For years, my go-to use for this grease has been Swedish ginger cookies — a recipe from New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn that is fool-proof. (If this sounds insane to you, bacon grease actually works very well in spicy sweets — the smokiness of the fat is a nice foil for the tastes of cinnamon, cloves etc. Just ask Modern Woman magazine, which listed it as one of 10 ways to use bacon fat in 1943.)
One can only eat so many bacon-fat ginger cookies, however. And when I started itching for something else, a little poking around online unearthed an old recipe for an intriguing blackberry jam cake …
As with many old recipes — likely ones scribbled down at a mother or grandmother’s elbow — this one was a little bewildering. The instructions are stingy and don’t include some important details, like what size cake pan to use.
(Not to mention what exactly “hard on a saucer” means with regard to the desired consistency of icing. I eventually figured that this probably means that if you put a few dribbles of the boiling icing on a cool plate and it hardens immediately, it’s ready.)
Even so, I was determined. Research says that cake batter should fill 2/3 to 3/4 of a pan. So after some pouring of batter from pan to pan to pan, I figured that a 9-inch round cake pan with two-inch high sides sounded about right for the amount of batter I had. (I could be wrong, however — the center of the cake sank a little as it was a little less cooked than it should have been, even after 45 minutes.)
Overall, despite its soggy center (which you certainly can see from that moist dark rope in the photo above), the cake was alright. It could have used more spices — I’d probably double the amount of spices listed and add nutmeg, mace and a splash of vanilla, perhaps. And perhaps, something more.
If any of you out there gives this a try though, let me know what you think. All brilliant ideas for bacon-grease cake improvements very welcome here.
Blackberry Jam Cake (Recipe from Uncle Phaedrus Consulting Detective and Finder of Lost Recipes) 1 c. brown sugar 3/4 c. butter or use bacon grease if you have it 1 c. blackberry jam 1 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. cloves 1/2 tsp. allspice 1/2 tsp. black pepper 1/2 c. buttermilk 1 tsp. soda sifted with 2 c. flour 3 eggs Cream butter and sugar. Add buttermilk alternately with flour sifted with soda and spices. Add eggs, unbeaten one at a time. Last, add the jam and mix lightly. Bake as you would any other cake: 350° for 30 to 40 mins. --Caramel Icing:-- 2 c. brown sugar 2 c. white sugar 1 c. milk 1/2 c. margarine Boil until it becomes hard on a saucer then beat until stiff. If it gets hard add more milk. You can double this for more coverage.