The Amazing Boiled Icing and Nutty Filling for the Lady Baltimore Cake


Lady Baltimore Cake Cutaway shot on milk platter by BakeThisCake Photo by LifeForcePhotos


Presenting Boiled Icing – a classic cake frosting and throw-back to turn-of-the-century recipes …perfect for ringing in the new year vintage style!  The filling for the Lady Baltimore Cake is decked with nuts and dried fruits all twirled together with the special Boiled Icing to re-create an unusual vintage surprise with each bite.

Lady Baltimore Cake tall overview with buffet foods by BakeThisCake  Photo by Lifeforcephotos

The party season has not quite concluded.  Yo! Champagne tray by the Christmas Tree Photo by LifeForcePhotos for BakeThisCakeResolutions are being mentally scripted by the boatloads. Mine?  I have so many!  I will try to think up better passwords. I will stop worrying about not exercising enough. I will grow a thicker head of hair. I will embrace auto-correct. I will learn to talk like the GPS lady. And on and on!  We are reflecting on the people, events and ideas that have impressed us over the past year of change. Questions about what the new year will bring are sneaking into our thoughts. And hooking up with friends and family continues to play a a pivotal role in the season of holiday fellowship. Which brings me to — cake. You knew I was headed there, right? :) Hip and cool vintage cake, that is.  What better way to ring in the prospects of an amazing new year than with an historic cake from century-old recipes, tweaked to perfection for present-day tastes.

Here’s my favorite short version of the nutty Lady Baltimore Filling from a crusty little copy of Iglehart’s 1920′s booklet. A good starting point, for sure.  :)

Lady Baltimore fig filling by Iglehearts booklet 1921

Party Size Cake, Party Size Filling With Extras: The filling recipe presented here is for our Lady Baltimore Cake – made in two very large 22″ by 2″ round pans (those are LARGE cake pans).  We’re celebrating my 90-year-old mom’s book signing for her book, While Wandering: A Photo-Poetic Journey Through California Landscapes – so we need a large celebration cake! (Divide the recipe by 4 if you will be making a standard family-sized cake.)  We’ve made more fruit and nuts than you may actually want to use but this is where your own personal taste comes into play. Deck every cake layer and even the top of the cake with the filling ingredients before smothering it all with Boiled Icing — OR leave the very top of the cake pristine with just icing, OR use less nuts and fruits for a less crunchy filling. This is all according to your taste preference. So play with it — or go by the book, either way. If you have leftovers, they won’t be around for long. :)

Lady Baltimore 3 slices BakeThisCake Photo by LifeForcePhotos

Slow Cooking Warning: 1.) The lovely and colorful raisins take an hour to plump with a little hot vanilla soak and they take another hour to dry out again; 2.) The nuts must be roasted to enhance their highest flavor potential; 3.) The dried fruits are best hand-chopped to get them to a nice uniform dice; and 4.) The Boiled Icing needs to, well, boil for a while and, after the cake is frosted, it needs a little time to transform to a crusted snowy showpiece. So, yeah. Consider yourself warned. Set aside your briefcase, jack up the music and have some fun with this slow cooking vintage cake project. :)

Lady Baltimore being served on the table by BakeThisCake

Tools Needed for Filling:
Tea kettle or pot for boiling water (or large boil if using the microwave)
2 large bowls (for soaking raisins and mixing dried fruits with nuts)
Strainer or sieve (for draining raisins)
Paper towels (for drying raisins)
Cookie baking sheet (for roasting nuts)
Food processor (for nuts)
Nice sharp knife for hand-chopping the dried fruits

Ingredients for Filling:
4 cups of seedless organic raisins mixed with golden raisins
4 cups of boiling water (to dispose of after soaking raisins)
1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract, fine quality (you can substitute with sherry or brandy)
4 cups of whole almonds, chopped, then roasted (substitute: walnuts or pecans)
15 dried figs (we used 10 small dried Mission black figs, 5 large Calimyrna figs)
4 large dried dates (we used Medjool dates)

Directions for Filling:

In a large bowl, pour boiling water to cover:
4 cups of seedless organic raisins mixed with golden raisins

Add to the raisins, stir gently and let soak for 1 hour:
1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract, fine quality (you can substitute with sherry or brandy)

Photo clarification note: This looks like a one-cup measuring cup but it’s really a large 2-quart bowl marked like a standard measuring cup. :)

Raisins mixture soaking for Lady Baltimore Cake filling by BakeThisCake

Drain the raisins in a sieve or strainer for about 1 hour.

