One of the most Southern of cakes is a creation known as a Lane cake. It was named after Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama. It was published in 1898 in her book titled Some Good Things to Eat, and the original recipe title was Prize Cake. It is a white layer cake with a bourbon-flavored filling made with egg yolks.
Butter the bottom and sides of three 9-inch layer cake pans. Add a little flour and shake to coat the bottom and sides. Shake out the excess. Set the pans aside.
To make the cake batter, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift a second time.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk to the batter. Add one-fourth of the egg whites and beat them in. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon equal portions of the batter into each of the prepared pans. Bake20 to 25 minutes. Place on a rack and let stand 10 minutes. Turn the cake layers out onto a rack to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine the yolks, sugar, and orange rind in the top of a double boiler and place it in a basin of simmering water. Cook gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon. Do not let the mixture boil or the yolks will curdle.
Remove from the heat and beat in the bourbon, vanilla, mace, pecans, coconut, cherries, and raisins. Let cool to room temperature. Spread the filling between the cake layers.
To prepare the icing, beat the whites until stiff and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt and bring to the boil, stirring. Cook 5 minutes over moderate heat. Add the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the whites, beating constantly. Use this mixture to frost the top and sides of the cake.