Mary Beth’s Kitchen: Lady Baltimore Cupcakes

Lady Baltimore Cake has long been a favorite in South Carolina. I chose to share this recipe because of its connection to the Upstate. This recipe was first introduced to my hometown of Greenville, when it was featured in Ladies Home Journal in 1889. It later appeared in a 1903 book about the settlement of Greenville. Although its name suggests it originated in Maryland, it actually comes from a 1906 novel, titled “Lady Baltimore.” The book was set in a fictional city based on Charleston aristocrats.

Lady Baltimore Cupcakes

2½ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 sticks unsalted butter
8 egg whites


2 cups walnuts
2 cups pecans
½ cup water
2½ cups granulated sugar
4 egg whites
½ tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in two cupcake pans. Measure wet and dry ingredients into two separate bowls. Whisk each to combine.

Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to cream well, about 5 minutes. Add egg whites one at a time when the butter and sugar are well creamed. Alternately add wet and dry ingredients about a quarter at a time.

Fill each cupcake liner halfway with batter and bake for about 15 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for at least 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, roast walnuts and pecans on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove nuts from oven, cool to room temperature and chop coarsely. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium to high heat. Position lid so it covers about three-quarters of the opening to keep sugar from crystallizing on the sides of the pan.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whip, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed. When syrup measures 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, pour it into egg whites in a thin, steady stream. The meringue will get very thick and glossy.

Stir in nuts and use immediately. Spread icing on top of each cooled cupcake in a circular motion.

Yield: About 24 cupcakes.

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