Raisins draining for Lady Baltimore Cake filling by BakeThisCake

Pat the raisins dry with a few paper towels to make sure they are not soggy.

Slice and chop into very small diced bits:
15 dried figs (we used 10 small dried Mission black figs, 5 large Calimyrna figs)
4 dried Medjool dates
Tip: This combination of figs and dates should make about 2 cups of a finely sliced and chopped mixture.

Chopping Figs and Dates for Lady Baltimore Cake filling by BakeThisCake

Chop the slices into dices and make them as small as you can by hand, even smaller than shown in this photo if possible…

Chopped dried fruits for Lady Baltimore Cake by Bake This Cake

Now to the nuts…You may use walnuts or pecans for this recipe if you like.

Spread evenly on a baking sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until golden brown:
4 cups whole skin-on almonds (substitute walnuts or pecans)

Remove the roasted almonds, stir and bake an additional 10 minutes at reduced heat of 325 degrees using the broiler or top heat in the oven if possible. Watch carefully to be sure the almonds don’t get too brown. We’re looking for a perfectly golden color. :)

Roasted almonds for Lady Baltimore Cake filling by BakeThisCake

Now. SMELL the aroma wafting through your kitchen! Amazing, isn’t it?

When the almonds are cooled, chop them into a small diced chop using the food processor — or chop by hand.

Tip: Kick on my Pandora radio channel and listen to some classic rock if you’re chopping by hand and you’ll do fine. Just know, them’s a lot of nuts.  Whew!

Roasted almonds chopped for Lady Baltimore Cake filling by BakeThisCake

In a large bowl, combine the nuts with the prepared fruits…

Photo clarification note: This looks like a one-cup measuring cup but it’s really a large 2-quart bowl marked like a standard measuring cup. :)

Combining almonds with fruits for Lady Baltimore Cake frosting by BakeThisCake

You MUST use your fingers to start working all nuts and fruits together nicely into a well-combined bowl of figgie, date, raisin-y, nuts…

Combining nuts and fruits in bowl for Lady Baltimore Cake frosting by Bake This Cake

Your mixed fruits and nuts are now ready and the next stage –

The Boiled Icing is ready to prepare. Remember, from this bowl of nuts and fruits, feel free to take away as much as 2 cups of mixed fruit and nuts (to use for snacks or other purposes) if you think you will want a cake filling with less nut-fruit mixture.

Prepared fruits and nuts mix for the Lady Baltimore Cake with Boiled Icing on the stove by BakeThisCake

Now on to the Boiled Icing for the crowning glory of the Lady Baltimore Cake…

2-step Boiled Icing for Filling and Frosting: a fabulous, dreamy frosting that is purest white. We will separate some of the frosting ingredients so that you don’t have to work so fast to frost the outer cake before the frosting does it’s cool science trick and hardens. The bulk of the frosting will be prepared first to mix with the fruits and nuts for filling the inner cake layers. The top of the cake can be spread with this filling also, but that’s optional. Then we’ll work on the outer frosting. It’s a fun 2-step process resulting in a cake frosting that will transform before your eyes to harden into a soft white crust over the outer cake.

Lady Baltimore Cake closeup with orange flowers by BakeThisCake Photo by LifeForcePhotos

Let’s take a way-quick look at a bit of the history of Boiled Icing…

This is a “soft ball” discussion from Iglehart’s 1920′s recipe booklet…

Boiled Icing by Ingelheart's booklet 1921

Don’t forget the 1897 “saltpoonful” from the “Up To Date Cook Book” by Thought and Work Club, Salem, Mass, 1897…

Boiled Icing from The Up To Date Cook Book by Thought and Work Club Salem Mass 1897

Tools Needed for Boiled Icing:
Large heavy pot
1 Medium bowls (for removed egg yolks)
Large bowl (for main whipped egg whites)
Medium bowl (for reserved second batch of frosting for the outer cake)
Electric mixer (stand mixer preferred but hand-held is do-able…I know, I’ve done it. :) )
Large spouted pouring device (optional, to pour hot sugar water into egg whites)
Spatula

Ingredients for Boiled Icing:
3 cups of granulated sugar
3 cups of fresh water
12 large egg whites

Directions for Boiled Icing:

Place into a large heavy pot:
3 cups of granulated sugar

Pour over the sugar without stirring and bring to a medium boil on medium heat without stirring:
3 cups of fresh water

Boil the sugar-water mixture until the sugar “threads” or until the mixture reaches a heat point of 240 degrees (could take up to 30 minutes). This is where the strongly recommended thermometer comes in. Since this mixture will be used to cook the egg whites for the icing, this mixture must reach a high heat point of 240 degrees in order to properly cook the egg whites for safety reasons (and to make this icing work the way we want it to).

