If the Lane Cake layers are nothing more than layers of plain, white cake, the filling is something else again. Filling is the proper term. This is not icing in any sense of the word. If, like me, you think of a proper cake coated with thick, smooth, swirly, pure chocolate mixed with butter , you are in for an eye-opener. The filling is beaten and lightly cooked egg yolks beaten with sugar, orange rind, bourbon, pecans, shredded coconut raisins and glace cherries (or in my case, the kind of candied fruit sold at Christmas for those of us who wanted to make fruitcake.)
The filling is lumpy, crunchy, and a taste thrill. Making it is not particularly difficult, but the cook does have to be careful. The directions say to mix the egg yolks, sugar and grated orange rind in a double boiler, and cook gently until the sugar dissolves, and, the mixture thickens to coat the back of the spoon. Well, that's fine, but, the second you stick the spoon into the unbeaten egg yolks, they coat the back of the spoon, so this is not a helpful direction. It took me about ten minutes of constant stirring to dissolve the sugar. The sensible novice cook may ask, "When will I know the sugar is dissolved?" Well, I lick the spoon every couple of minutes, and when the residue is not crunching in my teeth, I figure the sugar is dissolved.
I did not feel that the eggs were thick enough, especially after I added the 1/3 cup bourbon. By then, it was too late. My advice is to keep stirring at medium heat, which for a gas stove is about 4, and see what the eggs are like after 15 minutes. You don't want scrambled eggs, so do not let the egg mixture boil.
The final mixture was liquidy in a sticky sort of a way. It oozed out from between the layers, but wasn't really a problem. The candied fruit looked like jewels embedded in the coconut, pecan mixture. The bourbon made it really good.
The guests at the Mardi Gras potluck seemed to like it too, except for one person who left theirs on the piano bench. A successful production.
Lane Cake Filling
8 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
grated rind of one orange
1/3 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup glace cherries, quartered (or one cup of candied fruit)
1. Mix together the egg yolks, sugar and orange rind in a heavy pan or in the top of a double boiler.
2. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens to coat the back of the spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil or the egg yolks will be scrambled.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Cool before using to fill and top a three-layer cake. Makes about one quart of filling.