“Bride-to-Be” asked for help finding a recipe for the wedding cake served when her parents married in 1948. She’d found recipes for both Lord and Lady Baltimore cakes, but they were simply iced with 7-Minute Frosting. They lacked the “Baltimore filling with cherries, pecans and figs” of the original, which she wanted to consider replicating for her own wedding.
Cook’s Corner sleuths pulled out all the stops and turned to their vintage cookbooks. We learned that the cake did not originate in Baltimore but in Charleston, S.C. Southern belle Alicia Rhett Mayberry baked it for novelist Owen Wister, who went on to describe it in his 1906 novel, Lady Baltimore.
Lady Baltimore is a plain white cake made with egg whites only, while Lord Baltimore uses the yolks.
“When I read the request it rang a distant bell and, sure enough, there it was in my old Purity Cook Book, published by the Purity Flour Company in Toronto,” writes Lyn Morton of Coral Springs. “I got my copy about 50 years ago but the recipes are older and this cook book is my ‘go-to’ one for all things Grandma used to make.”
“I found recipes in my 1951 edition of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook,” said Roxane Weiss of Miami.
According to Weiss, Lady filling adds 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 3 figs cut in thin strips, 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract to 7-Minute Frosting, while the Lord version added 1/2 cup macaroon crumbs, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup blanched almonds, 12 candied cherries cut in quarters, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 3 teaspoons sherry and 1/4 teaspoon orange extract.
There are many variations. Joan Carroll Page of Oak Island, N.C. found a recipe in “ The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery given to me by my mother many years ago.” In this version the cherries are maraschino and 1/4 cup of chopped citron is added to the mix.
Lisa Stefanow of Homestead also found a recipe that uses maraschino cherries and 2 teaspoons grated orange zest along with figs, raisins and pecans, and tints the frosting pink with maraschino cherry juice.
Sarah Nesbitt Artecona of South Miami says Lady Baltimore cake was a specialty of her mother’s, who added a cup of fresh grated coconut along with the usual filling ingredients.
Jackie Dzicek recommends the recipe she found in a James Beard cookbook. It calls for 6 soft dried figs, finely cut; 1/2 cup finely chopped raisins; 3 tablespoons cognac; 1/2 cup toasted, finely chopped pecans. “Combine fruits and cognac, let stand 1 hour or more before folding into the boiled frosting for the filling.”
Q. You published a recipe for a lime gelatin salad recipe from the early 1980s. I’d like to share one that’s even better because it does not have coconut. It dates back at least 50 years, as my mom made it for us ever since I can remember. My mom is going to be 94 this year and she does not remember the origin. It travels well for a covered dish and looks great on a buffet.
We received quite a few recipes in the same category. Jean Ann Johnson adds a tablespoon of horseradish with the cottage cheese. Fred Lake of Hialeah says his mother’s recipe added mandarin oranges with the pineapple. Danielle Silverton of Bergen, N.J., tops her salad with candied pecans rather than mixing the pecans into the mold.
Tried and New
Philadelphia Indulgence is a blend of dark, milk or white chocolate with Philly cream cheese spread. It’s a quick way to whip up a dessert — serve it with fresh strawberries, smear in on crepes, sandwich between 2 cookies or use as a filling or topping for cupcakes. We loved it with pretzels, too. It’s a no-fuss take along for picnics where you can substitute it for chocolate squares in s’mores or use as a dip for vanilla wafers. You can find it near the cream cheese in the dairy aisle.