State Dessert of the Week

February 22, 2018 at 6:01 AM | Posted in State Dessert | Leave a comment
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Starting this week, and starting with Alabama, I’ll be listing each State’s Official Dessert. Looking into this I did find differing opinions on the “Official Dessert”. I found some States have 2 or even 3 Desserts. So there is some disagreement on some of the Desserts. Also No two states can have the same dessert. Once a dessert is assigned to one state, no other state can lay claim to it. The information gathered comes from various websites on the net. If you would have recipes for any of the Desserts I’ll be passing along just send them to me and I’ll post them. Enjoy and Eat Healthy in 2018!
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State Dessert of the Week – Alabama Lane Cake

Alabama Lane Cake made famous by its appearance in To Kill A Mockingbird.

A thick slice of lane cake

Lane cake, also known as prize cake or Alabama Lane cake, is a bourbon-laden baked cake traditional in the American South. According to food scholar Neil Ravenna, the inventor was Emma Rylander Lane, of Clayton, Alabama, who won first prize with it at the county fair in Columbus, Georgia. She called it “Prize Cake” when she self-published a cookbook, A Few Good Things to Eat in 1898. Her published recipe included raisins, pecans, and coconut, and called for the layers to be baked in pie tins lined with ungreased brown paper rather than in cake pans.

The Lane cake is sometimes confused with the Lady Baltimore cake, which also is a liquor-laden fruit-filled cake, but of different pedigree.

Many variations of the Lane cake now exist, with three or more layers of white sponge cake, separated by a filling that typically includes pecans, raisins and coconut soaked in a generous amount of bourbon, wine or brandy. It may be frosted on the top, on the sides, or both.

Lane cake is often found in the South at receptions, holiday dinners, or wedding showers.

The cake has a reputation as being difficult to make, but this is no longer as true as it once was. When the recipe originated, there were no stand mixers, nor electric hand mixers, and even hand-crank eggbeaters were not universally available, which meant a lot of hard labor beating egg whites to frothy soft peaks. The wood-fired ovens of the time had no thermostats, making it difficult to produce a white cake. The pecans, raisins and coconut had to be chopped by hand or, more often, put through a meat grinder. The filling ingredients can be chopped in an electric food processor today. Modern refrigeration also makes it easier to produce a stiff filling, allowing one to build an orderly multi-layer cake, rather than a sticky, lopsided dessert. Even with modern conveniences, making a traditional Lane cake is still quite a task to undertake. It is still a special cake, best made several days in advance of an important family event, so the flavors have time to mingle. During the war, Lane cakes were a favorite among service men lucky enough to receive one for Christmas. By the time the cake arrived overseas, the spirits, raisins and cake had fermented into a special delight. Many southern families have stories of “the best cake ever tasted”.

Recipes for Lane cake vary because so many Southern Cooks who made Lane cake for special occasions fiercely guarded their recipe. Some lucky cooks use a recipe passed down from generation to generation, while many others rely on vague instructions and a variety of sources in an attempt to recreate the family tradition. One such cook, Atlanta baker and Alabama native, Lise Ode, wrote about such an attempt and shares the recipe she created on her blog. Professional chef, Tori Avey, includes a recipe for Lane cake on her website complete with pictures of each step. Although it is difficult to locate a copy of Emma Rylander Lane’s original cookbook or the revised edition, Some Good Things to Eat that was published in 1989, the recipe can be found in many older cookbooks. One such cookbook, The Purefoy Hotel Cook Book published in Talladega, Alabama in 1953 has been digitized and can be accessed through the Digital Public Library of America. The recipe for Lane cake appears on page 123–124.

Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone include a recipe for Lane cake in their cookbook Booze Cakes: Confections Spiked With Spirits, Wine, and Beer which uses 2 tablespoons of bourbon in the cake, 1 cup in the filling, and a buttercream frosting made from 1 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup half-and-half, 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

The original recipe for Lane cake called for 1/4 cup Bourbon added to the filling mixture only, although the bourbon was sometimes replaced with grape juice by cooks who did not believe in partaking alcohol. Whisky, Wine, and Brandy are mentioned in other recipes. Still other Lane cake cooks took great pride in using a homemade liqueur, such as Scuppernong Wine, making their cake all the more special and harder to duplicate. Most cooks placed the finished Lane cake in a covered tin and allowed it to “set” for up to a week before serving, in order for the spongy cake to “soak up” the flavor. Some also wrapped the unfrosted cake in a cloth that had been soaked in the bourbon, brandy, wine or grape juice while it set in a cool place, often in a bowl set inside a dishpan and then covered. It was then frosted with 7-minute boiled icing or other whipped white frosting, usually a day or more before serving.

Here’s 2 links of many for the recipe for Lane Cake

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/the-lane-cake

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/easy-lane-cake/2efce79f-8d58-4b59-9894-e37c90f8bd37

Mardis Gras

February 17, 2012 at 1:25 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Mardi Gras

The terms “Mardi Gras” (play /ˈmɑrdiɡrɑː/), “Mardi Gras season”, and “Carnival season”, in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash

Mardi Gras 2010 celebrants in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Wednesday; in English the day is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday, from the word shrive, meaning “confess.” Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition. In English, the day is called Shrove Tuesday, associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins.

In many areas, the term “Mardi Gras” has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. In some US cities, it is now called “Mardi Gras Day” or “Fat Tuesday”. The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras the entire period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year’s Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times parades were held on New Year’s Day. Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Barranquilla, Colombia, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Quebec City, Canada; Mazatlán, Sinaloa in Mexico; and New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European nations. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called “shrovetide”, ending on Shrove Tuesday. It has its popular celebratory aspects as well. Pancakes are a traditional food. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699, Lundi Gras. They did not yet know it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the west bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, and made camp. This was on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras, so in honor of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: “Mardi Gras Point”) and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1703 French settlers in Mobile began the Mardi Gras celebration tradition. By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French customs had already accompanied colonists who settled there.

In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans, founded in 1718. The tradition has expanded to the point that it became strongly associated with the city in popular perception, and embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage. Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan, Laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll) and the nickname “Big Easy”. Mobile, Alabama, the former capital of New France, also has a long tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras. Other cities along the Gulf Coast formerly occupied and owned by the French from Pensacola, Florida, and its suburbs to Lafayette, Louisiana, have active Mardi Gras celebrations. In the rural Acadiana area, many Cajuns celebrate with the Courir de Mardi Gras, a tradition that dates to medieval celebrations in France.

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