All-time favorite Southern desserts

By Olivia Fowler
For the Courier

In the South, food occupies a place of great importance.

A friend from the northern regions once commented that we talk entirely too much about food. He also said southern writers write too much about food and that we all give it much more importance than it merits.

Well, friend, I beg to differ.

In our part of the country, food is a culture of its own and holds as important a position as football and politics. If you want to hear some impassioned discussions, join a group arguing the merits of different kinds of barbecue sauce. It can get ugly.

When a baby is born, people bring food. When someone dies, people bring food. When church suppers are planned, people bring food.

In the Fowler family, we have always counted on banana pudding from Aunt Martha, macaroni and cheese from Uncle Jim and hot biscuits from Uncle Ricky.

These specialty dishes are part of our family heritage, and we all take pride in the excellence of the favorites.

This week we gathered some dessert recipes closely associated with our own and neighboring states. They’re all good.

One of my favorite all-time great cakes is the Lady Baltimore. My Grandmama always made it for my birthday.

South Carolina Lady Baltimore Cake


Frosting and Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 2 tsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c. chopped figs
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. candied cherries
  • 1/4 c. candied pineapple


  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c.s sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


In mixing bowl with electric mixer, cream butter and sugar; add the water gradually, then add flour and baking powder. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites and vanilla. Bake in 3 buttered and floured cake pans in a 375° oven.

Frosting and Filling:

Combine sugar, flour, and corn syrup in a saucepan; cook, stirring, over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil to 240°. Meanwhile, when syrup reaches about 234°, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; add salt. Remove syrup from heat when 240° is reached and immediately pour a very thin stream over stiffly beaten egg whites and salt, beating constantly. Add vanilla. Continue beating until frosting cools and is of spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.

Add chopped fruits and nuts to about 1/3 of the frosting mixture and use as filling between layers. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.



Tennessee Stack Cake

  • 18 oz. dried apples
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 c. whipping cream, whipped

Place dried apples in a saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash apples. Stir in brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger, cloves, and allspice; set aside.

Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until light; gradually beat in the sugar. Continue beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in milk and molasses.

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt and remaining one teaspoon ginger; gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until mixture forms a stiff dough. Divide dough into eight equal portions; cover and chill for one to two hours.

Pat each portion of dough into an eight-inch circle on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove layers to wire racks; cool completely. Stack layers, spreading equal portions of reserved apple mixture between layers. Cover and chill for eight hours. Spread whipped cream or whipped topping over top of cake before serving.



Sweet Georgia Brown Pecan Pie

  • 1 prepared pie crust
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 c. dark corn syrup
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cognac
  • 1 1/4 c. pecan halves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pie crust in a nine-inch pie pan and crimp edges. Combine eggs, sugar, salt, butter, dark corn syrup, vanilla and cognac in medium bowl.

Stir in pecans then spoon filling carefully into crust. Bake pie on lower oven shelf for 50 minutes. Cool before serving.


North Carolina Pig Pickin’ Cake

  • 1 18 oz. yellow cake mix
  • 11 oz. can mandarin oranges with juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 9 oz. carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three nine-inch cake pans. In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, mandarin oranges, mandarin orange juice, eggs and oil. Beat for two minutes with electric mixer.

Pour into pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for five minutes, turn out of pans and finish cooling on wire racks.

In a mixing bowl, combine whipped topping, pineapple, juice from can and vanilla pudding mix.

Frost between layers and on top of cake.