Lady Baltimore Cake

Anne Ardunell, Lady Baltimore

Anne Ardunell, Lady Baltimore (Photo credit: lisby1)

Surprisingly, there is not much known about the women whose name has held such an honored status in the colony and state of Maryland.  Ann Arundell was born in 1615 to Thomas Arundel, the 1st Baron of Wardour.  At the age of 13 she married Cecil Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore and had 4 children including Charles Calvert, the 3rd Lord Baltimore.  Her son Leonard Calvert traveled with the original colonists in the Ark and the Dove to establish Maryland as a colony and served as the provisional governor.

Her father invested heavily in the Maryland colony as a refuge for Catholics who were being persecuted in the dominantly Protestant England.  In 1649 The Act Concerning Religion was passed by the Maryland General Assembly.

Neither Anne nor Cecil Calvert ever set foot in the colony of Maryland, but through their political pull helped to establish the colony and make it a refuge for the religious intolerance of the day. Lady Anne passed away the same year at the age of 34.

In the same year the first European settlers founded the territory named Anne Arundel County.  When the capitol of Maryland was moved from St Mary’s in 1694 it was moved a new site along the Severn River, named Anne Arundell Towne, this was later renamed Annapolis in 1695 after Princess Anne, which still resides in Anne Arundel County.

The Lady Baltimore cake was obviously named after her, but like most aspects of Maryland cuisine, something that seems so simply straight forward is entwined in a history of controversy and there are several stories related to the origin of this dish.

There is also a story regarding the origin of the cake involving the Lady and Lord Baltimore.  It was said that he was presented with the cake and was so upset with the waste of all the egg yolks that were going to waste that he went into the kitchen and with the assistance of his chef created a Lord Baltimore cake that is much richer due to the inclusion of many egg yolks.

There is also a story involving The Former First Lady Dolly Madison, who enjoyed this cake, it is also serendipity that I worked in the Dolly Madison house which is now home to the historic “Cosmos Club” founded by the explorer John Wesley Powell and is the club that served as the foundation for National Geographic as well as the meeting place where the Manhattan Project was first planned, but one would have to question why the cake was named Lady Baltimore, if Dolly Madison had invented it.

One story has it that the cake was made in pure white to reflect the purity of Lady Baltimore, but considering the Lady Baltimore in question was probably Ann Arundel, who never actually set foot in the United States, this story can be readily discounted.

There are many theories about how this cake came about:

“Lady Baltimore Cake. A moist, pure white, three-layer cake made with a filing of chopped pecans, raisins, and other dried fruit, such as figs, and a billowy white frosting, usually made with boiled icing. The cake, which uses egg whites only, not yolks, in the batter, has a delicate fine-grained texture. Lady Baltimore cake is a traditional cake that was originally a specialty of the city of Charleston, South Carolina.”[1]

“Lady Baltimore Cake…A legendary dessert, famous throughout the South. This cake is said to have originated with the first Lord Baltimore’s wife, for serving at afternoon teas.”[2]

“Lady Baltimore Cake. A white cake filled with nuts and raisins and covered with a vanilla-and-egg-white frosting. There are several stories of how the cake was named, but he most accepted version concerns a cake by this name baked by a Charleston, South Carolina, belle named Alicia Rhett Mayberry for novelist Owen Wister, who not only described the confection in his next book but named the novel itself Lady Baltimore (1906). In American food (1974) Evan Jones noted that ‘it may also be true that the ‘original’ recipe became the property of the Misses Florence and Nina Ottolengui, who managed Charleston’s Lady Baltimore Tea Room for a quarter of a century and annually baked and shipped to Owen Wister one of the very American cakes his novel had help to make famous.'”[3]

