Warm the pan, and with a brush spread evenly the lard or cottolene. For flat tins to be used for small cakes, brush them lightly with oil; then with a paper or cloth rub them dry, and sprinkle with flour. Jar them so the flour will completely cover them; then turn over the tins, and strike them against the table. All the superfluous flour will fall, leaving the tins lightly coated with flour. This will give a clean surface to the bottom of the cake.
The oven should be only moderately hot at first, so that the cake can get heated through, and can rise before forming a crust; the heat should then be increased, so that when the cake has been in the oven one half the time required for baking a light crust will be formed. It should rise evenly, and be smooth on top. When it rises in a cone in the center it is because the oven is too hot, and a crust has formed on the edges before it has had time to rise. Sometimes it rises on one side, showing the oven is hotter on one side than the other, in which case it should be turned or a screen interposed; but it must be done with the greatest care. Moving or jarring the cake before the air-cells are fixed is almost sure to cause it to fall. Do not open the oven door for the first five minutes, and then open and shut it very gently, so as not to jar the cake. Cake takes from fifteen minutes to an hour to bake, according to its kind and thickness. A hotter oven is needed for a thin cake than for a thick one. It is done when it shrinks from the pan, and makes no singing noise; or when a broom straw run into it comes out clean and smooth. Be sure the cake is done before removing it from the oven. Let it stand a few minutes in the tin, and it will then come out easily. Always handle the cake carefully. The following test for the oven is given by Miss Parloa. Put in a piece of white paper. If at the end of five minutes the paper is a rich yellow color, the oven is right for sponge-cake; if light yellow, it is too cool; if dark brown, too hot. For pound or butter-cakes, it should be light yellow at the end of five minutes. For gingerbreads and thin rolled cakes, it should be dark brown.
Cream the yolks and sugar together. Add the flavoring and water; then fold in the beaten whites, and lastly the flour, sprinkling it in, and lightly folding, not stirring it in. If baking-powder is used, it is mixed with the flour.
Rub the butter until it is light and smooth. Add the sugar, and stir until creamy. If there is too much sugar to mix with the butter, beat one half with the yolks of the eggs. Add the beaten yolks to the creamed butter and sugar. (If only a little butter is used melt it, and add it to the yolks and sugar.) Next add the flavoring, and then the milk and flour alternately, until all are in. Beat the batter a few minutes to give it fine grain; then fold in the whipped whites of the eggs lightly. If fruit is used, flour and add it the last thing. Turn it into the pans, and put it at once into a moderate oven.*
* Cake made with butter needs to have the dough quite thick with flour, as the butter when melted acts as a wetting. 30