Heirloom recipes are the test of holiday traditions, history shines when friends and families gather around the table. From nibbling Dolma at a cocktail party to the custom of eating collard greens on New Year's Day (said to bring good fortune). Food has always played role in our families Christmas traditions.
Starting off with this traditional Lane Cake, that has graced the table of Gary and Loucy's home for years. It's one of those desserts that is a show stopper! Either if it is walked out of the kitchen like it's on display or if it's sitting on the dessert table looking pretty, waiting for its guests to devour it! Yes, this is one dessert not to pass up!
The history behind this cake starts off in the deep south as a "Prize Cake" or aka "Alabama Lane Cake". A bourbon-laden, four layer, The inventor was Emma Rylander Lane, of Clayton, Alabama, who won first prize with it at the county fair in Columbus, Georgia. She called it "Prize Cake" when she published her cookbook "A Few Good Things To Eat" in 1898. Today this cake has a few variations but usually includes pecans, raisins and coconut soaked in a generous amount of bourbon, wine or brandy.
"Lane cake is truly a taste of the Deep South with more than enough sugar and shinny to lift anyone’s spirits", said Tori Avey.
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(Four nine-inch layers)
8 egg whites
1 C lightly salted butter
2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ¼ C cake flour (sift, measured, then sift with baking powder and salt)
3 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 C whole milk
¼ + good bourbon
Preheat oven to 375F. Line four buttered 9-inch cake pans with waxed paper. Whip egg whites until stiff and set aside. Beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and continue beating until like whipped cream. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, blending until smooth. Gently fold in egg whites. Pour batter into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes. Let cakes cool before removing from pans. Once cool, brush each layer with bourbon, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.
¾ C butter
1 ¾ C sugar
½ tsp salt
12 egg yolks
½ C bourbon whisky
1 ½ C shredded fresh coconut
1 ½ C quartered candied cherries
1 ½ C coarsely chopped pecans
In saucepan or top of double boiler, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar, salt and egg yolks, beating well. Cook over simmering water until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; add bourbon and beat one minute. Add fruits and nuts. Cool.
To Assemble cake:
Remove layers from refrigerator and place first layer on cake plate or stand. Spread filling between cooled layers and on top of cake.
This cake is best if assemble, then covered in a cake box for at least one day before frosting and serving.
½ C egg whites (room temperature)
1 ½ C sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ - ½ C candied cherries, halved
Place room temp eggs in bowl of stand mixer. In medium saucepan, combine sugar and cream of tartar with ½ C water. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Continue cooking over medium heat, with stirring, to 240F on candy thermometer, or until a little spins a think thread 6 to 8 inches long when dropped from a spoon.
Meanwhile, with mixer at medium speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks for when beater is slowly raised. With mixer at high speed, slowly pour hot syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating constantly. Add vanilla; continue beating until stiff peaks form when beater is slowly raised and frosting is thick enough to spread.
Spread or pipe frosting on top of cake. Decorate top edge of cake with cherries.