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Regional Cakes

dogfaceboy Nov 27, 2007 03:04 PM

I am a writer looking for information about cakes specific to certain regions. North Carolina is supposed to have a Lady Baltimore cake (though a lot of North Carolinians have never had one). Kentucky is said to have a mint julep cake. Maryland, where I am from, has something called the Smith Island cake. No one really knows where it comes from (though an elderly cookbook writer thinks she might have invented it), but it's been around for generations.

Some recipes call for seven layers; some call for ten. Individual cakes are made and then sliced thin. The whole thing is usually frosted in chocolate, but sometimes it's filled with chocolate between the layers. Most often, though, the recipes call for crushed candy bars between each layer!

Something I've discovered about regional cakes: some people don't know anything about them. They're usually the people least into food.

I hope you will share your knowledge. It doesn't have to be a recipe, but I'd love to match some cakes with regions.

Thanks!

Leslie

  1. h
    Hooda_Guest Nov 27, 2007 03:42 PM

    St. Louis is famous for the gooey butter cake but I think Paula Deen has a recipe for it as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hooda_Guest
      rworange Nov 27, 2007 03:49 PM

      Here's some info about the gooey butter cake to get you started. If you search the boards there is a lot more
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/329301

      One thing you might do is post about each cake on the regional board for the place that serves the best version of the regional cake and ask if anyone knows the origin. Often there's someone who knows. If you ask a handful of locals, they might not know, but with such a large readership here, usually someone comes through.

      1. re: Hooda_Guest
        maria lorraine Nov 28, 2007 07:28 PM

        Yes, I grew up with this cake in St. Louis and it is gooey, and extremely rich, and supersonically sweet. It is ubiquitous around St. Louis, and I've never ever seen
        anyone bake it at home, ever. It's in every bakery.

      2. j
        jeanmarieok Nov 27, 2007 04:35 PM

        Here in VA, we have 'chocolate cake'. But what makes it unique is that the 'cake' is really made from yellow cake batter. It's the chocolate frosting that makes it called 'chocolate cake'. I don't know if that's regional enough, but I was pretty shocked when I had 'chocolate cake' the first time, and thought it must be a mistake.

        1. m
          MakingSense Nov 27, 2007 05:57 PM

          New Orleans has:
          King Cake - a brioche ring with sugar decorations in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold, eaten from the beginning of the Mardi Gras season on Twelfth Night until Mardi Gras itself. It includes a bean, baby or other trinket. Whoever gets it is King, Queen, or has to give the next party.
          Doberge Cake - first called "d'auberge" or country inn cake, but a relative of Hungarian Dobostorte, a multi-layered cake with chocolate cream filling and a poured fondant icing. Also available in lemon.
          Russian Cake - an icebox cake, frugal mix of left over pound cake, birthday cake, ends of sweet breads, pieces of coffee cake, bits of pie crust, etc., moistened with a blend of pineapple juice or fruit cocktail syrup and wine. The cake is refrigerated until the flavors blended and the juice absorbed. Not seen much any more but once available in bakeries.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense
            JungMann Nov 28, 2007 06:07 AM

            The Dobostorte sounds somewhat similar to the original dobostorte, which is interesting in that I didn't know the Crescent City was known for its Hungarian bakers. Is Louisiana Crunch Cake actually native to the state, as well? For what it's worth, I find it difficult to find outside the Midwest, so it might be a misnamed regional dish.

            1. re: JungMann
              m
              MakingSense Nov 28, 2007 07:06 AM

              Germans settled in the Lac des Allemands area West of New Orleans in 1721. Some of those same families are still around and a few are in the baking business. http://www.acadian-cajun.com/germanc.htm They may have introduced some European specialties over the years as did the French bakers. One of the best French breads in NOLA is Leidenheimer's.
              I'm not familiar with LA Crunch Cake but many people traveled up the Mississippi so it could have found its way on river boats, or as you say, simply be misnamed.

          2. Gio Nov 28, 2007 06:12 AM

            The Boston Cream Pie comes to mind.....It's really a cake!
            http://www.joyofbaking.com/BostonCrea...

            1. r
              raj1 Nov 28, 2007 08:57 AM

              In Texas we have Italian Cream Cake (there's nothing Italian about it) and Texas Sheet Cake. You can easily find recipes for both on the web.

              Italian Cream Cake is a white buttermilk/pecan layer cake usually topped with cream cheese icing.

              Texas Sheet cake is a chocolate cake usually made in a jelly-roll pan and topped with a chocolate and pecan icing. This great for a barbecue or any large party.

              7 Replies
              1. re: raj1
                rworange Nov 28, 2007 09:29 AM

                Here the Food Timeline's research on the Texas Sheet cake.
                http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes.html#texassheetcake

                They also mention a Lane Cake which seems to be Southern and I have yet to see
                http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes.html#lane

                Other Southern Cakes that seem regional to me are Red Velvet and Hummingbird. Sure everyone knows about Red Velvet, but I think you have to be Southern to appreciate it. I've just started seeing Hummingbird cake recently in California but from what I've read it's a Southern thing.

                Oddly enough, when I lived in Boston a while back, I didn't seem much Boston Cream pie. There was more being sold in Connecticut where I grew up.
                http://www.whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/BostonCreamPie.htm

                That above site has info about the history of the Lady Baltimore cake mentioned in the OP. There might be a reason the North Carolinans don't know about it since it was the invention of a novel which was set in Charleston, South Carolina
                http://www.whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/LadyBaltimoreCake.htm

                Robert E. Lee cake anyone?
                http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/RobertLeeCake.htm

                FWIW, Wikipedia has a list of cakes with links to more info. Not the most reliable source, but sometimes they have nice links to places that lead to more info.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

                1. re: rworange
                  s
                  sueatmo Nov 28, 2007 01:17 PM

                  What we now call Texas Sheet Cake was very popular in my corner of the Midwest (St. Louis area) earlier than 1970, maybe as early as 1965. I remember that my mother came home from a teacher's meeting with the recipe which she had gotten from another teacher. But I didn't know it as Texas Sheet Cake until much later. I have an old book of recipes from central Illinois which I purchased in the very early '70s which contains several versions of that recipe, under various names. I have always assumed that it came to be called Texas Sheet Cake, because it was seemed as large as Texas.

                  Hummingbird Cake started our as Doktor Bird Cake, and I ran into it in the early '70s. I know I read an article in the food section of the St. Louis Post about it. Doktor Bird is a hummingbird, and the recipe was supposed to be from the Caribbean.

                  1. re: rworange
                    p
                    Pampatz Nov 29, 2007 12:08 PM

                    My aunt who lived in Dallas had the Texas Sheet Cake recipe back in 1964. We were visiting and she didn't want to give my mother the recipe. Still my favorite cake.
                    I was making Hummingbird cake in the early 70's in Houston. Haven't made that one in years.

                    1. re: rworange
                      alkapal Dec 6, 2007 07:23 AM

                      My N. Florida mom used to make Lane Cake for every Christmas season. Multi-layered, with glaceed or candied fruits, pecans, coconut. Thin layers. Frequently doused with splashes of whisky and aged/mellowed wrapped in foil for three-four weeks prior to eating. Delicious.

                      1. re: alkapal
                        Candy Jan 1, 2008 08:28 AM

                        Lane is very good and popular in the south. It's origins are in Alabama

                      2. re: rworange
                        t
                        TampaAurora Dec 31, 2007 11:53 AM

                        Wright's Gourmet in Tampa, Florida makes an amazing Hummingbird Cake.

                      3. re: raj1
                        m
                        MakingSense Nov 28, 2007 12:41 PM

                        Italian Cream Cake is all over the South. Here's a recipe from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Pretty typical of current recipes, it uses coconut and pecans and that cream cheese icings that has replaced traditional Southern icings.
                        http://www.ajc.com/living/content/liv...

                        Cream cheese icings didn't come into common use in the US until after they were made popular by food demonstration commercials on the Kraft Television Theater - sort of an early Sandra Lee. Recipes using them are either recent or the original icing has been replaced by the cream cheese version.

                      4. ktmoomau Nov 28, 2007 10:29 AM

                        My Mother actually works with a group of ladies on Crisfield- Smith Island, MD that make the cakes, they know the exact way it came about and the exact recipe. I can try to get their groups name for you. I believe that seven layers seems too few from what she was telling me, but I can check. There has to be filling in between the layers or else there is no point in cutting it.

