The two principal kinds of cake are sponge cake and butter cake. Butter cakes should be well beaten in the making, as this renders them lighter and finer grained, and they require less soda or baking powder. Sponge cake should not be beaten, or it will be close and tough. Pastry flour should be used for both kinds of cake, as they will be more tender. When intending to bake cake, see that the fire is so arranged that the heat will be right, get materials and utensils on the table near where you will work. When making any cake, sift flour and sugar before measuring. Fine granulated sugar is better than coarse. Measure all the ingredients except the extract before you begin to work. When baking powder is used, save out a little flour, and mix the powder with it. When soda is used, mix with a little flour and put in same as baking powder. A thin butter cake will bake in twenty to twenty-five minutes. If thicker, bake longer, but not too long, so as to shrink too much. Fruit cakes should bake two or three hours. They are better steamed.
Utensils Used in Cake Making
When creaming butter for cake, stir until soft and pliable before adding any sugar. The creaming will thus require much less labor and time.
When eggs are used, measure instead of counting, for eggs vary so much in size that you have not always the same amount, if by count. If you wish a light and feathery mass, as in angel or sponge cake, beat the whites of the eggs with an egg whip of some kind. If you wish the mixture to be light, fine grained, and delicate, use the dover beater on both yolk and white. Always beat the yolk until thick and lemon colored.
It is well for the amateur to protect bottom and sides of a cake with a greased white paper lining in the pan, as this prevents a too hot fire having so deleterious effects. A bed of sand or a thick paper under the cake aids in this.
The usual proportions in cakes are one part butter, one part milk, two parts sugar, and four parts flour. Too much sugar, too much butter, or too little flour will give a heavy cake.
First measure the sifted flour and sugar. Wipe the measure, and measure the eggs, pour them out, and measure the butter. Have baking powder in a little flour. Stir the butter until soft and pliable before adding any sugar, then beat the sugar in a little at a time. Stir until very white and creamy. If there is more than twice as much sugar as butter, beat a part of the sugar with the egg yolks. Beat the yolks of the eggs until thick and lemon colored, then put with the creamed butter and sugar, and beat the two together. Add a little liquid, and beat until thoroughly incorporated, then add a little flour, beat that in, and alternate thus until all is used. Add the flavoring, and beat that in. Then with a clean beater beat the egg whites stiff, but not dry. Be sure that there is no yolk in the white, as it will not beat well if there is. Keep eggs cold for beating. Beat in the baking powder, then fold the whites in. If the oven is too hot at the bottom set the cake pan on a little salt or sand. Have the oven a moderate heat. Leave the cakes in the pan until cooled some. The whole eggs unbeaten may be put into the cake one at a time after the flour and milk have been thoroughly beaten together. After adding each egg to the dough carefully stir it in and beat until thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. This manner of putting in the eggs gives a fine-grained, light, moist cake.