This gorgeous, easy to prepare, homemade Jam Filled Vanilla Layer Cake is not only delicious, but also quite impressive! Although basic and rustic in presentation, this cake look like a million bucks! No cake decorating skills needed for this beautiful showpiece! And, as an added bonus, you can use your favourite jam flavour too!
DECORATING SKILLS NOT NEEDED
This Jam Filled Vanilla 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.
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BEAUTY COMES IN MANY FORMS AFTER ALL!
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!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Butter – Make sure your butter is softened and at room temperature! I always use salted butter, unless stated otherwise. To be perfectly honest, there’s never much of a difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Sugar – Sugar has more than one function in baking. Not only does it add sweetness, but it will caramelize too, which will help to brown cookies and cakes.
- Eggs – Whenever you set out to bake, make sure your eggs are at room temperature too – just like your butter!
- Vanilla Extract – Probably the most common extract and the most common flavouring used in cakes and cookies.
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Baking Powder – This is used to increase the volume of the batter and to add texture as well.
- Salt – This is a common ingredient in baking and cooking. In baking it helps to enhance and balance sweetness.
- Milk – When a baking recipe requires milk, I always use whole milk, unless otherwise stated.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – This superfine sugar is sometimes called powdered sugar. It is used in frostings quite often. When dusted lightly onto cakes and cookies, it adds just a touch of sweetness, but more importantly, it looks very visually appealing!
- Homemade or Store-bought Jam
- Berries – Optional.
HOW TO MAKE A JAM FILLED VANILLA LAYER CAKE
Begin by preheating your oven to 350° F. Next, grease to 9 inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and lightly coat with flour. You can also line the pans (bottom and sides) with parchment paper. Set the pans aside.
In a large bowl, beat 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.
COOLING AND DECORATING
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.
The cake can be safely stored in a covered cake stand on your countertop for 3-4 days.
PRESENTATION IS IMPORTANT
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! After all, 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!
USE YOUR FAVOURITE JAM!
When it comes to jam selection for your cake, you can choose any flavour you want. I’ve made this with my easy 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!
Do You Like This Recipe?
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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.
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