Hipping up the Awesome 1930′s Helen of Troy Orange #Cake Recipe – The Cake That Launched a Thousand Ships

Orange Lemon Being Cut for Serving BakeThisCake

A classic 1930′s comeback cake called the Helen of Troy Orange Cake! It’s a nice historic cake recipe hipped up to way-cool! It’s lookin’ pretty, popping with bright citrus flavors and it’s unique (especially if you use the blood orange option). Oh — AND it has a delicate tangerine custard filling with a dreamy tangerine cream frosting. Yeah! Continue reading

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Vintage Harlequin Cake Recipe with an Extraordinary Heirloom Strawberry Frosting


The Vintage Harlequin Cake! A lovely pink and chocolate and white charmer filled with delicate Strawberry Heirloom Frosting and frosted with Strawberry Whipped Cream! Short-listed for the Wow Factor, whether you use regular stacked cakes (vintage style) or go for the filled dome pans Hollywood Bowl style! Continue reading

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)

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 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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Lady Baltimore Cake Recipe for a Special Celebration

Lady Baltimore Cake side overview by BakeThisCake Photo by LifeForcePhotosBack to the present…The grand lady of vintage cakes…drum roll pleeze for the Lady Baltimore Cake — an amazing celebration cake that tastes like the perfect 1920′s Regulation Butter Cake.  You can eat this cake plain, no kidding, and you’d be happy with it.  BUT it comes with a decadent filling that includes chopped nuts and exotic dried fruits.  AND THEN…the whole dang thing is frosted over with a remarkable old-fashioned Boiled Icing (from turn-of-the-century recipes) that spreads like a dream then hardens to look like a bank of frozen snow. A frosting that you can gently crack into, literally!  I’m thinking it’s going to knock your country socks off — or your urban city argyles, as the case may be.

Lady Baltimore Cake 4 slices by BakeThisCake Photo by LifeForcePhotos

Mystery Origins: Maybe you thought this cake was birthed in Baltimore, Maryland. Nay, tis said, even though some swear by a connection to King Charles I of England and his Lord Lady Baltimore 1906 Macmillan London Decorative cover boards bookand Lady Baltimore. Others say this cake stems from a real antique called the Queens Cake (though the differences make that seem unlikely). This version of the proud lady starts with a vintage “plain white cake” aka “silver cake”, that is really a “butter cake” but using only egg whites :), and possible wife to the Lord Baltimore Cake (that is made with the leftover egg yolks and filled with chopped cherries, nuts and macarons). The most likely nationally published origin of the Lady Baltimore Cake was a romance novel entitled Lady Baltimore, written by Owen Wister in 1906 (with a story that literally revolves around this cake).  Folks say that, prior to writing the book, Mister Wister had been given this Charleston cake by Alicia Rhett Mayberry and the cake so impressed the author of The Virginian that he included it in his novel in a big way. And so a Southern classic was born that may now be considered a bookish sort of literary cake. Ha!

Over the decades: Here’s a look at a snippet of the 1920′s version of this cake made in 2 layers in a brownie-sized pan, a later version in 2 round layers dotted with cherries…and our version….

Evolving History of the Lady Baltimore Cake by Bake This Cake

We kicked-it-up in the elegance category a notch, making it a tad more fanciful with 4 large round layers, but keeping close to the original “receipt” (the old-fashioned word for “recipe”) in most other ways. We did not splash it with sherry or brandy, but that’s always an option. :)

Our Special Occasion — My mum’s book:  Whoo hoo! The Lady Baltimore Cake is really something special and is destined for a special celebration. Could be a sophisticated vintage wedding cake or a cold weather cake, a birthday cake or the best Viola Odell signing While Wandering book at book signing event Photo by John Albrittoncake for New Year’s.  But the special occasion for THIS particular cake — my 90-year-old mum’s first book signing event for her amazing new book (I’m partial, of course :) ), “While Wandering: A Photo-Poetic Journey Through California Landscapes“.  As a fan of naturalist, John Muir, and the Sierra Club all her life, my mom wrote a fascinating poem for each of her (other) daughter’s dramatic photographs of the California wilderness and country landscapes.  Christine Murphy took the incredible photographs that accompany each poem While Wandering a Photo Poetic Journey Through California Landscapes by Viola Geary Odellof madré’s book. The photographs showcase incredible scenes of wanderings over the years throughout majestic California sites like: Yosemite, the short grass prairies of the Central Valley, the Big Sur coastline and the Monterey Bay area. Check out their Facebook While Wandering page with even more cool photos and poetry. (You go, Mom!  We’re so very proud of you!) :)

