A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 26, 2009
Lady Baltimore Cake (Lord Baltimore Cake)

The Lady Baltimore cake was popularized by the Owen Wister (1860-1938) novel Lady Baltimore (1906). Wister’s novel took place in fictional Kingsport, a substitute name for Charleston, South Carolina. The Woman’s Exchange is mention in the novel: Charleston had a Woman’s Exchange since 1885. The Woman’s Exchange tearoom (run by Florence and Nina Ottolengui) was named the Lady Baltimore Tea Room to capitalize on the popularity of the novel and the famous cake.

The “Lady Baltimore Cake” is first cited in print not from the 1906 novel, but from an 1889 Ladies’ Home Journal. A 1903 Greenville (SC) cookbook also features a Lady Baltimore cake recipe. The mystery of the origin of the cake and how it got its name (there are several people who were called “Lady Baltimore” in the 1500s-1700s, well before the cake was first made) still persists, but most food historians agree that the cake has no connection with the city of Baltimore, Maryland.

The Lady Baltimore is a three-layered white cake with white frosting, and with nuts, raisins, dates and figs often used as a filling. The “Lord Baltimore cake” is cited in print from 1910 and is a three-layered yellow cake with a filling of macaroon crumbs. The Lady Baltimore cake uses egg whites; the Lord Baltimore cake uses egg yolks.


Epicurious.com - Food Dictionary
Lady Baltimore cake
A moist, three-layered white cake with a succulent filling of raisins, nuts and sometimes other fruit such as figs. The cake is covered with a fluffy white frosting such as BOILED ICING. It was first mentioned by novelist Owen Wister in his 1906 novel, Lady Baltimore . Legend has it that a young woman gave Wister such a cake, which he later chronicled in his novel. See also LORD BALTIMORE CAKE.
Epicurious.com - Food Dictionary
Lord Baltimore cake
A three-layered yellow cake with a filling of chopped pecans or almonds, MARASCHINO cherries and MACAROON crumbs. The cake is covered with a fluffy white frosting such as BOILED ICING. See also LADY BALTIMORE CAKE.

Wikipedia: George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore
George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (c. 1580 – 15 April 1632) was an English politician and coloniser. He achieved domestic political success as a Member of Parliament and later Secretary of State under King James I, though he lost much of his political power after his support for a failed marriage alliance between Prince Charles and the Spanish royal family. Rather than continue in politics, he resigned all of his political offices in 1625 except for his position on the Privy Council and declared his Catholicism publicly. He was granted the title of 1st Baron Baltimore in the Irish peerage upon his resignation.

Calvert took an interest in the colonization of the New World, at first for commercial reasons and later to create a refuge for English Catholics. He became the proprietor of Avalon, the first sustained English settlement on the island of Newfoundland. Discouraged by the climate and the sufferings of the settlers there, Calvert looked for a more suitable spot further south and sought a new royal charter to settle the region that was to become the state of Maryland. Calvert died five weeks before the new charter was sealed, leaving the settlement of the Maryland colony to his son Cæcilius. His son Leonard Calvert was the first colonial governor of Maryland. Historians have long recognized George Calvert as the founder of Maryland, in spirit if not in fact.

Wikipedia: Charlotte Lee, Lady Baltimore
Charlotte Lee, Lady Baltimore (13 March 1678 Old Style- 22 January 1721 Old Style), was the granddaughter of King Charles II and his mistress Barbara Villiers. She first married Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore. She later married Christoher Crowe.]She was the mother of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore. The famous Lee family of Virginia, which included General Robert E. Lee, descends from her.

Wikipedia: Owen Wister
Owen Wister (July 14, 1860 – July 21, 1938) was an American writer of western fiction.

Baltimore City Paper (June 28, 2000)
Ms. Mobtown
by Brennen Jensen
Here’s the question: Who (or what) was Lady Baltimore? Well, first of all, there were Anne and Joan Calvert, the first and second wives of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore (circa 1580-1632). There is also a Lady Baltimore cake (an obscenely sweet affair featuring raisins and nuts) and a Lady Baltimore cruise ship that takes tourists puttering about the harbor. Additional poking around turned up a Lady Baltimore hibiscus, silver pattern, novel, and brand of luggage. (A Web search on “Lady Baltimore” even coughed up a porno site offering “free pissing panty lady pics"--but enough said about that.)

