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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Random Food Fridays - Any Jam Coffee Cake

As the mother of an "emerging Bay Area artist," I'm familiar with the problem of production. We are fortunate that Miss Madelyn was able to find an affordable studio in Oakland. That said, we still have walls and closets full of art. Good art. She's working hard trying to get shows, so if you know anyone who wants to be on the ground floor, let us know.

 Detail of Ostomy Roses
Oil on Panel
Madelyn Covey 2012

Yarn Talisman
Yarn, wire, mono filament
Madelyn Covey 2011

This is just a small sample of her latest work. She also makes videos and digital prints and works in water color. That girl is so darn talented!

So, my problem of production is much less glamorous. I like to make jam. A lot. More than I can ever eat. Ever. I have given jams and pickles for holiday gifts since I started on this adventure, but it still takes time to go through it all. I recently took an inventory and finally disposed of my failures and those items over two years old. I kept thinking I'd use that hard jam to make a sauce, or those bitter marmalades to make cookies, but life if too short and too full of excellent jam. So, the marginal jars went bye-bye.

One jam I'm still trying to use up is this plum and pineapple jam. I made way too much. It never was as pretty as I wanted it to be, but it is yummy. This jam is approaching the two year mark and must be used this summer. I've also had many, MANY, little bowls of random remnants from making jams that did not come out to an even number of jars. One solution for using up jam is coffee cake.

This coffee cake is loosely based on Any-Fruit Coffee Cake from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Like many basic recipes, you can alter it to suit your needs and tastes. I make a proportion that fits into a 9 X 13 inch pan. On this occasion, I separated it into two 9 inch pie plates because I wanted to use one of my old jars of plum and pineapple jam and also use up the remnants of the Santa Rosa plum and pineapple jam I made last week. I'm keeping the older jam cake for us and taking the other to my mom's house. I used sliced almonds in the crumb topping for ours. Grandma Betty doesn't like nuts, so I left the nuts out for the one my folks and she will share.

The original recipe directs the user to make a thickened fruit sauce to bake into the cake. I'm not sure why anyone would do that if you got jam around the house. The original also uses spice flavors, like cinnamon and allspice, whereas I prefer almond extract to accompany plums. I encourage you to make this with your favorite jam, your favorite flavorings and your favorite nuts. Peach with cinnamon and pecans would be excellent. Because this uses jam, you can use your favorite summer fruits anytime of year.

Any Jam Coffee Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold butter
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 3 cups of jam

Crumb Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped or sliced nuts, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 inch pan or two pie plates.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and cut it into the flour mixture until it appears like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the mixture and add the milk, eggs and liquid flavorings. Stir to combine. Spread into the bottom of the prepared pan(s).

Stir the jam until spreadable. Gently spread the jam over the batter, leaving 1/2 inch of batter uncovered around the edges. (The jam can burn.) I used 1 cup each in the pie plates. I find it takes a bit more to cover the 9 X 13 inch pan.

Place the flour and sugar for the crumb topping in another bowl. Cut the butter for the crumb topping into small pieces. Work the butter into the flour and sugar mixture with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts, if desired. Spread the crumb mixture over the jam and batter.

Bake in the preheated 350 oven for 35 to 45 minutes. I found that the smaller pans will cook through in about 35, while the 9 X 13 inch pan takes a little longer. Test with a tooth pick in the center of the pan. The toothpick will likely have jam on it, but you shouldn't see any raw dough. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. (Hot jam resembles molten lava when eaten too soon.) Enjoy!


  1. Art, jam, cake--who could ask for more! I remember my mom and dad's stash of canned jams and jellies in the basement. Nothing like homemade jam!

  2. I too, have an overabundance of jams hanging around. As soon as I've got my kitchen back, I'm making this!