Name: Lane Cake
Inspired by: To Kill a Mockingbird
Secret Ingredient: Integrity
"Miss Maudie baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight." - Scout
This recipe is a tribute to Harper Lee, who recently passed away. It's a rich, layered cake, which I hope is fitting for someone of such incredible elegance and depth.
Although her editors warned her that To Kill a Mockingbird wouldn't sell, her work had enormous international impact. In fact, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. Her wisdom and kindness still echo in every word she wrote.
Making the Lane Cake Filling
You will need:
- 3/4 cup bourbon
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries or raisins
- 3/4 cup dried apricots
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Mix bourbon and dried fruit. Cover until bourbon is absorbed (at least 3 hours and up to 24).
- In a separate bowl, beat yolks and sugar until the mixture falls in ribbons. (Reserve egg whites for cake layers, below.)
- Beat in butter, then transfer to sausepan.
- Heat over medium low until mixture is thick, stirring constantly (about 10 minutes).
- Remove from heat, transfer back into bowl, and mix in dried fruit when ready.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill until cold (about 4 hours). Meanwhile, make cake (see below).
Making the Lane Cake Layers
You will need:
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 1 cup milk
- 8 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
- In a separate bowl, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until smooth. Add vanilla.
- Mix flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with portions from the cup of milk.
- In another bowl, use clean beaters to mix egg whites until soft peaks form.
- While mixing, gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar until whites are stiff but not dry.
- While stirring, slowly add whites to bowl with cake mixture.
- Line three round (9"x1.5") pans with circles of waxed paper, and butter the sides. Pour cake batter into each pan evenly.
- Bake cakes until done in center (about 20 minutes).
- Carefully turn cakes onto cooling racks and peel off paper. Allow to cool completely.
Competing the Cake
You will need:
- Lane Cake Filling
- 4 oz. chocolate chips, plus extra for decoration
- 3 Lane Cake Layers
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Mix chocolate chips into filling.
- Repeat twice: place 1 cake layer on serving platter, and spread with filling. Top with final cake layer.
- Chill cake. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients to make icing.
- Generously spread icing over sides and top of cake. Use a clean knife to smooth. Make more icing as needed.
- Decorate with remaining chocolate chips, cover with a cake dome, and chill.
- Enjoy as is, or save for later (can be made up to two days ahead).