Slow Cooking Warning: This is a cake project, in my opinion. It is a “gift of time” cake that will make your party howl when your friends and family first land sight of it. This cake is notRegulation Butter Cake from p 3 of 1921 Igleheart's Cake Secrets hard to make but it takes some set-aside time for chopping nuts and dried fruits (although a food processor might fill that bill if you can get the chops small and evenly diced with the machine). The nuts should be oven roasted a tad just to bring out their highest flavors and the raisins need to soak a while. Oh, and you’ll also need some extra time for the interesting science experiment with the Boiled Icing (here’s where you’ll want to haul your dorm-mates, your kids or your best friends into the kitchen to watch — cause it’s cool).  So be warned, this is not your grocery store cake-mix cake. It’s the real deal! :)

Another Warning – Oh My!: The only special tool you’ll need, besides a mixer, is a thermometer (a simple candy thermometer on up to something fancy — and they’re not Types of cake baking thermometers BakeThisCakeexpensive nowadays, like $15+) to read the heat of the boiling sugar-water at 240-degrees (unless you want to try your eye at catching it at the right “threading” moment. Not!). Another good reason to use a thermometer: Since the egg whites are basically cooked with the molten drizzle of boiled sugar-water, it is safer in my estimation to use a thermometer for this purpose. So just lay out the cash, pick one up and call it a day. Be VERY careful with the molten liquid and don’t let your fingers stray near it for a second — and be sure to drizzle it slowly into the whipped egg whites lest it splash.  Doesn’t this sound like a dangerous cake?  Ha! You can do this — with a little caution and careful attention.

Enough of the warnings already!  I say let’s get to it…so….Let the cake project commence! And I’m gonna show you each step along the way with a photograph. :)

Lady Baltimore Cake overhead by BakeThisCake Photo by LifeForcePhotos

BIG CAKE! The recipe given here is for a BIG CROWD CAKE…4 BIG layers — enough to feed a couple dozen party-goers or more at a fine celebration. To make a standard sized cake, just divide the quantities given by 4. For example, instead of the 4 cups of roasted almonds, use only 1 cup, etc.

This cake starts with lots of gorgeous dried fruits and nuts.  We used almonds but walnuts and pecans are awesome in this cake too.

Mixed nuts and fruit for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Like I said, this is pure vintage cake, listed here in a 1920′s recipe book by Iglehart…

Lady Baltimore Cake from Igleharts 1929

Tools Needed for Lady Baltimore Cake:
2 large round cake pans (22″x2″)
Cooking spray
Wax paper
Very small bowl or cup (for a little lemon juice)
Electric mixer
3 Medium bowls (for softening butter and separating eggs)
3 Large bowls (for creamed butter-sugar, egg whites and flour mixture)
Measuring cups and spoons
Scissors (for trimming wax paper)
2 pancake flippers (or one large cake slider, or any large flat metal object like a wire cooling rack, a flat-sheet cookie pan)

2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
4 cubes (2 cups) unsalted butter
4 cups granulated sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups of low-fat (2%) milk
6 egg whites
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, fine quality

Directions for Lady Baltimore Cake:

Prepare two large round cake pans that are  22″ round by 2″ high by spraying each with cooking spray and lining them with a large piece of wax paper (with enough wax paper to hang well over the edges.  Spray the wax paper with another coat of cooking spray. (We’ll trim away the extra wax paper later after the pans are filled with batter.)

Preparing cake pan with wax paper lining for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Prepare and set aside: 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

Squeezing lemon juice for Lady Baltimore Cake BakeThisCake

Microwave for a few seconds to soften to room temp:
4 cubes (2 cups) unsalted butter

Preparing room temperature butter for Lady Baltimore Cake Bake This Cake dot com

Stir the room temperature butter with a fork before use. Preparing butter for the Lady Baltimore Cake BakeThisCakecom

Cream the butter by beating it on high-speed for a about 3 to 5 minutes until fluffy.
Butter whipped with butter for Lady Baltimore Cake BakeThisCakecom

Add to the butter:
4 cups granulated sugar

Let the creamed butter and sugar mixture rest in the bowl for about 5 minutes to be sure all granulated sugar is dissolved then beat on high-speed for an additional 1 minute.

