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Making A Cake

( Originally Published 1904 )



The average girl, when learning to cook, wants to start right in with cake. This probably comes more from her fondness for the article itself than from a desire to begin with something easy, for to make good cake is one of the most difficult of all embraced in cookery.

CHEMISTRY OF CAKE

The eggs and milk which go into the cake are nitrogenous foods; the flour, butter, and sugar, carbonaceous; and while all of these ingredients, when taken by themselves, are not only perfectly harmless but wholesome, they-become, in combination with each other: and baked, rather the reverse under some conditions, and difficult to digest.

TO MAKE CAKE

The first rule to be observed; in making cake -is to exercise great care in measuring the ingredients. The recipes found in this work on cooking are all tried, and success will follow for those who give strict attention to the directions. Next in importance is the baking, and here again great care must be exercised. -In addition to this one must use only good flour and fresh eggs and butter. For these reasons it will - be well to observe the following rules in connection with this subject:

Cakes made with butter as an ingredient, which by the way are more difficult to digest because heating the butter makes it more difficult of digestion, should be baked in an oven with a moderate heat (220° Fahr.), while layer cakes need to be baked more quickly, and should have from 280° to 300' Fahr. Such cakes as angel's food require even a less amount of heat (212°).

A tin basin should not be used in beating together the butter, sugar, and eggs. If you -do use -one, your ingredients are likely to he discolored. For this purpose a wooden spoon and a white enamelled basin are well adapted.

Carefully measure out all the materials called for by the recipe, before beginning. Then you are not so apt to make mistakes.

Keep the whites and yolks of eggs separate, unless the recipe tells you particularly not to do so. Sometimes the latter is necessary.

Beat one thing at a time before adding the next ingredient; i. e., first the butter before adding the sugar, then these two ingredients until very light before adding the eggs. when no directions to the contrary are given. A teaspoonful of baking-powder always signifies a rounding teaspoonful. Be sure that dried fruits such as raisins, etc., are perfectly clean and well floured. They should be added to the cake always just before putting into the oven.

If you find that the fruits go to the bottom, you should thicken the batter by adding flour, for in that case your batter is not thick enough to hold them in place.

Use suet for greasing the paps. It will prevent-burning or sticking to the pan, which often happens where butter is used for this purpose. For fruit cake, and cakes rich in butter, always line the cake-tip with greased paper.

The oven should be in the right condition, and the cake put in as soon as it is mixed.

If you find that your oven is too hot, which 'sometimes happens where a thermometer is not used, the temperature may be reduced by placing a pan of cold water in the oven. The only sure way of having the oven right is to use a thermometer.

If you jar the stove or open and close the door before the cake is set, it will fall. Therefore, if necessary to ascertain the temperature of the oven, open and close the door very carefully.

Care must be exercised to ascertain whether or not the cake is thoroughly done before taking it out of the oven. Wherever you find the time given for baking in a recipe, you must take into consideration that this is based upon the temperature as regulated by a thermometer. If, then, you have-not your oven at the proper temperature, your baking time may be wrong. An-other argument in favor of the use of a thermometer.

Always be careful in taking the cake from the oven. Put your ear to it, and if you hear it tick you will know it is not done.

In making cakes, great care should be taken that everything which is used should be perfectly dry, as dampness in the materials is very likely to produce heaviness in the cake. It is always best to have each ingredient properly prepared before beginning to mix the cake.

Currants should be put into a colander and cold water poured over them two or three times, then spread upon a dish and carefully looked over, so that any little pieces of stone or stalk may be removed. The dish should then be placed before the fire, and the currants turned over frequently until they are quite dry.

Butter should be laid in cold water before it is used, and, if salt, should be washed in several waters. It should be beaten with the hand in a bowl till it is reduced to a cream, pouring off the water until no more is left.

Flour.—The flour for cakes should be of the best quality. It should be weighed after it is sifted and dried.

Eggs.—Each egg should always be broken into a cup before it is put to the others, as this will prevent a bad one spoiling the rest. The yolks and whites should be separated, the specks removed, and then all the. yolks transferred to one bowl and the whites to another. The yolks may be beaten with a fork till they are light and frothy, but the whites must be whisked till they are one solid froth, and no liquor remains at the bottom of the bowl. The eggs should be put in a cool place till. required for use. When the whites only are to be used, the yolks, if unbroken, and kept covered, will keep good for three or four days.

Sugar.—Loaf sugar is the best to use for cakes; it should be pounded and sifted.

Lemon.—Peel should be cut very thin, as the white, or inner, side will impart a bitter flavor to the cakes.

Almonds for cakes should be blanched by being put into boiling water, and when they have been in for a few minutes the skin should be taken off and the almonds thrown into cold water to preserve the color. If they_ are pounded, a few drops of water, rose-water, or white of egg should be added in every two or three minutes, to prevent them oiling. If they are not pounded, they should be cut into thin slices or divided lengthwise.

LESSON RECIPES FOR CAKES

PLAIN CAKE

1 heaping tablespoonful butter; 1/2 cup fine sugar; 1 egg; 1/4- cup milk; 1 even teaspoonful baking powder; cup flour; 1/8 teaspoonful spice, or, 1/4 teaspoonful.flavoring.

