Official State Dessert of Alabama
22 of March 2019
Alabama designated Lane cake (from 1898 year) as the official state dessert in 2016. A symbol of Southern culture and identity, Lane cake was mentioned in the Pulitzer Prize winning novel
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee (born in Monroeville, Alabama).
Over the years, this cake has been many variants of recipe. It was frozen and thawed, the top of the cake covered with whipped cream, icing, marzipan, custard, but... one part of the cake is unchanged - filling. Lane Cake is four-layer white cake with a thick bourbon-soaked raisins filling, which is combination of raisins, bourbon or brandy, sugar, butter, yolks (original recipe). In a more recent recipe we can add some walnuts, coconuts, dry cranberries, dry apricots. The cake is much better made a day or two before using. In fact, Lane Cake is very yummy!
Creator and performer of the first in the world "Lane Cake" was Emma Rylander Lane from Clayton, Alabama. She won the competition for the best baking confectionery during the County Fair in Columbus, Georgia in 1898. She called her work "Prize Cake". She wrote first recipe of this cake in her cookbook A Few Good Things to Eat (1898).
The following recipe was given by granddaughter Mrs. Lane, Emma Rylander Law. Appeared at the Associated Press in 1967. In my opinion, this is the most similar description of Mrs. Lane's cake, which, in the XIX century, aroused enormous emotions in the entire state, or maybe even two ... (I added pecans, cranberries, coconuts, apricots).
Photo: Catherine Baker
350 gram (3 cups) sifted all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)
400 gram (2 cups) granulated sugar
225 gram (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon orange extract
240 milliliters (1 cup) milk
8 large egg whites
8 egg yolks
200 gram (1 cup) granulated sugar
115 gram (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
240 milliliters bourbon or brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 gram (1 cup) chopped raisins
115 gram (1 cup) chopped pecans
90 gram (1 cup) grated coconuts (optional)
115 gram (1 cup) chopped cranberries and apricots
200 gram (1 cup) granulated sugar
115 milliliters (1/3 cup) water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F for a convection oven). Grease three 9- by 1½-inch round baking pans or two 9- by 3-inch round baking pans or loaf pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper or wax paper, grease again, and dust with flour.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and, if using, nutmeg.
In a large bowl, beat the butter on low speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
Add the flour mixture and milk alternately (4 portions for the flour; 3 portions for the milk) beginning and ending with the flour.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on low until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until soft leaks form, 5 to 8 minutes. Fold one fourth of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched, 20 to 25 minutes for 3 pans or about 30 minutes for 2 pans.
Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool completely, at least 1½ hours. The cake can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Place the egg yolks in a 2-quart saucepan and lightly beat. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the butter and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and almost translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not boil.
Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the bourbon and vanilla. Add the raisins, pecans, coconuts, cranberries, apricots. Let cool, but do not chill before spreading.
If using 2 larger pans, use a serrated knife to cut each cake in half horizontally. Arrange a cake layer on a serving plate and spread with a third of the filling, about
1 cup. Top with a second cake, spread with half of the remaining filling, and place the third cake layer on top. If making a 3-layer cake, spread the remaining filling on top; for a 4-layer cake, leave the top bare and cover later with frosting. Place in a covered container. Let ripen in a cool place or the refrigerator for at least 2 days and up to
2 weeks, daily spooning any of the filling that seeps out back over top of the cake. For long term storage, place in the freezer for up to 4 months.
In a small saucepan, stir the sugar, water, lemon juice and corn syrup over low heat until dissolved. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-high, and boil until
it reaches the soft-ball stage and registers 238°F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, about
1 minute. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.
In a slow, steady stream, beat in the hot syrup. Be careful the syrup does not touch the beaters or it will spin into threads. Add the vanilla and beat until cool.
For a 3-layer cake, spread the frosting over the sides of the cake; for a 4-layer cake, spread over the sides and top. If not serving on the same day or for leftovers, store in the refrigerator covered with a cake keeper, a tent of foil, or a bowl with a knife or other flat utensil wedged under it. Serve at room temperature.
ABOUT THE RECIPE:
cake in the newer version, you can decorate with maraschino cherries, finely chopped nuts, coconut, roasted almonds...
instead of corn syrup can be used the same amount of natural honey...
orange-Spice Lane Cake: In the filling, add 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, ¼ teaspoon ground mace, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom...
alcohol-free Lane filling: This does not have the keeping power, due to the absence of liquor, as the traditional version. In the filling, omit the bourbon and increase the sugar to 1½ cups (10.5 ounces/300 grams). Add 1 cup evaporated milk with the butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Stir in the fruits and nuts. Store the cake in the refrigerator.
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