Sugar beat with butter for Lady Baltimore Cake BakeThisCake

In a large bowl, whisk together:
7 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder

Whisk dry ingredients for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCakecom

Beat into the butter-sugar mixture on medium speed:
2 cups of low-fat (2%) milk

Milk added to creamed butter and sugar for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Fold the dry ingredients into the batter with a spatula, a few portions at a time (and take your time to be sure the dry ingredients are well incorporated).

Folding flour into batter for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Separate into 2 medium bowls 6 large eggs and beat on high-speed until fluffy about (3 minutes):
6 egg whites

Note: We won’t be using the egg yolks for this cake — but they’ll be good for morning eggs.

Whipped egg whites for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCakecom

Fold into the batter:
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, fine quality

Vanilla into batter for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Fold the egg whites into the batter:

Folding egg whites into batter for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

This is a large recipe, so continue with your patient and gentle folding of the dry ingredients to incorporate the egg whites into the batter…

Continue folding drying ingredients into Lady Baltimore batter by BakeThisCake

Fold into the batter, making sure the batter is nice and smooth:
the prepared fresh lemon juice .

Lemon juice folded into batter for Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Spread the thick dough in the pans, almost to the top of each pan then cut away the excess wax paper (leaving some overhang to easily lift the cakes from the pans).

Trimming wax paper around cake pan Lady Baltimore Cake by BakeThisCake

Bake at 325 for 35 to 45 minutes until the toothpick test shows completely clean. I highly recommend using your cake thermometer for this purpose. The internal temperature of this cake should be 210 degrees.
Tip: These are large cakes so a toothpick test does not necessarily give you a proper reading and you want to be certain this cake is properly and thoroughly cooked in the top and lower center to achieve perfect results.

Hailing hot from the oven in the wax paper wrapping…

Lady Baltimore Cake hot from the oven by BakeThisCake

Remove the wax paper while the cakes are still warm and let them cool on racks thoroughly.  Using a large, sharp serrated knife, trim the top mound of each cake to be level and then create layers by slicing each cake in half horizontally.

Tip: How to cut a large cake in half by hand: One way to cut a big cake in half is to place the cake on wax paper on the counter for easy rotation. Using a large and very sharp serrated knife, cut into the side of the cake a couple of inches deep at the half way point between the leveled top and bottom of the cake using little in-and-out strokes while rotating the cake with your other hand.  Make only a shallow cut for the first rotation of the cake. After one complete rotation, continue cutting a little bit deeper into the cake while continuing to rotate the cake with your left hand. It may take 3 or 4 rotations until you hit the center of the cake with your knife to complete the slice.

Hand slicing Lady Baltimore Cake in half for frosting by BakeThisCake

For large cakes like this, it is best to use 2 large “pancake flippers”  to remove the top layer onto a piece of foil or plastic wrap for storage.

Wrap the cake slices in aluminum foil to keep them fresh while you prepare the filling and frosting.

Lady Baltimore Cakes sliced and cooling by BakeThisCake

Next up in this 3-part series…the amazing nutty and fruity Lady Baltimore Filling

Filling for Lady Baltimore Cake mixed in a bowl by BakeThisCake

…and the more amazing Boiling Icing that is poured over the cake to dry to a smooth finish…

Lady Baltimore Cake frosted with Boiled Icing by BakeThisCake

Let the festivities commence!

Happy new year to you all and thank you ever so much for joining us in the celebration of old-fashioned vintage cake baking. I’m so glad to meet you all and receive your comments.

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

If you haven’t already, be sure to join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or share our pins on Pinterest. :)


Leslie Macchiarella author of Bake This Cake Photo by LifeForcePhotos

Christine Murphy discusses her photographs at book signing for While Wandering Photo by John Albritton

Christine Murphy discusses her photographs at book signing event.

Carmel Helene singing at Viola Odell's book signing for While Wandering Photo by John Albritton

My niece, Carmel Helene, singing at my mom's book signing event.