                        Here is a actually a good resource with the recipe that looks authentic to me:http://www.smithisland.org/

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ktmoomau
                          dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 10:22 AM

                          Frances Kitching is the elderly woman to whom I referred in my original post. But if your mom actually works with people who know the EXACT way it came about (Mrs. Kitching doesn't even remember whether she invented it!), I would LOVE to know.

                          1. re: dogfaceboy
                            ktmoomau Nov 29, 2007 11:26 AM

                            Yes... in MD she gives loans to people starting small businesses and gets them grants, and they are probably getting one to try to figure out how to make an online business to ship their cakes. I will try to get their information for you.

                            1. re: ktmoomau
                              dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 01:05 PM

                              Thanks!

                        2. r
                          Royale Nov 28, 2007 10:35 AM

                          Not sure how abundant it is in the rest of the country because I don't get out of Texas very often, but what about tres leches cake?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Royale
                            h
                            HollyDolly Nov 28, 2007 11:01 AM

                            Tres Leche cake is mexican and means three milks.And I think it is mainly found in places like Texas and the southwest.There's the Texas sheet cake,and the Big Red cake,which is made with Big Red soda.
                            I have a cookbook from the south ,from one of the newspapers,I think Knoxville or Louisville.It has in it a Dolly Varden cake and some others.I'll have to look at it to give you some other names.I think it has Lane Cake in it.Have heard of Hummingbird cake. Another one is called Japanese Fruit cake, but as far as I know,it has nothing japanese about it.
                            Seen louisiana Crunch cake for sale at H.E.B. and Walmart stores.

                            1. re: HollyDolly
                              s
                              soupkitten Nov 29, 2007 10:25 AM

                              tres leches cake is everywhere & was trendy enough that it's probably not regional anymore

                              1. re: soupkitten
                                dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 01:07 PM

                                I think that's the case. Lots of local restaurants serve it. Perhaps it's the one that has broken out of the box—made it rich and famous. You never find a King Cake in other parts of the country, even though it's pretty well-known. It's such a specialty and served only one time of the year, I believe, so it's remained regional.

                            2. re: Royale
                              q
                              Querencia Nov 30, 2007 09:00 PM

                              Royale: I think maybe Tres Leches Cake goes where Mexican people go because Tres Leches is a huge favorite in Chicago. Actually, Hagen Daaz had a Tres Leches ice cream flavor a couple of years ago but it's not now listed on their website. But definitely Tres Leches has gone national. Thinking of that and of the pineapple upside-down cake discussion on this thread, it's interesting to trace the provenance of "national" cakes.

                            3. k
                              kathyyl Nov 28, 2007 01:17 PM

                              I'm from Hawaii, where the Dobash Cake is a local favorite and very popular at potlucks, birthdays, etc. You'll find it at nearly every local bakery on the island, it's crazy delicious! A light, super moist (near spongy) chocolate cake with a chocolate-pudding filling. It's frosted with the same filling and dusted off with the cake crumbs. I just moved to NYC recently, and have yet to find anything like it in this city.
                              Here's a link to a recipe (http://alohaworld.com/ono/viewrecipe.php?id=1051323284
                              )Zippy's dobash cake, one of the better known spots on the island for a slice (or whole cake! :) (http://www.napoleonsbakery.com/bake-cakes.html#

                              )

                              http://apassionforfood.blogspot.com/

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kathyyl
                                m
                                MakingSense Nov 28, 2007 01:33 PM

                                Doberge Cake in New Orleans is very different from that Hawaiian Dobash cake. The NOLA cake is at least 7 or 8 fairly dense (not spongy) layers of yellow, almost genoise-style cake. The icing is a poured fondant not the same cream filling. Almost no one ever makes it at home because it's pretty difficult and time consuming. Sold by bakeries like Gambino's.
                                There was another cake similar to what you describe called Black-out Cake - chocolate with chocolate icing, dusted with chocolate cake crumbs that was a favorite from MacKenzie's Bakeries (R.I.P.)

                              2. jfood Nov 28, 2007 03:21 PM

                                OK jfood will place for the NYC area:

                                1 - Cheesecake
                                2 - Blackout Cake

                                1. Suzy Q Nov 28, 2007 03:42 PM

                                  My born-and-raised-in-Georgia grandmother used to make Caramel Cake for my dad's birthday every year - basically a fairly ordinary white cake, but with caramelized pecan sugar icing about 1/2 inch thick between all five layers of the cake. I took her to the post office to ship him one for his birthday when he was overseas during Desert Storm, and I clearly recall being shocked that the darn thing weighed so much.

                                  My North Carolina grandma used to make the best coconut cake in the world. Snow white cake, white sticky frosting, and a ton of sweetened flaked coconut on the outside.

                                  Chess cake is also something I grew up with in the South. It's sort of like a cake, although we generally cut it into squares and ate it like brownies. I found the recipe the other day and kept thinking that I need to make that for Christmas.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Suzy Q
                                    dinner belle Nov 29, 2007 02:23 PM

                                    Don't forget red velvet cake and Coca-Cola cake.

                                    1. re: dinner belle
                                      alkapal Dec 6, 2007 07:25 AM

                                      My sister's red velvet cake used a white frosting -- not cream cheese frosting. I think that the non-cream cheese frosting is authentic....

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        m
                                        MakingSense Dec 6, 2007 08:42 AM

                                        There are several thread on CH about "gravy" icing for RVC. It's the original, made with a blond roux and milk, very economical for the Depression and wartime, but still delicious.
                                        Cream cheese icings didn't become ubiquitous until they began to be promoted in the commercials on the Kraft Television Theater.
                                        RVC didn't become widely known outside the South until the movie Steel Magnolias made it popular in the late 80s and published recipes used the then-common cream cheese icing rather than the original.

                                        1. re: MakingSense
                                          amy_rc Jan 7, 2008 06:33 PM

                                          My mother's Red Velvet Cake also uses a white frosting, not that too thick, nasty cream cheese. She calls it Whipped Frosting. It is light and fluffy and yummy good. It is kind of pretty, too.
                                          3T flour 1C Milk
                                          1C Crisco 1C Sugar
                                          1t Vanilla
                                          Combine flour and milk in a sauce pan. Heat over low until mixture becomes custard-like (4-5 min). Cover and cool. Cream sugar and shortning. Stir in Vanilla. Combine w/ custard and beat well.

                                  2. carolinadawg Nov 28, 2007 03:51 PM

                                    This was posted on another thread by "cake ladies", regarding a North Carolina specialty called a "Pig Pickin' Cake":

                                    Pig Pickin' Cake: Yellow cake flavored with mandarin oranges and layered with frosting made from whipped topping (Cool Whip), pecans and vanilla pudding. Three or four layers. Served cold from the refrigerator. At least that's how they do it in my part of SE N.C. A sweet, cool ending to ENC BBQ.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: carolinadawg
                                      m
                                      MakingSense Nov 28, 2007 08:14 PM

                                      Pig Pickin' Cake has surely been around longer than CoolWhip which really only came out in the 70s. It was expensive then and not that widely available. Only the tiny tubs, used as a replacement for whipped cream on desserts but not yet as an ingredient in everything.
                                      How did cooks make Pig Pickin' Cake before CoolWhip? Does anybody have an old church or regional cookbook or their grandmother's recipe?

                                      1. re: MakingSense
                                        h
                                        HollyDolly Nov 29, 2007 10:28 AM

                                        Before Cool Whip women used heavy cream,also known as whipping cream.Or if that was not available,they used a can of evaporated milk which had been placed in the freezer or some place really cold in the refrigerator. Borden's should have a recipe for whipped cream made with evaporated milk.This can be sweetend.
                                        In the 1860s and such women beat up cream for strawberry shortcake and other things.Not sure when Gail Borden invented evaporated milk.
                                        I think it was either shortly before or after he left Texas. Two towns in fact bear his name. Gail in the panhandle and Borden in Fayette County near San Antonio.
                                        Also,the town of Post,Tx was founded by C.W.Post,the cereal king.
                                        www.texasescapes.com has information on these towns if interested,and Post,Tx has a website about the town.

                                        1. re: HollyDolly
                                          m
                                          MakingSense Nov 29, 2007 10:48 AM

                                          I remember my husband's grandmother telling me that they used the filling from chiffon pies as fillings for cakes like these. Then how happy they all were when Dream Whip was invented, and then Cool Whip, because they no longer had to make their own chiffon pie filling.
                                          Chiffon pie filling was stabilized whipped cream - made by adding gelatin to keep it from deflating after the fruit was added and allowing to to keep and also not sink into the cake layers. It's the same as using Dr. Oetker's Whip-it.
                                          Now everybody just uses CoolWhip. So I guess if people want to make Pig Pickin' Cake and really hate CoolWhip they can use stabilized whipped cream. Regular whipped cream would collapse.

