In Saving Southern Recipes, Southern Kitchen’s Kate Williams explores a low birthright of Southern cooking by a lens of passed-down, aged family recipes.
It isn’t a Southern jubilee though some kind of cake. Depending on where you’re from, a celebratory cake could meant coconut layer, or hummingbird or Lane cake — all cakes are good cakes, as prolonged as they’ve got copiousness of frosting and a right series of layers. If you’re from southern Georgia, like a Visual Content Producer Ramona King, that series of layers can strech sky high.
Below a supposed “Gnat Line,” that stretches opposite a state from Columbus to Savannah, and in many of southeastern Alabama, a jubilee cake of choice is a soaring cake, many mostly called a “little covering cake,” done of large skinny cake layers distant by a allegation of boiled fudgy frosting. King’s grandmother, Ramona Mercer, used to make a cake for large occasions, including each year for her mother’s birthday.
“I frequency ever remember a time when we would travel into my grandmother’s dining room [in Metter, Georgia] and this cake wouldn’t be sitting on her antique smorgasboard in a potion cake stand,” King said. “This cake was her go-to show-stopping cake and a many requested of her desserts. … As a mother of a former Senator and a behaving County Commissioner, she done this cake for roughly everybody in Candler County during some indicate during her retirement from teaching.”
The small covering cake is expected descended from a Hungarian Dobos torte, a cake done of skinny consume layers, chocolate buttercream and caramel. Named for a inventor, József C. Dobos, it initial done an coming in 1885 during a National General Exhibition of Budapest. Other allied cakes cropped adult opposite Europe and European colonies around a same time, and desirous bakers in a United States to do a same. One such cake, still renouned currently in New Orleans, is a Doberge cake, that replaced pudding for a buttercream stuffing and fondant for a caramel topping. In Maryland, a Smith Island Cake is another famed movement done with yellow cake layers, baked chocolate topping and, mostly dejected candy bars. In Appalachia, bakers conform smoke-stack cakes that soar to identical heights with apple butter sandwiched between crepe-like layers.
Little covering cakes have an atmosphere of austerity, like a smoke-stack cake, with a bit of honeyed aptitude from a chocolate frosting. Mercer’s recipe calls for a classical yellow butter cake batter, studded with pecans, and streched with a bit of Crisco. The thick, fudgy frosting gets a tone from a hold of cocoa — only adequate so that we know a there. “It is moist, though not in a feathery way,” pronounced King. It’s wet “in a decadent, loyal Southern (and deliciously) grainy fudgy way.”
Over a holidays, King attempted her palm during creation her grandmother’s cake, following a recipe hand-written in a cover decades ago. “The cake was only my mom and we remembered it,” she said. “It was one of those visceral, close-your-eyes-and-taste-the-nostalgia moments.”
However, a routine was not though a challenges. “I gained extensive honour for my grandmother during a routine of creation this cake,” pronounced King. “It unequivocally is a labor of love.” King found it severe to mislay a skinny cake layers from a pan, as good as to keep a frosting comfortable adequate to widespread via a process. “This cake was indeed many some-more work than we was expecting,” she said. “She is even some-more of a kitchen wizard in my mind now.”
Despite a challenges, King skeleton to tackle a cake again. She’d like to try it with comparison pans — she pronounced her mint ones clung too firmly to a cake, causing her to remove a few layers — and will double a fudge frosting recipe subsequent time. King pronounced it also helps to devise ahead. She told me she satisfied because her grandmother always had a cake prepared to go, on a cake stand, when she’d uncover adult to her house: “It is a mess! A happy mess. We never had any thought how many work had left into her ideal masterpiece. You really wish to let this rest for during slightest a few hours before serving. This allows a fudge to cold and settle and a preparer to rinse dishes and take a nap!”
Like many baking projects, use positively creates for a some-more ideal cake. However, even with small mistakes here and there, King said, a season and hardness was spot-on: “I’m anticipating with time and use we can grasp what she did so many times! She was so good famous for this cake in her town. As her namesake, I’m unapproachable to lift on a tradition.”
Get a recipe for Chocolate Fudge Little Layer Cake here