“Despite the fact that the original Lady Baltimore was a yellow cake, the version most Americans now accept as the classic is a silver cake made with plenty of stiffly beaten egg whites. Even James Beard, the dean of American cooking, offers the egg-white version in American Cookery (1972). Charleston Receipts (1950) prints both versions. When did the shift from whole eggs to whites occur? The earliest whites-only Lady Baltimore I could find appears in Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes and Household Discoveries (1922). It calls for nine egg whites, confectioners’ sugar instead of granulated, and rose extract for flavor. Nearer the Lady Baltimores of today is the one in All About Home Baking, a slim volume of recipes put out by General Foods in 1933. Here, Lady Baltimore is introduced as a ‘butter cake which uses egg whites only.’ My hunch is that General Foods publicized its Lady Baltimore in Swans Down Cake Flour ads, possibly on package labels, too, which would explain why silver cake versions have eclipsed the whole-egg original.”[4]

“Each year at Christmas time hundreds of white boxes to out of Charleston to all parts of the country bearing the round, the tall, the light, the fragile, the ineffable Lady Baltimore cakes. There are several ladies of old descent who make an excellent living baking these famous cakes.You have seen Lady Baltimore cakes on many a menu, but it usually means something altogether different from the real Charleston delicacy. By no stretch of the imagination could this cake be called economical, but its goodness makes one willing to forget its eight eggs!”[5]

The earliest recorded recipe found for this cake is a newspaper clipping from 1906, accounting for the fact that a recipe will usually exist upwards of fifty years before finding its way into print, this would eliminate many of the historical connections attributed to this cake.

Owen Wister, the novelist best known for his contribution to literature as the author of the first western novel is also credited for the naming of this dish that was created in Charleston, South Carolina in a tea room that has now been named after the cake.

This dish became very popular when the famous western novelist Owen Wister described the dish in his book Lady Baltimore.  A facinating book about reconstruction in the south, following the Civil War.  Many have even accredited its name to his mention of it in the book, claiming that it went by many assorted names before.   Wister is best known for his western novel series starting with the Virginian, and made into a popular television series in the 1960’s.

For those who know of this cake I can give no better description then Owen Wister himself[6]:

… at twelve, it was my habit to leave my Fanning researches for a while, and lunch at the Exchange upon chocolate and sandwiches most delicate in savor. As, one day, I was luxuriously biting one of these, I heard his voice and what he was saying. …

Young he was, very young, twenty-two or three at the most, and as he stood, with hat in hand, speaking to the pretty girl behind the counter, his head and side-face were of a romantic and high-strung look. It was a cake that he desired made, a cake for a wedding; and I directly found myself curious to know whose wedding.

…. “Are you quite sure you want that?” the girl was asking.

“Lady Baltimore? Yes, that is what I want.”

“Because,” she began to explain, then hesitated, and looked at him. Perhaps it was in his face; perhaps it was that she remembered at this point the serious difference between the price of Lady Baltimore (by my small bill-of-fare I was now made acquainted with its price) and the cost of that rich article which convention has prescribed as the cake for weddings; at any rate, swift, sudden delicacy of feeling prevented her explaining any more to him, for she saw how it was: his means were too humble for the approved kind of wedding cake! She was too young, too unskilled yet in the world’s ways, to rise above her embarrassment; and so she stood blushing at him behind the counter, while he stood blushing at her in front of it.

…. My day had been dull, my researches had not brought me a whit nearer royal blood; I looked at my little bill-of-fare, and then I stepped forward to the counter, adventurous, but polite.

“I should like a slice, if you please, of Lady Baltimore,” I said with extreme formality. I thought she was going to burst; but after an interesting second she replied, “Certainly,” in her fit Regular Exchange tone; only, I thought it trembled a little.

I returned to the table and she brought me the cake, and I had my first felicitous meeting with Lady Baltimore. Oh, my goodness! Did you ever taste it? It’s all soft, and it’s in layers, and it has nuts–but I can’t write any more about it; my mouth waters too much.

Delighted surprise caused me once more to speak aloud, and with my mouth full. “But, dear me, this is delicious!”

A choking ripple of laughter came from the counter. “It’s I who make them,” said the girl. “I thank you for the unintentional compliment.”

