I am excited to share this lovely cake with you.
I found this recipe from Sing For Your Supper awhile ago and I have been wanting to make it. When I was reading the recipe, I was very touched by the story of Amy’s Grandmother making it every year for her mother. Her pictures reminded me of a favorite tea house in Colorado when I was a little girl. where it was always a special treat to get to go there with my mom and sister. There was something wonderful about eating off of lovely dishes and drinking tea from beautiful tea cups and feeling very lady like . It was a moment in time that we often remember with fondness.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving was cloudy and rainy, and seemed like a Lady Baltimore kind of day to me; So I got myself busy baking. I have never made a Lady Baltimore Cake before and was worried when I came to the frosting. At this stage in the recipe I called nervously for Honey-Man to quickly come downstairs and double-check my (soft ball stage) to make sure I was reading my directions correctly. I am happy to say my frosting didn’t flop but actually worked out! It was beautiful, like pillows of soft velvet.
When the cake was finished, my sister invited me and “my cake” over for tea (once the babies went down for their naps). She brought out her fine Russian tea cups for the occasion.
As we poured our tea into our cups and sat down, we sliced into the cake, with giddy enthusiasm; but then we smelled it, the aroma was so strong; without even having to lean into the cake our noses smelled the essence of the cake. The combination of orange marmalade and white cake, with the frosting which was like soft marshmallows, sprinkled with shredded coconut convinced us even before taking a bite that it was heavenly. We ate and we sipped our tea and we looked at each other; we both knew it, we had become queens just eating this cake.
This cake fulfilled its title of being a Lady Baltimore Cake and I know if you make it you will realize that you too are a queen
Lady Baltimore Cake
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
grated zest of one lemon
3 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
6 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 3 9-inch cake pans (I used 3- 6inch cake pans and filled the rest of the batter into cupcakes) with parchment paper and grease generously.
Cream butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
Combine milk, water and vanilla. Add small amounts of flour mixture to creamed butter mixture, alternately with milk mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.
Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into batter. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The cakes shouldn’t get very brown on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then transfer cakes to wire wracks to cool completely.
For the Orange Marmalade Filling:
3/4 (18-ounce) jar orange marmalade
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier (or any orange liqueur), optional
Heat the marmalade, orange juice and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat just before it reaches boiling point. Remove from heat and stir in the Grand Marnier. Strain out the peels and allow to cool to room temperature.
For the Frosting:
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
flaked coconut, for garnish
Using a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff.
Boil sugar, water and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until a small amount of syrup will form a soft ball when dropped into very cold water (this is what’s known as “soft ball stage”).
With the mixer running, slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg whites and continue to beat until the mixture is of spreading consistency (this could take up to 10 minutes; don’t be alarmed if your mixture is runny, just keep beating and eventually it will thicken up.). Add vanilla.
Spread half of the orange marmalade filling in the center of the bottom cake layer, leaving an inch border around the outside (when you add the frosting, the marmalade will spread). Gently spread some of the frosting over the marmalade and place second cake layer on top. Repeat with the other half of the marmalade filling and more frosting, then place the third cake layer on top. Frost the whole cake with the frosting (be generous, the recipe makes a TON of frosting!) and sprinkle generously with coconut. Refrigerate until 30 minutes to one hour before serving.
Recipe source Baba’s favorite, The American Woman’s Cookbook