Groundnut Cakes

Appears in

Taste the State: Signature Foods of South Carolina and Their Stories

Taste the State

By Kevin Mitchell and David S. Shields

Published 2021

  • About
For 150 years, from 1800 to 1950, Charleston had a signature candy, the groundnut cake. It was a beloved dish of the city, sold by African American women on city street corners. Just as shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and Frogmore Stew were iconic foods of the Lowcountry in 2000, groundnut cakes belonged to the list of local delicacies in 1900: “Charleston submits groundnut cakes, palmetto pickle, waffles, shrimp pie, Bull’s Bay oysters, and ricefield turkey, among other strictly local dishes for the delectation of her guests” (1915). When Carolina expatriates dreamed of returning to Charleston, the candy came first to mind.