Old-fashioned stack cake with Appalachian apple butter filling
Cook time: Depends on how big you want your stack. This recipe makes one 9-inch cake with six stacks. Three stacks were baked simultaneously for 10 to 12 minutes The filling (recipe below) takes about an hour. Allow 24 hours for the cake to chill in the refrigerator.
This recipe comes from the September-October issue of Cooking With Paula Deen. According to the magazine, stack cakes were traditional in Southern Appalachia when folks gathered for special occasions. Tradition says the number of layers in a cake was a measure of the popularity of the hosting family.
1/2 cup all-vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 6 (9-inch) cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper, and spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat shortening and sugar at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Add buttermilk, molasses, egg and vanilla, beating well.
In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add shortening mixture, stirring just until combined.
On a lightly floured surface, form dough into a log; cut into six equal portions. Place one portion in each prepared pan, and use fingers to lightly pat dough to edges of pans.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Cake will have the consistency of a gingerbread cookie.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand; spread with about 3/4 cup warm fruit butter filling.
Repeat procedure with remaining layers and fruit butter filling, stacking each on previous layer. Do not spread fruit butter filling on top layer. Cover and refrigerate cake for at least 24 hours. Just before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar.
Appalachian apple butter filling
4 cups roughly chopped dried apples
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnomon
6 cups apple cider (not juice)
In large saucepan, combine dried fruit and all dry ingredients. Add enough liquid to cover. Bring to a low boil and cook, stirring often, for 45 minutes.
Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes or until cooled slightly. Transfer to the work bowl of a food processor or container of a blender; process until smooth. Use while still warm.
Per serving: 704 cal.; 8 g pro.; 137 g carb.; 13 g fat (4 sat., 5 monounsat., 4 polyunsat.); 24 mg chol.; 548 mg sod.; 5 g fiber; 548 g sugar; 17 percent calories from fat.