A gorgeous homemade Jam Filled Vanilla Layer Cake that’s easy to make and looks like a million bucks! No cake decorating skills needed for this beautiful showpiece!
A jam-filled layer cake is my lazy attempt at cake decorating. I’ve tried many times to decorate a cake using frosting and fondant, but I can’t seem to master the art at all. I’ve purchased the frosting bags and tips in all shapes and sizes, but even they don’t help.
I think the main reason for my lack of cake decorating skills is that I consider myself to be a comfort food, self-taught, home cook. When I was growing up, food wasn’t about pretty, it was about family, friends, and joy. This, of course, was long before the invention of Instagram and the term foodie was born.
I love pretty things, just like everyone else, but I also pride myself on catering to the home cook, just like me, who doesn’t rely on a fancy cooking apparatus, who doesn’t have any formal chef training, and who has one goal: get a great tasting dish on the table. It’s that simple.
With that said, however, I do think that this jam-filled vanilla layer cake is the answer to all of you folks who suffer from ill cake decorating disease. (Yes, I just wrote that!) A cake such as this is not only super delicious and moist, but I think it’s pretty as well. And, anyone – yes, anyone! – can smear a cake with store-bought jam and a dusting of powdered sugar.
The strawberries, of course, are completely optional. That’s how I make it pretty. Add fresh fruit to your cake platter to jazz up your presentation. Not only is it pretty, but it complements the flavour of the jam you have selected to use, and you can eat the decoration!
When it comes to presentation, I’m all about a pretty cake stand. In fact, I have about six full-sized cake stands, two mini cake stands, and three cupcake cake stands. You can blame The Pioneer Woman for four of those! A good cake stand is imperative to any home cook. I use mine for cakes, obviously, but I also like to stack muffins and cookies in them for a pretty – and inviting – display on my table or counter. McKenna loves to come home after a long day at school to see chocolate chip cookies piled high under a clear-domed lid of a large cake stand. Who wouldn’t?
The first time I made this recipe was about five or six years ago. Since then, it’s been my go-to basic vanilla cake recipe. If you’re going to attempt one of those trendy rainbow layered cakes, then this is certainly a great batter to use. I’d like to try something like that one day, but for now, a Jam Filled Vanilla Layer Cake is satisfying all of my sweet cravings. And again, Dear Reader, any chance I get to use one of my cake stands, you can bet I’m all in!
When it comes to jam selection for your cake, you can choose any flavour you want. I’ve made this with homemade jam too. It was only for the purpose of ease did I decide to use a store-bought jam this time. If you want to follow my recipe exactly, I used a basic Smucker’s strawberry.
You can use an apricot or an orange marmalade too. Raspberry jam would be delicious. But, Dear Reader, if you’re not that into jam, you can also use pie fillings. A cherry or blueberry pie filling will taste great, but please keep in mind that a pie filling will result in more spillage. Pie filling is runnier than jam and will create more seepage when you cut into the cake.
Here’s a little tip for you. If you want even more layers of jam, you can slice each cake in half and make a four layer cake. I’ve tried that before too, but just like my cake decorating skills, my cake slicing skills are a complete mess. As for me, I’ll play it safe and stick to the two layers!
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Jam Filled Vanilla Layer Cake
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup Smucker's strawberry jam
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, optional
- 8-10 strawberries, optional
Preheat oven to 350°
Line two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper (bottom and sides) or liberally grease pan and lightly coat with a dusting of flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, mix together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time and blend well into the sugar and butter mixture.
Next, add the vanilla and mix into the batter.
Scrape down the bowl and add the following ingredients in this order: flour, baking powder, and salt. Using the mixer, on low speed, gently blend the baking powder and salt into the flour - just a few seconds.
Now, increase the speed on the mixer to medium and blend the flour into the batter just until the flour is incorporated.
Add the milk and fully incorporate.
Divide the batter into the two prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness at the 25 minute mark. (Insert clean wooden toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cakes are done. If the toothpick comes out with batter on it, continue the baking process for a few more minutes. Test again.)
Remove from oven. Place pans on a cooling rack and let set for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto the cooling rack to continue the cooling process.
When cooled, position one cake onto a cake stand. Spoon the jam onto the cake and spread it evenly over the top. You can push some of the jam over the side to create a prettier effect.
Position the second cake on top. Push down firmly, but not too hard. This will help to 'seal' the stack and prevent the top cake from sliding.
Dust with confectioner's sugar and top with strawberries.
Serve with fresh berries and a large dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt or ice cream!
“Let them eat cake.” – Marie Antoinette