The first recipe for this dish appeared on December 24th 1906 in the Daily Gazette and Bulletin newspaper of Williamsport, Pennsylvania:

Lady Baltimore Cake[7]


Beat the whites of six eggs. Take a cup and a half of granulated sugar, a cup of milk, nearly a cup of butter, three cups of flour and two teaspoonfuls of good baking powder. Sift the flour and baking powder together into the other ingredients, adding the eggs last of all. Bake in two buttered pans for fifteen or twenty minutes.

For the frosting: Two cups of granulated sugar and a cup and a half of water, boil until stringly, about five minutes usually does it. Beat the whites of two eggs very light, and pour the boiling sugar slowly into it, mixing well. Take out of this enough for the top and sides of the cake, and stir into the remainder for the filling between the two layers, one cup of finely chopped raisins and a cup of chopped nuts. This is delicious when properly baked.

Flour milling was revolutionized in the Mid – Atlantic region.  Oliver Evens optimized the efficiency by connecting each component of the mill through lifts and cables.  This reduced the dependency on man power to run the mills.  He completed his first mill in 1784.  George Washington visited a mill modeled after Evens’ designs and ordered one built at his estate in Mt. Vernon.  Today it has been rebuilt and is the only operating Evens mill operating today.

Shortly after the Civil War, Americans began importing technology used in Switzerland to mill flour finer, they also began bleaching the flour.  This added to the longevity of the flour as well as providing the desired effect of making the flour white.  This effect made the lady cakes and the Lady Baltimore cake possible.

Lady Baltimore Cake

Christopher Gobbett

2009

 

Cake:

2 Tablespoons Plus ½ Pound Unsalted Butter, Softened

2 Tablespoons Plus 3 Cups Cake Flour

1 Tablespoon Double Acting Baking Powder

¼ Teaspoons Salt                                                                             1 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Almond Extract                                                        1 ½ Cups Sugar

5 Egg Whites

 

Note: Before making the cake, see the frosting section opposite for instructions regarding the soaking of dried fruit and nuts.

 

Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  With a pastry brush, spread 2 tablespoons of the softened butter on the bottom and sides of three 9 inch layer cake pans.  Divide 2 tablespoons of the flour among the three pans and tip the pans from side to side to distribute flour evenly.  Then invert each pan and rap it sharply to remove the excess flour.

                Combine the remaining flour, baking powder and salt, and sift them together into a bowl.  Stir the milk and almond extract together in a small bowl and set aside. 

                In a large deep bowl, cream the remaining butter and the sugar together by beating them against the sides of the bowl with the back of a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in about 1 cup of the flour mixture and, when it is all incorporated, beat in 1/3 cup of the milk and almond extract mixture.  Repeat twice more, alternating the flour and milk mixtures, and continue to beat until the butter is smooth. 

                With a wire whisk or a rotary or electric beater, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they are firm enough to stand in stiff peaks on the beater when it is lifted out of the bowl.  Stir a few tablespoons of whites into the batter, then scoop the batter over the whites and fold together gently, but thoroughly with a rubber spatula. 

                Pour the batter into the pans, dividing it equally among them and smoothing the tops with the spatula.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until the tops are pale gold and they have begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan.  Turn the cake layers out onto wire racks to cool at room temperature. 

 

 

Frosting:

4 Egg Whites

¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1 Cup Water                                                                                      

1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup

 

Filling:

12 Dried Figs, Pitted and Finely Chopped                                             2 Cups Black Walnuts, Finely Chopped

2 Cups Seedless Raisins, Finely Chopped                                             1 Cup Sherry

1 Cup Maraschino Cherries

 

                Frosting:  With a wire whisk or a rotary or electric beater, beat the 4 egg whites and cream of tartar in a deep bowl until they are firm enough to stand in stiff peaks on the beater when lifted from the bowl. 

                Quickly combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy 1 to 1 ½ quart enameled or stainless steel saucepan and, stirring frequently, cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves.  Raise the heat and continue to cook uncovered and undisturbed until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F. on a candy thermometer, or until a few drops spooned into ice water immediately form a soft ball. 

