Cakes and pies which are filled with animal fats, irritating spices, and are raised with baking-powder or soda, are certainly very unwholesome; to use them in our bill of fare could work nothing but injury to all who partake.
Animals are becoming so diseased that it is no longer safe to use their flesh as food, and even if they were not diseased, free fats are hard of digestion. Neither the saliva nor the gastric juice digests fats; therefore if particles of food are covered with free fat, the gastric juice can not digest them, and they remain in the stomach undigested.
In weak stomachs, fermentation will set in, and a sour stomach and sometimes headache will be the result. Nut butter, nut meal, etc., are not free fats, as they can be readily dissolved in water, forming an emulsion or cream, while free fats will float on top of the water and not mix.
The spices so commonly used in cakes and pies are not foods, and only act as irritants in the stomach. The soda and baking-powder, generally used in cake baking, are very injurious. Soda is alkaline in its nature. The gastric juice is acid. If too much soda is used for the sour milk or cream of tartar, the effect will be to sweeten the gastric juice, and destroy its digestive properties. Baking-powder which is mixed with the proper proportion of alkali and acid elements, is not so apt to have that effect, but all baking-powders are more or less adulterated with alum and other elements which are very injurious to the stomach.
"Saleratus in any form should not be introduced into the stomach, for the effect is fearful. It eats the coatings of the stomach, causes inflammation, and frequently poisons the whole system."
Spices and condiments, which usually enter into cake making, are equally injurious. The effect that they have upon the stomach can be illustrated by putting them upon a raw surface or in the eye; inflammation immediately takes place. They irritate the nerves, cause irritability and peevishness, and create a craving for something more highly spiced, which often leads to grosser forms of intemperance.
Cakes, as usually made, with large quantities of free fats and sugar, clog the system, and make a bad quality of blood; they also have a bad effect upon the kidneys. To dispose of this kind of food brings a heavy tax upon the whole system.
The object of the author is to place before the public a few recipes for light, appetizing, and beautiful cakes and pies, without the use of animal fat, milk, butter, cream, soda, baking-powder, or spices. Not that they should be recommended as an every-day diet, or to take the place of simple foods, but as an occasional luxury, and as a substitute for more injurious pastry.
In order to make nice, light cakes without soda or baking- . powder, more pains must be taken, and the recipes carefully followed. All material must be ready to add, the flour and sugar sifted, the eggs broken and separated, if they are to be beaten separately, the seasoning and shortening all ready to put in, and the cake tins and oven ready. Then much depends upon the beating of the eggs. The cakes are raised by the expansion of the air bubbles that are beaten into the eggs; it is therefore necessary that as much air as possible be beaten in and retained. After adding the whites and yolks, they should not be beaten or stirred, but folded in, and especially after the flour is added, they should be worked as little as possible or the cake will be tough and heavy. A great deal depends upon the baking; if the oven is too hot, the cake will crust over before it has time to rise; if it is too cool, the air will escape before the heat is sufficient to expand it, and in either case it causes a failure. A moderate and even temperature is what is needed. The cooling also has something to do with its being a success. Sometimes they look nice and light when removed from the oven, and then begin to fall. The best remedy for this is to bake in the Misses Lisk's baking tins. They do not need oiling; when the cake is done, turn it bottom side up on the legs of the tin until it is cold. If these tins can not be had, bake in a common bake tin, lined with oiled paper. When done, cover the top with a paper or napkin to prevent its cooling too fast.
The flour for cake making should be granular ground; spring wheat is the best, although all kinds can be used, but will not be so light. Gluten can be used instead of flour, but requires only two thirds as much.
Granulated sugar is the best for cake making, and should be of fine granules. The coarse granulated sugar will not make a light cake.
None need fear that they will not succeed, for perseverance will win the race. If the first cake is not so very light, the next one will be better; for experience will help to make it faster, and rapidity is the most essential thing in making unleavened cakes.