The multiplication of recipes for cakes, pies, puddings, and desserts is troublesome and needless, inasmuch as a little generalization will reduce them to a comparatively small compass, and yet afford a large variety.

Cake is of three classes, as raised either by eggs, or by yeast, or by powders; and different proportions of flour, sugar, shortening, and wetting make the variety, as it appears in what follows.

General Directions.

Sift flour, roll sugar, sift spices, and prepare fruit beforehand. Break eggs that are to be whipped, one at a time, in a cup, and let none of the yelk go in. Have them cold, and you will get on faster.

Excepting dough-cake, never use the hand in making cake, but a wooden spoon, and in an earthen vessel.

The goodness of cake depends greatly on baking. If too hot at bottom, set the pan on a brick; if too hot at top, cover with paper. If top-crust is formed suddenly, it prevents what is below from rising properly; and so, when the oven is very hot, cover with paper.

When fruit is used, sprinkle the fruit with a little flour to keep it from sinking when baking. Some put fruit in in layers, one in the middle and another near the top, as this spreads it evenly. Put in the flour just before baking.

When using whites beaten to a froth separately, put in the last thing, so that the bubbles of air which make the lightness may be retained more perfectly. Bake as soon as the cake is ready.

Water is as good as milk for most cakes as well as for bread; a mixture of new and stale milk injures the cake.

Streaks in cake are made either by imperfect mixing, or unequal baking, or by sudden decrease of heat before the cake is done. Try when cake is done, by inserting a splinter or straw; if it comes out clean, the cake is done.

The best way to keep cake is in a tin box or stone jar.

Do not wrap cake or bread in a cloth.

In baking, move cake gently if you change its place, or it will fall in streaks. Cake is more nicely baked when the pan is lined with oiled paper, especially in old pans, which often give a bad taste to the bottom and sides of the cake.