                Beat the reserved egg whites constantly, pour in the hot syrup in a slow, thin stream, and continue to beat until the filling is smooth, thick and cool. 

                Filling:  Place the figs and raisins in a bowl and add the sherry to soak for 30 minutes. 

                Place the raisins, nuts, and figs in a fine sieve and drain them.  Discard the soaking liquid.  Toss with the walnuts.

                To Assemble:  Set one cake layer upside down on an inverted cake pan and with a metal spatula or knife, spread about ½ cup of the frosting evenly over the surface of the cake.  Carefully put the second layer in place right side up and spread with another ½ cup of the frosting and ½ of the fruit and walnut mixture.  Place the rest on top of the second layer.   Top with the third cake layer right side up and coat the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.  Carefully slide the cake onto a serving plate and serve.  Or, if you prefer, cover loosely with wax paper or aluminum foil and set aside at room temperature for as long as two days; frosting will keep the cake moist. 

For my interpretation, I Figured I would use a more local ingredient to this dish.  All of the cakes call for walnuts, but I thought black walnuts would be a great local addition.  Of course this would make the cake more of a seasonal dish.

I try to keep the cake as white as possible and fold the nuts and fruit into the cake batter and then I have a completely white frosting to use on the cake, however you lose the pristine white of the cake, so it is better still to add the walnut filling into the middle if the cake to give some contrast to the white on white effect.

This recipe is almost the same as the one from the Time – Life Foods of the World Series printed in 1971, with the addition of black walnuts instead of regular walnuts.

This recipe again since it is a baking ratio has not changed much over the years, only the filling has been modified from the traditional lady style cake.

The Evolution:

 

As a rule, cake recipes usually do not change much.  Baking recipes are formulas designed to produce specific chemical reactions.  If you modify the recipe too much one way or another, your recipe will fail.  To modify this dish you need a basic understanding of culinary science and the reactions and ratios of chemical leavening.

Baltimore Cake[8]

1911

 

Beat one cupful of butter to a cream, using a wooden cake spoon.  Add gradually while beating constantly two cupfuls fine granulated sugar.  When creamy add a cupful of milk, alternating with three and one half cupfuls pastry flour that has been mixed and sifted with two tablespoonfuls of baking powder.  Add a tablespoonful of vanilla and the whites of six beaten stiff and dry.  Bake in three buttered and floured shallow cake tins, and spread between the layers and on top the following icing: Put in a saucepan three cups sugar, one cup water.  Heat gradually to the boiling point, and cook without stirring until the syrup will thread.  Pour the hot syrup gradually over the well beaten egg whites of three eggs and continue beating until of the right consistency for spreading.  Then add one cupful chopped and seeded raisins, one cup chopped pecan meats and five figs cut in strips.

This recipe is very basic and hard to follow for most modern cooks.  An experienced baker could translate this recipe and the techniques, but this was common for the time period.  In this recipe we see the use of walnuts and figs, which are the classic filling for the Lady Baltimore cake.  Since then, several additions have been made, mainly to the filling, although in some cases the nuts are mixed into the cake batter.

Baltimore Cake[9]

1911

 

                For this cake use one cupful of butter, two cupfuls of sugar, three and one half cupfuls flour, one cupful sweet milk, two tablespoonfuls baking powder, the whites of six eggs and a teaspoonful of rose water.  Cream the butter add  the sugar gradually, beating steadily, then the milk and flavoring, next to the flour sifted with the baking powder, and lastly the stiffly beaten egg whites folded in at the last.  Bake in three layer cake tins in an oven hotter than for loaf cake.  While baking prepare the filling.  Dissolve three cupfuls sugar in one cupfuls sugar in one cupful boiling water, and cook until it spins a thread.  Pour over a stiffly beaten whites of three eggs, stirring constantly.  Add to this icing one cupful chopped raisins, one cupful chopped nut meats, preferably pecans or walnuts, and a half dozen figs cut in fine strips.  Use this for filling and also ice the top and sides with it. 

