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 higher amount 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. 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.
In order to accommodate the typical seven or eight layers, each
layer was sometimes pressed very flat. A few of more common flavorings
used were ginger, apple and sorghum molasses.