                                          1. re: HollyDolly
                                            p
                                            Pampatz Nov 29, 2007 12:18 PM

                                            My mother would used chilled evaporated milk whipped with lime jello. There was a graham cracker crust and cracker crumbs on top. She called it Lime Fluff. Haven't had it in years, but it was very light and tasty, if I recall correctly. This was the late 50's or early 60's.

                                            1. re: Pampatz
                                              dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 01:10 PM

                                              Lots of these homey recipes make the rounds. Remember that stuff called Heaven, with cottage cheese and mandarin oranges and Jell-O?

                                              Wait, way OT.

                                              1. re: Pampatz
                                                alkapal Dec 6, 2007 07:27 AM

                                                that pie was ubiquitous at the pot lucks in the '70s i attended at my parent's-owned RV park when all the northern visitors were down to south florida for the winter.

                                                1. re: Pampatz
                                                  m
                                                  MakingSense Dec 6, 2007 08:32 AM

                                                  There are many recipes that can be traced back to food company marketing. This may have come from Pet milk or Jello as an easy way to make a chiffon pie which was very popular in that era ( WWII to 60s) made with eggs and sugar or whipped cream stabilized with gelatin, usually involving some cooking. They were the forerunners of Dream Whip and Cool Whip.

                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                    toodie jane Aug 16, 2009 02:23 PM

                                                    my mom made a to-die-for Lemon (chiffon) Pie made with Jello Lemon Pudding and Pie Filling. She made the cooked pie filling using the egg yolks and plenty of Meyer lemon juice and zest for pucker power, and whipped the whites and also some heavy cream, then folded these two into the cooled filling. Put into a blind baked shell and chilled, topped with addtional whipped cream.

                                                    It was THE request for birthday dinners. No cake for us!

                                                    1. re: toodie jane
                                                      rworange Aug 16, 2009 03:48 PM

                                                      Sounds like a great thing to bring to the SF Chowhound picnic ... hint, hint.

                                                2. re: HollyDolly
                                                  dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 01:09 PM

                                                  I have to laugh. The only time I use Cool Whip, it's to make my daughter's Dirt Cake. Otherwise, it's homemade whipped cream all the way! (Does Cool Whip have any real ingredients?)

                                            2. c
                                              chowmel Nov 28, 2007 05:40 PM

                                              Jersey Devil Cake

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: chowmel
                                                Moonpie Nov 28, 2007 06:53 PM

                                                I recall my grandmother making the Lady Baltimore cake with the Lord Baltimore filling. She was originally from Virginia, but lived in SC for 50+ years.

                                                Most of the cakes I think of as being southern, probably are not in their original form---such as a whipping cream pound cake (yummmmmmm), earthquake and dump cakes. I tend to think of pies as more regional than cakes, so have found this to be an interesting topic.

                                                1. re: Moonpie
                                                  h
                                                  HollyDolly Nov 29, 2007 10:46 AM

                                                  I have seen both Lady Baltimore and Lord Baltimore cakes in my mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.Also, there is a Lincoln cake and a Harrison Cake,both named for presidents.Another is Washington Pie.According to the recipe,it isn't a pie,but rather a cake resembling Boston Cream Pie.
                                                  However the Washington Pie has instead on top merguine.The recipe is in A Thousand Ways to Please A Husband,by Louise Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron.They also wrote, several other books in the Bettina series,like Bettina's Best Desserts,etc.The first book was reissued back in the 1930s.The one I have is from 1917.

                                                  1. re: HollyDolly
                                                    dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 01:11 PM

                                                    I'm steering clear of pie. I will have to file this away for the next book. :-)

                                                2. re: chowmel
                                                  jfood Nov 28, 2007 07:02 PM

                                                  Okeedokee, is this NJ? and if yes, please explain?

                                                  thx

                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                    h
                                                    HollyDolly Nov 29, 2007 10:19 AM

                                                    Yes,this is NJ.Check out the Weird New Jeersy website.
                                                    There was a lady back in the 1700s named Mother Leeds.She had quite a few children. Anyhow after having her 12th or 13th child,she made the statement that the child could go to the devil. ,Anyhow,after her angry outburst,the infant started to change it's shape and turned into a monster and escaped up the chimmeny.The Jersey Devil I think haunts mainly the Pine Barrens area of NJ.
                                                    Never heard of a cake named after it.

                                                3. k
                                                  kindofabigdeal Nov 28, 2007 09:12 PM

                                                  How about Dr. Pepper cake? I'm pretty sure this is a Texas thing.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: kindofabigdeal
                                                    maria lorraine Nov 28, 2007 09:44 PM

                                                    Or, 7-Up cake.

                                                    1. re: maria lorraine
                                                      AmyH Nov 29, 2007 08:21 AM

                                                      Or Coca-Cola cake in South Carolina and Georgia.

                                                    2. re: kindofabigdeal
                                                      h
                                                      HollyDolly Nov 29, 2007 10:38 AM

                                                      Yes,you can find,Dr.Pepper,7-Up and Coca-Cola cakes in Texas.
                                                      Though I really have not seen many Coca-Cola cakes.At the Walmart here in Schertz,I have seen Big Red,7-Up ,Dr.Pepper and Orange Crush cakes.
                                                      I have somewhere an old magazine from the 1920s or 30s, that has an ad for Hires Rootbeer.Hires gives several recipes including one for a rootbeer cake.
                                                      So using soda in a cakebatter isn't new.They go back almost 80 years.
                                                      I have a little book by Ida Bailey Allen which she wrote for Coca-Cola,in which she gives recipes for Coke Punch and even Coke Jello.There are suggestions for parties,
                                                      proper attire,etc.I enjoy reading it.Sometimes I wish we could go back in time
                                                      when things were simpler.

                                                      1. re: HollyDolly
                                                        Honey Bee Nov 29, 2007 11:54 AM

                                                        Ha ha. My sister brough Coke Jell-o Salad to Thanksgiving this year (black cherry jello made with coke, nuts, marachino cherries, and pineapple). Man, she loves the stuff but I found it so sweet that it practically rotted my teeth out on the spot.

                                                    3. ktmoomau Nov 29, 2007 08:11 AM

                                                      And Baltimore also has a peach cake that it is rather famous for, not the same as a Georgia peach cake of course!

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: ktmoomau
                                                        m
                                                        MakingSense Nov 29, 2007 08:28 AM

                                                        What's the difference? I tried several Baltimore Peach Cake recipes this summer and they all seemed to be similar to clafoutis.
                                                        What's Georgia Peach Cake like? Are there other Southern Peach Cakes?

                                                        1. re: MakingSense
                                                          dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                          While Georgia's famous for peaches, I'm not sure there's a Georgia Peach Cake that's really a regional thing as much as it is what to do with some peaches. Quite a few bakeries in Baltimore make a peach cake, and I absolutely do think of it as a local thing.

                                                          And the Lady Baltimore Cake (North Carolina or South, as someone here suggests) has nothing to do with Baltimore. Lady Baltimore's not even her name; historians think it refers to Anne Arundel, where Annapolis is.

                                                      2. toodie jane Nov 29, 2007 10:41 AM

                                                        All the strawberry growing regions of California hold Strawberry Festivals to champion their produce. They usually serve "strawberry shortcake" as fund-raisers.

                                                        I would love to know if other commercial strawberry growing areas of the country do this, and whether any area can "claim" it as their own invention. Out here, ghastly commercial preservative-laden "cakes" (sort of like twinkie cake) are used at the festivals, but at home, most people make a sweet and buttery quickbread biscuit to serve as the holder for the strawberries. Served with mounds of whipped cream as garnish.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: toodie jane
                                                          dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 01:14 PM

                                                          Yeah, strawberry shortcake is, like many other cakes (carrot, white, coconut, chocolate, pineapple upside-down, et al.), a non-regional cake. It's amazing how common it is as a wedding cake, especially for people doing it themselves or having a relative bake the wedding cake.

                                                          I'm not a fan of most cakes with fruit. It's a mental block, for sure. I figure if I'm going to eat sugar and flour, I'm not going to put anything truly healthy in it.

