Sweet on grandmothers

When it comes to sweets, even the most adventurous chefs seem to have soft spots for their grandmothers’ homey favorites. When Josh Moore, the executive chef at upscale Italian restaurant Volare (volare-restaurant.com) in Louisville, Kentucky, was tapped to prepare the dessert course at a recent taping of the TV cooking show “Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live,” he decided on his grandmother’s recipe for Kentucky Jam Cake.

“It’s very simple,” he told the studio audience. “Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients. Then combine them.” Moore’s grandmother added applesauce for moistness. She also made a decadent caramel frosting. As Moore beat together the butter, sugar, and cream in a stand mixer, it was all I could do not to stand up and ask if I could lick the beaters.

I did, however, have a chance to sample the cake, which is is firm but moist, with a pleasing texture from the chopped nuts. It stands up well to the rich caramel frosting.

The live episodes of “Secrets” are filmed at the Kitchen Theater at Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies. Culinary arts students hone their skills at Winston’s Restaurant, a fine dining destination on campus. For information on how to obtain tickets to a live taping, see www.newlocal.tv; to learn more about Winston’s, see www.sullivan.edu/winstons.

Look no farther for Moore’s grandma’s cake!


1 1/2 cups black raspberry jam
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped black walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl by hand until blended. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a buttered Bundt cake pan or layer pans and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool and unmold.


1/2 pound unsalted butter
3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar

Cook butter, brown sugar, and cream until it comes to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes. Put in mixer, add powdered sugar, and stir with paddle attachment until incorporated. Spread hot frosting over cake.

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