Friday, February 1, 2013

Lady Baltimore Cake

This classic white layer cake was a sensation when it was served more than 100 years ago to the refined patrons of the better hotels in Baltimore. The yellow-cake version is known as the “Lord” Baltimore Cake; it uses egg yolks instead of whites. The Baltimore football fans who consume it on Super Bowl weekend (“I thought we wuz havin’ chili!”) will welcome this delicious dessert - but only after they’ve had the chili!

Lady Baltimore Cake:

To Prepare the Cake:

¼ c. butter or margarine, softened
¼ c. vegetable shortening, softened
1-½ c. granulated sugar
2-½ c. sifted all-purpose flour (see Note)
2-½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1-½ tsp. white vanilla extract
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Grease and flour two 9-in. layer pans. Using electric beater, mix butter and shortening until well combined. Gradually beat in sugar, creaming until no granular texture remains when mixture is rubbed between thumb and index finger. Combine sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Also combine milk with vanilla. Alternate additions of dry and liquid ingredients, mixing well between each addition. Using a flexible spatula, fold in stiffly beaten whites. Spoon into prepared pans, baking 30-to-35 min. Cool thoroughly before frosting.

To Prepare the Frosting:

See the Index for White Mountain Frosting filed under Frosting. Prepare as recipe directs.

To Prepare the Fruit-Nut Filling for Layers:

Transfer ⅓ of frosting above to separate bowl. To it, add ⅓ c. finely chopped raisins, ⅓ c. figs cut into strips, ½ c. finely chopped walnuts. Spread filling over each cooled layer, topping filling with a further thin layer of White Mountain Frosting. Assemble layers, covering top and sides with remaining frosting.

Note: I suspect that very few home cooks sift flour, anymore, but for a cake as light as this, there’s good reason to sift before measuring, because you don’t want the flour packed into the measuring cup. There’s a technique for doing this. See the Index for How to Measure Ingredients Accurately.

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