Hello, 2019! That’s weird to say. How did this happen? I’m over here still writing 2016 on stuff, forever.
Pardon my French, but HOLY SHIT, 2018 was definitely one for the books. I got married to my favorite person, left a job I loved, moved across the world to Singapore, explored my new city, travelled to places I never thought I'd go, pet a kangaroo, took a jungle walk with elephants, cooked - and ate - lots of delicious food, said goodbye to student loan debt, read more books, learned more things. While it hasn't all been rainbows and butterflies (did I mention the move across the world?!), it's definitely been a year of firsts, and memorable experiences. What in the world will 2019 hold?!
For the past several years, my New Year’s “resolutions” have mostly revolved around cooking. Granted, they’ve never been too wild, just things like eating out less and cooking more at home, meal prepping for the week or trying out a new, challenging recipe once a week. While most stick, some fall by the wayside as schedules get hectic and other life things take priority. So when I started to think about what I want to accomplish/improve upon in 2019, a couple simple things came to mind: write more and take more pictures, more often.
Which is when I came up with the idea of a little cooking project I’ve been calling Cooking America (#cookingamerica)! Each week of 2019, I’ll highlight an iconic, regional recipe from each state. This project is part creative/cooking/writing/photography exercise, part accountability check and part taste of home (yes, the food in Singapore is delicious, but sometimes you just want toasted ravs, and the only way to get them in Singapore is to DIY, ok!?). It will be fun, I promise. I hope you guys like it!
First up is Alabama’s iconic Lane Cake. This sweet, boozy, coconutty cake isn’t the simplest to make (unless you, like me, don’t mind shortcutting with boxed cake mix and frosting sometimes), but it is damn delicious. I toned down the sugar in the filling and cut the recipe in half since I opted for cupcakes instead of a traditional layer cake. I also swapped cream cheese icing for the boiled white icing the classic recipe because my trusty old KitchenAid is in storage and, truth be told, I am not into hand-whipping frosting. Sorry, not sorry. Anyway, this cake is the bomb and definitely a new summer picnic/backyard BBQ favorite.
Alabama Lane (Cup) Cake
Recipe adapted from Tori Avey’s Lane Cake recipe.
Makes a dozen cupcakes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
1 box of your favorite white cake or butter yellow cake mix, plus additional ingredients called for (eggs, oil, etc.)
1 container of your favorite cream cheese or vanilla frosting
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
1/2 cup yellow raisins, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped, plus more for topping
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded or grated coconut, toasted, plus more for topping
1 jar maraschino cherries
1. Prepare and bake cupcakes according to directions on package. Let cupcake cool on a baking rack while you prepare the filling.
2. In a large saucepan, lightly beat egg yolk, sugar and butter until combined. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring frequently until mixture looks translucent and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10-12 minutes. Remove filling from heat, add whiskey, vanilla, raisins, pecans and coconut, stir until combined. Let filling mixture cool slightly, at least 15 minutes.
3. Using an apple corer, hollow out the middle of each cooled cupcake. Be careful not to go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake, otherwise your filling may run. Using a piping bag or small appetizer spoon, carefully fill each cupcake with the raising, pecan and coconut mixture.
4. Frost the cupcakes with your icing of choice, top with chopped pecans, toasted coconut and a maraschino cherry. Enjoy!