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|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Appalachia|
|Main ingredients||Apple preserves, dried apples, or apple butter|
A stack cake is a unique regional variation that replaces a wedding cake, which can be prohibitively expensive in the economically deprived area of Appalachia, United States. Friends and family each bring a layer for the cake, and the bride's family spreads apple preserves, dried apples, or apple butter between each layer. A stack cake looks like a stack of thick pancakes. It is thought to have originated in the Beaumont Inn of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, by the original settler James Harrod. The greater the number of layers, the more popular the couple is considered.
Many types of cake layer recipes exist from sponge-like layers of cake to cookie dough-like ones; sometimes a stack cake includes many variations and flavors. One recipe from the Bluegrass region utilizes a sorghum molasses based gingerbread type cake. Stack cake parties that do not involve a wedding occur irregularly but typically serve as a way for people to exchange recipes and gossip. Its use is not limited to Kentucky cuisine but all of Appalachia.
The practice of stack cake creation in the region has all but disappeared (at least to those looking from outside the region). It has lived on through local organization and church cookbooks throughout Appalachia, and has been passed down through families. Renditions of the concept are being popularized in some haute cuisine restaurants and magazines. It has also been mentioned by magazines such as Martha Stewart Living and Parade.
- Kentucky Cuisine
- Recipe from Marthastewart.com
- History from Appalachian Heritage
- NYTimes Article on Layer Cakes