Hailing from the deep south of North America, Lady Baltimore cake is a classic wedding cake choice. With its simple buttercake layers, fruit and nut filling and dreamy meringue frosting, the resulting flavour combination is delightfully complex.

Makes
12

Preparation

1hr

Cooking

20min

Skill level

Mid
By
No votes yet

Ingredients

  • melted butter, to grease
  • 185 g butter, softened
  • 145 g (⅔ cup) caster sugar, plus 75 g (⅓ cup) extra
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
  • 1 orange, zest finely grated
  • 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 165 ml (⅔ cup) milk
  • 3 eggwhites

 

Filling

  • 45 g (¼ cup) raisins, chopped
  • 45 g (¼ cup) chopped dried figs
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 40 g (⅓ cup) chopped toasted walnuts

 

Meringue frosting

  • 3 eggwhites
  • 150 g (⅔ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Cooling time: 30 minutes

Standing time: 30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush a 12-hole 125 ml (½ cup) friand pan with melted butter to grease.

To make the filling, combine the raisins, figs and brandy in a small saucepan and heat over low heat for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, 145 g (⅔ cup) caster sugar, vanilla and orange zest, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary, until pale and creamy.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. With the motor running on the lowest possible speed, beat in the flour alternately with the milk, in 2 separate batches each, until just combined.

In a separate clean dry medium mixing bowl, use a whisk attachment to whisk the eggwhites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the extra caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, and whisk on medium-high speed until thick and glossy. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold a large spoonful of the eggwhite mixture through the butter mixture until well combined. Add the remaining eggwhite mixture and fold until just combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the friand holes and smooth the surfaces. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Stand the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the meringue frosting. Choose a medium heatproof mixing bowl that sits snugly on top of a medium saucepan. Quarter-fill the saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Put the eggwhites and sugar in the heatproof bowl and place over the simmering water. Use a spatula to stir until the sugar dissolves. (You can tell if the mixture is ready by rubbing a little between your fingers – if it still feels grainy, then continue to stir for another minute or until it no longer feels grainy.) Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and use a whisk attachment to whisk on high speed for 5-8 minutes or until the meringue has cooled to room temperature and is very thick and glossy. Whisk in the vanilla. Transfer two-thirds of the frosting to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To finish the filling, transfer the remaining third of the frosting to a medium bowl and fold in the chopped walnuts and the fruit mixture.

Use a small sharp serrated knife to cut the cakes in half horizontally and trim the tops to level, if necessary. Spread a little of the filling over the bottom halves of the cakes and sandwich with the top halves, pressing down.
Spread the reserved meringue frosting over the sides and tops of the cakes to cover, swirling as desired. Set aside for 30 minutes for the frosting to firm slightly before serving.

 

Baker’s tips

• These cakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

 

Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.

 

Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

 

This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Little cakes.