Every other dessert I made for 2018’s ‘Fifty Sweets Of America’ challenge were very different from each other, both in taste and procedure. However, they all had one key thing in common: I was allowed to eat them. This was not the case, however, with the Alabama lane cake. Why? Because the frosting included 1/2 cup of Bourbon.
This is my last Fifty Sweets Of America blog post! If you still aren’t up to speed, last year (in 2018) we challenged ourselves to make 50 desserts, each to represent a different US state. Since 50 is a lot of desserts, we split it up and each made 25. Today, it’s me, Karenna, with lane cake to represent Alabama!
Figuring out what dessert to make to represent Alabama wasn’t too hard, Alabama is a state that actually has a designated state dessert, and their state dessert is, you guessed it, butter tarts!…Just kidding, as of 2016 lane cake is the state dessert of Alabama. This is because lane cake was mentioned in the famous, Pulitzer Prize winning, story ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ which takes place in Alabama.
This lane cake was very different from any other cake I’ve made. To me, the actual cake part seemed to turn out fairly normal. The recipe for making it was fairly normal, except for one key thing. Instead of adding normal eggs to the rest of the ingredients while they were in the mixer, you added 8 egg whites, beat until they had soft peaks, to a very doughy batter at the end of the cake making process. Interesting, right?
But the really interesting thing about this cake was, undoubtedly, the frosting/filling. First of all, it was cooked over the stove instead of in a stand mixer like your typical cream cheese or buttercream frosting. But, since the recipe called for 12 egg yolks, you had to stir it constantly until it thickened. A process that took around 20 minutes. Once it was thick, you added raisons, coconut, pecans, and lastly, bourbon. These add-ins gave this frosting a very unique look and texture. I was skeptical of the look at first, however once it was on the cake it ended up looking very elegant. Appropriate, since I made this dessert on New Years Eve. Once the frosting had cooled, I started to assemble this cake. The cake was three layers, (so, be sure you have enough cake pans before you make this dessert.) so I started by putting a layer of frosting between each cake as well as on the top of the cake. Then, I moved onto the sides of the cake. However, I quickly ran into a problem. The frosting was to liquid-y to stick to the sides of the cake! So, I kept the sides bare, and it turned out just fine!
As I mentioned in the beginning, because this cake was made with bourbon, I couldn’t actually try it. So, I relied on family and friends to give me feedback on this dessert. And their comments were very positive! One person told me that it was the best dessert they’d ever had! I was also informed that you can definitely taste the bourbon, so if you don’t like that flavor, then you likely won’t like this cake.
Fun Fact: Pecans are the official state nut of Alabama!
For the cake-
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk (room temperature)
- 8 egg whites (room temperature)
For the filling-
- 12 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 12 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 1/2 cups chopped and shelled pecans
- 1 1/2 cups chopped and shelled raisins
- 1 1/2 cups grated coconut
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the sugar while the mixer is on medium speed. Beat until light and fluffy. (You may have to scrape the down the sides of the bowl.)
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the vanilla to the milk. Put the mixer on low speed, add the flour in 3 batches, alternating with the milk. Mix each batch until well blended before adding the next batch. (Don’t forget to stop and scrap the sides of the bowl.)
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Start by adding 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter before folding in the remaining egg whites.
- Pour the batter into 3 butter and floured cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bang each pan lightly on the counter to remove air bubbles before baking in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the cakes spring back lightly when tapped lightly. Let cool completely before peeling off the parchment paper.
- Start the filling. In a saucepan, stir together the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in the melted butter and cook, while stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to thinly coat the back of a spoon. Don’t let the mixture simmer or boil.
- Once the mixture is thickened, stir in the pecans, raisins, and coconut. Continue cooking for 1 minute, then add the vanilla extract and bourbon. Stir briefly over the heat, then remove from the stove and allow to cool slightly.
- Assemble the cake by spreading some of the filling evenly between each cake layer. Frost the top and sides as well. (All though frosting the sides didn’t work too well for me.)
- Serve and enjoy! (Cool completely before serving.)
Sources: Recipe from Saveur, click here for the recipe.
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