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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Bake a Cake

By Jennifer Lee

This cake really brings out the kid in me. With its thick layer of jam, this cake is a little bit like taking an entire jar of fresh-made jam and dipping your spoon in to eat it straight. The thin layer of buttery crumble makes it even better.

Jam Cake Bars

Prep time: 10–15 minutes

Cook time: 30–35 minutes Serves 9–12

  • 1 cup (235 ml) jam of your choice
  • 1 cup (160 g) White Cake Mix (see below)
  • ¼ cup or ½ stick (2 ounces/57 g) unsalted butter, sliced into ¼-inch-thick (6 mm) squares


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Grease or line a 9 × 9-inch (23 × 23 cm) baking pan.
  3. Spread jam evenly across bottom of pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly across jam. Place butter slices evenly across top.
  4. Bake for about 30–35 minutes. About 25 minutes in, quickly check the cake. Use a spatula or large wooden spoon to push down any uncooked cake mix into the bubbling mixture. Do not worry if this breaks the surface of the cake. Let the cake continue to bake for an additional 5–10 minutes, until the surface is golden brown.
  5. Let cake cool for about 15–20 minutes before cutting and serving.

White Cake Mix

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) baking powder
  • 1½ cups (300 g) granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup (60 g) nonfat dry milk powder
  • ¼ cup (32 g) cornstarch

Yields approximately 4 cups (640 g) of cake mix


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir with a whisk until well mixed (about 20–30 strokes), making sure to occasionally lift and run the whisk along the sides of the bowl so that all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Store in an airtight container in your pantry (or other cool, dark space) for up to three months, assuming all of the individual ingredients used have a shelf life longer than three months. If anything has a shorter shelf life, use your mix by the shortest shelf-life date.    

Reprinted with permission from Dump Cakes From Scratch: Nearly 100 Recipes to Dump, Bake, and Devour by Jennifer Lee, 2016. Published by Race Point Publishing, a member of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. © 2016 text by Jennifer Lee © 2016 photography by Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.