The official state dessert of Alabama was named the Lane cake in 2016, and it’s clear why. It’s a moist white cake filled with a mixture of thick, cooked whiskey-laced custard. You can also commonly find pecans, coconut, golden raisins, and bourbon or brandy. The dough itself is made out of two full cups of sugar, two sticks of butter, eight large egg whites, and a whole lot more.
If you want a rich cake to serve at your next dinner party, this should be on the menu. The name comes from its creator, one Emma Rylander Lane, who entered the cake into a county fair baking competition in Columbus, Georgia. She at first called it “Prize Cake,” but added her name once it was made the state dessert of her home.
Alaska – Akutaq
This one is a strange one. It’s pronounced “A-goo-duc,” and looking at the ingredients, you might not even think it’s a dessert at first. It’s sometimes known as Alaskan ice cream, and the traditional recipe includes things like a cup of reindeer, caribou, or moose fat, a cup of animal oil, two cups of loose snow, and anywhere from half a gallon to a full gallon of whatever berries you can find.
There are also recipes that include fish that you prepare yourself. More modern versions of this classic dish use solid vegetable shortening instead of fat and add a cup of sugar. The snow is replaced with water or berry juice (though some still use snow), and the berries are, of course, included. The types of fat change the taste of the dish, so some experimentation is in order.
Arizona – Sopaipilla
Also known as cachanga, sopaipilla is a fried pastry and quick bread that has a Spanish heritage. It’s also the dessert that comes to us from Arizona. They’re sweet, and as long as you don’t mind heating up some oil, then they’re pretty easy to make. All they take is a little flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, and warm water, and you start frying them up.
They’re often topped with confectioner’s sugar or stuffed with honey. They seem simple as long as you don’t mind working with the oil, but most importantly they seem all kinds of delicious. Try a dessert with a south-of-the-border flair the next time you have taco night, just don’t forget the toppings.
Arkansas – Possum Pie
Of course, the dessert from Arkansas would be something called possum pie – the name might be a little off-putting, but there’s nothing wrong with this fun treat. It’s a pie with a layer of chopped pecan crust at the bottom, a mixture of cream cheese and powdered sugar over the crust, and a chocolate-pudding-esque layer on top of that.
And then a whole lot of cream cheese topped with chopped pecans and shaved chocolate as desired. The name comes from the idea that the pie is hiding what it really is, as possums will pretend to be dead to avoid danger. Underneath the whipped cream is chocolate pudding, but under THAT is cream cheese. It’s a surprise to be sure, but a much better one than the name would suggest.
California – Doughnuts
Yes, apparently the favored dessert from California is doughnuts, something that is so well known you can practically find them all over the world. But, it seems that California goes hard when it comes to these well-known fried treats. You can get them topped with your favorite cereal, filled to bursting with your favorite fruit, or almost any other way you could possibly want them.
In fact, there’s even a specific type of doughnut that is called the “California donut,” and it sounds pretty good: A big donut, super soft and fluffy, that has crazy, wild toppings. California became known for its doughnuts when Ted Ngoy immigrated to Los Angeles from Cambodia, setting up a pastry shop and helping other immigrants do the same thing, creating a small, connected empire.