Home Decor, DIY, Parties, Nesting, Cooking, Random Thoughts...all part of our family's journey

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lane Cake

While hanging out during one of my hospital visits while pregnant with Corban, America's Test Kitchen came on the tv.  One of the episode's featured recipes was for Lane Cake.  Josh and I both having To Kill a Mockingbird memorized, we decided to search for the recipe and try it.

This is now Josh's favorite cake! I've made the cake several times now.  A couple of tips:  while it calls for room temperature milk, don't let it sit too long or your cake with have a slightly sour taste to it.  I've used both regular and golden raisins, both work well.  With one attempt I realized I had no pecans, but I had some cinnamon-glazed pecans we were given from the Lions Club -- they really made the filling taste amazing!  Also, make sure to turn the cakes out onto cooling racks -- they will disintegrate if you leave them in the pans overnight.  Ahem.  Finally, keep the cake refrigerated or the frosting will slide.

Lane Cake
Recipe adapted from Cook's Country


1cup whole milk, just at room temperature 
6large egg whites, room temperature
2teaspoons vanilla extract
cups cake flour
cups sugar
4teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon salt
12tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
5tablespoons bourbon -- the good kind :)
1tablespoon heavy cream
1teaspoon cornstarch
½cup sweetened shredded coconut
¾cup cinnamon-glazed pecans
¾cup raisins (regular or golden)
4tablespoons unsalted butter
¾cup sweetened condensed milk
½teaspoon vanilla extract
2large egg whites, room temperature
¼teaspoon cream of tartar
¼cup sugar
cup light corn syrup
1teaspoon vanilla extract


1. MIX BATTER Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk milk, egg whites, and vanilla in large liquid measuring cup. With electric mixer on low speed, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until only pea-size pieces remain. Pour in half of milk mixture and increase speed to medium-high. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add remaining milk mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. 2. BAKE CAKES Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. {Don't skip this step!} Cool completely, at least 1 hour. (Cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 days.) 3. MAKE FILLING Whisk bourbon, cream, cornstarch, and salt in bowl until smooth. Process coconut in food processor until finely ground. Add pecans and raisins and pulse until coarsely ground. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add processed coconut mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in bourbon mixture and bring to boil. Off heat, add condensed milk and vanilla. Transfer to medium bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (Filling can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days. Bring filling to room temperature before using.) 4. WHIP FROSTING With electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, slowly add sugar and whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes; set aside. Bring corn syrup to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until large bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, about 1 minute. With mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into whites (avoid pouring syrup onto beaters or it will splash). Add vanilla and beat until mixture has cooled and is very thick and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes. {It tastes like marshmallow!} 5. ASSEMBLE CAKE Place 1 cake round on serving platter. Spread filling over cake, then top with second cake round. Spread frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Serve. (Cake can be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Jeshua's Superhero Birthday Party

Jeshua turned five this past week and we celebrated with a Superhero Birthday Party!

My favorite place to decorate for parties is our fireplace mantle in our living room. We have a pretty small house, so our guests hang out in there or the kitchen for most of the party.  For Jeshua's Superhero Party I sewed a pennant banner from turquoise and yellow fabric and some of my husband's vintage comic books (I asked first!).  I found the fabric and ribbon at Hobby Lobby.  The frames I already had so I added vintage superhero pictures I found online.

Guests were invited with an invitation designed by my sister.  I lined the envelopes with some polka dot paper I already had and added some comic book confetti.

For food I served cake, fruit with dip, cookies and mac and cheese cups.  We had kool aid and water to drink.

I had grand plans for the decorations on this table but our house was hit hard with the flu and it just didn't happen.  I filled three apothecary jars with curled paper and sprinkled some comic book confetti on the table.  You can check out my Superhero Party Pinterest board for more inspiration. :)

My mom decorated the cake for me.  Note to self:  take the cakes out of the pan the night before so they don't stick (and make a huge mess!).  (I used this recipe -- so easy and tastes way better than a box mix!).

For games, we attacked "bad guys" (the green balloons), drew our own comic books and played superheroes.  I found the blank comic book pages online, stapled them in a piece of card stock and covered the staples with washi tape.  We picked up a helium tank at Target (it's the cheapest place around here) and it's enough for all three of our birthday parties for the year.

We also had a photo booth where we could show off our best superhero poses.  I had the skyline printed as an engineering print at Staples for $5.00.

Guests went home with a goodie bag filled with superhero toys, fruit snacks and stickers.  I found the blue lunch bags, toys, stickers, fruit snacks and yellow washi tape at Target.

We had a fun day playing superheroes!