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Brilliant Southern Cakes

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I don't have much of a sweet tooth (my vices are usually salty, crunchy, and preferably deep-fried), but baker Angie Mosier's "big plate of cakes," served at the end of the Quintessential Southern Dinner at the Beard House the other night, immediately made me grin. Everyone got not one or two but four slices of cake, including Mosier's terrifically moist Red Velvet Cake and Emma Rylander Lane's bourbon-spiked Lane cake (we published Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock's version, inspired by Lane, a few years ago). What I later learned from Mosier was that the Lane cake, a Southern specialty, made a cameo in one of my favorite books while growing up, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. "Miss Maudie Atkinson baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight," wrote Lee. Shinny? That's slang for booze.

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