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Weekend Recipe: Lane Cake

Photo courtesy of Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

It's said that Emma Rylander Lane from Clayton, Alabama was trying to combine the best of ubiquitous Southern baking when she created her eponymous cake -- a happy marriage between the spongy White Mountain cake and the boozy, whisky-drenched puddings and fruitcakes popular at the time. Mrs. Lane's original recipe requires the cake to rest overnight but America's Test Kitchen condenses the cooking time for the modern baker. Enjoy!

Lane Cake
Serves 10 to 12

Cake
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

Filling
5 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup golden raisins
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk milk, egg whites, and vanilla in large liquid measuring cup. With electric mixer on low speed, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until only pea-size pieces remain. Pour in half of milk mixture and increase speed to medium-high. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add remaining milk mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Cool completely, at least 1 hour. (Cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 days.)

Whisk bourbon, cream, cornstarch, and salt in bowl until smooth. Process coconut in food processor until finely ground. Add pecans and raisins and pulse until coarsely ground. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add processed coconut mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in bourbon mixture and bring to boil. Off heat, add condensed milk and vanilla. Transfer to medium bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (Filling can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days. Bring filling to room temperature before using.)

With electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, slowly add sugar and whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes; set aside. Bring corn syrup to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until large bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, about 1 minute. With mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into whites (avoid pouring syrup onto beaters or it will splash). Add vanilla and beat until mixture has cooled and is very thick and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Place 1 cake round on serving platter. Spread filling over cake, then top with second cake round. Spread frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Serve. (Cake can be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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