This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
It is easy to make good cake, if care is exercised. Choose a reliable recipe and read it carefully. Be sure that all the necessary ingredients are at hand, and that the process of putting the mixture together is thoroughly understood, - for this has much to do with the texture of the finished product. Then prepare the pans. In making any loaf cake containing fat, the bottom of the pan should be lined with paper - not a scrap from the dry-goods bundle which has passed through many hands of questionable cleanliness, but a fresh piece from a supply kept for the purpose. Better still, purchase the "stick-less " vegetable parchment papers. In making layer or cup cakes, the pans should be merely oiled and then dusted with flour to form a thin film. Butter should never be used for oiling pans, as it burns readily, and imparts a conspicuously salty, fried taste to the outside of the cake. Either lard or a reliable vegetable fat is a much better choice. A little basket of clean scraps of paper hung near the cooking table will make the oiling of the pans easy.
Many experts suggest as the next step the measuring of all ingredients before mixing, but I have yet to find a practical housewife who will do this; the objection being that it means the use of unnecessary dishes. However, all the things should be placed on the cooking table to facilitate the mixing. The heavy stone cake bowl, beloved by many housewives, is strictly taboo in my kitchen, because it is clumsy and hard to handle; a far better choice is a good-sized saucepan, of suitable depth, with a rounded bottom, the handle being a great help in holding the utensil firmly while creaming the butter and beating the batter. A wooden spoon, spatula shape, is the most adequate tool for the mixing, because of its long handle, lightness, and the fact that it is almost noiseless.