Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Grandma and the Lane Cake

I was telling some friends about my grandmother's lane cake last night, it brought back so wonderful childhood memories, so thought I would share the story with you.  My paternal grandmother was an excellent baker and even better seamstress.  What she could make with her arthirtic fingers was nothing short of amazing.  But I am not here to talk about her sewing....I want to tell you about her baking....She had a closet in her house where she would make and put cakes she had made (Lane and Fruit cakes).  She put them in there to "season" since they were both doused pretty heavily with bourbon.  Even the raisins she used in these cakes spent many hours in the sauce. As a child I loved to hide in this closet...because I loved the way it smelled. day when the new Baptist preacher and his family moved into the parsonage across the street from her house my grandmother decided to send over one of her "straight" Lane cakes.  She told my aunt to go and get one and run it on over....and my aunt did as she was instructed.....sort of.  She DID take a Lane cake to the Baptist preachers just was not a straight one.  The preacher loved the cake and ate it all within just a few days.    He came to see my grandmother to ask for the recipe so his wife could make more.  My grandmother gave him the recipe....doctored a bit....and without alcohol.  The poor Baptist preacher's wife made several of these cakes but to no avail.  None of them tasted like my grandmother's cake.  One day the preacher's wife showed up on my grandmother's porch to ask her to SHOW her how to make the cake.  My grandmother showed her....and then broke down and confessed that the cake was ladened with bourbon.  The ladies both laughed and after that the preacher's wife would come visit my grandmother for her "special" raisins and sauce.  The preacher was delighted because now his precious bride had learned to make this divine cake.  My grandmother was delighted because she did not have to confess her cooking skills to the preacher.  All's well that ends well....I suppose.  While you are here I thought I would share my grandmother's "special" recipe with you.  If you want to make a "straight" cake just leave out the bourbon.

Grandmother's "Special" Lane Cake Recipe
  • 3 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 large egg whites

  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 3/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped raisins or apricots
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1 1/2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
For cake:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour four 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pans with waxed paper. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until whites are stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of whites into butter mixture. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions. Divide batter among pans (batter will be about 1/2 inch deep).
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; peel off paper. Cool completely.
For filling:
Mix bourbon, cherries and raisins in small bowl. Cover; let stand at room temperature until most of bourbon is absorbed and fruit softens, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Using electric mixer, beat yolks and sugar in medium bowl until mixture falls in heavy ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in butter. Transfer yolk mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until thermometer registers 160°F and mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in nuts, coconut and fruit mixture. Chill until cold, about 4 hours. Mix in chocolate. (Cake layers and filling can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap cakes; store at room temperature. Cover filling; chill.)
Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 1/3 of filling. Repeat layering of cake and filling 2 more times. Top with final cake layer, pressing slightly.
Chill cake.
For frosting:
Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in bourbon and vanilla. Beat cream and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in large bowl until soft peaks form. Add cream cheese mixture to whipped cream; beat until stiff enough to spread.
Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. If desired, place pecans around edge of cake. Using rolling pin, flatten apricot halves between sheets of plastic wrap. Cut out leaf shapes. Arrange on cake. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill.)
This cake is really good....I am not a coconut fan....but this cake is one of those memories you never forget. 




Nonnie said...

That cake sounds too yummy. Recently I was in an antique store which had cake stands that you could fill the center with liquor to keep the cake moist. I also love a good rum cake.

Sweet Tea said...

That cake looks and sounds wonderful!!
I'd love to eat some cake like that, though I'm way to lazy to make a cake like that. What great homemakers and cooks that generation of women were...That was a GREAT story too! LOL

Debby@Just Breathe said...

That's a delightful story. Thanks for sharing the recipe.