Frontier Former Editor

June 22, 2008

Let them eat cake.

Filed under: food, old times — Tags: , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:28 am

No, I really mean it. Let them eat two of the best damn cakes ever conceived in the South.

Max and Stiletto managed to fire me back 37 years in the old wayback machine with a brief exchange on red velvet cake.

Yeah, I like French and Viennese pastries, strudel, baklava, donuts, hot cross buns and all sorts of baked goods from around the world. But there are two delicacies that stand toe-to-toe with anything any country can produce to throw off your blood sugar levels.

courtesy of

Red velvet cake is best enjoyed in your mom’s or grandma’s or aunt’s kitchen with a glass of cold milk. It beats even a good old-fashioned Nilla Wafer banana pudding. As my grad school roomie once said in a comparative discourse on pizza and mutual oral gratification, even when it’s bad, hey, it’s pretty good. And when it’s good, red velvet cake will take our mind off just about anything else.

And for reference, I’m pretty sure my great aunt’s recipe for red velvet cake included lots of Crisco, red food coloring and Hershey’s cocoa.


And there’s molasses stack cake . . .

courtesy of

My grandmother would make me a stack cake if I even mentioned the words ‘stack cake’ in passing. She’d tell me to go find a good pint jar of homemade molasses, which around here only took a day or so after mentioning to a friend or acquaintance that ‘hey, I’m looking for some molasses.’

When you look up stack cake, you’re going to get thirty different stories and names and variants of how “this is the true stack cake.’  They’re all true, but my grandmother’s recipe was simple, cheap and took damn near all day to make because of the number of layers (six to eight in her recipe) to bake, and me having to wash the bowl of all that molasses.

Now, you’ll see all sorts of recipies declare that you have to have homemade apple butter or cooked dried apples to make the filling. My grandmother used White House applesauce from the jar, and her stack cake tatsed as good if not better than ‘authentic Appalachian’ stack cake I’ve had at Appalachian ‘cultural fairs.’ She made it the same way everyone else makes it around here – with what you have on hand. I could go on about the Zen of making stack cake, but she made it and it was good every time.

I’m hungry, in more ways than you know.



  1. Ahhh ….. Cream, it soothes the Nerves …. and makes the Consumer think beneficently about even Sauron the Brown

    …. perhaps Mr Shrub should be delivering Cream-Tankers to Baghdad and the swing-states

    “Too late, too late” – the saddest cry as one roars past a Cream Cake shoppe at 60 mph without stopping

    …. saddest in an Eagle’s experience

    … errr, at least after some chicken has outrageously preferred to continue living-participation in the Evolutionary Struggle, rather than joining the egg & chips on the next Aquilan dinner-plate

    Comment by G Eagle Esq — June 23, 2008 @ 3:45 am

  2. No way. Your grandmother actually made red velvet cake?

    Comment by max — June 23, 2008 @ 4:29 am

  3. M. Eagle: A good pastry covers a multitude of sins, but not the multitude brought on by our chief landscaper.

    Max: Way

    Comment by Former Frontier Editor — June 23, 2008 @ 6:28 am

  4. Damn you, FFE. I’ll be running along now pretending I don’t know they sell red velvet cake inside the mall across the street.

    Oh, it’s going to be like the elephant in the room!

    Molasses stack cake sounds interesting but it is a far cry from the red velvet temptation.

    Comment by Stiletto — June 24, 2008 @ 9:45 am

  5. Stack cake is different, in the same way that a Ferrari is different from a Jaguar. They’re both pretty bitchin’.

    Comment by Former Frontier Editor — June 24, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  6. The stack cake looks like something from Deliverance.

    Comment by Stiletto — June 24, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

  7. That one wasn’t done right. You make the layers the same diameter, spread applesauce on each layer, sprinkle sugar on top and refrigerate. They didn’t use enough molasses in the batter either – the layers should be dark brown.

    Comment by Former Frontier Editor — June 24, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

  8. .
    and Cream – you must have Cream

    … to take the troubled mind off unWelcome Shrubs overstaying in 1600 P Avenue

    Lots of Cream

    Comment by G Eagle Esq — June 26, 2008 @ 3:35 am

  9. M. Eagle,

    I see you’re not one to be trifled with . . .

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — June 26, 2008 @ 8:08 am

  10. I’ve never heard of either of these. But I’ll bet the butter tart compares. We shall have to have a bake-off!

    Comment by raincoaster — June 26, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  11. Now there’s a thought to instill fear in the masses – a bake-off with Rain, Stiletto, M. Eagle, Max and I.

    By th eway M. Eagle, I liked the Three Dog Night references.

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — June 26, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

  12. Perhaps better to have Mrs Lovely-Eagle et Mdm Metro ….

    …. errr – I think you meant instiL

    Comment by G Eagle Esq — June 27, 2008 @ 3:33 am

  13. Move west, add an ‘L’

    Comment by Former Frontier Editor — June 27, 2008 @ 6:18 am

  14. I like baking. It is different from cooking meals. Cooking meals, you slave prepping and cooking, then you put food down on a table and it disappears immediately, then you slave cleaning up and washing dishes.

    Baking is different. You pep and cook but then you have something really pretty that you can let sit and just look pretty. Of course this annoys some people who do not think cakes are art and think they should be eaten.

    Comment by max — June 28, 2008 @ 3:35 am

  15. Ah, but is not a cake with a wedge missing also art?

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — June 28, 2008 @ 6:03 am

  16. Since you’ve posted this I’ve run into numerous places that serve up a slice of Red Velvet Cake. Eventually I’ll take the plunge.

    Comment by Stiletto — September 19, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

  17. You know you want it.

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — September 19, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    • Okay, I finally did it. Last year. I had a Red Velvet cupcake and it was good. Damn good.

      In fact, it was the icing on the cake.

      Comment by Stiletto — June 12, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

  18. Bittersweet. You’ve had red velvet, but both our area Krispy Kreme franchises are gone for good.

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — June 13, 2010 @ 10:17 am

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