Make ready the fire and oven, and line the pans with buttered paper. Cream the butter, and work in the sugar gradually. Separate the egg, beat the yolk, pour the milk into it, and add it to the creamed butter. Sift in the flour, baking-powder, and spice, and stir it well, to make a smooth dough. Beat the white until stiff, and fold it lightly into the dough. Bake from twenty to thirty-five minutes. Try with a clean straw or a fine skewer. When done, take it from the pan, let it stand a few minutes, and carefully peel off the paper. When cool, it may he frosted. English currants, raisins-quartered and seeded, or citron cut in thin slices, may be rolled in flour, and added to the cake just before baking. Chopped nuts may be stirred in to make a nut cake. A little cocoa may be stirred into part of the dough to make it dark. Spread half of the light cake in the pan, then scatter in the dark and add the remainder of the light.

The following recipe resembles the plain cake given above, the ingredients being in larger quantities:

LIGHT CAKE

1 cupful butter; 11/2 cupfuls sugar; 3 eggs, separated; 1 teaspoonful flavoring; 1/2 cupful milk; 3, cupfuls flour; 2 teaspoonfuls baking-powder, or 1 teaspoonful cream tartar, and 1/2 teaspoonful soda.

Follow the directions for mixing as given in the plain cake. Do not put in one-quarter cupful of the flour, but save it to see if the dough is 'too stiff. If the cake is baked in shallow pans, or in a gem-pan, less flour will be needed than for a thick loaf. One cupful currants may be added, or 1 cupful nuts; 1/2 cupful dates may be floured and added to make a date cake. It may be baked in round, shallow pans, and the cakes put together with jelly between.

SPONGE CAKE

1 1/2 cupfuls flour; 2 teaspoonfuls baking-powder; 1 cupful sugar,; 1 -teaspoonful flavoring; 2 eggs; milk or cream.

Sift the flour, baking-powder, and sugar together. Break the eggs into a cup, fill the cup with milk or cream, pour the mixture into a bowl, beat it slightly, and add it gradually to the flour. Put in the flavoring, and beat the whole mixture with an egg-beater for five minutes. Bake from twenty to thirty minutes in a moderate oven.

It may be baked in an oblong, shallow pan; when done turn it out; spread jelly or jam over it, and roll it up to make a jelly-roll. If baked in - round, shallow pans, it can be made into a layer cake, with jelly, whipped cream, fruit, cocoanut, or melted sweet chocolate between the layers.

MOLASSES CAKE

2/3 cupful sugar; 2/3 cupful butter; 2/3 cupful molasses; 1 egg; 1 cupful milk; 21/2 cupfuls flour; 1 even teaspoonful cream tartar; 1 heaping teaspoonful soda; 1 even tablespoonful mixed spice; 1 tablespoonful vinegar, or lemon juice.

Cream the butter, add the sugar gradually, and stir in the molasses. -Sift in 1/2 cupful of the flour. ' Beat the egg, mix it with the milk. Mix the cream tartar, soda, and spice with the flour, and add the flour and the milk alternately, stirring well to make a smooth dough. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and bake at once in gem-pans or in two shallow pans or in a loaf-pan. By adding 1/2 cupful raisins, seeded and .quartered, 1/2 cupful currants, and 1/4 cupful citron sliced, and all the fruit rubbed with flour, a good fruit cake may he made. By substituting,1 tablespoonful ginger for the mixed spice, a good gingerbread may be made.

BOILED FROSTING

1 cupful granulated sugar; I/2 cupful milk; 2 tablespoonfuls cocoa, or 1 even teaspoonful butter.

Stir together, and boil, without stirring, four minutes. Remove from the fire and beat with an egg-beater until it begins to thicken; then spread it at once over ' cold cake. This makes a creamy frosting, which does not dry and crumble, but stays on the cake. If it does not' thicken readily when beaten, boil it for two or three minutes again.'

If desired, the frosting may be made, beaten until thick and sugary, and set away. When wanted for use, the pan containing it may be set into boiling water, and the mixture may be melted so that it can be spread on the cake. If flavoring is desired, 1/4 teaspoonful vanilla or lemon may be added, with or without the cocoa.

EGG FROSTING

Beat the white of an egg, and beat into it, gradually, enough powdered sugar to make a soft dough. Add r/4 teaspoonful lemon extract,

or 1 teaspoonful lemon or orange juice, or 1/4 teaspoonful vanilla, and spread it on the cake.

If desired, 2 tablespoonfuls melted chocolate, or 2 tablespoonfuls desiccated cocoanut may be mixed with it. The yolk of the egg may be used instead of the white to make Sunshine Frosting.

PLAIN FROSTING

1 cupful pulverized sugar; 1 tablespoonful lemon or orange juice; 3 tablespoonfuls or more of boiling milk or water.

Mix the sugar and fruit-juice, and stir in the boiling liquid, adding enough to make a soft dough. Spread it over the cake. This frosting may be varied by adding different ingredients as directed in the other recipes.



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