"Let all things be done decently and in order," and the first to put in order when you are going to bake is yourself. Secure the hair in a net or other covering, to prevent any from falling, and brush the shoulders and back to be sure none are lodged there that might blow off; make the hands and finger nails clean, roll the sleeves up above the elbows, and put on a large, clean apron. Clean the kitchen table of utensils and every thing not needed, and provide every thing that will be needed until the cake is baked, not forgetting even the broom-splints previously picked off the new broom and laid away carefully in a little box. (A knitting-needle may be kept for testing cake instead of splints.) If it is warm weather, place the eggs in cold water, and let stand a few minutes, as they will then make finer froth; and be sure they are fresh, as they will not make a stiff froth from any amount of beating if old. The cake-tins should be prepared before the cake, when baking powder is used, as it effervesces but once, and there should be no delay in baking, as the mixture should be made firm by the heat, while the effervescing process is going on. Grease the pans with fresh lard, which is much better than butter; line the bottom with paper, using six or eight thicknesses if the cake is large, and greasing the top one well. (In some ovens, however, fewer thicknesses of paper would be needed on the bottom, and in some the sides also should be lined with one or two thicknesses.) Sift flour and sugar (if not pulverized), and measure or weigh. Firkin or very salt but ter should be cut in bits and washed to freshen a little; if very hard, warm carefully, but in no case allow any of it to melt. Good butter must be used, as the heat develops any latent bad qualities. Use pulverized sugar for all delicate cakes; for rich cakes coffee-crushed, powdered and sifted; for dark cakes, the best brown-sugars are best; for jelly-cakes, light fruit-cakes, etc., granulated and coffee "A" are best and most economical. Beat the yolks of eggs thoroughly, and strain; set the whites away in a cool place until the cake is ready for them, then beat them vigorously in a cool room, till they will remain in the dish when turned upside down. Sift a part of the measured flour with the baking-powder or soda and cream tartar through a hand-sieve (which should be among the utensils of every housekeeper), and mix thoroughly with the rest of the flour. In using new flour for either bread or cake-making, it-can be "ripened" for use by placing the quantity intended for baking in the hot sun for a few hours, or before the kitchen fire. In using milk, note this: that sour milk makes a spongy, light cake; sweet milk, one that cuts like pound cake; remembering that with sour milk soda alone is used, while with sweet milk baking powder or soda and cream tartar are to be added.
Having thus gathered the material, cut butter (in cold weather) into small pieces, and warm, not melt; beat the butter and sugar to a cream, add the milk in small quantities (never use fresh and stale milk in same cake), next the yolks of eggs, then a part of the flour, then a part of the whites, and so on until the whole is used; lastly, add the flavoring. Many good cake-makers first stir the milk and flavoring into the creamed butter and sugar, then the yolks, next the whites, and lastly the flour, first taking about two-thirds of it and thoroughly mixing the baking powder through it; the remainder of the flour is then left to be used at discretion. A little-more or less flour may be needed, according to the climate, or ta the kind of flour used, as the "New Process" flour requires one-eighth less than other brands. There is great "knack" in beating cake; don't stir, but beat thoroughly, bringing the batter up from the bottom of the dish at every stroke; in this way the air is driven into-the cells of the batter, instead of out of them - but the cells will be finer if beaten more slowly at the last, remembering that the motion should always be upward. In winter it is easier to beat with the hand, but in summer a wooden spoon is better. An iron spoon turns the mixture dark. Never beat a cake in tin, but use earthen or stoneware. Unskillful mixing, too rapid or unequal baking, or a sudden decrease in heat before it is quite done, will cause streaks in the cake. Always bake a small cake first, fill a patty pan, or cover to a baking-powder can, one-third full, and bake; then add more or less flour as required. If the cake is hard and solid, it needs a few tea-spoons of milk; if more flour is needed it will fall in the middle and be spongy and crumbly. Powdered sugar may be sifted on the top of any cake while it is a little warm; if it dissolves add more when it is cold, keep some for that purpose in a spice box with a perforated top. The white portion of orange or lemon-peel should never be used; grate only the yellow. When recipes call for soda and cream of tartar, baking powder may be used by taking the same quantity as required of both, or Horsford's-Bread Preparation will be found excellent. "Milk"' always means sweet milk. "A cup" always means a tea cup, not a coffee cup. Sour milk may always be used instead of sweet, by using soda only. The proportions of rising-powder to one quart of flour are three teaspoons baking-powder, or one tea-spoon soda and two tea-spoons-cream tartar, or one measure each of Horsford's Bread Preparation, or one pint sour milk and one level tea-spoon soda.