More than 100 years ago, Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, entered the annual baking competition at the county fair in Columbus, Georgia. She took first prize. No doubt the judges were swayed by her cake’s filling: a richly yolked custard heavily spiked with bourbon. The recipe, entitled Prize Cake, can be found in Some Good Things To Eat, a collection of personal favorites she published in 1898. Though later versions add shredded coconut and pecans to the filling, the original recipe calls for raisins only. Like Lady Baltimore Cake, it’s one of many spirited fruit-filled cakes of the era that became a holiday tradition. In July 1960, Lane Cake gained literary fame in To Kill A Mockingbird. And in March 1966, Southern Living featured a recipe for Lane Cake in its second issue. Our latest twist? Dried peaches (finely diced and ridiculously delicious) stand in for raisins, and the traditional meringue frosting gets a spirited makeover with a triple shot of peach schnapps.
Recipe: The Lane Cake