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Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Georgia
Lane cake is specific to the region of Alabama I'm from. My mother and grandmother made it only three times a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my birthday, which falls just four days before Christmas. It's a white cake with lavish amounts of rich frosting made with new-crop pecans and fresh coconut, which were once available only at holiday time. It's traditionally fortified with bourbon, but my family used to be teetotalers, so my grandmother made it with Welch's grape juice. Now I use Jack Daniel's, but a few years ago I made a Welch's version for a nondrinking family: The taste transported me immediately to my preschool days, and my first kitchen job, whacking coconuts with a hammer in our carport.

Recipe: Lane Cake