December 21, 2007


Truman Capote's A CHRISTMAS MEMORY is one of my favorite stories. He grew up in Alabama and was taken in by his cousin who, although poor, always scraped enough money together to make 30 fruitcakes which she would send to deserving folks, among them the Roosevelts in the White House.

Our christmases as a child were about simple pleasures -gathering holly and pine boughs from the woods, making a sock doll for my younger sister, carving birds out of wood scraps, making christmas tree ornaments and going to church for the Christmas pageant about the birth of the christ child.

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories was of my sister Wilma creating the Lane Cake she baked each year. The three or four layers were composed of buttercream frosting, egg yolks, sugar, raisins, pecans, fresh coconut and bourbon. The smells that filled our little house were wonderful and we could hardly wait for Christmas day to sink our teeth into that heavenly creation.

It seems that a Mrs. Lane of Alabama wrote a cookbook around the beginning of the 20th century called Some Good Things to Eat and the cake recipe which won the state fair's first prize became known as Lane Cake. McCall Magazine featured it in an issue and declared that it was one thing you had to taste before you died. It's probably 2,000 calories a slice ! It became an integral part of Southern culture and was mentioned in To Kill A Mockingbird.

FOOD AND WINE Magazine ran a recipe in its February 2007 issue. At the end of the recipe they correctly stated : " Bourbon is key to the filling and a good glass of bourbon is also key. " Just be sure to drink the bourbon after the cake is done or both you and the cake will be soaked.


  1. I love that story too, but the movie was disappointing. I wanted it to continue on, but it stops when the send him away to school.

  2. Merry Christmas, Carolyn Gail. That Lane Cake looks delicious. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of my favorite books. I'll have to try to find the reference to thie Lane Cake in it.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. I think its hard for a movie to capture a book like To Kill A Mockingbird. But any movie with Gregory Peck is fine by me, even if he just reads the phone book !

  4. Merry Christmas to you as well, Carol. When Aunt Alexandra ( Atticus' uptight sister ) visits, Maudie Atkinson, Scouts next door neighbor who loves to garden and bake, makes a Lane cake to welcome her. Scout said that it had so much "shinny " ( booze ) in it that it made her tight !

  5. "To Kill A Mockingbird" is also 1 of my favorite books. It's too bad that Harper Lee never have another story in her. That cake looks amazing - never say "diet." Merry Christmas!

  6. I wandered off to Food and Wine and then realised that I hadn't left a comment. The Lane cake looks delicious and sounds even better. I shall remember that a good glass of bourbon is also key!

    Merry Christmas to you!!

    Kate ox

  7. This is one of my favorite books (Capote is my favorite writer). If you can find the 60s version with the great Geraldine Page, it is pretty good. The one with Patty Duke, not so good.

    If you like Gregory Peck, I'm sure you've seen "Duel in the Sun"? I'm a big fan of Jennifer Jones.

    So glad I discovered your blog. We have very similar tastes!

  8. Hi Phillip and welcome to Sweet Home and Garden Chicago !

    Geraldine Page has got to be one of the best actresses and Capote the best writer ever born.

    I've seen just about every movie Gregory Peck made, including the classic "Duel in the Sun. " Yes, Jennifer Jones is awesome.


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