                                                          1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                            m
                                                            MakingSense Nov 29, 2007 08:09 PM

                                                            Hmmm, depending on how far back you're talking about, coconut and pineapple are likely to be regional, probably Southern and around port cities like New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston and Virgina Tidewater - that would have dealt with the Caribbean. That changed when canned pineapple and coconut became available.
                                                            Also chocolate wasn't a commonly used flavoring in early American cakes or anything else as it was an expensive import. Not until Hersey's cocoa became available did it begin showing up in home baked goods.

                                                            1. re: MakingSense
                                                              dogfaceboy Nov 30, 2007 03:38 AM

                                                              But you're assuming regional has to be ancient or even old. Mert's Cakes just got permission to make an official Churchill Downs cake. Now there's a Kentucky Derby cake, which is surely regional, even though it was only last year.

                                                              Yes, pineapple upside-down cake is a traditional southern cake. I guess because it's found all over the south, it's less local than I'd like. But I will certainly include those more widespread cakes (like the Red Velvet and the soda cakes—the former is sold in nearly every bakery I know, and the latter is made by many homemakers).

                                                              Thanks for your wisdom!

                                                              1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                m
                                                                MakingSense Nov 30, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                                I agree that regional cakes don't have to be "ancient or even old," but as part of your initial quest to "match some cakes with regions," you might consider WHY they are associated with a region of their origin.
                                                                In your example of the pineapple up-side-down cake, it probably started out in port areas before spreading inland after canned pineapple became available. There's a history for most cakes even if, as you point out, "some people don't know anything about them" other than that they taste good. This would be the same even for a cake that started from a food company recipe that became popular nationwide at the same time. This is particularly true now that people move around the country, get their recipes from the internet, TV or the media.
                                                                We've lost regional traditions in many cases unless they're bakery cakes, seasonal cakes, or truly local specialties. The more widely a cake spreads from its regional roots, the less people know or care about it.

                                                                Within a few years, many people are likely to think that Mert's Churchill Downs Cake is as old a tradition as Derby Pie when it is only a recent introduction. There will likely be "authentic" recipes for it on the internet and the media with several others claiming to have been the originators of the "old family recipe" which had been handed down from their grandmother. This happened with the trademarked Derby Pie of which there are untold versions. Ch. Downs Cake will be bastardized, even showing up on the Food Network so it can be served for Derby Day Parties with tequila Mint Juleps make by the pitcher.

                                                                1. re: MakingSense
                                                                  dogfaceboy Nov 30, 2007 02:05 PM

                                                                  Thanks, yes, I am, of course, interested in the origins of these regional favorites. As I said, I'm including some of those cakes that are in a wider region. And I have a lot of information already about some of these cakes' histories.

                                                                  As you can see from this thread, it's difficult to exhaust the topic. And if I were writing an entire book on regional cakes, I could probably get a good 300 pages out of it.

                                                                  I am impressed with all the knowledge and information here. Thanks for all of your help.

                                                                  1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                    ktmoomau Dec 1, 2007 08:19 AM

                                                                    Pinneapple is the sign for hospitality in the south, which is probably why so many people think the pinneapple upside down cake originated in the south. And also why you see pineapple doorknockers, doormats, lights and etc. Southerners saved these expensive luxuries for when they had guests so they could present their guests with the very best, which is now why it is a sign for hospitality. (Thank you past job for the Historical Annapolis Society for imparting a wealth of knowledge I may or may not ever use) But they were probably imported more quickly and lest costsly to the states that had large ports in the south which then sent stuff through the country at that time so that is probably why it didn't spread further or across the pond so until canned pineapple.

                                                            2. re: dogfaceboy
                                                              k
                                                              kindofabigdeal Nov 30, 2007 03:38 AM

                                                              I totally agree about the fruit. I eat and love many fruit, but when it comes to dessert, it just seems less satisfying. I can't eat fruit flavored Ice creams, I feel like I'm missing out on something. There are some exceptions i can make. Good Cobbler, Strawberry shortcake and pineapple upside-down cake. Even with these favorites I'd probably prefer a scoop of chocolate ice cream.

                                                              1. re: kindofabigdeal
                                                                dogfaceboy Nov 30, 2007 07:55 AM

                                                                Well, you might change your mind for Avocado ice cream.

                                                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/dogfaceb...

                                                                (Ignore the Splenda/Xylitol sweetening and use sugar, if you're offended. I have to experiment with desserts for my diabetic father and my own migraine responses to sugar.

                                                                )

                                                                Mmmm...hot cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Look, I'm not stupid. I ain't gonna turn down something sweet and yummy, even if it has canned cherries on the top. But it's not gonna be my first choice.

                                                                1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                  k
                                                                  kindofabigdeal Nov 30, 2007 10:56 AM

                                                                  Well, avacado barely counts as a fruit. strangely, I had a pie made with green tomatoes recently. It's kinda like the best apple pie.

                                                          2. vvvindaloo Nov 29, 2007 01:45 PM

                                                            The first thing that comes to mind for this NYer is the classic NY Cheesecake, made with cream cheese and a graham cracker crust.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                              dogfaceboy Nov 29, 2007 03:47 PM

                                                              Yes, the New York cheesecake is certainly a regional cake that has made it big. But I'm going to go out on a limb with some controversy.

                                                              Cheesecake is a misnomer. It's pie. It's cream cheese pie. It has a crust and a filling. It's not made with high quantities of flour (shouldn't have any, IMO); it's not frosted.

                                                              It ain't cake.

                                                              1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                vvvindaloo Nov 29, 2007 06:19 PM

                                                                well, i don't know if you can really call it a "filling"- usually, cheesecake crust is only a base on the bottom, no sides.

                                                                1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                                  dogfaceboy Nov 30, 2007 03:32 AM

                                                                  Ahh, but it is a filling, even if it doesn't have sides. What you do between cakes is fill, even though there's nothing in the sides to contain the filling. But in a cheesecake, there's no cake; there's only filling and crust, and the crust isn't bready enough to call cake.

                                                                  1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                    vvvindaloo Nov 30, 2007 10:03 AM

                                                                    that's right, dogfaceboy- there's no cake in cheesecake. and yet, that's what we call it. we're a quirky lot here in the Northeast- we also enjoy Black and White cookies that are not cookies at all- they're made with cake.

                                                                    1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                                      dogfaceboy Nov 30, 2007 02:08 PM

                                                                      I'm in the Northeast too, and I don't think we're nearly as quirky as the southerners. Are all Black & Whites made with cake? We have them in our bakeries, too, and I've enjoyed them since I was a little girl. But they don't taste or feel any more cake-y than a Berger's cookie, which, though it's thick and soft, is really cookie.

                                                                      That gigantic half-black, half-white iced circle has always seemed to be a cookie.

                                                                      I'll have to look more into that. Thanks for the lead.

                                                                      1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                        vvvindaloo Nov 30, 2007 06:34 PM

                                                                        another NE oddity: Boston Cream Pie is actually a cake.

                                                                2. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                  toodie jane Nov 29, 2007 07:19 PM

                                                                  I have to agree that this is not a true cake. Cream Cheese Pie does descibe it rather well.

                                                                  I think most of us would agree that a cake would be comprised of flour, sugar, flavorings, fat and/or eggs, and usually a chemical leavener, and is baked in an oven.

                                                                  1. re: toodie jane
                                                                    dogfaceboy Nov 30, 2007 03:34 AM

                                                                    My book is actually called Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt; that should clear up any confusion about what kind of cake. No matzoh or soap goes in my cake hole. ;-)

                                                              2. k
                                                                kindofabigdeal Nov 30, 2007 03:34 AM

                                                                A southern specialty that's gone national... Pineapple upside-down cake.

                                                                1. s
                                                                  soupkitten Nov 30, 2007 08:00 AM

                                                                  dogfaceboy: glancing at my copy of "a gracious plenty: recipes and recollections from the american south" by john t. edge and the center for the study of southern culture at the university of mississippi-- book isbn:0-399-14534-6

                                                                  cake recipes include: an applesauce cake, a peanut cake with molasses, a blueberry cake from charleston, a fresh orange cake, lady baltimore, lane cake, mississippi mud cake, 1-2-3-4 cake, king's cake, sponge cake, angel food cake, devil's food cake, caramel cake, red velvet cake, coconut cream cake, coke cake, dr pepper chocolate cake, bourbon-chocolate tipsy cake, pineapple upside-down cake, various pound cakes, eudora welty's white fruitcake, scripture cake, and something called crunch cake.

