Blue Blooded Cakes

Aristocratic cakes rule the culinary realm. You have the king cake, many sorts of queen cakes (most of them cupcake-type things), the Lady Baltimore cake (His Lordship has one, too), and I’ve heard of something called a Regent cake that has a pedigree Burke’s Peerage wouldn’t validate. Even the Maids of Honor (attendant to a queen) have a tart, appropriate since its reputed to have first been baked by Ann Boleyn for her paramour Henry VIII, who was at the time a married man. Then you have the Prince of Wales cake, whose bloodlines are impeccable. Original recipes for this recipe date from the mid-nineteenth century, when it was described as a cake of alternate light and dark layers (most often only two, the light layer being on top). Later recipes will still give you two recipes for batter, one light, the other dark, but instead of baking two different-color layered cakes, they recommend marbling the batters then baking. Most recent recipes describe what most of us would recognize as a spice cake. Here’s a very old-fashioned recipe from Heirloom Recipes of Yesterday and Today for Tomorrow, a cookbook sponsored by Oxford-Lafayette County Historic Homes, issued in 1965. By all means notice the alternate layering, but take special note of the precision and articulation of this beautifully-written recipe.