 

This version by the same chef shows the variation of the dish.  Different nuts are used and raisins are added with the figs.  He also uses rose water in the batter.  This was a common ingredient in cooking baked goods, especially Lady Cakes.  It added a floral aroma and the slightest hint of flavor, but most of it is cooked off and overpowered during the baking process.

Lady Baltimore Cake[10]

1924

 

                One – Half cup butter (scant), one and one half cup granulated sugar sifted, one cup cold water, three even cups of swans down flour sifted three times before measuring, two and one half teaspoons baking powder, whites of four eggs.  Flavor with one – forth teaspoon almond and one half teaspoon vanilla.  Cream butter and sugar, add one – third of water with one cup flour.  Beat thoroughly.  Add second cup of flour.  Beat thoroughly.  Add last cup or flour and baking powder sifted together, beat as before.  Add rest of water and beat, and then fold in whites of eggs very carefully.  All measurements are level.

                                                                                                                – Mrs. J.R. Gregg

This is the first direct mention of using cake flour for the recipe showing how it has been further refined from the standard all purpose combination.  The finer grind of the cake flour allows you to mix the ingredients without developing the gluten as much which will yield a lighter and moister cake.  Over mixing the flour can cause a cake to become hard and bread like in consistency.

Lady Baltimore Cake[11]

1924

 

                Three – fourths cup butter, one and one – half cups sugar, one cup milk, three cups flour, two tablespoons Rumford Baking Powder, six egg whites, one teaspoon vanilla.  Cream butter and sugar.  Beat until light.  Add milk.  Add flour in which baking powder has been sifted.  Mix well.  Flavor and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Bake in layers in a quick oven.

                Makes a large three layer cake.  If a smaller cake is desired, halve the recipe.  Put layers together with the following.

 

Icing:

 

                Two cups granulated sugar, one – half cup water, two egg whites, one half teaspoon Rumford Baking Powder, one cup chopped raisins, one half cup chopped figs, one half cup pecans, One half cup almonds.  Make a boiled icing by cooking sugar and water until it spins a thread when dropped from the tip of spoon.  Beat egg whites until stiff and add baking powder while beating.  Pour hot syrup slowly over beaten whites, beating constantly, and continue beating until thick enough to spread.  Divide icing, leaving out enough for top and sides of cake.  Mix fruit and nuts with remainder and put between layers.  Decorate with whole nuts.

                                                                                                                                – Mrs. Carl Eakin

This recipe leaves it up to the cook on how to “flavor” the cake batter.  You could use rose water like the recipe above or any number of extracts to add a unique touch to the cake, keeping in mind the contents of your filling.

Lady Baltimore Cake[12]

1935

 

2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar                                                       1 Cup Butter

3 cups Flour                                                                                        3 Teaspoons Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Salt                                                                               1 Cup Milk

6 Egg Whites

               

                Cream the butter and sugar together.  Sift the baking powder and flour together twice, add the salt and mix with the butter and sugar and milk.  Beat thoroughly.  Beat the egg whites and eggs until stiff and add.  Stir well and bake in buttered layer cake pans for twenty minutes in a moderate oven (375 degrees) oven.  Spread the layers with a favorite icing.

This is just a basic Lady Cake recipe.  There is no distinction given to the filling or the icing.  The recipe name was given to capitalize on the popularity of the Lady Baltimore Cake, which was commonly used for weddings.

Baltimore[13]

1946

 

                Three eggs, 2 cups sugar, ½ cup butter and lard, 1 cup of milk, 3 ½ cups of flour, 3 tablespoons Rumford baking powder.  Bake in layers.

                                                                                                                                Maggie Kline

A useless recipe, it offers no explanation for the method of cooking, the fillings or the icing.

Lady Baltimore White Cake[14]

1962

 

Use Swans Down white cake mix.  Make 2 layers.  Frost each layer with the following:

               

1 ½ Cups Sugar                                                                                  1 Tablespoon White Karo Syrup

2 Egg Whites                                                                                      6 Tablespoons Water

½ Teaspoons Cream of Tartar                                                     Pinch of Salt

 

Put in double boiler and beat with electric beater over rapidly boiling water, for not more than 6 minutes.

