We love going through antique cookbooks. Of course many of the recipes in them are untested, and, frankly, inedible. But each one is a little domestic history lesson.  Part of the fun of skimming these old books are the many silly names for dishes that have slipped (often rightfully) into oblivion. We’ve already introduced you to the “Chicken Roly Poly”. And “Syllabub.” Someday we might spring “Sally Lunns” on you. Or “Cracknels.” Or “Puff Wonders.” Or “Maids of Honor.”

Those light-hearted recipe titles probably brought a lot of levity to kitchens and tables in those pre-Food Network days when cooking wasn’t so much a hobby as a chore. Try to picture Ina Garten feeding ten kids and a husband using only what she had in her garden,  a stubborn wood fire, and pails of water from the well up the hill. (Attention network execs: you got the idea here first.) When a 19th century homemaker’s self-cured lamb shank molded over in the basement, there wasn’t much else to do besides cut off the spoilage, fry up whatever was left to kill off toxins, cover it with a flour paste and call it “Frizzle Pud.” Even if it tasted horrible, at least she’d hopefully get a laugh from the kids. (And wouldn’t kill off more than one or two of them.)

We’re sure Joanna Beekman, William’s wife, faced most of the same challenges as other homemakers of her day. Even as a prominent judge’s wife, she was still living in the middle of pretty much nowhere. And though her husband owned a general mercantile, she was subject to the same limitations of ingredients as her neighbors. However, she was probably held to a higher standard of entertaining. So when company came calling, she had to make her husband proud…even if all she had was some flour, sugar, and jam from the previous summer.

We get a lot of last minute guests just like Joanna did. So a few years ago we developed a quick dessert that looks elegant, but can be whipped up in minutes.  It’s as good for a morning coffee talk, as it is for an afternoon gossip session. Or even a late night gab fest. But most importantly, it uses ingredients you surely have on your pantry shelf and in your refrigerator. We decided this cake deserved a silly old-fashioned name…thus, the “JamDoily” cake was born.


People loved it so much, we decided to produce a ready-to-make mix of our favorite variety, vanilla cardamom, and offer it for purchase in our mercantile. All you need to bring to the mixing bowl are eggs, milk, butter and that half a jar of jam that’s been sitting in your fridge door. If you don’t want to use our mix, then by all means make your cake from scratch…you just need a recipe for a two layer cake. Any one will do. And you’ll have it finished in a doodinny-minny. That’s another made up word. This is fun. Follow along…

Firts, take one of your two cake layers and flip it UpsyDupsy.


Next, globbaglobb (yes, that’s both a noun and a verb) of jelly on the cake.


Spread it around evenly in a thick, mishysquish layer.


Put the second layer righty-tite on top of the jelly.


Now it’s time for prettification. Place a doily on top of the cake. (And yes, we include the doily right in with our mix. We’re thoughtful like that.)



And then tippatappa a little powdered sugar over top of the doily. That means: put it in a wire sieve and gently shake it to ensure an even dusting. (Oh yes, we include the powdered sugar separately in our mix too. Man, we think of everything.)


Be careful not to jigglerupt the doily while removing it. You want a nice clean design.


Pretty, right? Your guests will flobbergibber over it.



They might even gigglechort.


But if they chucklechomp, by all means, call 911.

JamDoily Cake Mix and Beekman 1802 jams available here.



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  • By: Valentine Bonnaire

    This looks really wonderful. If you ever make the Sally Lunn, I used to do it at Easter all the time. Omg. Bernard Clayton’s book of Breads. His recipe! xxoo! ps: congrats very much to the two of you on that wedding.

  • By: Adelaide

    The cake names you mention above are still used in England. ‘Sally Lunn’s are a bun so named after the woman who devised them in the 18th century. You’ve never been to Bath in Somerset because they have built an entire tourist industry on them! ‘Maid of Honour’ originate from Richmond, Surrey (outskirts of London) and were devised in honour of Henry VIII’s ladies in waiting. The sponge cake looks delicious, just the right consistency. Just saw you on FOX News and will definitely try your mayonnaise as conditioner tip.

  • By: Kristine

    I think the description of the cake prep might even be better than the cake!

  • By: Joy

    Going to serve this at my next get together!

  • By: Janet Martin

    Feel like I’ve just read “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll…brilliant! And the cake don’t look too shabby.

  • By: gerri shakra

    Yummy BB’s.. this cake was one of the favs of my family my mom baked.. when I was growing up.. nice to see you bringing it forward!!

  • By: Elizabeth Poole

    The doily cake brought back lots of good memories! My mother used to make cakes like this all the time. Usually it was made with red plum jam which she made from the plums on the plum trees in our backyard.

  • By: Julie Clowdis

    I nice variation of this old time cake (my granny has made it for years) is before putting a glop of delishijelliness, spread a bodacious layer of peanut butter (creamy or chunky) and then your favorite jelly hiding in the fridge door or way way in the back of pickleville. Makes a wonderful PB&J cake!

  • By: Diane Var

    A layer of whipped cream on top of that jam would be great! Just sayin. 🙂

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