Lane Cake is a made from scratch recipe that originated in a kitchen in Alabama by a lady named Emma Rylander Lane. It got it’s claim to fame after winning first place in a local fair and became a traditional Southern dessert soon after. It has a buttery, goodness white cake, a rich filling and divine boiled frosting. The fruit, licorice like filling has an odd combination of ingredients, including raisins, coconut, nuts and bourbon. The coconut and nuts are additions that were added to the cake after the recipe originated. The boiled frosting is made of boiled syrup and beaten egg whites. Some people call this type of frosting, Seven Minute Frosting or even fluffy icing. The cake taste best if prepared a day in advance. This will give the cake adequate time for the flavors to blend together well. There are some variations of the cake, which will later be described. Lane Cake is a layer cake that is comparable and quite often mistaken for Lady Baltimore cake. It’s very common for this homemade cake to be served at birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, baby showers and other special occasions in the deep south.
Lane Cake Ingredients:
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 8 egg whites, save the egg yolks for later use
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of sugar, divided into ½ and 1 ½ cups
- 1 cup of butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of milk
Lane Cake Directions:
- Sift or stir the flour and baking powder together, and then set it aside for later use. (Sift flour to bake better cakes)
- Beat the egg whites and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer or wire whisk. Gradually add in ½ cup of the sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Set aside for later use.
- Cream the softened butter, remaining 1 ½ cups of sugar and the vanilla extract together until light and fluffy.
- Stir the flour mixture into the cream mixture alternatively with the milk. Begin and end with the flour. Stir until smooth and blended well.
- Gently fold in the egg whites. Continue to fold gently, but until the egg whites are blended throughout.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into 3 layer cake pans that have been lined greased and floured.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake test done at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a calibrated oven. Do not open the oven for at least the first 20 minutes of baking. This can cause the cake to fall or dry out. The cake will be done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.
- When the cakes are done, remove from the oven and place on wire racks to cool. Remove the cakes before they completely cool.
Southern Lane Cake Filling Ingredients:
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1 cup of moist, flaked coconut
- ½ cup of butter, softened
- 1/4 cup of bourbon
- 1 cup of chopped nuts
For best tasting filling use fresh or canned coconut. It is moister than bagged coconut. Be sure to use butter over margarine and this recipe taste best with walnuts. Use seedless raisins
- Combine the egg yolks, sugar, raisins, coconut and butter in a double boiler.
- Cook the mixture in the double boiler, stirring constantly. Cook until it thickens and mounds when dropped from a spoon. This should be for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the filling from the heat and immediately stir in the bourbon.
- Once the mixture cools, spread the filling in between the layers of the cake. Do not spread on the sides, there is an icing for that, recipe follows.
Boiled Frosting Ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of cream of tarter
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup of hot water
- ½ cup of egg whites, should be about 4 large egg whites
Boiled Frosting Directions:
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cream of tarter, salt and water.
- Cook the contents rapidly and do not stir, stirring will cause the icing to fail. Boil until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage. Should be about 6 to 8 minutes. Soft ball candy stage is determined by dropping the hot boiled filling into cold water. If it flutters when touched, this is soft ball stage. A candy thermometer can also be used to determine this at 235 F–240 F /118 C–120 C.
- Beat the egg whites until they become stiff and hold shape but are not dry.
- Pour the hot filling, in a thin stream, into the egg whites while constantly beating at high speed.
- Continue beating at a high speed until the frosting holds stiff peaks and becomes shiny and smooth in texture.
- Use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top and down the sides of the cake. Make sure the cake is sitting on the stand or in the container it will be served in. This cake is hard to move frosted.
- Store the cake in airtight container in a cool location. Slice and serve when ready to eat.
- The cake can be garnished with chopped nuts or coconut. Simply toast the coconut or just sprinkle it on. It can also be tinted for a fun and festive look.
Lane cake can also be made in pie plates instead of layer cake pans. The original cake was made by lining pie plates with greased brown paper bags. Brown paper bags used to be used often for baking in the past. The bourbon can be substitute with a high quality whiskey. It can also be substitute with grape jelly for those who don’t want to purchase the liquor, or those insist on a sweeter tasting filling. The coconut and nuts can be omitted. Any variety of nuts may be used, but walnuts are most commonly used. The cake can be completely frosted with the filling and the boil frosting left off. However, do not double the recipe for the filling. Filling batches should be made individually, as all candy type recipes should be. Lane cake is also commonly used as a staple based cake, omitting the filling and boiled frosting. Many people will simply frost the Lane cake with orange or lemon zesty frosting, especially during the summer months.