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Lady Baltimore Cake

I first made this cake for my fathers' birthday and now it is the only cake that he requests. This cake has complex flavors and is very unique. —Cleo Gonske, Redding, California
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + standing Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1-2/3 cups raisins, chopped
  • 8 dried figs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • CAKE:
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted


  • In a small bowl, combine raisins and figs. Add brandy; toss to combine. Let stand, covered, at room temperature about 2 hours or until brandy is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 3 greased 8-in. round cake pans with parchment; grease paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. Add buttermilk, butter and vanilla; beat on low speed 30 seconds or just until dry ingredients are moistened. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add egg whites; beat 2 minutes longer.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Beat in vanilla and enough cream to reach desired consistency. For filling, remove 1 cup frosting to a small bowl; stir in pecans and raisin mixture.
  • Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with half the filling. Add another cake layer; top with remaining filling. Add remaining cake layer; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Editor's Note
To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 745 calories, 36g fat (20g saturated fat), 81mg cholesterol, 373mg sodium, 102g carbohydrate (82g sugars, 2g fiber), 5g protein.

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  • Michelle
    Dec 29, 2020

    I am making this right now and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to whip the egg whites before blending them in. Every other Lady Baltimore recipe does so. Anybody know if this is a mistake in the recipe?

  • Katisha
    Jul 7, 2020

    After reading some of the reviews I decided to use half the amount of figs, and add dried apricots. This gave the filling a fresh, tangy and less heavy flavor. Not as authentic as the original, but a delightful variation. Otherwise I made it exactly according to the recipe and instructions. It was spectacular!

  • Lawrence
    Mar 12, 2020

    This cake came out exactly like the picture. The directions were clear and I had no difficulty with the prep. It rose nicely and released from the pans perfectly. I thought it was scrumptious and so did the group i made it for. It was even better the second day when the brandy from the marinated fruit filling (i did add candied cherries and orange peel) permeated the delicious buttermilk orange zest cake layers. I will definitely be making it again and again when I want a sophisticated and impressive dessert.

  • krisbehr
    Jan 15, 2018

    I had to make this cake because after doing the play “Arsenic and Old Lace” it was referenced several times. We were all curious. The cake and frosting were good but the filling was too “figgy”. It was overpowering. Also extremely sweet and rich.

  • Daynnells
    Aug 30, 2014

    I made this cake to display in our county fair. It not only took first place in it's class but it received a special recognition award as well. Thank you for this wonderful and surprisingly easy recipe.