The day before you intend making cake have the currants washed, dried in the oven and picked over. If you cannot get California seedless raisins stone the others and cut them in two. Cut the citron up as thin as paper and if almonds are to be used blanch, skin and grind them. It is a slow process and takes time. Before commencing the cake butter the cake pans, then sift the flour, weigh it and mix the baking powder with it. Then set the vessel containing the flour into a pan of hot water to warm and stir it occasionally until needed. Mix the fruit together and dredge it with a spoonful or two of the weighed flour. Weigh the butter and sugar and put it into the vessel you are going to make the cake in (a large earthen bowl is the best) and if the butter is too hard set the bowl into a pan of hot water for a minute until it softens but it must not melt. Then beat them together with the back of the spoon against the side of the bowl to a very light cream. Separate the eggs, beat the yolks and stir them in with the butter and sugar, then beat the whites with one teaspoonful of white sugar to every two whites, to a stiff foam. Now stir the flour in with the butter, sugar and yolks, then stir in the whites and the flavoring. If it is a fruit cake, the dredged fruit is put in last. The whites of eggs beat better in a bowl with a machine egg beater than in any other vessel and not more than six whites should be beaten at a time. A wooden skewer is necessary to ascertain when the cake is done. It should be six inches long and the size of a large knitting needle.
Put the almonds into boiling water and just as soon as the water begins to boil again after they are in, take them off the fire, pour off the water, slip off the skins. The sooner they are out of the water the better the almonds will be. They should be ground in the mortar as soon as the skins are off. One ounce of almonds is enough to grind at a time and after they are broken up fine put in one dessert spoonful of sweet milk to one ounce of almonds and grind them until they are white and creamy. A white porcelain mortar and pestle is the best to grind the almonds in. Bitter almonds or peach kernels are prepared in the same manner as in the preceding receipt, but they should be ground separately.
Four ounces of finely powdered sugar to one white of an egg. Beat the white and sugar together two or three minutes, not longer; then spread it on the cake with a broad knife. The cake can be more evenly iced when only warm than when first taken out of the oven. The icing can be flavored with a few drops of lemon or rose extract.
One ounce of chocolate, one tablespoonful of cold water, four ounces of finely powdered white sugar, one white of an egg. Scrape the chocolate up very fine and put it into a porcelain cup with one tablespoonful of cold water and set it into a pan over the fire that has a little boiling water in it, stir it until it is a smooth paste, which will be in two or three minutes; then take the cup out of the water and beat the white and sugar together two or three minutes, then stir in the chocolate, mix it well together and spread it on the cake with a broad knife.