Lady Baltimore Cake

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This traditional American cake became part of our repertoire some thirty years ago, during the period when egg yolks were supposed to be very bad for one’s health, since it is a cake which only uses egg whites. (The matching Lord Baltimore cake uses egg yolks.) We most recently served it at the brunch fallowing the dedication of our granddaughter Vivienne. In addition to the use of a lot of egg whites (8 in the cake and 2 in the frosting), the cake is also unusual since it uses a boiled frosting, instead of a conventional buttercream. This recipe comes from our very worn copy of Ruth Ellen Church’s Mary Meade’s Country Cookbook. Ruth Ellen Church worked at the Chicago Tribune for 38 years, including many years as food editor, cooking editor and columnist. Tragically, she was murdered in her home in 1991 at the age of 81 by a burglar who strangled her.


The Cake

1 cup butter

1-1/2 cups sugar

3-1/2 cups cake flour

4 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

8 egg whites

½ cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt


The Frosting

1-1/2 cups sugar

½ cup water

1 Tbs. light corn syrup

2 egg whites

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla


Additions to the Frosting

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup chopped dates

½ cup chopped candied cherries

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


To make the cake, cream the butter and the 1-1/2 cups of sugar until fluffy. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat the egg whites until stiff, and then gradually beat into the whites the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the salt. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter. Line three 9 inch cake pans with baking parchment and add the batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a cake tester would come out clean. After a brief rest, remove the cakes from the pans onto cake racks to cool.


While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting.

Put the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Boil covered for about 3 minutes, and then uncovered and without stirring until the mixture reaches 238-240 degrees on a candy thermometer (the soft ball stage). Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff, and then pour the syrup from the pan in a stream into the egg whites stirring all the time. Add the salt and vanilla, and continue to beat the frosting until is cool and spreadable. (If the frosting becomes too hard, beat in a few drops of water until it becomes spreadable.

Divide the frosting into 2 parts. Into one of the parts mix the pecans, dates, and candied cherries. This half of the frosting will be used fill between the layers. Spread the other half of the frosting on the outside of the cake. Sprinkle the shredded coconut on the exterior of the cake.


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