than I used to be?! Wish me luck and stay tuned for the results!Thank you for the speedy reply,much appreciated.
Kathryn R. July 15, 2016
I wish someone would reply to my dilemma that I stated on a month a go..I would try it again but not until??!!It sounded like such a swell cake too!! Of course I require the Condensed milk instead of Evaporated!??There was a step though that "the originator said sorry that step is in there"Which step in the recipe please? I really wish to get this right??I did brown the butter..
SuperWittySmitty July 16, 2016
I thought I answered your question: the author clarified the instruction and said to melt the better, even carefully let it brown a bit so you get a deliciously nutty butter flavor.

At first, there was no mention of BROWNING the butter, it just said MELT the butter. After correcting this, the author said "sorry that step is in there" meaning the "browning" instead of "melting."

I've actually been waiting to hear from YOU, hoping you would say that you finally made it and it came out great, or something. At the end of the day, this is a VERY EASY recipe. Just go ahead and make it! If it doesn't come our perfect, so what? You have to practice and the ingredients aren't very expensive.
learnhowtocook July 15, 2016
No baking powder/soda?
SuperWittySmitty July 16, 2016
No, the eggs take care of the "lift."
Ghazzzit June 10, 2016
Wow this is delicious! I used all whole wheat pastry flour and apricot jam and ended up freezing the cake as a guest brought a dessert for a dinner party. Just defrosted it in the fridge and tried it out - dense, a little nutty and full of buttery vanilla flavor. Will make this again for sure!
Kathryn R. May 26, 2016
I will try this recipe again after I purchase the correct condensed milk..Would you please tell me why we melt 5 tablespoons of butter and also what does your comment mean "sorry that step is in there now"????If one did not melt the butter what sort of difference would it make please?I am determined to get 'this recipe right!' Would not the condensed milk already sweetened and the added sugar in this recipe make this very sweet? Goodness I do not have scales but I am most careful in measuring.Sorry to bother all but I would like this to really turn out for me!
Thank you...Kathryn!
SuperWittySmitty May 26, 2016
Hi Kathryn. Lots of recipes call for softened butter and I believe that's what people thought, at first, was what was to be done here. Then the author clarified the instruction and said to melt the better, even carefully let it brown a bit so you get a deliciously nutty butter flavor.

No, don't worry about it being too sweet, it tastes great. I will also recommend an electronic scale if you bake often, I bought one years ago from Amazon- I think it was about $15, and I use it all the time! For this cake I don't think you should worry about it.
Kathryn R. May 23, 2016
Thank you so, David for your help....yes,indeed when I poured the Evap.milk out of the tin(which I normally do not have on hand!?)it was most thin in texture! I went to sleep with 'la cake' on my mind!??This is a rare occurrence for me,to have such a flop!! Ha!! One wonders why a small technicality such as thinner milk would cause such heaviness in the cake! I covered it with foil and really do not know what to do with it now??I guess bread pudding!??David,was your cake light with the correct milk please? Thanks so much,Kathryn!
SuperWittySmitty May 23, 2016
It looked a lot like the cake in the photo- a golden color. I've never cooked with condensed milk before but I'm pretty sure it's almost the opposite of evaporated milk.
Deedledum January 29, 2017
@Kathryn R Holmes/Monaghan: In Canada, you'll most likely be able to find Eagle Brand Condensed Milk.
Kathryn R. May 22, 2016
I need help please! I followed the directions completely and it turned out heavy and runny with excess melted butte,I guess like grease!!? I so wanted this to work as my babe son(age 30) is going to visit and live here soon and he would enjoy this! I am more than a little shattered over this heavy,dense and odd cake!!!Usually my recipes work out but I believe this one would fail any test!???What did I do incorrectly please?It also had a brownish tinge to the cake! I used Evaporated milk from a tin and I measured it to almost a cup as it stated ml on the tin!? I am in Canada...My goodness I wish mine had turned out like Tara`s!???Help please! I sound pathetic!!I am most weary now,trying to keep going with 4 tears in a rotary cuff!???Kathryn!!
SuperWittySmitty May 23, 2016
Hi Kathryn, If you described what you did accurately, then the problem is that you used evaporated milk when you were supposed to use sweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk (from what I know) comes in a larger can and is a thin liquid while sweetened condensed milk comes in a smaller can and is a thick and sticky, almost like a syrup.

Here in NYC, they sell around four different brands of sweetened condensed milk.- I bought a regular can yesterday of Magnolia brand that is almost 8.5 cm tall and 7.5 cm in diameter. It holds 396 grams of liquid, and the recipe calls for half of this. I have a digital scale that I would use to measure out exactly half, 198 grams.

Go back to the store and get what you need and try again. Everyone makes mistakes. I once made a beautiful cheesecake that I brought to a company picnic and all the women were so impressed with by baking skills. Unfortunately, I had used one cup of salt instead of one cup of sugar! The cheesecake tasted horrible and everyone thought this was the most hilarious thing ever. Ten years later and people still talk about it whenever we have a company picnic (and I learned how to use the appropriate container for my condiments so I never mix them up again!) Good luck! - David
Tara C. May 17, 2016
Super easy & quick last minute dessert to throw together. Highly recommended with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Would also be good as part of a special breakfast/brunch with coffee/tea. I might try adding lemon zest/extract/juice next time would be good contrast with the berry jam;)
jill May 16, 2016
Because I had condensed milk in the pantry, I made this cake in about 6 minutes flat for the bridge group that was coming to my house that night. It was fabulous. I had just made some berry jam the week before and used some of that fresh, yummy raspberry jam....but this cake was so good, not overly sweet, wonderfully dense and moist.....I'll make it again for sure!!!