CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Mountain State is celebrating a birthday today! West Virginia is officially a young 159 years old!

The state will celebrate with multiple festivities, many happening at the Culture Center on the Capitol Complex. In one of the events, Governor Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice announced the winner of the West Virginia birthday cake contest!

The contest invited West Virginians to submit an original cake recipe, with the winning recipe becoming the “official” state birthday cake, served every year on June 20 to celebrate West Virginia’s statehood.

The winner of the contest is Kim Wymer of Scott Depot, with her creation of ‘Ms. Van’s Blackberry Skillet Cake.’ She says her inspiration came from her Mountain State roots, “I remember you know always picking blackberries. Of course, walnuts grow in West Virginia. And I thought about my mom making pineapple upside-down cakes in a cast-iron skillet and my grandmothers always cooked in a skillet so I thought, I’m going to kind of combine this and see what I come up with.” 

As for the name, she wanted to honor her great-grandmother. “And I named it Ms. Van’s Blackberry Skillet Cake for my great grandmother. Everybody called her Ms. Van, and she did her share of cooking in a cast-iron skillet,” says Wymer.

Wymer says she’s grateful and overwhelmed with joy that her recipe will live on in West Virginia forever, and she hopes everyone who tries it, enjoys it.

Recipe for official WV Birthday Cake: Ms. Van’s Blackberry Skillet Cake

Mrs. Van’s Blackberry Skillet Cake

Created by West Virginian Kim Wymer

Ingredients and Method for Cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, separated
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 12 oz. fresh blackberries, washed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp. granulated white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss blackberries with 1 tbsp. granulated sugar.
  2. Put 1/2 stick of butter in a 10″ cast iron skillet and place in the oven until melted. Remove from the oven, add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup walnuts, stir and then add and arrange blackberries in cast iron skillet.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. ground clove, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1 tsp. cinnamon, then set aside. In a separate bowl, mix 1 stick butter with 1 1/2 cups sugar, then whisk 2 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup buttermilk together. Add this to butter and sugar and mix until combined.
  4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix until smooth for about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour into a cast iron skillet on top of the berry mixture.
  6. Bake approx. 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in cast iron skillet for 10 minutes before inverting cake onto a serving plate. While the cake is cooling, mix up the nutmeg glaze.

Ingredients and Method for Nutmeg Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 6 tsp. warm water
  1. Combine all 3 ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  2. Once cake is cooled and inverted onto serving plate, drizzle glaze over top of warm cake, and enjoy!