Appalachian Food

How to Make an Arsh Potato Cake

Arsh Tater Cake

In my recent video I demonstrate how to make my all time favorite Appalachian dessert—an Arsh Potato Cake.

As much as I love the cake you’d think I’d make it all through the year, but I end up mostly making it during the holidays.

When we get together to celebrate I always make one and everyone else seems to enjoy it too…but I’ll tell you a secret, I don’t care if they don’t like it! If the cake doesn’t get eat up at our feast I know I’m going to get to eat it when I take it home 🙂

To view the recipe for Arsh Potato Cake go here.

As I said in the video—if you decide to make one traditional Appalachian dessert let it be this one—I know you won’t be sorry!!

Help me celebrate Appalachia by subscribing to my YouTube channel!

Here’s a list of recent Thankful November giveaway winners. If you see your name in the list please send your mailing address to me at [email protected] and I’ll send the item your way!

“Appalachian Values” by Loyal Jones: Becky Burnett Nunnaley who said: “I grew up the same way. My grandpa had a saying when someone who had dropped in was invited and accepted the invitation to eat: “You see what we have. Eat it if you can. If you can’t, don’t mess it up, because we have to! My husband is from California. He didn’t know what to think when I invited the sweaty, dirty worker who was remodeling our house to eat supper with us when he worked really late a couple of times. I just found it impossible to sit down and enjoy a meal with him outside and hungry.”

“Bushcraft Basics” by Leon Pantenburg: Shirl who said: “Choosing clothing best suited to survival caught my eye. My grandsons showed up to go deer hunting in tennis shoes, thin camo overalls and only an orange cap for their head. My parents expressed their horror at a lack of clothing by saying things like, get in there and get you some clothes on or you’ll freeze to death going out half neckid. The boys just laugh when I say those things.”

“Dorie Woman of the Mountain” by Florence Cope Bush: Yvette H Ridenour who said: “I grew up hearing stories of my Granny’s childhood and adulthood (she was born in 1911 and died in 2007) and how her grandmother and mother, and later she, too, made lye soap. Our background is British, too. I have had so many experiences of “sensing” something before it happened–it would take hours for me to recount them all. It’s something I began experiencing as a young adult, mostly through dreams, but sometimes just a feeling about something that later proved to be true. On the night Granny died, I was sitting with her and my husband was supposed to come to relieve me. I called him and told him that I thought I would stay–I had a strong feeling that she would die that night, and she did. I am so glad I was there when she breathed her last–she was the person in all the world who had the most impact on who I am and what I believe. I had a dream in 2010 of seeing her in heaven, and I know someday it will be fulfilled.”


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  • Reply
    Douglas Mosier
    October 2, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    The name of this episode of your blog gave me a bit of a turn ;). My family grew up in a very German part of Iowa, mom’s grandmas were both VERY German, even talked with German accents! Anyway, “Arsh” is the vulgar German word for the part you sit on, so when I first read the title, it came to me as that at first! I’m glad you explained the Appalachian meaning! 🙂

  • Reply
    William J. Boone
    January 21, 2021 at 11:28 am

    My favorite cake is similar to yours. It’s called fruit cocktail cake. A can of fruit cocktail, juice and all, added to the cake batter and baked in a 13 x 9 pan. It’s topped with a butter, sugar, coconut and English walnut cooked icing. It is so moist and dense, but tender to chew. The combination of textures and flavors is simply divine. Daddy’s sister, Nanny, made it for my birthday until she passed after which Mom made it until she passed twenty years past. I, also, noted your blue Pyrex bowl. Mom was given the four piece set for a wedding gift by a beloved lady who lived down the road. I first ate the fruit cocktail cake after her husband’s funeral when I was about 13. The largest yellow bowl is the only one left of the four and I use it all the time. I can e-mail the recipe to you if you’d like to try it.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2020 at 11:59 am

    I love this so much. I’m going to have to make this cake. As an Arsh person I love anything with potatoes, especially other carbs. Thanks Tipper!

  • Reply
    Janis M Zeglen
    December 8, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Tipper you are usually able to evoke a memory for me. My mother taught me to make cornbread when I was about 8 years old. Her measurement for the shortening was the size of a hen egg. I don’t cornbread so much anymore but when I do I still use shortening the size of a hen egg! Thanks for the memories!

  • Reply
    J G Smith
    December 7, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    where in my area could I find black walnuts for the cake or wonder if plain walnuts would work. You mentioned using black walnuts for ringworm My daughter had ringworm when she was little and an older lady told me to use the hull juice to circle the ringworm and it worked thanks for all the memories

    • Reply
      December 7, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      JG-My local grocery stores have them. You can also order them online-just do a google for black walnuts and you’ll find several different options. I do think plain walnuts would be good too, they just wouldn’t have that unique black walnut taste 🙂

  • Reply
    December 7, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    My maternal grandmother always called white potatoes Arsh (Irish) potatoes, and she lived in Richmond, Va. My hot cross bun recipe calls for mashed potatoes and they are really moist buns. I saw your blue bowl, and I have that bowl, along with a huge yellow one, and a smaller red one. They were Mama’s bowls. I think there was a bowl between the size of the yellow one and the red one, but I don’t remember it as it must have been broken. I have seen the sets of 4 bowls like this, and they are collectible. So glad I have Mama’s, and they must be over 60 years old, as I am 66.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Tipper, in addition to your recipe for a delicious looking desert, you brought back a long forgotten memory. When I was young I remember an older gentleman talking about using the byproduct of walnuts to fish with.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Thank you for sharing the Arsh potato cake recipe. My daughter can not stand black walnuts in her food. I will be like you and won’t care if nobody else likes it. The only problem will be waiting the couple of days for it to marry.
    Thank you for the Thankful November giveaways! I am blessed to be the winner of a book I am so excited about reading.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2020 at 7:14 am

    That really looks delicious, and I am so glad your recipes are on YouTube so I can refer back easily. YouTube is great for insomniacs, because one can pick out anything they wish to watch instead of back when late night cable tv did the choosing. It was either advertisement for exercise equipment or old movie reruns. I just found out from Big Family Homestead that YouTube does not allow the channels to say the word Covid. Interesting times we are living in! You mention kill lettuce which is one of my favorite Appalachian dishes.
    I was just discussing with my aunt how we used to love delicious applesauce cakes around the holidays. She relayed a story about around Thanksgiving when her husband and friends were going hunting. She was trying to get ahead on the cooking and had made three applesauce cakes. After they left out early the next day for their hunting venture, she got up looking forward to a big slice of that cake with her coffee. She found out that little hunting group had ate every crumb early that morning. They had a laugh about that for years.

    • Reply
      December 7, 2020 at 12:03 pm

      Land o’ Lakes butter has a wonderful recipe for applesauce cake on their website, and it is easy. I make it for Christmas, and my husband says it’s his favorite cake.

    • Reply
      Shelbie Lynn
      January 18, 2021 at 1:03 pm

      Oooo I love applesauce cake. I made it for my kiddos a few years ago as we were strapped for cash and didn’t have a lot of ingredients. They ended up loving it and asked for it again later. They also loved the oatmeal cake I made like grandma used to. Food always has great connections to memories.

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