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Recipe: Lady Baltimore Cake

June 4, 2017

This is what we call a fancy cake. A few more steps than a lot of the cakes most people I know make… of course, most people I know use a box mix. Personally, I don’t find most box mixes worth eating. If you haven’t had a real homemade cake in while, try one. You will definitely taste the difference.

I’m posting this recipe in June because it’s been used as a wedding cake a lot. It’s a great cake for any “want to impress” occasion though.

I love the history of this cake. Owen Wister, author of The Virginian, chose Charleston, South Carolina as the setting for a romance novel (titled Lady Baltimore) and modeled his main female character after a local belle. The book is actually titled after a cake the belle bakes and sells!

“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 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!”

An industrious Charleston tea room owner created a cake to match the book and shipped a Lady Baltimore to Owen Wister every year.

Now for the recipe…

ladybaltimorecakeLady Baltimore Cake

  • 3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sweet milk (aka whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 egg whites, beaten until stiff

Cream sugar and butter together. Set aside.

Combine sifted flour and baking powder.

Add vanilla to milk.

You will have three bowls/cups.

Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to creamed butter/sugar, stirring in between until all added and mixed well. Mix some more. Make sure very well mixed/beaten.

Fold in beaten, stiff egg whites.

These are my latest favorite round cake  pan. My sister came up for a visit and was all kinds of envious. Really heavy duty. (from Amazon)

Bake in three round layer pans at 350 degrees.


  • 1/2 LB figs
  • 1/2 LB pecans
  • 1/4 LB raisins
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Grind figs, pecans and raisins together in a food processor. Set aside.

Boil sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar threads when you lift it with a spoon. Turn sugar mixture carefully into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating while adding.

Remove 1/3 of this and set aside. Stir ground fig, pecans and raisins into the original 2/3. Spread this between the layers and onto the top layer. Over this spread the plain white icing. (the 1/3 you had set aside)


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