Aunt Hattie's Hard Jelly Cake

This is the most special dessert that I know. It has been a Christmas tradition in my father's family for generations. We always called it "Aunt Hattie's Hard Jelly Cake" because my Aunt Hattie continued to make it every year until she died. The local bakery took up making it after her death, and thirty years ago they were charging $35 for a half cake! They sold so many they had to take orders for them. It sold as soon as it was put out for sale! It is that good. It takes a long time and a lot of work to make them as they require at least 14 very thin layers that are rolled out and baked on a springform pan, so if you want to make this, set aside a whole afternoon. This torte was made at Christmas time in the days before refrigeration because it tastes even better the older it gets!
2 cups sugar
1 pound shorening
3 eggs
5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups flour
nutmeg to taste
1 cup milk
10 pounds grape jelly
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients except jelly, alternating dry ingredients and liquid. Chill dough until stiff. Roll dough on a floured surface until as thin as possible (about 1/8 inch) and place carefully so as not to tear on a lightly greased springform pan. Cut off excess dough and place ring on. Bake 450 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Spread jelly on the layer about 1/8 inch thick, taking care not to tear the layer.
Repeat process, stacking layers until anywhere from 14-24 layers high. Two pans are really necessary to simplify the process; one layer baking while the next is being prepared.
This recipe makes 2 cakes.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Neal. Ya got me interested and I found this.

  3. Where did your grandmother live? My grandmother lived in Maryland, and also made this cake.

  4. Aunt Hattie was my aunt my mother elder sister. She was a great lady and loved by all. As long as I can remember from a small child Aunt Hattie became busy in Dec. making hard jelly cakes for all her friends and family. If you received one of her cakes you knew you were a true friend. Every year as I began to make mine so many great memories of her are experienced. Her recipe was received by her from her mother-in-law who was of German descent

  5. Aunt Hattie was my aunt my mother's elder sister whom I loved with all my heart. Ever year at this time she began to make these cakes for her family and friends. If you received one you knew you were a true friend. She was an awesome person and loved by all. The recipe was given to her by her mother-in-law who was og German descent

  6. I'm so happy to have found this! My grandmother used to make jelly cake. I finally found her recipe, which was labeled "Hard Jelly Cake". Unfortunately, she doesn't say how much flour to use (actually doesn't have flour in the list of ingredients). My grandma used currant jelly instead of grape. On the back, she says that it's a colonial Maryland recipe that Ida "Honeybaby" Harp gave her. :)

  7. Aunt Hattie was my Granddaddy Proctor's sister. She was not only a great cook--she was a loving woman--we adored her! When she passed--her son [Alan] continued making these cakes. Momma would buy two each Christmas. Now that Alan is gone--I make them at Christmas for my own family. I was told they were most special cakes from Shady Side, MD. Nice tradition! Connie Townshend Halkovich, great niece of Aunt Hattie

  8. My mother's family is from Shady Side, Md also and her name was sure they are related somewhere but not sure where. I was making a couple cakes and just had the idea to Google it. I was amazed to see the recipe I was and have always used. WOW. My gradnd mother was Mary Rogers from Shady Rest Rd. Shadyside, Md.


I Love Comments...

Please leave a comment if you try something. I would love to hear what you think.

Thank You!

Top 10 Homeschool Homemaking and Recipe Blogs

Best Homemaking and Recipes Blog