Little Prairie Cakes Recipe – Old Fashioned Cookies Made Modern

Prairie Cakes fig cookies on baking tray drizzled with Sherry Icing BakeThisCake

Working with a way-old American recipe, this country cookie dough is wrapped around fresh figgie or strawberry filling for 4-way variation on a very vintage theme. THEN we drizzle on the Sherry Icing. Holy cow! We’re reconnecting with Vintage Prairie Cakes! Bring ‘em on! Continue reading

Old-fashioned Holiday Cake Frosting Recipe and a Berry-Berry Filling

Direct overhead Whipped Cream 2 Cake BakeThisCakecom LifeForcePhotoscom

Looking for the best classic old-fashioned cream frosting for your holiday cake? We’ve got you covered in vintage cake style. And how about a holiday cake filling made with cranberries, strawberries and buttercream, oh yeah! Pure white cake and frosting elegance with a sweet double berry filling — that’s what special old-fashioned holiday celebrations are all about. Continue reading

River House Whipped Cream Cake Recipe

Our River House Whipped Cream Cake is a simple and delicate holiday cake filled with a sweet mixture of pureed cranberries, strawberries  and buttercream (we call it Berry-Berry Filling).  It’s frosted in classic style with an old-fashioned silky cream cheese buttercream frosting. What could be more charming for your holiday festivities (or any special celebration) when you want a simple and elegant homemade classic?

California Road Tripping: Heading north from L.A. to the country to cook up a  storm with the fam.  Nearly every trip to the ole’ hometown of Merced, we try to visit the Merced National Wildlife Refuge at some point – if only just to drive through on a circle loop. As long as the windows will roll down we’ll be rolling through. Why? Because it’s inspiring.

The Photo Blind is a big ground hole for photographers

This ten-thousand-acre wildlife reserve is an unusual spot of earth — like an incredible free and open bird zoo. It’s also an amazing feat of technology — with specialized plantings, rotating food crops and pumping water systems for different times of the year. It is one of many (even larger and more diverse) in the 400-mile-long Central Valley of California. And it is home to up to 60,000 geese. Okay. THAT’S a big bunch of geese! (They’re winging their way along the Pacific Flyway south from Alaska and Canada.) The geese hang with about 20,000 cranes and what seems like a gazillion ducks, owls (burrrowing owls, you said?  yes!) and other amazing creatures.  We now know that a “paddling of ducks” refers to ducks on water and a group of geese on the ground is called a “gaggle of geese” (actually, we already knew that, right? :) ). But this one’s good —  A “skein of geese” refers to geese in flight.

The reserve is loaded up with hidden duck blinds and geese blinds for the hunters. In this area hunting season runs from about October through January.  (I come from a way-Photo Blind sign Merced National Wildlife Reservehunting family (when I was a kid my dad owned the local duck hunting club for a time) so that doesn’t bother me…but you will hear rifle fire every now and then during the cold season.  Sorry.)  My dad always said that the reserves would not be around if not for the hunters who help to fund them in a big way but, if you’re timid about being around hunters, maybe visit in the spring — there are always tons of birds to see.

But when it’s cold and foggy and darkish, it can sort of blow your mind. How about tripping around in the tule fog through the marshland at dawn only to freeze stone-cold solid as TENS OF THOUSANDS OF GEESE launch into the sky all at once!!  TALK ABOUT WOW!  I’m telling you it’s like standing on an airport runway. Think: jumbo jet taking off right next to you. Just the SOUND of a million fluttering wings.  BUT THEN — the honking. Aw, yes, the honking!

I took this little video with my iPhone so you could sense how strange it was to hear the sound of all these birds coming close but not seeing them in the fog — catching only sporadic glimpses of the “skein” (see, I can learn a new word along with the best of ‘em). :)

Here is the panoramic series of 3 photos I took along the marshy shores in a dawn fog…If you ever get the chance, check it out (and let me know what you think). :)

Home for the holidays: When we’re cooking at the river house we always aim to use great-grandma’s vintage cooking tools and long-lost recipes to bring that old-fashioned holiday feeling back for the family.  Everyone takes part in bringing the house alive. My 90-year old mum plays the upright piano while Uncle Bill acts as the chef d’jour. On Thanksgiving he made us slow-roasted turkey brined in orange juice, cornbread stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy and green bean mushroom casserole. My son, Michelangelo, created some lovely yeast rolls for us using the bread baker skills he’s learning at the restaurant where he works in Carmel. Our family friend, Felix, brought his father’s amazing-and-incredible baked ham (that his father prepares only on special order nowadays for friends after retiring as a chef). Sister Christine brought us, not one — but three — homemade pumpkin pies (my son ate nearly one whole pie all by himself!).  Brother Mark brought special champagne and nephew, John, the family wine connoisseur, brought lovely wines (and a carrying case packed with traveling wine glasses and decanter). :)

Of course, I brought the Whipped Cream Cake, all locked and loaded for the trip from Los Angeles, along with some holiday sugar cookies and a homemade cranberry sauce (that we used a portion of for creating the cake filling for this cake).

