Recipe Finder: Apple Stack Cake

Donna Harmon from Greentown, Ind. was looking for the recipe for making what she called an apple stack cake. She said her grandmother used to make it when she was growing up, but Harmon never watched her to see how she made it.

As she remembers, the cake had six to eight layers with an apple filling in between. Her grandmother would cover the finished cake with a dome and allow it to sit overnight to soak up the flavors.

Sarah Morris from Havre De Grace sent in a recipe for a Tennessee stack cake from Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook that she thought sounded like what Harmon was looking for.

As described in the introduction to the recipe, this cake has an interesting story. In the early days in the Appalachian Mountains, the stack cake was commonly served at weddings. Guests would bring a layer and place it atop the layers already started on the plate. The taller the finished stack, the more popular the bride — or so it was said.

This particular cake has a very homemade look, because the layers are formed by hand — not in a cake pan. The filling is made from dried apples, but fresh applesauce could be substituted. The cake is definitely improved by aging it a few days.


Rose Marie Newman from Baltimore is searching for the recipe for a small, single-layer crumb cake with powdered sugar on top. The cake was sold at the Vilma Bakery, which used to be located on Belair Road near Erdman Avenue.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Tennessee stack cake

Makes one 9-inch layer cake


4 cups dried apples

22/3 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

Dried apple slices for garnish


1/2 cup shortening

11/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

13/4 teaspoons ground ginger

33/4 cups all-purpose flour

To make the filling:

Combine apples and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes or until tender. Cool. Mash apples slightly and stir in sugar. Cool filling completely. Yield: 33/4 cups.

To make the cake:

Cream the shortening, gradually adding sugar and beating well. Add buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ginger; mix well. Add flour, about a cup at a time, beating at medium speed on a heavy-duty electric mixer to make a stiff dough.

Divide dough into 5 equal portions and place each on a greased cookie sheet; pat each portion into a 9- inch circle. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove layers to cooling rack.

Stack the layers, spreading 3/4 cup of filling between each layer. Let cake stand overnight. Garnish with dried apple slices before serving.

Note: The flavor of the cake is enhanced when stored several days.

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