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« Appalachia Through My Eyes - Love | Main | Beliefs About Love And Marriage »

February 12, 2013


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What a wonderful story and tradition, with a taste that, I am sure, will be wonderful as well.

Thanks so much for sharing this with us Tipper. I know I'll be waiting eagerly for the recipe and the instructions.

God bless.


My Grandma Nichols called this a stack of arrangments. She used biscuits, sliced them and spread with cooked apples. She lived in Waynesivlle but came as a girl from Pa down into Georgia and over the mountain to Waynesville. Barbara

I have been making Apple Stack Cakes for 15 years. The first one I made was for a family reunion. My grandmother made them and cookies with the left over batter. My grandmother had been deceased for about 20 years so my aunt gave me the recipe. When I make it for an occasion I love to look at peoples faces. You can almost see the reminisceing of times past. It is a labor of love for it can be very time consuming but worth it. I will be looking for your recipe to compare it to mine.

I always look forward to Phillips' family parties because of the incredible fruit cakes. I absolutely refuse to learn how to make them, though. In my case apple stack cake would soon = FAT!

I love those cakes. My mother and mother in law made them from dried fruit.. They didn't need a special occasion to make them.. Mama would make two at a time..I can't make them as good..

Hope everybody doesn't laugh but, is a stack cake a bunch of pancakes with apples between? That's what it looks like.

My mama was the next to last of
grandma's 16 children. I remember
her visiting us and she'd help my
mama with making them apple stack
cakes, about 5 or 6 layers high.
We had lard, rendered from hogs
that had been killed earlier and
they put it into the flour mix.
And we used a 25 pound sack of flour a week. Those biscuits
mama made was "manna from heaven"
and about once a month we enjoyed
an apple stack cake made in oven
of our old wood cookstove...Ken

Hi Tipper, You sparked a beautiful memory this morning.My Big Mom from Harlan Co. Ky. made apple stack cakes that the mouth still waters for after nearly 58 years.God Bless.Jean

Tipper, that looks wonderful. I've heard of stack cakes all my life but I've never made or eaten one. I think I'll probably have to try it after you tell us how.
I seem to recall that the stack cakes had to sit a while before cutting to allow the layers to absord the juice from the apples. However with a cake that looks like the one in your picture I can't imagine it sitting too long.LOL!

and Ethelene...A lot of cakes were made on the griddle over a hot fire...I think that is the best way to get the thin layer!
There are a lot of griddle recipes in the old cookbooks using fruits...

I too have only ever read about stack cake. It always sounded like a sloppy mess, but your cake is beautiful Tipper!

I have never had a stack, but my family often had had a big hoecake of biscuit we would slather with butter and eat with best SWGa syrup made from red ribbon cane. If it is t rib on cane, it doesn't have that little bite that is so good and balances out the sweetness!
My grandmother frequently made fried pies as well, but I can't remember how she did it! Does anyone have a recipe for a good apple cried pie(also known as apple tart)?

Growing up in rural Haywood County I first became acquainted with "stack cakes" at church homecomings. Fried apple pies and stack cake were the first desserts to be eaten on those special days. My mother-in-law also made stack cakes and her dough tasted like cookie dough. I think she made them like she had grown up eating them on Cartoogajay in Macon County.

The best discussion I can find of the Apple Stack Cake comes in Joseph E. Dabney's "Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, and Scuppernong Wine" (The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking).

Dabney says the legend is that James Harrod, the founder of Harrodsburg, brought the recipe with him when he came to Kentucky via the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap.

Also, Dabney quotes a story that says pioneer families could not afford the expense of a wedding cake so neighbors brought to the bride's family cake layers that would be donated to add to the cake. "As the layers arrived, the bride's family would spread the apple filling between each."

Dabney reprints a recipe for Haywood County Stack Cake that dates from the 1800s and was used by Mrs. Dolphus Kerley of Waynesville, NC who died in January 1948 at the age of 90. She said the recipe came from her mother of Haywood County, NC.

I highly recommend Dabney's book. He is perhaps best known for his books on Moonshine including "Mountain Spirits."

Well Tipper, we will just have to get inspired and find our old recipe for STACK CAKE and get busy! It would be a delicious VALENTINE GIFT to a sweetheart!

Eva Nell

Happy Abe Lincoln birthday!

