Feathery Jam-Filled Butter Cakes
I like to make these cakes because they are quick crowd pleasers. The crumb has an irresistibly buoyant texture, and a light, lemony flavor that is also nicely suited to teatime (though
don’t even think about dunking them in your cup of tea, as the airy treats will simply dissolve between your fingers). These are a breakfast dessert – not a muffin. The jam in the batter makes this an inside-out breakfast cake.
I prefer to gently swirl in the jam rather than fold it in completely. Not only does this make for a prettier presentation, but it also distributes the flavor unevenly, which I find is the fun of it – some bites are intensely jammy, while others are more about the soft buttery cake. And both are irresistible.
Chef’s Note Jellies and jams are convenient and delicious time-savers in baking. They can be used in layer cakes to replace a filling or in baked goods such as these cakes. Just be sure to incorporate them into the batter – don’t apply them to the surface. Jams exposed directly to oven heat will burn.
Makes 12 cakes
- 12-cup standard muffin tin
- Electric mixer
- Cake tester
- Pastry brush
- 2 cups cake flour (16 ounces, 450 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (10 grams)
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (1.25 grams)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 ounces, 127 grams), plus additional for pan
- 1/2 cup sugar (6 ounces, 170 grams)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (3.4 ounces, 94 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (4 grams)
- 1/3 cup whole milk (2.8 ounces, 80.6 grams)
- 1/2 cup seedless fruit jam (5.2 ounces, 75 grams)
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (1.3 ounces, 38.35 grams)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (.3 ounce, 5 grams)
- 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin with butter. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed. Add the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.
Reduce the speed to medium-low. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Fold in the jam in three or four strokes, until just incorporated.
Divide the batter among the cups of the prepared tin. Bake until golden on top and a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan.
While the cakes cool, prepare the glaze: Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Turn the cakes onto a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of each cake generously with the glaze. Turn the cakes over and brush the bottoms with the glaze. Let cool completely.
- Jellies and jams are convenient and delicious time-savers in baking. They can be used in layer cakes to replace a filling or in baked goods such as these cakes. Just be sure to incorporate them into the batter – don’t apply them to the surface. Jams exposed directly to oven heat will burn.
Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark, copyright © 2010. Published by W.W. Norton and Company
Photography by Marcus Nilsson copyright © 2010