Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020 - 63

F L AV O R S

Nevada Parker Derting's Dried Apple Stack Cake,
from Scott County, Virginia
1 pound dried tart apples, such as
Winesap
½ cup sorghum
½ cup sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
This is our most requested recipe, and
it's well over 100 years old. We were
honored when Southern food icon
Nathalie Dupree included it in her
magnum opus Mastering the Art of
Southern Cooking. And because of this
recipe and our efforts to preserve it, the
venerable Oxford Companion to Sugar
and Sweets published our comments
on stack cake history and technique
in 2015. Mrs. Derting, Jill's paternal
grandmother, would have been
amazed. Some bakers may be tempted
to add spices, but this recipe succeeds
without them, allowing the flavors
from the farm and the larder to shine
through without embellishment. What
is essential in its preparation is a flour
made from soft red winter wheat.
Other types of flour simply won't work
in these proportions. And finally, the
cake must "cure" for about three days
in order for the layers to soften and
absorb the flavor of the apple filling.

½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup shortening
Approximately 4 ½ cups of White
Lily flour, plus enough for flouring
the board when rolling out each
layer.
Cover dried apples with water and cook
over medium low heat until most of the
water is absorbed and the apples break
up when stirred. If apples are not soft
enough to break up, add more water
and keep cooking. If desired, add a
tablespoon or so of sugar to taste. Cool
and run apples through a sieve or Foley
Food Mill to produce a smooth sauce.
Meanwhile combine the remaining
ingredients. Dough should be the consistency of stiff cookie dough. Separate dough into five to seven balls. Roll
each ball of dough to a ⅛- or ¼-inch
thickness. Cut in 8- or 9-inch rounds.
(Nevada Derting used a pie pan with
a scalloped edge to cut out rounds.)
Prick each layer with a fork, making a

nice design. Sprinkle individual layers
with granulated sugar and bake on a
greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees
until golden brown (about five to eight
minutes, depending on thickness).
(Mrs. Derting sometimes baked hers
in iron skillets.) Cool and place the
first layer on a cake plate. Spread a
coating of cooked apples over the
layer, within half an inch of the edge.
Stack the other layers, alternating cake
and cooked apples and ending with a
cake layer on top. Save the layer with
the prettiest design for the top. Store,
covered, in a cool place for several
days before serving.
Fred and Jill Sauceman celebrate
and study the foodways of Appalachia
and beyond from their home in Johnson
City, Tennessee.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

63



Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020

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