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Lady Baltimore n. [apparently either directly < the title of Lady Baltimore, wife of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (c1580-1632), the founder of Maryland, or < the name of the Lady Baltimore Tea Room in Charleston, South Carolina, where such a cake may first have been made (although the shop may alternatively have been named after the cake)] U.S. (more fully Lady Baltimore cake) a light-textured white layer cake, traditionally iced and with a filling containing pecans, dried fruit, etc.
Further popularized by Owen Wister’s novel Lady Baltimore, which describes such a cake (see quot. 1906).
1889 Ladies’ Home Jrnl. Aug. 14/2 *Lady Baltimore Cake.
1906 O. WISTER Lady Baltimore vii. 89 I’ll have to-day, if you please, another slice of that Lady Baltimore.
1948 Chicago Tribune 15 Jan. 4/6 (advt.) Lady Baltimore Cakes, 85c-$1.10. 4 white, fine-grained layers, filled and iced with butter cream.
1970 New Yorker 5 Sept. 36/3 My mother stayed out of the kitchen..except for making..an occasional cake, like the monument for Father’s birthday called a Lady Baltimore.
2006 Houston Chron. (Nexis) 22 Nov. (Star section) 2 Martha exhibited a perfect Lady Baltimore cake.

August 1889, Ladies’ Home Journal, pg. 19:
ANSWERS TO QUERIES.
Mrs. K. J. H.  Lady Baltimore Cake. Beat half a cup of butter to a cream, adding gradually one and a half cups of sugar. When very light add three quarter cups of cold water and two cups of flour; beat well, and stir in half the well beaten whites of four eggs. Have ready one cup of English walnuts cut into small pieces, flour them well, stir into the cake, add the remainder of white of the eggs, and a teaspoon of baking powder.

Bake in a moderate oven for fifty minutes.

5 September 1889, New York (NY) Times, pg. 6:
[From the Boston Herald.]
Baltimore Cake.—Beat half a cupful of butter to a cream, adding gradually one and one-half cupfuls of sugar; when very light add three-quarters of a cupful of cold water and two cupfuls of flour, beat well and add half of the beaten whites of four eggs; take one cupful of English walnut meats, cut them in small pieces and flour them well, and then stir into the cake with the remainder of the beaten white of the eggs, and ine teaspoonful of baking powder; bake moderately about fifty minutes. 

Google Books
The New Galt Cook Book
Compiled by Margaret Taylor and Frances McNaught
Toronto: George J. McLeod, Limited
1898
Pg. 213;
Baltimore Cake.
Beat half a cupful of butter to a cream, adding gradually one and a half cupfuls of sugar. WHen very light add three-fourths of a cupful of cold water and two cupfuls of flour. Beat well and stir in half the beaten whites of four eggs. have ready one cupful of walnuts cut into small pieces, four them well, stir into the cake, add the remainder of the whites of eggs and a teaspoonful of baking powder. Bake in a moderate oven fifty minutes.

Google Books
The Greenville Century Book:
Comprising an account of the first settlement of the County, and the foudning of the City of Greenville, S. C.

By S. S. Crittenden
Greenville, SC; Press of Greenville News
1903
Pg. 148:
LADY BALTIMORE CAKE.
Eight eggs, whites only, one pound flour, one pound sugar, one-half pound butter, one-half pint milk, two teaspoonfuls baking powder, two teaspoonfuls almond extract. Cream butter and sugar, add milk very slowly with flour to keep smooth, seasoning then. Beat the whites of eggs very light, bake in jelly pans, three layers. Icing: Three cups sugar, whites of four eggs, one gill of boiling water, one-half teaspoonful tartaric acid, pour water in sugar and boil for ten minutes or until it ropes from spoon. Have your whites thoroughly beaten and add acid. Pour hot syrup while beating, season with vanilla. Add two cups of walnuts and two cups chopped raisins. Pour between cakes.
Mrs. A. M. Henderson.

Google Books
‘Please, M’m, the Butcher!’:
A Complete Guide to Catering for the Housewife of Moderate Means

By Beatrice Guarracino
Published by T. Fisher Unwin
1903
Pg. 57:
Lady Baltimore Cake (Caramel) Use the same mixture as for Cherry Baltimore…

16 November 1906, Hamburg (Iowa) Reporter, pg. 6, col. 4:
“Lady Baltimore” Cake.
Beat the whites of six eggs. Take a cup and a half of granulated sugar, a cup of milk, nearly a cup of butter, three cups of flour and two teaspoonfuls of good baking powder. Sift the flour and baking powder together into the other ingredients, adding the eggs last of all. Bake in two buttered pans for fifteen or twenty minutes. For the frosting: Two cups of granulated sugar and a cup and a half of water. Boil until stringy, about five minutes usually does it. Beat the whites of two eggs very light, and pour the boiling sugar slowly into it, mixing well. Take out of this enough for the top and sides of the cake, and stir into the remainder, for the filling between the two layers, one cup of finely chopped raisins and a cup of chopped nuts. This is delicious when properly baked.

