The fact that soda and cream of tartar are the ingredients of the best baking powders is well understood.
Dr. Lillis Wood Starr says: "Cream of tartar belongs to the same class with soda. Soda is bi-carbonate of sodium; cream of tartar is bi-tartrate of potassium. Sodium, potassium and calcium (lime) all belong to the same group of metals and are injurious to the tissues of our bodies."
Dr. Lauretta Kress-"Cream of tartar or Potassium Bi-tartrate is a gastro-intestinal irritant like soda. By combining cream of tartar and soda, we have Rochelle salts. If needed as a cathartic, they are better given as such on an empty stomach; then the system quickly gets rid of them. If taken in food they are retained longer and become more irritating."
"Sugar when largely used is more injurious than meat." Cake at its best is not to be recommended, but for those who have not yet discarded it, we give a variety of recipes for cakes without baking powder or soda: there are some, also, without eggs.
When a few more eggs are used in a cake than would be required with chemicals, remember that less of the nitrogenous is necessary in other dishes: also, that the health of your family is of the first importance and it would be better not to give them any cake at all than that which will poison their systems.
Sift flour once before measuring; and from 3-5 times for angel and other sponge cakes after measuring. The best way to sift flour several times is to lay down two pieces of large letter or Manila paper and to sift the flour first on to one and then on to the other.
All measurements have the sifted flour laid lightly into the cup with a spoon. If the cup is shaken or knocked on the side with the spoon there will be too much flour.
Skimmed milk and oil may be used in cakes and the cream saved for other purposes.
At great altitude, more flour and less shortening and sugar will be required in cakes.
In recipes calling for cream of tarter, use lemon juice in the proportion of 1 tablespn. or more to each teaspoon of cream of tartar. A larger quantity of lemon juice makes the cake more tender.
2 whites of eggs are said to equal 1 rounded teaspn. of baking powder, for lightness.
Boil molasses or syrup before using in cakes.
Half oil instead of all butter may be used in nearly all cakes, and in some cases, all oil is better. Use salt with oil.
It is usually thought important to cream butter and sugar well together, but one professional cake-maker told me that cakes were lighter when the butter and sugar were just mixed.
Always add a little of the flour for cakes to the creamed butter or sugar and butter, before adding eggs, milk or other liquids.
Saffron is used for both color and flavor: a very small quantity only, is required of the imported for a deep color.
Round tube pans bake cake the most evenly, Turk's head molds being the best of all.
Do not oil the tins, for cakes without shortening.
For cakes with shortening, oil the tins and sprinkle flour over, shaking off all flour that is loose; or, line tins with well oiled paper.
Always beat whites of eggs on a platter or in a large cake bowl or 'bombe" with a whip, not with a revolving beater.
Chop and fold, never stir, the whites into cake, the flour also.
Have all ingredients and utensils for sponge cake cold, and if possible, put it together in a cold room.
Bake sponge cakes very slowly and evenly in an oven that bakes well from the bottom. They will retain their lightness better if carefully inverted in the tin after baking and left in that position until cool.
Bake cakes with shortening in a moderate oven.
Cool all cakes slowly. One colored cook told me that she always set her cakes on the stove hearth for a little while after taking them out of the oven. Of course they should be handled carefully.
Set warm layer and other cakes on a cloth wrung out of cold water and they will quickly loosen from the pan.
Loaf or layer cakes may be set in ice box in tins for 2 hrs. before baking.
3 or 4 rose geranium leaves laid in the bottom of the tin before the batter is poured in will flavor cake with rose, or the leaves may be laid between layers after baking, while cooling. If the loaf is one that will bear removing from the tin while warm, lay it on some of the leaves.
Cakes may be steamed instead of baked-sponge cakes 1 hour, cakes 373 fruit cakes longer. One recipe for fruit cake says, steam 4 hours and bake 1 hour. Use your judgment.
Sponge cakes-angel and others, are supposed to be broken apart with 2 forks, not cut.
If loaves of cake that are to be covered with whipped cream are cut before the cream is put on, the cake will look smooth and nice and the pieces will come out more neatly.