I discovered this cake and its connection to To Kill a Mockingbird ages ago, but it was more recently that Serious Eats posted a little article about the history of the Lane Cake. It’s a Southern cake, friends, and it is also quite boozy, so get ready.
We start with these light, light cake layers, made so by whipping the egg whites separately and folding them into the rest of the bourbon-flavored cake batter. I’m not sure what type of cake this is called, maybe a chiffon cake?
The cake is filled with a custard-y conglomerate of raisins, coconut, pecans and bourbon. I don’t typically go for raisins or coconut, but I was eating this stuff by the spoonful.
And finally, everything gets covered with swirls of a marshmallow 7-minute-esque frosting, made with egg whites. Bonus, you can use the egg whites leftover from the filling recipe. This frosting was really difficult to work with, so be sure to use it as soon as it is ready. As you can see, mine was absolutely dead on picture perfect in every way ever.
The result was an absolutely addictive cake. The name “Lane” is unassuming, but there is a reason it is an American classic, and it’s not just because it contains bourbon. Enjoiiii.
Not allowing children,
Cake adapted from Food & Wine
Frosting from Saveur
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tabelspoon bourbon
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated
Preheat the oven to 275°. Spray a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with non-stick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray and flour the paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar until fluffy using the paddle attachment. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between additions. Mix in the bourbon. With the machine at low speed, add the dry ingredients in 4 batches, alternating with the milk mixture and ending with the flour mixture.
Transfer the batter to a large bowl, then clean the mixer bowl, wiping the bowl and whisk attachments with a vinegar-soaked paper towel to remove any trace of oil. Beat room-temperature egg whites until soft peaks form. With the machine on, gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until the egg whites are thick and glossy. Scrape the beaten whites into the reserved cake batter and fold until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool to room temperature. If desired, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
For the filling:
1 cup white sugar
8 egg yolks
½ cup bourbon
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup dried fruit (I used 75% raisins and 25% dried cranberries)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk together sugar and yolks in a medium saucepan; whisk in bourbon and butter, and heat over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently, cooking until mixture thickens to the consistency of loose pudding, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. If you are rushed, you can transfer the pot to an ice bath so that it will cool faster. Stir in raisins, pecans, coconut, and vanilla. Set aside.
For the icing:
1½ cups sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. kosher salt
4 egg whites
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook, whisking often, until the sugar dissolves. You shouldn’t be able to feel the granules.
Place the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with a whisk, and whisk the mixture on medium-high until tripled in volume and stiff peaks form. While the icing whips, cut the sheet cake into two halves and split each half, making four rectangular layers. Place one cake layer on a cake stand and top with 1/3 of the filling; repeat with remaining cake layers and filling, leaving top layer uncovered.
Immediately spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake until the cake is evenly covered. The frosting is pretty difficult to work with; I tried to do swirls, but they kind of failed. Best to use the icing immediately after whipping.
Chill the cake before serving, overnight if necessary.