This not only looks good, it sounds like a tasty bit of a treat. You see, I think a cake created with ones own hands is a labor of love. I am truly amazed how thin the layers are, and the apples spread between the layers remind me of an apple pie type. I am anxious to learn how to make such thin layers. I'm in 'love' with the thought of making one of these.

My mother-in-law could make the best stack cake ever. I do believe it has been made since the beginning of Eve and the apple. She said her mother made it...she was the cake queen of Birmingham some say...and her mother made it that takes the time way back...My grandmothers both made the cake too...I found receipts for apple fillings for layer cakes inh my 1887 White House cookbook...There was not a recipe for a Stack Cake as called today...but I wondered about just the filling receipts..
listed by themselves with no cake receipt with them...
Always and always dried apples were used to make the filling. My mother-in-law said that dried apples is the only way to get the true flavor of the stack cake filling...All her layers were thin but not too thin...It could not be touched for a couple of days, wrapped in cheese cloth or pure cotton cloth so it would absorb the moisture of the filling. I'm not sure if she added just a touch of apple brandy or not...she would never say, if and when she added spark to her Christmas or Thanksgiving cakes...Maybe that is why I could never get mine to taste like hers...
Thanks Tipper, looking forward to the receipt...I need to look up the receipt in an old apple orchard receipt brochure, pamphlet in one of my collections..Most all booklets from that era called cookbooks receipt books too....

Stack cake is one of my favorites. In my area dried peaches and apricots are as popular as apples for making stack cake. The dried fruit is cooked with sugar and spices (mostly just a speck of cinnamon) and water of course, until it is the texture of thick applesauce. The dough is the same recipe as for fried pies and dumplings (as in chicken and dumplings) it is rolled out into rounds and fried in oil/lard until browned and crisp then stacked, spreading the fruit between the layers. When these are fresh with the crisp "cake" layered with the warm sweet fruit they are wonderful. I believe these are a little different from the stack cake of your area, in that yours looks a little more cake-like than the ones that are common here. Oh, and rather than whipped cream we butter ours and our fried pies also----Let no fat grams go unconsumed! Ya'll have a great day!

Well, I knew stack cake was special, but had never heard the part about it being a wedding gift. I do know that my sister learned to make it for her husband because he really liked it, and he was a real NC mountain man -- grew up in Cataloochee.

We called it Apple Stack Cake in Choestoe, my section of Appalachia. And my mother and her sisters, all of whom were adept at making it, called the Recipe a "Receipt" too, like Mr. Chase in his cook book. But they didn't have to follow the "receipt." They knew how to make it. And their dough did have flour, eggs and sugar (they knew just what proportions "by guess"). They poured the batter onto a hot iron "griddle pan" on the top of the stove--not too hot, because you didn't want the layers to get too brown, just done. And then the cake-maker would flip it to the other side, and cook that side, too. The apple mixture would be ready, with the proper sugar and cinnamon mixture, and it was spread between the layers. I can remember my mother making stack cakes for our many "sorghum syrup makers" who ate their "dinner" (mid-day) meal at our house when they worked at my father's sorghum syrup mill. And, at age 14, when I had to "take over" the household duties after my mother's death, I, too, remembered the "receipt" of stack cake, and would make them for dessert for the workers. We used both fresh apple sauce and apple sauce made from dried apples for the filling between the thin layers of cake. And yes, I used the rich cream separated from our country milk, and in bowl, with an "egg-beater" operated by hand, I whipped the cream into white fronds, added just the right amount of sugar, and served it over a slice of the apple stack cake. Those were the days of "common" culinary delights--but wonderful!

There didn't have to be a special occasion for Grandma to make her stack cake. In fact, this is the only cake I remember her ever making. It was so good! I've made it a few times, but not by her recipe, because she never had the recipe written down. If there was any left over dough, she made them into what she called 'sweet cakes' or cookies, which she put into Grandpa's lunch box. On my blog, I have recipes listed on the right side bar of the page. Appalachian Stack Cake is the first one listed. If you click on it, you will see my version of the cake. Let it set a few days in the fridge and it gets so moist it'll make your mouth water.

My husband worked with a man from Kentucky and whenever they went home his mom would send us her "secret" Apple Stack Cake. I never got the recipe because it was secret. So I look forward to see and trying the recipe.

I am 91 years old and as far back as I can remember I have eat STACK CAKES. My great grandma and great aunt made them regulary. They were easy to make and always the favorit for special meals.
Charles Fletcher

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