Lane Cake


First created in 1890 by Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, the Lane Cake became a star after it was mentioned in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, when Miss Maudie Atkinson made a Lane Cake to welcome her Aunt Alexandra. Lane Cake was once considered a special occasion-only cake because the egg whites and to be beaten by hand. But thanks to modern kitchen appliances, you can whip up this show-stopping cake with ease. Get even more great cakes in our Southern Cakes special issue.

Kitchen Tip: Prepare the Strawberry-Pecan Filling first, and let it cool while you make the cake and icing.

Lane Cake
Yield: 1 (9-inch) 3-layer cake
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  1. 1 cup vegetable shortening
  2. 2 cups sugar, divided
  3. 3 cups sifted cake flour
  4. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 cup whole milk
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 8 large egg whites (yolks reserved for Strawberry-Pecan Filling)
  9. 3⁄8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  10. Strawberry-Pecan Filling (recipe follows)
  11. Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; spray with nonstick baking spray with flour. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat shortening at high speed with an electric mixer until smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Gradually add 12⁄3 cups sugar, beating until creamy, approximately 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt twice. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine milk and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to shortening mixture in thirds, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until smooth (batter will be thick). Set aside.
  5. In another large bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1⁄3 cup sugar. Beat at high speed until peaks are stiff, but not dry.
  6. Fold one-fourth of egg whites into flour mixture. Repeat with remaining egg whites. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, smoothing tops with an offset spatula.
  7. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 25 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  8. Spread Strawberry-Pecan Filling between cake layers. Spread Cream Cheese Icing on top and sides of cake.
Taste of the South
Strawberry-Pecan Filling
Yield: approximately 3 cups
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  1. 2 pounds fresh strawberries, stems removed
  2. 1 1⁄3 cups sugar, divided
  3. 3⁄4 cup fresh orange juice
  4. 8 large egg yolks (reserved from Lane Cake)
  5. 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  6. 3⁄4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine strawberries, 1 cup sugar, and orange juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture reduces to the consistency of jam, approximately 1 hour. Set aside, and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining 1⁄3 cup sugar at high speed with an electric mixer until pale yellow, approximately 5 minutes. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a medium heavy saucepan, add yolk mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and a candy thermometer reads 160°, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in strawberry mixture and pecans until combined. Refrigerate approximately 4 hours.
Taste of the South
Cream Cheese Icing
Yield: approximately 4 1/2 cups
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  1. 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  2. 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  3. 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Add vanilla, beating to combine.
  1. To decorate this cake like a professional, add a thin layer of icing, and then refrigerate or freeze the cake until icing is firm. Spread remaining icing on top and sides of cake.
Taste of the South


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