Boiling water to thread stage for Lady Baltimore Cake by Bake This Cake

Separate 12 large eggs (egg yolks will not be used in this recipe).

Using an electric mixer, beat on high-speed until stiff:
the separated 12 large egg whites

Beaten egg whites for Lady Baltimore Cake frosting by BakeThisCake

Set aside some egg whites: Remove and set aside 3 cups of the whipped egg whites (to use for the plain frosting for the sides and top of the cake).

Remove boiled egg whites for filling Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Set aside some sugar syrup: From the molten sugar-water pot, carefully pour into a holding container and set aside 1-1/2 cups of the very hot sugar syrup (to be re-heated for the plain frosting for the sides and top of the cake).

Now back to our filling: Slowly drizzle the balance of the hot sugar syrup into egg whites while the mixer is on low-speed.

Drizzling boiled sugar water into egg white for Lady Baltimore Cake by Bake This Cake

Increase the mixer speed to high-speed and whip away until you have a finished glossy boiled frosting that looks just as loverly as this…

Boiled Frosting for Lady Baltimore Cake by Bake This Cake

Okay. You’re doing great!

Now get your cakes at the ready for frosting activity like little soldiers all in a row. :) And get your fruit-nut mix ready to rock too…

Getting the Lady Baltimore Cakes ready to frost by BakeThisCake

Decide if you want to use the entire bowl of mixed fruits and nuts for the cake filling. As discussed above, you may choose to remove as much as 2 cups of fruit-nut mix and the cake filling will still be nutty and fruity. Decide if you want to use fruits and nuts on the top of the cake or leave the top smooth.

Mix the prepared Boiled Icing in with the prepared fruit-nut mix.

Boiled Frosting to mix with fruits and nuts for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Fold nuts and fruit thoroughly into frosting.

Filling for Lady Baltimore Cake mixed in a bowl by BakeThisCake

Spread the frosting on the cake layers…

Spreading bottom 2 layers of Lady Baltimore Cake with filling by BakeThisCake

The top of the cake can be left pristine or dolloped with the nutty frosting (or covered the plain mixed nuts mixture without frosting)…your choice.  All will soon be swallowed in pure white icing.

I left the top of my cake plain…

Unfrosted filled Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Re-heat the reserved 1-1/2 cups of sugar-water syrup to 240 degrees and drizzle it slowly into the reserved 3 cups of egg whites, beating to a heavenly and glossy finish.

Using a spatula or other frosting tool, spread the prepared Boiled Icing over the top of the filled cake, adding extra Boiled Icing at the top sides to let it run over the edges, smoothing it down and across the sides of the cake and decorating the cake in your preferred fashion. You may create swirls or dots or make it completely smooth using a flat tool or spatula.

Pouring Frosting over Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Here is a photo of the sides of the cake being frosted. It is a little sticky but it spreads like a dream…Lady Baltimore Cake with sides being frosted by BakeThisCake

Because this sticky Boiled Icing will harden soon, be sure to wipe away any drips while the frosting is still wet. I used a few wet paper towels to clean away my messy drips.

The Grand Lady Baltimore has now been freshly frosted with the historic Boiled Icing. Before it dries, you will see a glistening snow-white cake…

Lady Baltimore Cake frosted with Boiled Icing by BakeThisCake

It may take a good hour before the cake is fully hardened.  Store the cake in a large cake container without letting anything touch the frosting at any point before serving. Initially, the frosting could become “dented”. After it dries, the frosting could become “chipped”. Overall, this is a nice cake for traveling and I would say it travels well on a large sturdy cake plate, covered or uncovered.

Here’s to your vintage celebration cake!

Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake tilt angle Photo by LifeForcePhotos

Happy New Year’s to you all and be sure to join us on Facebook, on Twitter and now on Pinterest!

Leslie

Leslie Macchiarella Author of BakeThisCake Photo by LifeForcePhotos

Leslie with Mom at Mom's book signing for While Wandering book

Leslie with Mom at Mom's book signing for While Wandering book

Viola Odell signing While Wandering books Photo by John Albritton

Viola Odell signing While Wandering books Photo by John Albritton

Christine speaking at book signing event Photo by John Albritton

Christine Murphy, Photographer, speaking at book signing event for While Wandering book by Viola Geary Odell

While Wandering book signing Christine Murphy Photographer with Viola Geary Odell Author

Christine Murphy, Photographer, with Viola Geary Odell, Author of While Wandering

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