From the Kitchen: A cake to jam with

Let’s go old-fashioned today with a recipe for an all-time favorite of the West Virginia hills, a blackberry jam cake.

Many years ago, a popular magazine listed the favorite food items from each state and a blackberry cake was chosen to represent us.

This one is quickly accomplished with just two ingredients — a cake mix and a jar of jam.

Technically, in full disclosure, there are a couple more ingredients, but they are what is needed for the cake mix. I had to make it sound more dramatic, touting it as a two-ingredient wonder.

To be accurate, a from-scratch jam cake recipe isn’t complicated either. But maybe using the handy mix might instill an interest in someone whipping it up.

I know of one cook who also puts fresh blackberries in her cake. I didn’t like the thought of all those seeds, which would produce a chewing challenge.

It would be a little like trying to eat a sweet slice of tiny gravel or BBs. I never tried it. A smooth jam is fine with me.

A creamy, silky caramel icing (do you say “icing” or “frosting?”) seems to be the topping of choice or tradition.

I printed the caramel recipe many years ago, but it bears repeating for this cake. If you really like caramel, this one is a goodie.

It’s a wonderful, not-too-sweet mixture. Most other recipes can call for as much as one pound of powdered sugar.

My bet is you won’t be able to stop sampling this frosting as you spread. It’s like a caramel fudge. Enough said.


I didn’t learn this tidbit in time for it to make last week’s column. By an authority not vested in me, yesterday, Jan. 14, was designated National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.

Joe Guilfoile, proprietor of Big Joe’s Grill on Capitol Street, has been mentioned before. But because he makes his own pastrami, it’s worth a repeat and reminder. You may have seen the smoker on the sidewalk in front of his place.

Drop by Big Joe’s anytime for a pastrami sandwich to honor the day. He puts together a colossal meal between two slices of bread (rye a must) that moves the needle on the flavor meter.

I have another sandwich idea coming in my Super Bowl column, but think of enjoying the game and this sandwich with Big Joe.

Reach Judy Grigoraci at

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Funerals for Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Blume, James - 2 p.m., Wallace & Wallace, Rainelle.

Gunnoe, Freda - Noon, Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Hunt, Lloyd - 1 p.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

Rogers, Christopher - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Buffalo.

Shepherd, Camella - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Smith, James - 2 p.m., Fox Hill Cemetery, South Charleston.

Turley, Imogene - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Webb, Barbara - 11 a.m., Ellyson Mortuary, Glenville.