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It’s a big week at beagleman’s and to celebrate Collard Green is highlighting some of our most decadent recipes. All of these cake recipes come from women in my family. First, my mom, Nancy, provides a recipe for Blackberry Cake with Caramel Icing. We’ve racked our brains trying to remember what first made her experiment with this particular flavor combination, but if you indulge in this recipe you’ll be glad she did.



Next I have Granny Laura’s Milky Way Cake, a treat I associate with Christmas and eating foods so rich you don’t care if you ever wear a bathing suit again. And finally, my Grandmother Stella’s Prune Cake is a consistent crowd-pleaser that combines flavors of some of my favorite spice cakes.

One technical note: the recipes for Marshmallow Chocolate Icing and Buttermilk Icing call for cooking ingredients to “soft-ball” stage. What the heck does that mean? Glad you asked. When sugar is combined with a liquid to form a syrup, you can test its viscosity using water. To test for “soft-ball” stage, drop a small amount of your syrup into a glass of cold water. When the syrup forms a soft, flexible ball that flattens like a pancake when removed from the water it has reached soft-ball stage. This trick comes in handy when making fudge, fondant, pralines, and other sugary confections.

Do you have a favorite cake recipe we should know about? Write beaglemansstudios@gmail.com with your questions, comments, feedback, and jokes. And don’t forget to check back every Wednesday for more from Collard Green!


Nancy’s Blackberry Jam Cake

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 cups cake flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup blackberry jam
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly until combined. Add jam.

Combine dry ingredients. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter/sugar mixture. Grease and lightly flour a 9x13 sheet pan before adding batter. Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Caramel Frosting

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup sifted confectioners sugar

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add milk. Cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool for 1 minute. Whisk in vanilla and confectioners sugar. Blend with mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. When cake is cool to the touch, use spatula to apply frosting.

(Yields: 10-12 servings; Ready In: 90 minutes)


Granny Laura’s Milky Way Cake

6 Milk Way candy bars
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 ½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans

In a medium saucepan, melt candy bars and ½ cup butter over medium-low heat. Cream sugar and remaining ½ cup butter. Add eggs one at a time.

Combine flour and baking soda. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk to butter/sugar, mixing on a low speed until just combined. Add melted candy/butter and pecans, continue to mix on low speed until blended.

Thoroughly grease a 9x13 sheet pan before adding batter. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour.

Marshmallow Chocolate Icing

1 ¼ cup sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup marshmallow cream
½ cup butter

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and milk over low heat. Add chocolate chips and stir until “soft-ball” stage. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow cream and butter until mixture is thoroughly combined. When cake is cool to touch, use a spatula to apply frosting.

(Yields: 10-12 servings; Ready In: 95 minutes)



Grandmother Stella’s Prune Cake

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cupped chopped walnuts
1 cup oil
3 eggs (beaten)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup prunes
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and spices. Add walnuts to dry mix.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to boil. Add prunes and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat until prunes are plump and tender. Drain prunes and set aside to cool.

Combine oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Chop prunes and add to wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until blended. Pour batter into greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Flip onto plate to cool.


Buttermilk Icing

1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon of white Karo syrup
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and stir. Bring to boil. Cook on medium heat until mixture reaches “soft-ball” stage. Remove from heat and pour over cake.

(Yields: 8-10 servings; Ready In: 90 minutes)