Photo: Robbie Caponetto, Iain Bagwell; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell
Hands-on Time
30 Mins
Total Time
3 Hours 45 Mins
Makes 12 servings

We based this recipe on one from Marcie Cohen Ferris' Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together buttermilk and baking soda.

Step 2

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy and stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Step 3

Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Add preserves, and beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in pecans. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours). Dust cake with powdered sugar just before serving, if desired.

Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South

Ratings & Reviews

Sgboogie17's Review

January 25, 2014
I first saw this recipe over a year ago and I finally baked it in December. It is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. The cake was tender, bursting with layers of flavor and has the added texture of the toasted finely chopped pecans. My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed it as did our guests and I'm going to bake it again this week. (It does taste somewhat like gingerbread, but it isn't nearly that strong.) This my 2nd rating of this cake. I took it to a dinner last night and it was a big hit. Rating it based on how much blackberry one expects is not a fair assessment of this multi-layers of flavor cake.

AlisaMarie's Review

March 21, 2013
Moist cake with a very nice texture. Excellent flavor and consistency! The blackberry is not pronounced, but it's among the best spice cakes (which this is, essentially) I've ever sampled. I would stress that if you think of this as a spice cake recipe, you won't be disappointed. Important note: make sure you use a large (12+ cup) bundt pan to prevent overflow. This is an old-fashioned recipe and newer bundt pans tend to be smaller than the ones our grandmothers used.

GGGawa's Review

February 22, 2013

cvb1048's Review

February 15, 2013
It doesn't have the taste of a real blackberry jam cake. Blackberry jam out of a jar will not give it the real taste. Real blackberry jam would improve the taste greatly.

Herndoncarney's Review

February 14, 2013
More like a spice cake and only an OK one at that. I was hoping for a vibrant blackberry taste.

Jeandevins's Review

January 30, 2013
This cake doesn't taste anything like blackberry jam. It's more like a spice cake or gingerbread.........very disappointing.