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Chocolate Lady Baltimore Cake Recipe

Ingredients with Measurements:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
- 1/2 cup chopped raisins

For the frosting:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
- 1/2 cup chopped raisins

Special equipment needed:
- Two 9-inch round cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Electric mixer
- Candy thermometer

Step-by-step instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and stir until well combined.

5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, and mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts, figs, and raisins.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

7. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. To make the frosting, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer.

9. While the sugar syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.

10. Gradually pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites, beating constantly on high speed. Add the vanilla extract and continue to beat until the frosting is thick and glossy.

11. Fold in the chopped walnuts, figs, and raisins.

12. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a generous layer of frosting over the top. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

13. Garnish the cake with additional chopped walnuts, figs, and raisins, if desired.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Serving size:
12 servings

Nutritional information:
Calories: 450
Total fat: 19g
Saturated fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 70mg
Sodium: 270mg
Total carbohydrates: 67g
Dietary fiber: 3g
Sugars: 49g
Protein: 7g

Substitutions for ingredients:
- Instead of walnuts, you can use pecans or almonds.
- Instead of dried figs, you can use dried apricots or dates.
- Instead of raisins, you can use dried cranberries or cherries.

- You can add 1/2 cup of shredded coconut to the cake batter for a tropical twist.
- You can substitute the vanilla extract in the frosting with almond extract for a nutty flavor.

Tips and tricks:
- Make sure to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy to ensure a tender cake.
- Sift the dry ingredients to prevent lumps in the batter.
- Do not overmix the batter or the cake will be tough.
- Use a candy thermometer to ensure the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature for the frosting.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting to prevent the frosting from melting.

Storage instructions:
Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Reheating instructions:
To reheat the cake, place it in a preheated 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.

Presentation ideas:
Serve the cake on a cake stand and garnish with fresh flowers or fruit.

Chopped walnuts, figs, and raisins

Serve the cake with a cup of coffee or tea.

Suggested side dishes:
Fresh fruit salad or a green salad.

Troubleshooting advice:
- If the cake is too dry, you may have overbaked it. Try reducing the baking time by a few minutes next time.
- If the frosting is too runny, you may not have beaten the egg whites enough. Make sure to beat them until stiff peaks form.
- If the frosting is too thick, you may have cooked the sugar syrup for too long. Try reducing the cooking time next time.

Food safety advice:
Make sure to use pasteurized eggs in the frosting to prevent the risk of salmonella.

Food history:
Lady Baltimore cake is a classic Southern cake that originated in the late 1800s. It is named after a character in a novel by Owen Wister.

Flavor profiles:
Rich chocolate cake with a sweet and nutty frosting.

Serving suggestions:
Serve the cake as a dessert at a dinner party or special occasion.

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Taste: Rich, Chocolaty, Sweet, Moist, Decadent