The inspiration for Classic Lord Baltimore Cake comes from my copy of the 1941 Better Homes & Garden Cook Book. The Lord Baltimore Cake appears in a full-color illustration of several vintage cakes that I just love. While I dream for the day to have all six cakes completed on the same day to take a photo such as that one, finishing all the steps involved for just one of these cakes takes a good bit of time.
I have taken this recipe for Classic Lord Baltimore Cake and baked it modern by adding oil to make it moist, more salt as our modern palettes are accustomed to, and made homemade coconut macaroon cookies for the filling.
The origins of Classic Lord Baltimore Cake:
The Lord Baltimore Cake is a variation on the popular Lady Baltimore Cake and, surprisingly, neither cake originated in Baltimore. The main difference between the two cakes is primarily with the incorporation of the eggs. The Lady uses just egg whites, and the Lord uses just egg yolks. In my research I also found that the cake filling for each are slightly different. The Lady typically calls for dried fruit and pecans, while the Lord calls for crushed macaroon coconut cookies, walnuts or almonds, and cherries.
In my great-grandmother’s recipe box, I found a very small clipping of the filling for the Lord Baltimore Cake. I realized that half the recipe is missing to the left so I found other versions to decipher, and see it called for red and green candied cherries and the flakes of coconut were spread on top as a garnish.
Baker’s tips for Classic Lord Baltimore Cake:
The addition of oil makes for a moist cake:
Using butter in a cake provides flavor, while using oil makes it super moist cake. Canola oil is perfect since it has a neutral and light flavor. I like to use a combination of canola oil mixed with extra light virgin olive oil. If your cake recipe calls for butter, you can use all butter, use all oil or a try the combination of oil and butter together.
The ingredients for the cake filling vary among vintage recipes, but I found it typically includes coconut macaroon crumbles, cherries and chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds). For the cherries you can choose to use candied, dried, or maraschino depending on your taste. For the coconut macaroon crumbles, I made my own cookies and crumbled them up. They tasted delicious on their own, so I knew they would lend a good bit of toasty coconut flavor to the cake filling.
Use the proper baking sheet:
When baking, always use aluminum cake pans since they conduct even heat. My favorite brand of baking pans are Nordic Ware or Fat Daddios. To showcase the filling between layers, bake this cake in three 8″ round cake pans.
Lock-in moisture in your cakes:
After you pull your cakes from the oven, cover the cake pan with a baking sheet and let cool for only about 5 minutes. If your pan was well-greased, run a knife around the edges and turn the cake out onto a piece of parchment paper. Then wrap right away in saran wrap to seal in moisture. Since you are locking in the moisture, you can use later in the day or even freeze the cakes to make another time.
Tips for 7-minute frosting:
While doing research, I found that 7-minute frosting was often referred to as divinity frosting. I can see why…once you add the fruity nut filling to the 7-minute frosting it tastes just like divinity we typically make at Christmas. Many find seven-minute frosting tricky to make. Some recipes call for the addition of corn syrup, however, looking through old recipes, they listed corn syrup or cream of tarter, so I choose to use the later. I also add cornstarch to help stabilize the frosting. Recipes suggest to beat the frosting over the stove (how my Nana did), but I prefer to whisk it for a few minutes and then move it to the stand mixer. Once you move the bowl to the mixer, just put on high speed and beat until it is shiny with stiff peaks.
Keep vintage cake decorating simple:
After you make the frosting, take out 1/3 to add to it the filling. Put first layer down on cake plate and place some parchment paper along the sides to keep plate clean. Use an off-set spatula and spread filling on the first layer. Place on the second layer and spread on filling. Place on the last layer (upside down) so you have a nice flat top layer to frost. Cover top with last bit of filling. Then place a heaping amount of frosting on the top layer and then pushing down onto to coat the sides. Again I found several variations on the garnish. Use whole ingredients that were featured in the filling such as walnuts or candied cherries or cover the cake in shredded coconut.
Looking for a similar cake recipes? Try my Classic Lady Baltimore Cake
Classic Lord Baltimore Cake
- 2 2/3 c. unbleached flour
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. unsalted butter room temp
- 1 2/3 c. sugar
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 c. buttermilk or milk
- 1/4 c. oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
- 1 c. macaroon crumbs crushed
- 1/2 c. walnuts or almonds finely chopped
- 1/4 c. cherries (candied) finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
- 1/2 tsp. orange zest
MACAROON COOKIES (for filling)
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 c. superfine sugar
- 2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 c. sweetened coconut
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/8 tsp. almond extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 egg whites
- 1 1/3 c. superfine sugar
- 1/3 c. water
- 1 T. cornstarch or unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/8 tsp. salt fine
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (2) 8" round cake pans.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Bake or purchase macaroon cookies. Crush cookies for filling and set aside.
- Finely chop walnuts and candied cherries.
- Zest orange and set aside.
- Separate out 8 egg yolks and 3 egg whites into two separate bowls and set aside.
- Make buttermilk by placing 1 T. vinegar into liquid measuring cup and filling with whole milk to the 1 c. line. Set aside.
- Beat egg whites and sugar until foamy.
- Add in coconut, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.
- Use medium cookie scoop and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 325 for 20-23 minutes until coconut tips look toasted, but not dark.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add in egg yolks and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Pour in buttermilk, oil, vanilla and lemon extract and blend until just combined.
- Pour batter into greased cake pans and bake for 25-28 minutes. Place toothpick in center comes out clean. Allow to cool before icing.
- Let cakes cool for 5 minutes. Release cake from sides of pan with a off-set spatula and turn cake out onto parchment paper. Wrap in plastic wrap.
- Mix together crushed macaroon cookie crumbs, walnuts, and candied cherries.
- Add in lemon extract and orange zest.
- Over double broiler with the bowl from stand mixer place egg whites, sugar, cornstarch, cream of tarter, water and pinch of salt and whisk for about 4 minutes.
- Move bowl to stand mixer and add vanilla and beat on high until glossy with stiff peaks (about another 3-4 minutes).
- Take 1/3 of the 7-minute frosting and add it to the filling. The remaining 2/3 will be used to frost the cake.
- Take bottom layer and place on cake plate. Place wax or parchment paper around edges of cake in order to frost neatly.
- Place filling on top of the first layer and spread with off-set spatula.
- Place middle layer on cake.
- Place filling on top of the middle layer.
- Add on the last layer with the bottom-side down so you have smooth top. Add a very thin coat of filling on top.
- Place the frosting on the top and swirl around pushing it down onto the sides. Use an off-set spatula to guide the frosting.
- Garnish simple with nuts or other components of the filling such as the candied cherries, coconut or macaroon cookies.