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Friday, 28 February 2014

Interesting Southern Heirloom Cake Recipes IV: Lady Baltimore Cake

Lady Baltimore Cake
Lady Baltimore cake is a popular Southern cake believed to have originated in South Carolina. It is a white layer cake, made light with beaten egg whites, filled with raisins and nuts (and sometimes figs) and iced with a fluffy white frosting (typically a 7-minute frosting, or meringue frosting). A Lord Baltimore cake, similar to a Lady Baltimore cake, uses egg yolks in the cake rather than egg whites with added crumbled macaroons and almonds in the filling.

According to Cassie L. Damewood at the website Wisegeek.com: “The story of how the Lady Baltimore Cake got its name varies. Since there is no mention of it in literature or evidence of it being a recipe prior to 1906, it is unlikely it had anything to do with the real Lady Baltimore. Ann Arundel, who died in 1649, was called Lady Baltimore because she was married to an Irishman man who inherited the whole state of Maryland in the United States (U.S.), including its large city of Baltimore, from his father. Interestingly, she never visited the North American continent, just as Lord Baltimore never did.
The most likely origin of the Lady Baltimore Cake was a romance novel entitled Lady Baltimore, written by Owen Wister and published in 1906. Legend has it that prior to writing the book, Wister had been given a cake by a southern belle from Charleston, South Carolina, named Alicia Rhett Mayberry. The confection so impressed him that he included it in his novel…Wister’s description of the cake’s appearance and taste was so appealing that readers of the novel were desperate to get the recipe. Since it had not been created, bakers set out to create a cake that mimicked Wister’s excited yet vague description from the book.”
 In his novel, Wister wrote:

"I should like a slice, if you please, of Lady Baltimore," I said with extreme formality. 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!"


The first printed recipe is said to have appeared on December 24th 1906 in the Daily Gazette And Bulletin newspaper of Williamsport, Pennsylvania (shocking!):

Lady Baltimore Cake (1906)
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.

Lady Baltimore Cake (1952)
Quick-Mix Method
Rich, fruit-nut Lady Baltimore filling and frosting decorate this queenly three-egg-white cake. Blend shreds of coconut right into the batter, for a change, to give you a rich, chewy treat.
BAKE at 350° F. for 25 to 30 minutes.
MAKES two 8-inch round layers.
All ingredients should be at room temperature.
Sift together . . . 2 cups sifted Pillsbury Sno Sheen Cake Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
Add . . . 1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
Beat . . . for 2 minutes, 300 strokes, until batter is well blended. (With electric mixer blend at low speed, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.)
Add . . . 1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites, unbeaten
Beat . . . for 2 minutes.
Pour . . . into two well-greased and lightly floured 8-inch round layer pans, at least 1 1/4 inches deep.
Bake . . . in moderate oven (350° F.) 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and frost with Lady Baltimore frosting, page 51.
Prepare Lady Baltimore Cake, folding in 3/4 cup shredded coconut (chopped slightly if shreds are long) before pouring into pans. Frost with almond frosting, page 51.

(SOURCE: pg. 20, “Kate Smith chooses her 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury CAKE RECIPES” published in 1952 by Pillsbury Mills, Inc.)

Lady Baltimore Cake (pre-1980)

For cake
8 oz. butter, softened to room temperature
14 oz. sugar
¼ oz. vanilla extract
¼ oz. almond extract
13 oz. cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
8 oz. milk
7 oz. egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and almond extract, scraping down the bowl often.
Sift together dry ingredients.
Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix to smooth consistency.
In clean bowl, whip eggs whites and cream of tartar. Slowly add sugar. Whip to soft peaks. Fold whipped whites into reserved batter.
Divide mixture into three 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cakes cool on wire rack.
For icing
16 oz. sugar
6 oz. water
pinch of cream of tartar
6 oz. egg whites
¼ oz. vanilla extract
Combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar in saucepan. Use a candy thermometer to cook the sugar to 265 degrees F.
Whip egg whites on high speed to medium peaks.
Very slowly pour cooked sugar into whipped egg white. Whip to slightly cool. Add vanilla.
For filling
3 oz. pecans, lightly toasted
5 oz. dried fruit, chopped
(raisins, figs, currants, candied cherry)
Combine ingredients. Reserve for cake assembly.
Assembling Lady Baltimore cake:
Transfer one-third of the frosting to a medium bowl. Stir fruit-and-nut filling into the frosting.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate, and add half the frosting-and-filling mixture. Add a second cake layer on top. Spread second layer with remaining frosting-and-filling. Place third layer on top. Frost top and sides of cake with plain frosting.
Garnish with dried fruit and nuts.

(SOURCE: Recipe by Chef Jan Bandula, Stratford University's Baltimore campus; via http://chesapeaketaste.com/index.php/recipes/665-recipe-lady-baltimore-cake )

Seven Minute Frosting (1949)

2 unbeaten egg whites
1 ½ cup sugar
dash of salt
5 TB water
1 ½ tsp light Karo corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in top of double boiler.  Mix well.  Place over rapidly boiling water; beat constantly with rotary egg beater and cook 7 minutes or until stands in peaks.  Re move from the water. Add 1 tsp vanilla and beat until thick.  Makes enough to cover tops and sides of two nine inch layer cakes or one loaf cake.  Orange juice can be used instead of water and add grated orange rind and yellow coloring.  This makes a good orange frosting.  Coconut can be added in plain white.

(SOURCE: Recipe by Maebelle F. Stokes, from Favorite Recipes Tried and True, compiled by Wesleyan Service Guild, Methodist Church, Reform, AL, 1949)

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