CAKE-PANS. HEATING THE OVEN. DIRECTIONS FOR MIXING.
EXTRACTS. FROSTING. OTHER SUGGESTIONS.
A VERY delicate cake should be made of butter freed from salt. Wash it in very cold water, then press in a cloth till the moisture is out. "Cooking butter" is generally a rancid commodity, unfit for cooking in any shape. Those who use creamery for the table, can procure dairy butter several cents a pound cheaper that is good and sweet, and will do nicely for cooking. In fact, there are those who prefer it for the table. Butter for cake should be warmed sufficiently to soften it. Do not melt it, but set it in a warm room beforehand.
Fresh eggs are as essential as good butter. "A middling good egg' is generally a bad one. There are eggs, however, which smell agreeably, that will not make frosting, but will beat up light and sweet in a cake batter.
To separate the white and yolk of an egg, break the egg carefully into a dish. Then with the fingers pick the yolk up and remove to another dish, letting the white drip between the fingers. This is quicker than to divide the egg and pour the yolk from one half to the other.
In breaking eggs always break each one in a dish by itself, else by a little careless handling a poor one might be put with good ones, thus spoiling them all. Strain the beaten yolks for very nice cake. "Beat separately" means to beat the whites and yolks separately. The results are better than if beaten together.
The whites of eggs will beat up much better if the eggs are kept in cold water for an hour or more.
To beat the whites of eggs quickly, put in a pinch of salt. Salt cools and also freshens them.
Pulverized sugar is best for angel food, white sponge cake, and delicate cake; granulated sugar for layer cakes and white fruit cake; coffee crushed sugar, rolled and sifted, for pound cakes and rich cakes in general; for coffee cake and fruit cake, or any dark cake, use brown sugar.
See chapter on "BREAD."
Flour should always be sifted, and with it the baking powder or cream of tartar.
It is safer not to put in at once all of the flour a recipe calls for. If it stiffens the batter considerably, it may be necessary to leave out a small portion of it. Bake a little of the batter on a paper or a tin before filling the pans. It will take but a very few minutes, and may be the means of saving a nice cake.
In using fruit, dredge it with flour. Rub the stems off of raisins; cut with a small sharp knife or scissors to remove the seeds. For a light fruit cake cut in two only; for a black cake chop with a chopping-knife, but not so fine as to be pasty. For a black cake brown the flour. To cleanse currants, wash in several warm waters, drain through a colander until the water looks clear, then spread out to dry on a sieve or cloth. A very simple way to cleanse them for those who have a hydrant and a faucet is to make a little bag of double mosquito-netting. Put the currants in, tie the bag to the faucet, and let the water run slowly through until it runs clear. The currants will be found to be clean and the bottom of the bag will contain the sediment that is too coarse to run through.