All the Great White Cakes of Southern Living
Call us shameless name-droppers, but Southerners have a habit of honoring places and people, real or fictional, by naming cakes after them. In the late 1800s, Emma Rylander Lane, of Clayton, Alabama, took first prize at the county fair with her sponge cake iced with a fluffy white frosting. She originally called the recipe Prize Cake, but friends convinced her to make the cake her namesake, and today you'll likely find Lane Cake served at a family's noteworthy occasions. Southern Living first published a recipe for Lane Cake in the second issue in 1966. Along with Mrs. Lane, other cakes honoring people and places include Lord and Lady Baltimore Cake and Martha Washington's Great Cake. Other Southern-bred cakes include ruch caramel cake, red velvet cake, and our favorite, Hummingbird Cake, submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins. While a few of these cakes may rarely appear on today's tables, the art of cake baking remains a point of great pride among Southern cooks, and now, as in colonial days, the type of cake served still conveys, to a degree, the status of the occasion. Cakes made with available ingrediemts like everyday pound cakes and upside-down skillet cakes are for family; those made with previously hard-to-get ingredients like citrsu fruit or coconut are reserved for weddings and holidays. And perhaps there's no cake in the South quite as important as the cake served on the holiday table. In 1995, we put a photograph of a three-layer Coconut-Lemon Cake on the cover. The overwhelming reader response to this cake began a tradition of "the big white cake," as the staff knows it, adorning the cover every December.
Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Angel Cake
Recipe: Orange-Pecan-Spice Pound Cake