Sunday, April 01, 2007

How Do I Love Thee, Lady Baltimore?

It began as an innocent flirtation. It was the name that first caught my attention – Lady Baltimore Cake. It was regal, slightly aloof, with a mid-Atlantic pedigree. I wanted to know more. Who was this mystery woman?

Way down under in Australia, The Old Foodie dipped into her culinary archives and told me a tale, perhaps a century old. I had to acknowledge that this Lady Baltimore had a past and there had been others before me. Born in the pages of romantic fiction and immortalized in a Charlestown tea room, her history was intricate, her story far-reaching.

The flirtation becomes infatuation. I pour over cookbooks craving a glimpse of her name. I note numerous admirers from Beard to Rombauer and Becker. There are even rumors of a Lord Baltimore, but I am not deterred by potential rivals. I must have her. Nothing will prevent me from sweet unity with my Lady Baltimore. She has won my heart, and I will conquer hers.

I cannot sleep and I cannot eat. She is my obsession. I will create the Lady Baltimore of my dreams. Like all relationships, this one is complex and the Lady requires great attention. I carefully cream butter and sugar and dotingly separate eggs, whipping the whites into a froth.

I chop figs and raisins to create her tantalizing filling, a sensual potion with a provocative dash of cognac and toasted pecans, a nod to her Southern roots.

My heart beats with desire as I spread the succulent filling between three perfect layers, and finally wrap her in glossy, alabaster frosting. My Lady Baltimore is complete – pure, statuesque, alluring, elegant and every inch a lady.

At last, my search is over. For some time, I can do nothing more than gaze upon her radiant countenance. I feel clumsy and foolish. My words falter, but something is aroused deep within me and I am drawn to her. I succumb to the temptation.

How do I love thee, Lady Baltimore Cake? Let me count the ways. Frothy and light with a playful splash of vanilla, you are delectable. I relish the silky feel of the icing, the demur and tender snowy-white crumb, the dewy richness of raisins and figs and the bold hint of cognac.

Alas, there are other suitors who clamor for this Lady’s affection, and our time together is all too brief. Before the day is over, she has vanished, and I am wistful. I have changed. There will surely be others who will try to seduce me but none are likely to approach the rapture, the ecstasy, the sweet bliss of my woman in white, the luscious Lady Baltimore.

With thanks to The Old Foodie for telling me the story!

©2007 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


The Old Foodie said...

Move Over, Mills and Boon! Food Porn is passe; Romancing the Cake is so much more ..... well, Romantic. Love it, t.w. Love it. The cake looks good too.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Wow!!! What a wonderful cake!!

It's so big and tall, and packed with delicious filling... Great, W.T.!

Anonymous said...

How romantic. I typically feel that way with a lot of food I eat.You do sound totally smitten :)and with good reason. She is a delectable looking piece.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Wow -- that had to be some cake! What a wonderful romance, and what a shame it was so short-lived. You'll have to bake another!

Anonymous said...

A cake that was worth the search... what a great story!

Freya said...

What a wonderful post! The cake looks beautiful and the white icing belies it's slightly exotic filling. Yum!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Why T.W., this post is better than a romance novel! With the combination of figs, raisins, and pecans, the cake must have tasted as lovely as it looks. Perfection!

Betty Carlson said...

Beautiful post and I must admit I never really knew what a Lady Baltimore Cake was, although I had heard the name.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pictures -- yes, this looks like the cake my grand mother used to make. My dad just asked for the Lord Baltimore version for his 88th birhtday cake. So glad I could find the receipe as well as the pictures.

Anonymous said...

thirty five years ago, i learned to bake the most delicious cake ever. i found the recipe of lady baltimore cake in a newly-purchased "better homes and gardens" cakes series. made it and never wanted to bake anything else. i left the book in my family home when i left for canada and i was told a lot of my books were destroyed by flood. been looking for it since then. this morning a friend told me to look for it online. well, duh, i should've thought about it before. so i did, the first ones were just LB wannabe's, but lower down the screen i found it. and this blog just renewed my desire for making classy, beautiful cakes. thank you for sharing.
vikki summerfield

marion said...

i made this cake this morning for the first time it is a little messy but good. i toast the frosting in the oven for 2 min to so it can last a little longer. it is so good.