Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seasonal Cakes

In the New York Times, an article about Alabama cakes Festiveness, Stacked Up Southern Style. Some have 15 layers and all go beyond anything we would do up here in the lazy north. They also outdo the seasonal fruitcake that's so frequently jeered at. The Lane Cake described in the article is soaked in alcohol like a fruitcake -- but sounds a lot tastier, as you can see from this quote:

The Lane cake is made with lots of egg whites, the yolks reserved for a rich filling of ground pecans, coconut and raisins flavored with bourbon or local wine. That makes it something of an illicit treat here in dry Geneva County, which is thick with non-drinking Baptists, some of whom substitute grape juice.

Like many of these layer cakes, the Lane cake gets better with a little age. Some cooks still store theirs in a tin with cut apples, to keep it moist while the alcohol mellows and flavors meld.

Anyway, all this talk of alcoholic cake brings to mind (both my mind and others) an old favorite song warning about the dangers of rum and its relatives. Before this week I only knew the lyrics "We don't eat cookies cause cookies have yeast..." but this blog post provided still more: Fruitcake, Fermentation by Another Name.

A little research and I found the following Youtube video with many more verses -- and the singer says he didn't even sing all he knows:

Sorry, I couldn't resist adding a verse to honor the ladies in the Times article:
We don't eat Lane cake cause Lane cake has wine
And one sip of wine puts you in a decline.
Did you ever see victims of the cake-bakers art
Who blamed the pecans but were winos at heart?

Thanks to my sister and to Cynthia at Gherkins and Tomatoes for getting me started on this!


Cindy said...


This is a terrific post! Thanks for the mention of Gherkins & Tomatoes.

I just want to add that last week I found out that, through my great-great-grandfather on my paternal grandmother's side, I am related to a lane family that settled in Jamestown, Virginia and from there went to NC and then all over. Lane Cake is something I want to know more about!


Mae Travels said...

Thanks, Cindy -- there's a little more about the Lane cake in the NYT article -- "Lane cakes, made with an 1898 recipe [are] named after Emma Rylander Lane of nearby Clayton, Ala., who called it her prize cake." Maybe she's your relative?