Lane Cake: now there's a tall southern belle of a layer cake. It's filled with coconut, chopped fruit and nuts, and a generous serving of whiskey or brandy, and topped off with a snowy range of fluffy frosting. Cutting into this cake is particularly enjoyable: the white frosting gives way to a creamy-colored cake, with a slightly more yellow-toned custard that's flecked with a confetti of nuts and fruits.
Credit for the cake goes to Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, who published the original recipe under the name "Prize Cake" in a self-published cookbook around the turn of the century. It had been titled "Prize Cake" because she had entered it, and won, in a baking contest in Georgia. As time went on and the cake's popularity was spread, Lane's name was attached to the cake.
Modern cookbooks will point out that the original recipe is "imprecise," but over the years (and with the advent of the standardization of ingredient measurements), it has evolved into one of Alabama's famous culinary feats. The cake has been reinvented time and time again, with different types of fruit and nuts in the filling, some with grape juice for teetotaler or child-friendly affairs. This version is fairly classic, with a light cake, dense filling, and a fluffy boiled frosting.
And you, too, can take pride in making this cake. While not necessarily difficult, it is a somewhat laborious cake. However, the end result is a lovely cake that is well-suited for celebrating: delicious, sophisticated and ladylike, but with a little kick from the alcohol that lets you know it means business.