The Whipped Cream Cake: This cake has no butter but the heavy cream adds the goodness (and the fat) needed to make a delightful vintage celebration cake. I think it would be hard to find a more delicate cake that speaks of old-fashioned homemade goodness.  Although I sliced the bottom cake layer to be level, I left the top cake uncut so that the slight mound of the finished cake resembles just what we’re after — the by-gone days come alive again.

A slice of history: Recipes for Whipped Cream Cake are plentiful in old cookbooks and on the web. Sometimes you’ll find them under the heading, “Cream Cakes” (although many

Amercian Woman's Cook Book recipe for Whipped Cream Cake 1939 p471

older recipes mean “milk” when they say “cream” and “sweet cream” when they mean “heavy cream” and on and on…so be prepared for some confusion when it comes to terms like “cream cake”.  Not to confuse matters further, but check out our recipe for a vintage Cream Cake (a lovely tea cake) that uses milk (in accordance with the historic recipe) as its main ingredient — our Carmel Cottage Cake — that you can find by clicking HERE.

Okay. Time to make whipped cream memories…This one’s easy!

Vintage Whipped Cream Cake

Tools Needed for Cake:

2 – 8″ baking pans
Butter for greasing baking pans
Wax paper or parchment for lining
2 Large mixing bowls
1 Medium mixing bowl
Electric mixer
Spatula (for folding flour into whipped cream)
Measuring cups and spoons

Whipped Cream Cake Ingredients:
Prep: 1 Tablespoon of butter for preparing the baking pans
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (also called just “heavy cream”)
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, fine quality
1-3/4 cups cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cake Baking Directions:

Set out on the counter to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes (or place them in a bowl of warm water until they lose their chill):
2 large fresh eggs
Tip: This step of warming the eggs is optional but seems to produce a lighter cake. :)

Set the oven rack to center position and temperature to 375 degrees.

Prepare two 8″ baking pans by rubbing them with about a tablespoon of unsalted butter and lining the bottom with a cut-out circle of wax paper or parchment that is also rubbed with butter.
Tip: I used wax paper instead of parchment and it works fine.
Alternative method (but not recommended): Spray pans with cooking spray, line with paper, spray again. Butter tastes better on the crumb crust of this cake. :)

In a large bowl, beat on high until just soft and fluffy (but not stiff, about 1 to 2 minutes):
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a medium bowl, beat on high until creamed and thickened (about 5 minutes):
the room temperature eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar

Beat into the egg-sugar mixture until incorporated:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, fine quality

Using a spatula, fold the whipped cream into the egg-sugar mixture until thoroughly incorporated.

In a large bowl, whisk until thoroughly mixed:
1-3/4 cups cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a spatula, fold the whipped cream-egg-sugar mixture into the flour mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Tip: As an alternative, you may use the electric mixer on low to beat the flour into the egg mixture in portions beating only until just thoroughly incorporated.

The batter itself is delightful and it looks like a whipped cream cake right from the start. :)

Load the batter into the prepared pans. (See how the batter shines?)

Bake the cakes at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden and toothpick test comes clean.
Tip: If you press very gently on the top center of the cakes when you believe they are done, they should not leave an indent mark. If this happens, just plop them back in a tad. :)

Cool the cakes thoroughly before frosting (or before wrapping for storage or travel).  They are quite delicate but will hold nicely for pre-prep while you work on other holiday dinner goodies.

I baked my cakes 2 days early, wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and tucking them inside a cake-keeper — and then hiding them from inquisitive teens. :) They stayed light and fresh and traveled well unfrosted.

Stay tuned for the silky and luscious Old-Fashioned Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting…We’re going to keep the crumbs on this cake (because they’re delicious) but I’ll show you how to frost it even when it is loaded with a light crust.

…and the delightful Berry-Berry Filling in our next post….

Thank you for all your kind words!  I so love hearing from you.  Be sure to stay in touch and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Happy holidays,


Michelangelo's yeast rolls

The Holiday Spread

Christine serving her apple pie with rum cider

Pioneer Skillet Cake – Apple Pandowdy

overview of pioneer skillet cake by bakethiscake photo by Lifeforcephotos.com

Vintage Pioneer Skillet Cake Recipe made with sweet biscuit cake, apples, apricots, molasses, honey and cinnamon then flipped upside down for an elegant country dessert just dribbling with juices. Vintage bring it on! Continue reading