 

Flavor with 1 tablespoon bitter almond.

 

Top each frosted layer with:

 

2 Cups Chopped Pecans

1 Cup Seedless Raisins which have been soaked in Rum for at least 1 week.

¼ Cup Finely Chopped Conserved Ginger

This is a much more ambitious recipe in that it calls for flavoring with bitter almond and adding candied ginger to the filling.

Lady Baltimore Cake[15]

1964

 

1 Cup Butter                                                                                       1 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar

2 Cups Sugar                                                                                      1 Cup Chopped Raisins, Soaked 10 Minutes in

1 Cup Milk                                                                                          Water

3 ½ Cups Flour                                                                                   1 Cup Chopped Nuts

1 Teaspoon Vanilla                                                                         ¾ Cup Sliced Maraschino Cherries

2 teaspoons Baking Powder                                                        8 Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites, Divided

 

                Cream butter and sugar.  Add milk, flour, vanilla and baking powder, and then fold in 6 beaten egg whites.  Bake in three layers 20 – 25 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Let cool.

                Beat remaining 2 egg whites until very stiff.  Add the powdered sugar very gradually, one tablespoon at a time.  Add raisins, nuts, and cherries.  Spread this filling between layers.  Cover cake with butter icing.

 

Butter Icing:

½ Stick Soft Butter                                                                           1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 Cups Powdered Sugar                                                                                Milk

 

                Cream Butter, sugar and vanilla together; add just enough milk or cream and spread.  Cover entire cake.

 

                Here the cake has been transformed into more of a traditional wedding cake with a butter cream icing and the addition of cherries into the filling.  Note: only use the cherries in the icing layers between the cake to maintain its pure white color on the outside of the cake.

Lady Baltimore Cake 2[16]

1976

 

½ Cup Butter                                                                                      1 ½ Cup Sugar

2 Eggs, Separated                                                                            1 Cup Milk

2 Cups Flour                                                                                       1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Salt              

 

                Cream the butter and sugar, add the beaten egg yolks and beat well.  Mix and sift the flour and baking powder twice, then sift slowly into the first mixture, adding the milk gradually.  Fold in the beaten egg whites last of all.  Bake in three well – buttered cake pans in a moderately hot oven (375 degrees F.) for about 25 minutes.

 

1 Cup Sugar                                                                                        ½ Cup Walnuts Meat

¼ Cup Water                                                                                      1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 Teaspoon Almond Extract

 

                Put the sugar, walnut meats and water into a saucepan and cook to a very soft ball stage (234 degrees F.) Remove from the fire and let cool until lukewarm (110 degrees F.) Add the flavoring and beat until slightly thickened before pouring on the cake. 

                For the hard filling use:

 

2 Cups Sugar                                                                                      ½ Cup Water

2 Egg Whites                                                                                      1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 teaspoon Almond Extract                                                         Juice of ½ Lemon

1 Cup Chopped Raisins                                                                  1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

 

Bring the sugar and water to a boiling point and cook until it will form a firm ball (246 degrees F.)  Pour slowly over the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly, and continue beating until cool, adding the raisins, nuts, flavoring and lemon juice as it begins to harden.

–          Alicia Rhett Mayberry

This is the classic recipe as we know it today.  Charleston is one of the places which claims to have invented this recipe and the setting for Owen Wister’s book.

Lady Baltimore Cake[17]

1993

 

1 Cup Butter                                                                                       2 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar

1 ¾ Cups Sugar                                                                                  ½ Teaspoon Nutmeg

7 egg Yolks, Large                                                                            1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

3 Cups Flour                                                                                       1 Cup Milk

¼ Teaspoon Salt                                                                               ½ Teaspoon Lemon Flavoring

 

                Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until smooth.  Sift the dry ingredients together.  Add the egg mixture alternatively with milk and lemon flavoring.  Pour into two 9 inch pans lined with waxed paper, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes.  Spread fruit nut frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake after cake has cooled.

