Robert E Lee’s Favorite Cake

I have a little information that I think is correct about Robert E. Lee’s favorite cake. This recipe is from my grandmother on my mother’s side and they were from Richmond and Norfolk areas. The information that I have is that his wife Mary Custis Lee provided this cake upon his wish. Mary Custis was also the great granddaughter of Martha Washington who inherited General George Washington’s memorabilia. Also in fact, the recipe is suppose to be in the old book “Housekeeping in Old Virginia” by Marion Cabell Tyree edited in Richmond in the late 1870’s. I do not have this book but just my grandmother’s hand written recipe. Good Luck.

Robert E. Lee’s Favorite Cake

  • 10 eggs, separated
  • 1 pound of sugar or 4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 pound of flour or 4 cups
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • Juice of one lemon

Beat egg yolks until thick. Sift sugar and add to eggs; beat well. Add lemon rind, lemon juice and flour. Beat the whites of only 8 eggs and when stiff, carefully fold into batter. Bake in 2 jelly tins 12 by 18 inches at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. (You may have to adjust the size of these above cake pans. I use three 9 inch cake pans and decrease my cooking time approximately 5-10 min. Monitor cooking time closely).


  • Whites of 2 eggs
  • 1 pound of sugar or 4 cups of sugar
  • Juice and rind of 1 orange

Beat the whites of 2 eggs to a froth. Add sugar, orange rind and juice. Mix until smooth. Spread on cakes before perfectly cold. Put one on top of another.

Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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