                                                                  what fun!

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: soupkitten
                                                                    dogfaceboy Nov 30, 2007 09:48 AM

                                                                    You know, it IS fun! What could be more fun than cake? (Naked cake? No—wait—naked cake with BEER!)

                                                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                                                      a
                                                                      Annieskitchen Dec 31, 2007 06:35 AM

                                                                      Soupkitten: I am desperately looking for a recipe for a peanut cake that my son needs to make to take to his history class this Wednesday. Of course he left all Information about it at school. Would you be willing and able to share this recipe with a frustrated teen's mother! Thanks!
                                                                      Annie

                                                                      1. re: Annieskitchen
                                                                        s
                                                                        soupkitten Dec 31, 2007 07:43 AM

                                                                        Annie--
                                                                        what a nightmare, of course i will post the recipe for you-- the book's at home, & i will post it this evening when i get home from work & put up the link to the home cooking page.

                                                                        1. re: soupkitten
                                                                          a
                                                                          Annieskitchen Dec 31, 2007 09:07 AM

                                                                          soupkitten,
                                                                          I can't thank you enough! I have never heard of peanut cake and this site was the only reference I could find. I have never been on here before and needless to say, what a great first time experience! You not only have saved his history grade but MAY also have saved him from hanging by his toes tonight! Much gratitude and best regards,
                                                                          Annie

                                                                          1. re: Annieskitchen
                                                                            s
                                                                            soupkitten Dec 31, 2007 09:25 AM

                                                                            eek no pressure on me! ;)
                                                                            i do hope it is the type of recipe you & son need, i'll be sure to paraphrase any history-related blurb accompanying the recipe. sounds like a cool class that i'd like to have taken in high school btw!

                                                                            1. re: soupkitten
                                                                              s
                                                                              soupkitten Dec 31, 2007 08:35 PM

                                                                              here's the recipe:
                                                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474929
                                                                              not much accompanying history, hope the recipe works!!

                                                                              1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                s
                                                                                soupkitten Jan 1, 2008 06:20 AM

                                                                                oops i sent wrong link:
                                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474931

                                                                      2. re: soupkitten
                                                                        bubblet4me Jan 20, 2008 08:22 PM

                                                                        1-2-3-4 Cake! yes, we had that when I was a little kid in the Mid-West. I don't think it is distinctly Southern since I am the first of my family to head to Dixie though.

                                                                      3. coney with everything Nov 30, 2007 08:27 AM

                                                                        Detroit: Sanders bumpy cake!

                                                                        1. toodie jane Nov 30, 2007 06:10 PM

                                                                          geez, it begs the question of originality. How many of these "American regional cakes" came from across the pond? I suspect most; some were probably being developed simultaneously by adventurous bakers all across the globe as the trading empires expanded during the 1800's.

                                                                          And I agree, this is a FABulous discussion.

                                                                          But I can't agree about the beer....:)

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: toodie jane
                                                                            m
                                                                            MakingSense Nov 30, 2007 07:02 PM

                                                                            It makes sense that the baking styles would be based on the traditions that immigrants brought with them to America. In the Southern Colonies, British traditions, except for the Gulf Coast where there were French, Spanish influence and tropical influences. Blacks, free and slaves, from Africa and the Caribbean, brought different foodways. The Germans settled in Pennsylvania, the Mid-West and the Great Plains. The Northeast were British colonies with Dutch in New York but later waves of Italian, Jewish and other ethnic groups had huge impact because they stayed in the cities rather than spreading out. Each had distinct styles of baking and used different product which they had to change and adapt to what was available in the New World. The agrarian South had a very different style than the industrial urban North. Recipes stayed regional pretty much until WWII.

                                                                          2. q
                                                                            Querencia Nov 30, 2007 08:48 PM

                                                                            Go to thrift shops and yard sales seeking out those cookbooks that groups put together, have bound on a spiral, and sell as a fund-raiser. Skip the books put out by employees of a workplace as their regional and ethnic focus is more scattered. The most regional will be churches and clubs, especially if you can find a church that's ethnicity-centered (eg "Women's Club of the Danube Swabian Society of Chicago"; "Narodopisny Krousek, Ustredny Moravskych Spolku" and, obviously, regional (Kentucky, Nantucket Island, Cajun Country). Never mind the passing fads of trendiness---skip the Sock It To Me Cake and the Harvey Wallbanger Cake and everything with Dream Whip and go for the stuff that sounds as if Great-Grandma made it. You will begin to see patterns (Slavic baking is regional to Chicago, Appalachian states bake an old spiced layer cake with a dried-apple filling, New England still bakes by Colonial recipes). What an interesting project you have begun!

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Querencia
                                                                              dogfaceboy Dec 4, 2007 08:55 AM

                                                                              I have a few of those books, but thrift shops and yard sales are likely to keep me regional to my own region, which is why posting here was such a good idea. I have many leads I didn't have before, and I can research the histories of some of these cakes.

                                                                              It IS an interesting project, and I hate to apologize for the breadth of it already, but it's going to be tough to be thorough when this is only a small part of the book. It's not, in any way, an encyclopedia of cake.

                                                                              1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                                toodie jane Dec 5, 2007 05:18 PM

                                                                                another source of American cakes are the very early (pre-WWII) Boston Cooking School Cookbooks. Although they give no background, just recipes. The names may help, though.

                                                                                1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  soupkitten Dec 6, 2007 09:09 AM

                                                                                  "baking in america" by greg patent is interesting from a historian's point of view, and a lot of the recipes are great too. patent explains how american baking developed and went through distinct periods with the introduction of new ingredients, like baking soda, and equipment, like electric egg beaters, and has organized his book by historical period: pound cakes, sponge cakes, chiffon cakes, etc. it's really interesting & you might want to check it out for your research.

                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                    dogfaceboy Jan 2, 2008 06:57 AM

                                                                                    Thank you. I definitely will do that.

                                                                              2. q
                                                                                Querencia Nov 30, 2007 09:10 PM

                                                                                What a fascinating thread---I may never get to bed tonight. 1) I am sitting here consulting my 1858 housekeeping book "Inquire Within". It lists about twenty recipes for cake, and not a chocolate cake among them. Mostly spice cakes, fruit cakes, and sponge cakes. 2) Two good resources are a) James Beard, "James Beard's American Cookery" and Root & DeRochemont, "Eating in America: A History"---I don't see how cooking history and cooking regionality can be separated. 3) If you can possibly get to Chicago the last weekend in July, the Newberry Library has a big famous annual sale of 100,000 donated books which always include hundreds of cookbooks, all marked very cheap---a good place to stock up on some particular cooking topic.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Querencia
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  MakingSense Dec 1, 2007 08:45 AM

                                                                                  The old cookbooks destroy so many of our assumptions, don't they? Even the 1966 update of The Picayune Creole Cookbook doesn't have a recipe for Pecan Pie. It has one recipe for a chocolate cake that seems almost grudging because chocolate just wasn't common in the the hot, humid Deep South with no air conditioning, and wasn't in most of the US as it was an expensive import, except for Hershey's cocoa. Pre-1950s Joy of Cooking editions give few chocolate recipes, although now we take it for granted. The most common icing on CH and elsewhere uses cream cheese but that was almost never used until Kraft promoted it heavily in its advertising starting in the 70s.
                                                                                  Most of my cookbook purchases in the past several years have been from used bookstores and they have been, like yours, what keep me up late at night. I agree that it's hard to separate food history from regionality. I'm very happy to see the current interest in local, seasonal foods. This is a thought provoking topic, isn't it?

                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                    Suzy Q Dec 2, 2007 04:52 AM

                                                                                    Re: the old recipe books, I've always found that some of the most "authentic" recipes from the period are in church cookbooks. My mom has a collection dating back to the '50's and I love perusing them.

                                                                                    1. re: Suzy Q
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      MakingSense Dec 2, 2007 10:01 AM

                                                                                      Because those were the recipes people actually used. Like those in Joy of Cooking. Makes you wonder how many of today's books will still be around in a few years, huh?
                                                                                      There was a recent interview with a publisher citing the numbers on how few cookbooks are published now as opposed to a few years ago. And how the ones now are by "celebrities," those whose names are already known because they are successful on the Food Network or in other ways. What does Jessica Seinfeld know about food? But they could book her on every TV show that they wanted and sell her recipe book.

