Blackberry Jam Cake, otherwise known as Woodford Pudding

by Irvin on April 28, 2014 · 11 comments

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This blackberry jam cake, otherwise known as a Woodford Pudding, is made from scratch but is super easy and served with a fast bourbon butterscotch sauce!

Blackberry Jam Cake Recipe, made from scratch, otherwise known as Woodford Pudding. Recipe and Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

I have little to no connection with Kentucky. I’m not a huge fan of the derby, much less horse racing in general. I certainly don’t drink mint juleps (as delicious as they sound). And I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to Kentucky. But I do have to admit that I have a soft spot for the state. Kentucky women know how to wear fabulous hats when it’s appropriate. I briefly visited there on our road trip across the USA to get dinner with my pal Stella Park of the Brave Tart (though I don’t think she wears those hats, which I think is a shame). And without Kentucky, we probably wouldn’t have American bourbon, well at least not the good stuff. So when I stumbled across a recipe for Woodford Pudding, a blackberry jam cake that is a traditional Kentucky dessert often served on Derby day, I was immediately intrigued and knew I needed to make a version at home.(Jump directly to the recipe.)

Blackberry Jam Cake Recipe, made from scratch, otherwise known as Woodford Pudding. Recipe and Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Now Woodford Pudding isn’t pudding in the Bill Cosby sort of way. It’s basically a blackberry jam spice cake, appropriate for the winter and holiday season. But it is also frequently served during the Kentucky Derby as well and though I have no real interest in the horse races, I certainly have a number of friends who do. But strangely the mint julep and derby pie seems to overshadow the Woodford Pudding when it comes to the Derby day treats and that’s a bit of a shame if you ask me.

Woodford Pudding, a blackberry jam cake. Recipe and Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Turns out the original classic recipe for the dessert is pretty straightforward, using store bought blackberry jam to sweeten and flavor the cake. Since I tend to bake from scratch as much as I possible, I went through the extra step of making my own blackberry jam, which is easier than you think (three ingredients and eight minutes on the stove and you have jam). What I am surprised to find is that most recipes I could find didn’t include bourbon, something I thought was very much necessary for a Kentucky classic dessert named Woodford Pudding. A touch of bourbon, along with a butterscotch bourbon sauce to serve with this cake and I’m definitely going be putting this moist cake in my regular rotation throughout the year. No need to wait for a horse race!

Blackberry Jam Cake recipe also known as Woodford Pudding. Recipe and Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

If you like this Blackberry Jam Cake (Woodford Pudding) recipe, check out these other Kentucky inspired treats for Derby Day!

Simply Recipes’ Kentucky Burgoo Stew
Spoon Fork Bacon’s Hot Brown Sandwich
The Baker Chick’s Mint Julep Cupcakes
Sprinkle Bakes’ Kentucky Bourbon Pudding with Candied Pecans
My Cooking Spot’s Flaky Kentucky Derby Pie
And, of course, a classic recipe for mint julep libations from Food Republic.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine from Cook the Story April 28, 2014 at 6:20 am

Congratulations…you’ve successfully made me drool on myself again. This looks amazing!


Pat Sayer Fusco April 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Irvin! I thought of you this morning when I was checking out food events around Derby Day, remembering your trip there. We would definitely love the Pimiento Cheese Evening where local chefs will make their favorite versions of the symbolic sandy, served up with a bourbon tasting….and the Hot Brown Tour sounds pretty irresistible, too. Yet here we are and now you’ve made it better with this great recipe that is authentically heart-felt Southern. Thanks so much!


Belinda @zomppa April 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Bourbon and butterscotch have got to be two of the best combinations. Ever.


Nutmeg Nanny April 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

This cake looks out of this world! When I was in Kentucky I went to the Woodford Reserve distillery and was in bourbon heaven!


Holly April 29, 2014 at 5:16 am

I admire your quest for authenticity. That’s why I love your recipes and your meticulous attention to every detail. BTW, love your green Depression glass plates.


Aimee @ Simple Bites April 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

Look so, so good! And that sauce? Dreamy.


Arthur in the Garden! April 29, 2014 at 10:35 am



Miss Kim @ behgopa May 1, 2014 at 1:15 am

I’ve never been to KY before. What are some fun attractions you have enjoyed over there? I do love a fabulous hat! I actually used to collect hats back in the 90s. Oh I so want to go to a horse race one day. I don’ think I would bet though (I never gamble because I cant bear the feeling of losing any money to gambling). But I think I’d have a blast watching.

The cake looks like one of them sinful guilty pleasures to indulge in on a cheat day.


Kate @ Diethood May 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm

I don’t know a thing about horses, either, but I do know a beautiful cake when I see one!! This is gorgeous! Inside and out! 🙂


Julie November 2, 2015 at 4:33 am

That’s a beautiful fusion of two Central Kentucky recipes. A word of caution, though – if you do happen serve this to someone from the Bluegrass, don’t say jam cake – that’s our big holiday fruitcake with blackberry jam, sometimes raisins, black walnuts or pecans, and, in this part of the world, a caramel (penuche fudge) icing. It is rare for Woodford to contain brown sugar but less rare for Jam Cake, and while the fat to sugar ratio in Woodford is 1:1, the ratio in Jam Cake is nearly always 1:2. Woodford is typically served with hard sauce, Jam Cake traditionally with heavy penuche, and they are made in two different types of bakeware. These are also typically Christmas recipes rather than Derby, although I’m seeing more jam cake served in May than I did forty years ago.


yvonne December 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm

do you know there is a story to the woodford pudding?
i was told the story when i first ate woodofrd pudding in lexington ky. i said oh my gosh is this delicious which prompted the chef to tell the story


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