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Retro Baltimore

The irresistible Baltimore peach cake

The precise origins of the Baltimore peach cake may remain fuzzy, but the summer dessert confection is a perennial favorite.

The Sun has contained references to the sheet of baked raised dough with fresh peach quarters for more than a century.

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In 1905, a West Baltimore baker, Joseph Schleifer, was sued by his sister-in-law, Agnes, over a peach cake. She alleged that when she placed three nickels on his counter for a 15-cent peach cake, one of the coins fell to the floor, and he became angry and wouldn't let her have the cake. She refused to leave the store without the peach cake. In her court statement, she charged that the baker called her a "vile name" and grabbed her on the shoulder. The baker, who claimed his sister-in-law called him a "Dutchman," won the suit. He was defended by Morris A. Soper, later a federal judge.

In 1906, The Sun's resident versifier, Folger McKinsey, described the dessert this way: "This light, sweet loaf, with richly fruited top, And crystaled sugar, and the butterdrops, The laurel wreath of glory it may take — Hail once again! Come right on in, Peach Cake!"

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McKinsey, in 1910, restated his enthusiasm in "The Peerless Peach Cake" — "The union of the nectral bliss, Of peach with spice and sweet, Of morning in a dewy world — Just think of it — and eat! Ambrosial feasts were no doubt fine. Arcadian dreams unique — But when you want both food and wine, Just let the peach cake speak!"

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com


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