Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lane Cake: A Southern Tradition?

Once my dad mentioned how much he loved Lane Cake.  I had never heard of it before.  I made a mental note, and decided to make it for his recent visit/birthday celebration.  My research showed it to be a Southern tradition, though I live in the South and no one I've talked to has ever heard of it.

I did a little research, made some adjustments, and ended up with a delicious final product.  The cake is three layers, and heavy on the egg whites.  It's not quite an angel food, it's denser than that, but lighter than most cakes. 

The filling is what sets it apart (and what you see on the top of the cake).  It is a mixture of pecans, raisins, dried figs coconut, sherry, and orange zest held together by egg yolk and sugar cooked to cover the spoon.  A quick note here to say that the figs and sherry aren't traditional to lane cakes; candied cherries and bourbon are.

The sides are iced with a sherry Italian butter cream. I am still a HUGE fan of the Italian butter cream.  I'll take it any day of an American one, especially laced with sherry.

The overall effect: the beauty of a layer cake and the flavor of a fruit cake.  A damn good fruit cake at that.

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