The inspiration was a simple pound cake recipe with cherry jam filling that appeared in the December 2010 issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine. It was picture perfect, with a perfect shot of the cherry jam suspended in the pound cake in the photographed cross section. Having baked enough before, I immediately suspected that getting the jam to float airily in the cake would be a bit harder to achieve, and rightfully braced myself for a lot of melted jam on on the bottom of the pan. But no worries, while we may not have achieved a magazine photo worthy cake, this taste simply delicious. And it was so easy to make, even a non-baker can manage this. I adjusted the original recipe a bit to suit ingredients we had on hand, but the essence of the cake is that of the original “Dolce morbido all’amarena.”
Pre-heat your oven to 340F. Butter a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan (with removable bottom). In a bowl mix together 1 and 1/3 cups flour and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. In a mixing bowl, cream 1 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and airy using an electric mixer. Then add 4 eggs, incorporating them into the butter one at a time. Put the mixer on low and add the flour and mix for a few seconds until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
For this cake above, I then added about 3/4 cup of mangosteen jam in a circular pattern halfway between the edge and the center point of the cake. The jam seemed to remain on the surface of the batter when I placed it in the oven. However, after a few minutes in the oven, the jam sank, liquified and spread out under the cake batter. I am currently trying it again and will put the jam in only after 10-15 minutes of baking the batter, hoping that the bottom of the cake will set up, then the jam will not liquify as much and form the base of the cake… let’s see how that goes in a couple of hours or so. I also sprinkled the top of the batter with shifted top quality organic muscovado sugar. Total bake time was 35-40 minutes.
The resulting cake was delicious. Not too sweet and just the right thing for an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea. You can substitute other type of hearty jams for the mangosteen or cherry. Serve at room temperature, or zap in the microwave for a few seconds and serve it warm, with a large scoop of coffee ice cream!