Lane Cake is part of a cherished American tradition. It even shows up in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird a few times. However, this decadent, bourbon-soaked cake recipe goes back over 100 years, and it all started in Alabama.
The story can be traced to a single woman, Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Ala. She concocted the cake, which she dubbed “Prize Cake” at the time, for the county fair in Columbus, Ga. After winning first place in the contest (note the bourbon), she published the recipe in a little book, “A Few Good Things to Eat” in 1898. Eventually, the cake took on her name and became Lane Cake.
Now you can find this satisfying cake at potlucks all over the South and everyone has their spin on the classic.
Bruce Beck makes a beautiful confection with a rich filling, which includes the decadent flavor of egg yolks. The cohesive yolks were also present in the original county-fair-winning cake.
As a result of its deliciousness, this cake has gone down in Alabama lore. There are dozens of small variations on the basic concept. However, you can’t skip the filling, packed full of bourbon and raisins. Even better, the amount of bourbon you add can range anywhere from one to three cups. Finally, you can’t skip the wonderful boiled icing, which creates a beautiful finish.
Beck’s cake recipe is almost the same as a version Emma Rylander Lane’s granddaughter published in 1967. However, that original recipe is a silver cake that only uses egg whites. Beck opts for a more modern cake using whole eggs, which makes for a moister, richer yellow cake.
Either way, we all know what the magical ingredient of this cake is, and someone wanting to win over a room of people should probably opt for three cups.