Chronicling America
22 February 1907, Washington (DC) Times, pg. 7, col. 5:
For Lady Baltimore cake, make four layers of pound cake dough, then spread with the following filling:

Boil a cupful of sugar with four tablespoonfuls of water until a drop threads when pressed between the thumb and finger; then beat in the whipped white of an egg and a half-cupful each of seeded and chopped raisins, dates, figs, almonds, and walnuts.

18 September 1910, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, pg. 26:
Lord Baltimore Cake.
Lord Baltimore Cake is the peer of the long-popular Lady Baltimore Cake. it is a rich cake made rich by the use of egg-yolks. When planning to use this recipe one must also plan for the use of the whites of the egg. Not a difficult task, is it> Kisses, meringues, angel cake, prime-whip and bride’s cake come quickly to mind. Cream one-half cupful of butter and add gradually, while beating constantly, one cupful of sugar; then add the yolks of eight eggs, beaten until thick. Mix and sift one and three-fourths cupfuls of bread-flour with three teaspoonfuls of baking-powder. Add to first mixture alternately with one-half cupful of sweet milk. Flavor with two teaspoonfuls of vanilla and beat two minutes. Turn into three buttered and floured seven-inch-square tins and bake in a moderate oven. Put between layers Lord baltimore Filling. For the filling add to a boiled frosting (when ready to spread) one half a cupful of macaroon powder (macaroons dried in the oven and rolled or pounded), one-fourth of a cupful of blanched and chopped almonds, one-fourth of a cupful of chopped pecans, twelve candied cherries cut in small pieces, two teaspoonfuls of lemon-juice, one and one-half teaspoonfuls of vanilla and one teaspoonful of orange-extract.

Now cover top as well as sides with boiled frosting flavored with vanilla and garnish with a border of halves of cherries and diamond-shaped pieces of angelica, alternating the two.

27 May 1912, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Evening Gazette, pg. 10, col. 6 ad:
Calumet Baking School
Program for Tuesday
Lady Baltimore and Lord Baltimore Cake

Google Books
A New Book of Cookery
By Fannie Merritt Farmer
Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company
1921
Pg. 340:
Lady Baltimore Cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whites 6 eggs

Cream butter and add sugar gradually, while beating constantly. Mix and sift baking powder and flour and add alternately with milk to first mixture; then add flavoring and cut and fold in whites of eggs, beaten until stiff and dry. Turn into three buttered and floured seven-inch square tins and bake in a moderate oven. Put layers together with Fruit and (Pg. 341—ed.) Nut Filling and cover top and sides of cake with Fruit and Nut Filling, then with Ice Cream Frosting.

Fruit and Nut Filling...
Ice Cream Frosting...

Lord Baltimore Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
Yolks 8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Pg. 342:
Cream butter and add gradually, while beating constantly, sugar; then add yolks of eggs, beaten until thick and lemon-clored, milk, flour, mixed and sifted with baking powder, and vanilla. Turn into three buttered and floured seven-inch square tins and bake in a moderate oven. Put layers together with Lord Blatimore Filling and cover top and side of cake with Ice Cream Frosting; then garnish with halves of candied cherries and diamond-shaped pieces of angelica.

Lord Baltimore Filling.—Make an Ice Cream Frosting (see p. 341) of one and one-half cups sugar, one-half cup water and whites of two eggs. WHen of right consistency to spread, add one-half cup rolled dry macaroons, one-fourth cup, each, chopped pecan nut meats and blanched Jordan almonds, twelve candied cherries, cut in quarters, two teaspoons lemon juice, three teaspoons Sherry wine and one-fourth teaspoon orange extract. 

Google Books
So You’re Going South!:
To the South Atlantic States, and If I Were Going with You, These are Some of the Places I’d Suggest

By Clara Elizabeth Laughlin
Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company
1940
Pg. 398:
...and have tea some afternoon at the Lady Baltimore Tea Room, 163 King Street, on Gateway Walk, where their Lady Baltimore cake is said to be made from the “ONLY original recipe.”