                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                        dogfaceboy Dec 4, 2007 09:05 AM

                                                                                        The celebrity-written books are wonderful and luxurious. But our Joy of Cooking and our Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (new in 1976) are tattered and falling apart because A.) they have everything in them, and B.) you can make the recipes without having studied at the CIA.

                                                                                        I wouldn't waste my money on cookbooks that are filled with recipes for walnut pear soup and salmon mousse in ice cream cones. It's glamorous, yes, but it's not what real people eat.

                                                                                        I used to judge my dictionaries by whether it has "irregardless." If that non-word had an entry—even if the entry said "not a real word"—I didn't get that publisher's dictionary. (It's getting harder to find one without that entry.)

                                                                                        I also judge my cookbooks by whether there's a recipe for pork roasts and pie crusts. I have a book called 500 Low-Carb Recipes, by Dana Carpenter, and it's one of my all-time favorites. I can easily make chicken skillet Florentine or tequila lime grilled shrimp—foods that taste incredible but don't require six days of prep and weird ingredients.

                                                                                        Not that those books don't have a place.

                                                                                        Ahem. More off-topic.

                                                                                2. r
                                                                                  rweater Dec 6, 2007 07:14 AM

                                                                                  The chocolate Bumpy cake is popular in MIchigan, the Detroit area in particular. The most well-known one comes from Sanders Candy (http://www.sanderscandy.com/). It's basically a chocolate cake with ridges of buttercream that form "bumps" when covered with fudge frosting.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: rweater
                                                                                    dogfaceboy Dec 6, 2007 06:30 PM

                                                                                    This is the cake I want to eat right now. Yes, I've heard of the Sanders Bumpy Cake from Detroit.

                                                                                  2. alkapal Dec 6, 2007 07:32 AM

                                                                                    Sour cream pound cake in the southeast. I grew up in Florida with them, and other fabulous pound cakes. Can we rightfully claim the pound cake, southern friends?

                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                                      toodie jane Dec 6, 2007 10:07 AM

                                                                                      "Pound cakes" came from Europe, I believe. But a sour cream pound cake, would you be sharin' that, now?

                                                                                      1. re: toodie jane
                                                                                        alkapal Dec 7, 2007 06:14 AM

                                                                                        i would indeed, toodie jane, lassie! but i first have to dig up the recipe from a slumbering (and likely uncooperative) computer with a dead monitor. fear not, however, i shall get it to ya! 'twas my dear Aunt Mary's Pound Cake, and ne'er a finer crumb ha'e ya seen.

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                          alkapal Jan 15, 2008 12:50 PM

                                                                                          toodie jane, alkapal is good for her word:

                                                                                          Aunt Mary's Sour Cream Pound Cake
                                                                                          Family Recipe from the Old South

                                                                                          (my mom (Georgia) and her mother (Ara Menta) and siblings grew up on a farm in the depression in the florida panhandle, near the alabama border, in a town called Marianna. Aunt Mary, my mom, and a couple of other siblings eventually migrated south to Fort Myers, Florida, on the gulf coast -- a place less "southern", ironically, and more cosmopolitan (relatively). one brother, Max, went to work for pan-american airlines in miami. my mom is one of 11 children, 10 of whom lived to be adults. my mom, the youngest of all, is soon to be 86 on Feb. 22!)

                                                                                          Ingredients

                                                                                          ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
                                                                                          3 C flour
                                                                                          3 C sugar
                                                                                          6 eggs (room temperature)
                                                                                          ½ pint Breakstone’s sour cream (room temp.)
                                                                                          1/4 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                          1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                          1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                          1 teaspoon almond extract (if desired)
                                                                                          ½ teaspoon mace or 2 teaspoons lemon extract

                                                                                          Cream sugar and butter together. Alternate adding 2 eggs with the dry ingredients mixture (flour, soda, salt) until all 6 eggs blended in. (You may whip eggs before adding into mixture. Mom says it’s not worth the effort.) Blend in sour cream and extracts.

                                                                                          Pour mixture into greased (Crisco shortening and not oil) and floured tube pan and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for approximately 1 ½ hours.

                                                                                          alkapal's variation:

                                                                                          Use cake flour, rather than all-purpose flour.
                                                                                          Substitute approximately 3-5 Tablespoons flour with Hershey’s cocoa.
                                                                                          Add spices as desired:
                                                                                          ½ teaspoon each of Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves (ground), Nutmeg,
                                                                                          1 Tablespoon Cardamon.

                                                                                          Note: Do not flour pan after greasing. Check cake at 1 hour 20 minutes with clean broom straw. If clean, cake is done. Once cooled, add Frangelico Hazelnut liqueur in frequent doses to crack in top of cake. Seal cake in aluminum foil. Add more Frangelico the next day and so forth. Cake is best after about 4 days to a week. Enjoy!

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                            BamiaWruz Apr 9, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                                                            I made this recipe because I had lots of sourcream on hand that was going to expire. Used low fat organic sour cream and did the cake flour thing, it was just vanilla and I glazed it with a simple lemony sugar glaze, it is dense but even, and very nice!! I gotta say it really poofed up, had to chop some off to keep it standing before flipping out of mold but it is gorgeous esp. since I made it in a tulip mould.

                                                                                            1. re: BamiaWruz
                                                                                              alkapal Jun 6, 2009 06:50 AM

                                                                                              hey bamiwruz! i just saw this because i was going to link the recipe for another hound who bought too much sour cream.

                                                                                              i'm so happy you liked it! sometimes it'll poof up, but then fall a bit. i'll bet the tulip mold made it really pretty, too. i wonder what the capacity is.... do you think it is smaller than a regular tube pan, for example?

                                                                                      2. re: alkapal
                                                                                        dogfaceboy Dec 6, 2007 06:38 PM

                                                                                        Sorry, you can't! The pound cake was pretty much the first true cake. Amelia Simmons had a recipe for one in her 1796 cookbook, which had the longest title in the world. Here is a teensy excerpt from my book. I don't know how to do italics on this board.

                                                                                        The pound cake has been around since at least the 1700s. In 1796, Amelia Simmons (whose by-line includes “an American Orphan,” as if this were her major credential) published this country’s first cookbook*, entitled American Cookery, or The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables and The Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes, from Imperial Plumb to Plain Cake, Adapted to This Country and All Grades of Life. In an edition published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1965, some of the original grammar is cleaned up a bit, though the author of the Foreword assures readers that “[e]nough errors remain to leave the proper flavor of the original. (Also note that the printer’s long or medial s (f) symbol of the time was used where we now use the short s.) Her recipe for Pound Cake calls for:
                                                                                        "One pound sugar, one pound butter, one pound cake flour
                                                                                        one pound or ten eggs, rofe-water one gill, spices to your
                                                                                        tafte; watch it well, it will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes."

                                                                                        Another recipe, which she calls, “Another called Pound Cake,” says:
                                                                                        "Work three quarters of a pound butter, one pound of good sugar,
                                                                                        till very white, whip ten whites to a foam, add the yolks and
                                                                                        beat together, add one spoon rofe-water, 2 of brandy, and put
                                                                                        the whole to one and a quarter of a pound flour, if yet too soft
                                                                                        add flour and bake slowly."
                                                                                        In more than two hundred years, the recipe has not changed much. Though we don’t measure in gills (about five ounces) or use rose water or, alas, brandy, a pound cake is a pound cake.

                                                                                        1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          MakingSense Dec 6, 2007 07:32 PM

                                                                                          That was the first cookbook written by an American for American food in the original 13 colonies up to 1796. It was very limited. It would have excluded the areas of Florida and the Gulf States that Alkapal was talking about, as well as the enormous Louisiana Purchase territory that doubled the size of the US several years later in 1803. It excludes Texas. We shouldn't forget California which had an established and very different cuisine of its own by that time.
                                                                                          The food of those areas is often very different from the British based food of New England where Simmons lived and wrote. She may have known very little of them in an era of limited communications.

                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                            dogfaceboy Dec 19, 2007 06:25 AM

                                                                                            It wasn't that limited, actually. I can't really go into the way news traveled, but even without aid of telegraph and telephone, even without the railroad, recipes traveled from town to town, winding up far from their origins. When America expanded, the span of news expanded, too.

