Lane Cake

 Hi, dear friends! Hope you are doing well. 

I moved to Birmingham, Alabama on August and, since then, I've been trying different recipes of classic Southern layer cakes. Today, I would like to share with you the Lane Cake. This is a very famous and traditional one, especially in the Christmastime.

Emma Rylander Lane, of Clayton, Alabama, won first prize with Lane Cake in a baking contest at a county fair in Columbus, Georgia. After that, she decided to self-publish a cookbook named Some Good Things To Eat, in 1898. The recipe was originally called by her as the “Prize Cake”.

If you are a fan of the book To Kill a Mockingbird, you are probably familiar with this name. Harper Lee mentioned the Lane Cake in her novel several times and certainly you will remenber this phrase from Scout Finch: “Miss Maudie Atkinson baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight.”  The term “shinny" refers to the Bourbon, which is combined with raisins to make the filling, placed between four layers of white sponge cake, and topped with boiled frosting.

For decoration, I made sugar pink camellias, the state flower of Alabama. I love camellias and I think they are a perfect combination for this cake.

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LANE CAKE

(Recipe adapted from here)

 

 CAKE

3 ¼ cups sifted cake flour

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 – 16 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

8 egg whites

1 cup milk

On wax paper sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add egg whites, in four additions, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Fold in flour mixture alternately with milk; begin and end with dry ingredients. Batter should be smooth but look slightly granular.

Turn into 4 ungreased 9-inch round layer-cake pans lined on the bottom with wax paper.

Bake in a 375-degree oven until edges shrink slightly from sides of pans and tops spring back when gently pressed with finger, or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean — about 20 minutes. Place pans on wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes.

Turn out on wire racks; remove wax paper; turn right side up; cool completely.

Put layers together (on a cake plate) with Lane Cake Filling, stacking carefully; do not spread filling over top. Cover top and sides with swirls of Boiled White Frosting.

Cover with a tent of foil or a cake cover; or cover tightly in a large deep bowl in tin box. Store in a cool place; if refrigerated, allow to stand at room temperature for half a day before serving because cake texture is best when cake is not served chilled

 FILLING

8 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup seedless raisins, finely chopped

1 – 3 cup bourbon or brandy

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped raisins 

1 cup finely chopped pecans 

1 cup grated coconut

In a 2-quart saucepan, beat the egg yolks well; beat in sugar and butter. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until quite thick. Remove from heat; stir in raisins, pecan, coconut, bourbon and vanilla. Cool slightly; use as directed.

BOILED FROSTING

(Recipe from here)

    1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces/200 grams)

 1/3 cup water (2.75 ounces/80 grams)

2 large egg whites (¼ cup/2.125 ounces/60 grams)

Pinch salt, or ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, stir the sugar and water over low heat until dissolved. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-high, and boil until it reaches the soft-ball stage and registers 238°F on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the salt or cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.

n a slow, steady stream, beat in the hot syrup. Be careful the syrup does not touch the beaters or it will spin into threads. Add the vanilla and beat until cool.

Floral cupcakes and mini cakes

Custom Celebrations Cake in Birmingham Alabama
Custom Celebrations Cake in Birmingham Alabama

I love to collect cupcake liners, specially the floral ones. One day I bought a beautiful package with pale yellow and teal cups with pink flowers that caught my attention for being similar to a floral fabric that I found in Brazil. I loved the combination between teal, pale yellow and fuchsia! Inspired by this color palette I made these cupcakes and mini cakes decorated with little sugar flowers.

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Custom Celebrations Cake in Birmingham Alabama
Custom Celebrations Cake in Birmingham Alabama
Custom Celebrations Cake in Birmingham Alabama

Inspiration for cake decorating can be found everywhere!

Have a wonderful week!

Lulu, xoxo

Coconut Blancmange with Fig Preserve

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About 3 years ago I made one of the most beautiful desserts for this blog, the almond blancmange with candied papaya. I had bought the book Pierre Hermé Pastries and I decided to try some of the recipes. I made the almond blancmange recipe from the book and I decorated it with candied papaya rolls, a very popular dessert in my country. As I explained in that post, I love to eat blancmange with fruit preserves, and that particular combination between the lightness of the blancmange and the intense sweet flavor of the candied papaya worked very well. 

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That stunning dessert reminds the coconut blancmange with fig preserve that my mother used to make every time figs were in season, and this glorius recipe is what I want to share with you today, dear friends. 

The coconut blancmange is simpler than that almond one, unless you want to make your own coconut milk.  But you have to be concious of some secrets for success.  When you have a corn starch-based cream you can end up with a lumpy blancmange if you didn't take these precautions:  first, you have to dissolve the corn starch with a litle of the cold milk before mix it with the other ingredients, and second, you have to whisk the mixture during the whole cooking process.

To make the fig preserve you need to have firm unripe figs to get a firm and flavorful  preserve. There a lot of varieties of figs, and some of them remain green, even when fully ripe, so take care when buying yours. Fruit preserve recipe is mostly composed of equal measures of fruit and sugar,  1:1 ratio. If you have 1.5 pound of fig, you will need 1.5 pound of sugar. 

This is a perfect dessert for a summer dinner!

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Coconut Blancmange

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3.4 oz coconut milk

17 oz whole milk

1.8 oz corn starch

1 tablespoon sugar

 

Mix the coconut milk and the corn starch in a bowl with a whisk until smooth ( or if you prefer you can dissolve the starch with a small quantity of milk too). Add this mixture in a pan with all the remaining ingredients. Mix with a whisk until combined. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring with the whisk, until thickened. Place the blancmange in a ring mold or in small dessert cups. Refrigerate overnight.

 Fig Preserve

2 pounds fresh unripe figs
2 pounds sugar
water sufficient to cover the figs in the pan

On the first day, wash the figs in warm water and lightly rub each one with a cloth or knife. Cut into 4 wedges and let the edges attached to the stalks.  In a cooper pan over medium heat cook the figs in boiling water changing the cooking water after each 15 minutes during 1 hour or until the figs are cooked. After this time the figs will be yellowish green.  Remove from heat and let stand overnight with the last cooking water, at room temperature.

On the second day, change the water and let figs boiling about 15 minutes. The figs will change the color to intense green.  Change the water and add sugar. Cook until you have a thick syrup. Cool the figs in the fridge. Arrange the figs over the blancmange, drizzling sugar syrup over them.

 

 

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Wedding Cake

Hi everyone! I want to share one of the cakes I made recently. It is a five-tier buttercream wedding cake decorated with sugar roses, dahlias, hyacinthus, ranunculus and tulips. 

The flavors were 3 tiers of chocolate cake filled with caramel French buttercream with Fluer de Sel and dark chocolate French buttercream, and 2 tiers of lemon cake filled with white chocolate blackberry French buttercream and lemon French buttercream. All the tiers were covered with Swiss merengue buttercream.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Lulu, xoxo