New York (NY) Times
FOOD; Rich and Famous
By JULIA REED
Published: April 21, 2002
In ‘’Lady Baltimore,’’ Owen Wister’s ornate 1906 novel of American manners set in the post-Civil War South, the protagonist, John Mayrant, is engaged to a ‘’steel wasp’’ of dubious background. (She is from either Natchez or Mobile; her father, a Confederate general, is said to have fled the Battle of Chattanooga.) She smokes, drinks highballs and consorts with other men, including a New York banker she uses to investigate the magnitude of her future husband’s fortune. However, in the eyes of the narrator, the gravest of her sins is that she pretends to be so financially strapped that the prospective groom must arrange the details of the wedding himself. This includes ordering the cake—a Lady Baltimore—from the Woman’s Exchange tearoom.
(...)
It is no wonder that this cake plays such a key role in the novel. It is really, really good, a fact the narrator, a Yankee who eats a piece for lunch almost every day, comments on with frequency. ("Oh, my goodness! Did you ever taste it? It’s all soft, and it’s in layers, and it has nuts—but I can’t write any more about it; my mouth waters too much.") It turns out that there really was a Woman’s Exchange in Charleston, and legend has it that Owen Wister was served a piece of the cake there by its creator, Alicia Rhett Mayberry. But in the years since, its popularity has grown far beyond that city. A light, three-layer ‘’silver’’ cake (meaning that it is made with egg whites instead of yolks), it has a filling containing dried figs, pecans, raisins and a bit of brandy or sherry. It is indeed grand enough for a wedding, and its fame spawned a Lord Baltimore cake (made with yolks instead of whites, and whose filling contains macaroon crumbs, toasted almonds and candied cherries.)

No one can tell me why Mrs. Mayberry, a native of Charleston, named the cake Lady Baltimore, but there was such a woman. Her name was Joan Calvert, second wife of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, who founded the first religiously tolerant colony in North America (Avalon, a refuge for Catholics fleeing English penal laws, on the southern coast of Newfoundland) and whose heirs founded St. Mary’s City, the first settlement in what is now Maryland. 

Google Books
All-American Desserts:
400 Star-Spangled, Razzle-Dazzle Recipes for America’s Best Loved Desserts

By Judith M. Fertig
Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press
2003
Pg. 150:
Lady Baltimore Cake
Owen Wister immortalized this dessert in his 1906 romance Lady Baltimore. Legend has it that Wister first tasted this cake at Charleston’s Lady Baltimore Tea Room, managed by the Misses Florence and Nina Ottolengui. Some claim that these ladies dreamed up the recipe, but others insist that Lady Baltimore cake is simply an ingenue version of the older Lane cake, created in Clayton, Alabama, in 1888. Some frost between the layers and frost on top, but leave the sides of the cake bare. Others frost the whole cake. Despite these turf battles, this cake is a winner. The white cake can be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled and will still taste winderful, which makes it perfect for celebratory wedding cakes. Frosted with a fantasty of sweetened Italian meringue blended with sherry-soaked dried fruits and nuts, this cake is adapted from one in the 1973 edition of the Joy of Cooking by irma S. Rombauer and her daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker.

Google Books
Good Housekeeping Great American Classics Cookbook
By Beth Allen, Susan Westmoreland
Published by Hearst Books
2004
Pg. 262:
Lady Baltimore Cake
This cake comes with a story. Alicia Rhett Mayberry, a southern belle in Charleston, South Carolina, baked this glorious dried fig, fruit, and nut-filled tiered cake for novelist Owen Wister, who was so enamored of the delicious confection that he described it in a 1906 novel he titled Lady Baltimore, Food historian Evan Jones writes that the original recipe may also have become the property of Florence and Nina Ottolengui, who managed Charleston’s Lady Baltimore Tea Room for over twenty-five years. As the story goes, each year they shipped Owen Wister a cake as “thanks” for helping make their cake famous. As Jean Anderson writes in the American Century Cookbook, the original Lady Baltimore Cake was a yellow cake that was made with whole eggs. More recent versions are silver cakes that are made with egg whites. One of the earliest silver-white recipes appears in the 1922 Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes and Household Discoveries, which uses rose extract for flavoring. Most recipes for Lady Baltimore Cake use either an old-fashioned boiled frosting or a seven-minute icing.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, January 26, 2009 • Permalink