                                                                                            1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                                              m
                                                                                              MakingSense Dec 19, 2007 09:20 AM

                                                                                              I 'm very familiar with the way news and recipes traveled. Cookbooks however tended to reflect their regional foodways based on what was available. In the Gulf Coast, for instance, there were no walnuts, apples or maple syrup, so you wouldn't have found recipes for dishes including those. New England had no pecans, cane syrup, fewer tropical fruits and citrus, and lacked the seafood from the Gulf. Each area might have heard news of those things but without the products, it couldn't affect their cooking. There was little Spanish influence in New England and that was very heavy in California, Texas and some areas of the Gulf. Immigration patterns influenced what recipes were used where, regardless of the news. Something might have been "fashionable" but foods took root in society slowly.

                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                                dogfaceboy Jan 2, 2008 06:05 AM

                                                                                                I think we've gotten far afield of the point, which was, simply, that the pound cake is unlikely to have originated in Florida! The sour cream pound cake, maybe, but definitely not the pound cake, which was around before there was a Florida. I don't believe there was anything special about flour, sugar, and butter at that time that the recipe for pound cake could not have traveled to Florida. I'm not arguing for tropical fruits in Connecticut.

                                                                                                1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                  MakingSense Jan 4, 2008 12:59 PM

                                                                                                  The US origin of the cake commonly referred to as "pound cake" is immaterial as there are many similar cakes of European origin.
                                                                                                  The point I've been trying to make is that reliance on Simmons' 1796 New-England-centric cookbook may well give a skewed version of "American" food. She would have had little access to broad information from many well-established areas of the continent that we would consider Jeffersonian America.
                                                                                                  As for pound cake traveling TO Florida, we should remember that St. Augustine was founded in 1565. That is 55 years before the Mayflower even landed in 1620.
                                                                                                  And, yes, there was something very special about sugar at the time that Simmons wrote her book in 1796. Etienne de Bore developed the process for granulating sugar in 1795 in Louisiana, so it would not have been commonly available in New England, although it was being used in the Gulf States.
                                                                                                  I personally think it's unlikely that cakes using flour, including pound cakes, became common in the Deep South until the arrival of the British in the Georgia Colonies and the French and Germans in Louisiana in the early 1700s. The colonists would have brought their recipes, as well as imported flour and other staples, with them from their homelands. That is probably more likely than that the recipes would have migrated down from New England.

                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                                    dogfaceboy Jan 7, 2008 12:02 PM

                                                                                                    The poster asked if Floridians, or Southerners, could claim the pound cake as their own invention. My answer is no. Your answer is no. Why are you arguing about it? I'm not relying on the Simmons cookbook for anything but levity and Americana and written record. You seem to be relying on my relying on it, though!

                                                                                                    Good thing. You're a wealth of knowledge. I hope you're doing something grand with it. (I mean besides showing it off on Chowhound!)

                                                                                      3. k
                                                                                        kkak97 Dec 20, 2007 07:00 PM

                                                                                        When I lived in Chicago, I always heard and frequently had Queen Elizabeth
                                                                                        Cake, it was a white cake with dates, walnuts, and coconut. There was also a chocolate version called a Queen Nefertiti Cake.

                                                                                        In St. Louis, as most have posted, the gooey butter cake rules.

                                                                                        In Texas, the Italian cream cake is everywhere, as is the true love of my life, Tres Leche.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: kkak97
                                                                                          LaLa Jan 1, 2008 06:38 AM

                                                                                          In Appalachian Ky the most well known prized cake is stack cake.

                                                                                          1. re: LaLa
                                                                                            dogfaceboy Jan 3, 2008 07:38 AM

                                                                                            This is the dried apple stack cake, yes?

                                                                                        2. Non Cognomina Jan 3, 2008 10:51 PM

                                                                                          Does the Bundt Cake have a region? I can't seem to stay two days in the upper Midwest US without having one show up.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Non Cognomina
                                                                                            dogfaceboy Jan 7, 2008 12:09 PM

                                                                                            Well, Bundt is a trademarked pan, and the company is from Minneapolis, which may explain why these cakes are more common there.

                                                                                            I don't trust Wikipedia for everything, but they seem to be repairing their reputation and can sometimes be reliable. Here's a brief thingy on the Bundt cake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundt_cake

                                                                                            1. re: dogfaceboy
                                                                                              s
                                                                                              soupkitten Jan 7, 2008 03:39 PM

                                                                                              uh, i'm from minneapolis, and i make bundt cakes. is there a recovery group for people like me?

                                                                                              you can also put some of your other types of cakes in a bundt pan, particularly pound cakes, of the "regular" and the sour cream variety, and they are successful and smashingly pretty.

                                                                                              p.s. if you can find a stoneware bundt pan they are the shizzle.

                                                                                            2. re: Non Cognomina
                                                                                              k
                                                                                              kkak97 Jan 20, 2008 07:08 AM

                                                                                              We ate Bundt cake in Montana all the time. In the 70's and 80's there was a cake mix specifically for Bundt. I haven't seen it in years!

                                                                                            3. bubblet4me Jan 20, 2008 08:16 PM

                                                                                              Living in the South I have discovered 3 cakes that I had never encountered before:
                                                                                              1) Hummingbird Cake (a spice cake with pecans)
                                                                                              2) Red Velvet Cake (a hint of chocolate and red food coloring to cover the lack of actual chocolate)
                                                                                              3) Coconut Cake (with pineapple cream cheese filling)

                                                                                              When I lived in California I seemed to see Tres Leches Cake all the time. I think that was a cultural influence more than a regional one.

                                                                                              When I was a small child in the Mid-West it was pies, not cakes that were the dessert of choice. Cakes were only served on the most special occasions, weddings, birthdays, Christmas.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: bubblet4me
                                                                                                m
                                                                                                MakingSense Jan 20, 2008 08:52 PM

                                                                                                You would NEVER have found cream cheese in that coconut cake until recently. That is the lazy way to make icing. Original recipes for coconut cakes used boiled icings or 7 minute icings. Cream cheese was rarely used at all in Southern recipes (or most American recipes for that matter) until the 1970s.

                                                                                                Cakes were served on special occasions in the South - Church. So of course that was all the time.

                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                                  bubblet4me Jan 21, 2008 08:41 AM

                                                                                                  It may actually be boiled frosting in there, I have only had this in a small town in Mississippi at church dinners on the lawn type events. (we have family there). I was guessing about the actually item used, I have never made this cake or seen the recipe. But I have eaten it on several occasions and it is really good.

                                                                                                  1. re: bubblet4me
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    MakingSense Jan 21, 2008 10:14 AM

                                                                                                    That's a natural assumption for you to have made since that's the common icing that so many people use today. And it might well have been what it was since that's the common icing that so many people use today.
                                                                                                    Sad because the old traditional icings were so good, but hardly foolproof.
                                                                                                    Cream cheese icing started to become popular after it was the subject of commercials on the old Kraft Television Theater in the 70s - sort of early Food Network. They did commercials using Kraft products in easy-to-do recipes and cream cheese icing was one of the most popular. Before that it was only used for occasional coffee cakes, and came in the 3 oz. blocks. It was even hard to find in Southern groceries.

                                                                                                2. re: bubblet4me
                                                                                                  Naco Jun 6, 2009 10:06 AM

                                                                                                  There are Mexican panaderias all over the South now, and tres leches is ubiquitous in them.

                                                                                                3. Rabbit Apr 10, 2009 09:32 AM

                                                                                                  I don't think anyone's mentioned the whoopie pie. I had never heard of this a cake-dessert-thing until I started spending time in New England. Two disks of chocolate cake filled with a white frosting to make a little sort-of sandwich cake.... "wicked good" as they say in these parts.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Rabbit
                                                                                                    Bob W Aug 10, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                                                                    Whoopie pies are also big in the Pennsylvania Dutch region, along with shoo-fly pie, etc.

                                                                                                    People outside these two areas can just buy some Oreo Cakesters, which are pretty much just little whoopie pies.

                                                                                                  2. limster Apr 10, 2009 01:55 PM

                                                                                                    Kueh lapis is a layered cake spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves, sometimes with pandan, from Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia (along with a ton of butter and eggs). It's baked with a heating element from above (e.g. broiler); one pours each layer, cooks it from above, and then pours another layer, until the desired height is obtained.

                                                                                                    Here's an image of what it looks like: http://www.bengawansolo.com.sg/prod_r...

                                                                                                    1. alkapal Aug 8, 2009 03:01 AM

                                                                                                      "cotton country collection" cookbook by the monroe, louisiana junior charity league has the most awesome cake i've ever eaten (and eaten and eaten....).

                                                                                                      sweet potato surprise cake. http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,186,1...

