While making a big batch of peach jam, I discovered that one of my jars of jam did not process correctly and had to be used within a week. Instead of eating almond butter and peach jam sandwiches for a week, I opted to bake a Brown Sugar Sour Cream Cake with peach jam swirled through the center of the cake and spread as a glaze on top. Turns out peach jam is a perfect accompaniment for this light and tender, buttery cake.
Brown Sugar Sour Cream Cake with Peach Jam Swirl
Makes one bundt cake
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)
16 tablespoons (1 cup; 8 ounces) butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8-ounce jar of jam (I used peach jam)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly grease a 9- or 10-cup Bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugars at medium speed for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be light and airy, and will have lightened in color.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or two between additions. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat briefly to recombine any residue.
- Add the baking powder, salt, and baking soda, then gently beat in half the flour.
- Gently mix in the sour cream and vanilla,
- Add the remaining flour, mixing just until blended. Don’t over mix to ensure the cake will be tender.
- Scoop the half of the batter into the prepared pan.
- Evenly dollop approximately 2/3 of the jam on top of the batter (set aside the remaining 1/3 or jam for use after the cake has finished baking). Use a knife to lightly swirl the jam into the batter. Then pour the remaining half of the batter on top. Make sure that the jam is covered by the cake batter, otherwise the jam will burn.
- Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven. Cool it in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to finish cooling.
- When the cake has cooled for about 15 minutes, spread the remaining jam on top of the cake. Cool completely before slicing.
In my first year of harvesting from my peach tree, I learned a few lessons. I was so intent of picking my peaches at the absolute prime level of ripeness that in the process of testing the fruit for ripeness and picking them off the tree, the fruit would get bruised or slightly squished. At first I didn’t mind and enthusiastically ate the blemished fruit immediately. But when it started to feel like I was in a competitive peach eating contest, I decided to to switch tactics and instead make peach jam. One of my favorite things about making homemade jam is that you can take advantage of the flavor from perfectly ripened fruit, control how much sugar to add, and add in spices like cinnamon to make it extra special.
Fresh Peach Jam
Makes about 5 half-pint jars
(from Canning for a New Generation- Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry)
12 ounces Granny Smith apples (about 2 large)
4 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 6 cups)
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- Prepare your jars for canning (by sterilizing them).
- Cut the apples into quarters, and cut the cores from them. Put the cores and seeds in a cheesecloth bag, tie it off, and set aside.
- Gently combine the peaches and sugar in a wide, 6 to 8 quart preserving pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook until the juices just cover the peaches.
- Pour the peach mixture into a colander that’s set over a large bowl. Stir the peaches gently to drain off the juice.
- Return the juice to the pan. Add the apple quarters and cheesecloth bag. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Boil stirring occasionally, until the syrup is thick and reduced. This takes about 15 minutes.
- Return the peaches (and any accumulated juices) to the pan. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon, stir gently, and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer, stirring frequently until the peaches are very tender.
- Remove the jam from the heat, and stir gently to evenly distribute the fruit in the liquid.
- Remove the cheesecloth bag and the apples.
- Put the jar lids in a medium-sized bowl. Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Using a jar lifter, remove the sterilized jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel.
- Ladle the hot jam into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top.
- Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars. Remove the jar lids from the hot water, and drain the water off the lids. Put a flat lid and ring on each jar, and adjust the ring so that it’s just finger-tight.
- Return the filled jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes to process.
- Remove the jars to a folded towel, and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check to make sure the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.