Lady Baltimore Cake is a traditional Christmas white cake recipe with fluffy seven-minute frosting filled with chopped pecans, raisins, candied cherries and figs.
There are several versions of how this lovely cake originated. One
is Owen Wister wrote a romance novel using Charleston, South
Carolina as his setting and Lady Baltimore as the main character, in which he described eating a slice of Lady Baltimore Cake.
The story goes that when folks read his detailed description of the cake they wanted to eat some too.
Since the cake was unheard of, they got busy and created one in the early 1900s.
Another version that I
believe, is that Florence and Nina Ottelengui, managers
of Charleston's Lady Baltimore Tea Room, developed the recipe from a
popular cake of that time, "Queen Cake".
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and half of the sugar and corn syrup until light. Stir in flavorings.
Fold in flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.
Clean beaters and beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in rest of sugar, adding a little at a time until all is incorporated.
Gently fold egg whites into batter.
Pour into three 8" or 9" baking pans that have been greased, lined with parchment paper, then greased again and dusted with flour.
Bake in a 350 F. oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and tests done in the center.
Do not let this cake over bake so it will retains its moisture.
Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes, run tip of knife around edges to loosen and remove from pan.
Place on wire rack to cool.
Mix all ingredients together, except flavorings, in the top of a double boiler.
Stir until sugar dissolves.
Then place pan over bottom pan of boiling water.
Beat until egg whites will hold a soft peak. Remove from heat.
Stir in flavorings and beat until stiff peaks form and frosting is of a spreading consistency.
Takes about 7 minutes.
It will take less time if you are using an electric beater or mixer.
Wash fruits in cold water to remove excess sugar. Drain water and let fruit dry or pat with paper towel.
Divide seven minute frosting in half.
To one half, fold in fruits, reserving a few to sprinkle on top of cake.
Fill between cooled cake layers with filling.
Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with reserved fruits.
When placing a delicate, hot cake on a rack to cool, first place on a clean non-terry cloth to prevent wire ridges from developing on the cake while cooling.
Substitute Maraschino Cherries for candied cherries for an excellent flavor.
Drain the cherry juice before and after chopping unless you want pink frosting instead of white.
However, the cherry juice does add wonderful
flavor and a pretty color to the cake!