                                                                                                      here is my commentary from another thread:
                                                                                                      """the cake is addictive! my sister had one while i was housesitting for a weekend, and i ate sliver by sliver until it was practically gone (and it had started out as half of a large 3-layer cake). i made her a brownie pie that is to this day (some 30 years later) known as "apology pie." ;-)."""

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                        MakingSense Aug 8, 2009 02:30 PM

                                                                                                        Oh, no! link didn't work! I really want to see Alkapal's "most awesome cake" ever.
                                                                                                        The new sweet potato crop should start coming in to stores in a couple of months. Gotta try it.

                                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                                          alkapal Aug 9, 2009 05:17 AM

                                                                                                          hey making sense! sorry about that. try this: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,186,1... -- this works for me.

                                                                                                          when i clicked on my **original** link and got the same message as you, i checked the url in the address box, and it trails off with the three dots -- JUST LIKE it appears in my post (you know how -- generally -- chow posts look like they abbreviate the link by not showing the whole address, but do in fact link to the whole address when clicked on). anyhoooooo (phew!).....

                                                                                                          if you still get the "can't find it" message, just type "sweet potato surprise cake" in the search bar on the cooks.com site.

                                                                                                          oh heck, here it is, paraphrased....

                                                                                                          SWEET POTATO SURPRISE CAKE

                                                                                                          1 c. vegetable oil
                                                                                                          2 c. sugar
                                                                                                          4 eggs, separated
                                                                                                          1/4 c. hot water
                                                                                                          2 1/2 c. cake flour, sifted
                                                                                                          1 tbsp. baking powder
                                                                                                          1/4 tsp. salt
                                                                                                          1 tsp. ground cinnamon
                                                                                                          1 tsp. ground nutmeg
                                                                                                          1 1/2 c. grated raw sweet potatoes
                                                                                                          1 c. pecans or walnuts, chopped
                                                                                                          1 tsp. vanilla extract
                                                                                                          Creamy Coconut Frosting
                                                                                                          Pecan halves

                                                                                                          Put the following in an electric mixer bowl, and beat at medium speed until the ingredients just come together well: oil, sugar, egg yolks and water.

                                                                                                          Then, take the dry ingredients that you've already blended together, and add to the wet mixture; blend until moistened, then stir in the sweet potatoes, pecans and vanilla.

                                                                                                          (NOTICE that, in any step, the ingredients aren't mixed, mixed, mixed for any great amount of time. it is done just enough to blend, moisten, whatever. keeps the cake tender.).

                                                                                                          In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Don't overdo them to make them dry. Fold the whipped whites into the batter. Use a large spoon to put the batter into three (yes, 3! -- it's a big cake!) well-greased 9 inch cake pans.

                                                                                                          Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean.
                                                                                                          Now, leaving the cake in the pans, just flip over the pans onto cooling racks, and let them sit there (with the cake inside) for 5 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans, and cool on racks till completely cool.

                                                                                                          Spread the frosting on the layers, and then over the whole cake. Garnish with lightly toasted chopped pecans -- or halves if you want to be fancier.

                                                                                                          CREAMY COCONUT FROSTING:
                                                                                                          1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk
                                                                                                          1 c. sugar
                                                                                                          1/2 c. butter
                                                                                                          3 egg yolks
                                                                                                          1 tsp. vanilla extract
                                                                                                          1 1/2 c. flaked coconut
                                                                                                          Combine all ingredients except coconut in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly over medium heat for about 12 minutes or until thickened like pudding.

                                                                                                          Take off the heat, and stir in the coconut. Frosting must be completely COOL before you frost the cake.

                                                                                                          I'd double the frosting recipe, frankly, 'cause then you can really go wild -- ahem -- be "generous"! ;-)

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                            MakingSense Aug 9, 2009 09:29 AM

                                                                                                            You are a gem! Sorry to make you work so hard, because you posted this in another thread and the link worked just fine! Go figure!
                                                                                                            I can't wait to try this cake. It will probably even work fine even with the old crop sweet potatoes in the stores right now.
                                                                                                            Sweet potatoes, coconut, and pecans!! My faves! How can you miss?

                                                                                                            Thanks bundles!

                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                                              alkapal Oct 12, 2011 01:00 AM

                                                                                                              you are welcome, making sense. i'm craving this cake again! ;-).

                                                                                                              ps…better late than never. LOL. well, i just really wanted to revive this great thread, where it is fun to learn!

                                                                                                      2. Bob W Aug 10, 2009 10:09 AM

                                                                                                        Nice to see this mouthwatering thread come back.

                                                                                                        The same old-time bakeries in Baltimore that have the peach cakes to which I am now addicted also sell a type of cheesecake called smearcase made with cottage cheese. It's delicious. And here's a recipe (and picture!)

                                                                                                        http://coconutlime.blogspot.com/2007/...

                                                                                                        1. lulubelle Sep 23, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                                                                          It's interesting, I don't think that there are any Midwestern cities represented in this thread at all, and the Midwest is home to the Swedes, the Germans and other ethnic groups renowned for their baking abilities. Maybe because they kept making their favorites from home? We always bought Swedish Flop from the Swedish Bakery in Andersonville in Chicago, and my German grandmother baked an assortment of cakes, one with a raw egg filling that I would kill to have the recipe for, food poisoning be damned, but I don't think they were local specialties, just ethnic ones.

                                                                                                          Now, if we were talking about MEAT, I would have a few things to say!

                                                                                                          1. buttertart Sep 23, 2009 10:19 AM

                                                                                                            Aha, I was just about to suggest "Let Me Eat Cake" asa source for this but the light went on...very much enjoyed your book, miss! You hit the nail on the head in describing the pleasure you feel when people enjoy what you've baked.

                                                                                                            1. alkapal Oct 12, 2011 01:11 AM

                                                                                                              dogfaceboy (leslie f. miller, the original poster) wrote her book, "Let Me Eat Cake":

                                                                                                              >>>"""Author Leslie F. Miller embarks on a journey (not a journey cake, although it's in there) into the moist white underbelly of the cake world. She visits factories and local bakeries and wedding cake boutiques. She interviews famous chefs like Duff Goldman of Food Network's Ace of Cakes and less famous ones like Roland Winbeckler, who sculpts life-size human figures out of hundreds of pounds of pound cake and buttercream frosting. She takes decorating classes, shares recipes, and samples the best cakes and the worst.

                                                                                                              The book is held together by the hero on a quest, one that traces cake history and tradition. If we were to bake a cake to celebrate the birth of cake (cake is an Old Norse word, first used around 1230), it is hard to say how many candles would go on top. Though the meaning of the word (originally "lump of something"), not to mention our expectations of its ingredients, has changed over time, we now celebrate cake as the coming together of flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and a pinch of salt."""<<<<

                                                                                                              http://books.simonandschuster.com/Let...

                                                                                                              now, we need to see how much of us went into it. ;-).

                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                              this will crack you up -- from the first review i saw of the book on that simon and schuster site:

                                                                                                              """"While Baltimore is home to several bakeries, it isn't as if Baltimore is some sort of cake capital in the country. When she does discuss cakes from other regions, one is not left with the impression that she actually traveled to these areas or tried most of those cakes. """"""" ROFLMAO

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                soupkitten Oct 12, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                                                                                hey super-cool! thanks for the update. wonder if Leslie ever thinks of us ;-P
                                                                                                                . . . or will visit us for her next project

                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                  alkapal Oct 12, 2011 09:29 AM

                                                                                                                  "let me eat cake, part deux."

                                                                                                                  she never did come to thank us or even tell us her book was done. harrumph. i guess i don't mind being a lab rat (er…lab hound), but at least feed me. LOL.

                                                                                                                  well, i very much enjoyed the thread in any event.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                    buttertart Oct 14, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                                                    I really enjoyed the book, read it a couple of years ago - you should definitely read it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                      alkapal Oct 14, 2011 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                      did she acknowledge our input?

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                        buttertart Oct 14, 2011 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                        I think so, in a glancing sort of way. It's a bit on the (boring part alert) discussion of her conflicted relationship with sweets, but she's engaging enough a writer that it's worth a look.

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                          alkapal Oct 14, 2011 05:15 PM

                                                                                                                          thanks. well, i shall see if the old local library has it in ebook…or maybe the paperback…..i AM curious how she incorporated the information from this great thread.

                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                            buttertart Oct 14, 2011 05:29 PM

                                                                                                                            I do think you'd enjoy it.

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