 

Frosting:

3 Egg Whites                                                                                      1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/8 Cups Sugar                                                                               ¼ Cup Candied Cherries

¼ Cup Light Rum                                                                              ¼ Cup Seedless Raisins

½ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar                                                       ½ Cup Walnuts, Chopped

Pinch Salt

 

                Mix the egg whites, sugar, rum, cream of tartar, and salt in the top part of a double boiler over boiling water.  Beat continuously for about 7 minutes until the mixture stands in peaks when the batter is lifted and turned up.  Remove from the heat.  When cool, add cherries, raisins and walnuts.  Spread generously over the top, middle and sides of cake.  Decorate rim with additional walnut halves. 

This is a classic recipe with the addition of lemon flavoring to the cake.  Rum is also added to the frosting, but cognac can also be used to add an additional element of flavor the cake.

Despite all of the controversy surrounding the origin of this dish, it is indeed a Mid-Atlantic classic and in the words of Owen Wister:

“But, dear me, this is delicious!”


[1] —International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections, Carole Bloom [Hearst Books:New York] 1995 (p. 169)

[2] — Chesapeake Bay Cookbook: Rediscovering the Pleasures of a Great Regional Cuisine, John Shields [ArisBooks:Berkeley CA] 1990 (p. 59)

 

[3] —Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1997 (p. 179)

 

[4] —American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 426)

[5] —200 Years of Charleston Cooking, recipes gathered by Blanche S. Rhett, edited by Lettie Gay [Random House:New York] 1930, revised edition 1934 (p. 172)

[6] Lady Baltimore by Owen Wister, Hurst & co. 1906

[7] December 24th 1906 in the Daily Gazette and Bulletin newspaper of Williamsport, Pennsylvania:

[8] Rufus Estes’ Good Things to Eat: The First cookbook by an African-American chef by Rufus Estes: Dover Publications, Inc. 2004

[9] Rufus Estes’ Good Things to Eat: The First cookbook by an African-American chef by Rufus Estes: Dover Publications, Inc. 2004

[10] Practical Cookbook: Useful recipes Contributed by The Ladies of Grove City and Vicinity: Grove City Herald Print 1924

[11] Practical Cookbook: Useful recipes Contributed by The Ladies of Grove City and Vicinity: Grove City Herald Print 1924

[12] The Southren Cookbook of fine old recipes: Lillie S. Lustig, S. Claire Sondheim & Sarah Rensel: Culinary Arts Press, 1935

[13] Glen Rock Cookbook: Published by The Ladies of “The Friendly Helpers” Bible Class of Trinity Reformed Sunday school Glen Rock, Penna 1946

[14] Four Seasons 2 Cookbook Sponsored by Parents Association of Gibson Island Country School Gibson Island, Maryland: Quickee Offset, Inc. 1962

[15] My Favorite Maryland Recipes by Mrs. J. Millard Tawes: Random House Publishing 1964

[16] Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking Recipes Gathered by Blanche S. Rhett and Edited by Lettie Gay: University of South Carolina Press 1976

[17] Flavor of the Chesapeake Bay Cookbook by Whitey Schmidt: Marian Hartnett Press 1993

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About midatlanticcooking

Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region for over 20 years. Painter, writer and traveler.
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4 Responses to Lady Baltimore Cake

  1. Jeni says:

    Thanks for the recipes … and the mention!

  2. shikoomkoom says:

    Thanks for following me! 🙂 You have some very interesting recipes on here, and this sounds delicious. I definitely want to make this x

    • This post shows how the recipe has evolved through time to what we know today. These posts are more about the history and development of a regional cuisine. You can also check out my other blog at familyrecipebooks for just a collection of recipes from old handwritten family recipe books. 🙂

    • This post offers several variations on the dish, but you can always be creative and add your own, the filling inside the cake can be just about anything.

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