First, always cream the butter; that is, stir it till light and creamy. If very cold, heat the bowl a little, but never enough to melt, only to soften the butter. Second, add the sugar to the butter, and mix thoroughly.
Third, if eggs are used, beat yolks and whites separately for a delicate cake; add yolks to sugar and butter, and beat together a minute. For a plain cake, beat yolks and whites together (a Dover egg-beater doing this better than any thing else can), and add to butter and sugar.
Fourth, if milk is used, add this.
Fifth, stir in the measure of flour little by little, and beat smooth.
Flavoring may be added at any time. If dry spices are used, mix them with the sugar. Always sift baking powder with the flour. If soda and cream of tartar are used, sift the cream of tartar with the flour, and dissolve the soda in a little milk or warm water. For very delicate cakes, powdered sugar is best. For gingerbreads and small cakes or cookies, light brown answers.
Where fruit cake is to be made, raisins should be stoned and chopped, and currants washed and dried, the day beforehand. A cup of currants being a nice and inexpensive addition to buns or any plain cake, it is well to prepare several pounds at once, drying thoroughly, and keeping in glass jars. Being the very dirtiest article known to the storeroom, currants require at least three washings in warm water, rubbing them well in the hands. Then spread them out on a towel, and proceed to pick out all the sticks, grit, small stones, and legs and wings to be found; then put the fruit into a slow oven, and dry it carefully, that none may scorch.
In baking, a moderate oven is one in which a teaspoonful of flour will brown while you count thirty; a quick one, where but twelve can be counted.
The "cup" used in all these receipts is the ordinary kitchen cup, holding half a pint. The measures of flour are, in all cases, of sifted flour, which can be sifted by the quantity, and kept in a wooden pail. "Prepared flour" is especially nice for doughnuts and plain cakes. No great variety of receipts is given, as every family is sure to have one enthusiastic cake-maker who gleans from all sources; and this book aims to give fuller space to substantials than to sweets. Half the energy spent by many housekeepers upon cake would insure the perfect bread, which, nine times out of ten, is not found upon their tables, and success in which they count an impossibility. If cake is to be made, however, let it be done in the most perfect way; seeing only that bread is first irreproachable.
One pound of the finest granulated, or of powdered, sugar; half a pound of sifted flour; ten eggs; grated rind of two lemons, and the juice of one; and a saltspoonful of salt.
Break the eggs, yolks and whites separately, and beat the yolks to a creamy froth. Beat the whites till they can be turned upside down without spilling. Put yolks and whites together, and beat till blended; then add the sugar slowly; then the lemon rind and juice and the salt, and last the flour. Whisk together as lightly and quickly as possible. Turn into either three buttered bread-pans of the size given on p. 201, or bake in a large loaf, as preferred. Fill the pans two-thirds full, and, when in the oven, do not open it for ten minutes. Bake about half an hour, and test by running a clean broom-straw into the loaf. If it comes out dry, they are done. Turn out, and cool on a sieve, or on the pans turned upside down.
ROLLED JELLY CAKE.
Three eggs, yolks and whites beaten separately; one heaped cup of sugar; one scant cup of flour in which a teaspoonful of baking powder and a pinch of salt have been sifted; quarter of a cup of boiling water.
Mix as in sponge cake; add the water last, and bake in a large roasting-pan, spreading the batter as thinly as possible. It will bake in ten minutes. When done, and while still hot, spread with any acid jelly, and roll carefully from one side. This cake is nice for lining Charlotte-Russe molds also. For that purpose the water may be omitted, its only use being to make the cake roll more easily.
One cup of butter; two cups of sugar; four eggs, yolks and whites beaten separately; one cup of milk; three and a half cups of flour; a grated nutmeg, or a teaspoonful of vanilla or lemon; and a heaping teaspoonful of baking powder.
Cream the butter; add the sugar, and then the yolks; then the milk and the whites, and last the flour, in which the baking powder has been sifted. Bake half an hour, either in two brick loaves or one large one. It is nice, also, baked in little tins. Half may be flavored with essence, and the other half with a teaspoonful of mixed spice,—half cinnamon, and the rest mace and allspice. By using a heaping tablespoonful of yellow ginger, this becomes a delicious sugar gingerbread, or, with mixed spices and ginger, a spice gingerbread.
This cake with the variations upon it makes up page after page in the large cook-books. Use but half a cup of butter, and you have a plain Cup Cake. Add a cup of currants and one of chopped raisins, and it is plain Fruit Cake, needing to bake one hour. Bake on Washington-pie tins, and you have the foundation for Cream and Jelly Cakes. A little experience, and then invention, will show you how varied are the combinations, and how one page in your cook-book can do duty for twenty.
One pound of sugar; one pound of flour; three-quarters of a pound of butter; nine eggs; one teaspoonful of baking powder, and one of lemon extract; one nutmeg grated.
Cream the butter, and add half the flour, sifting the baking powder with the other half. Beat the yolks to a creamy foam, and add; and then the sugar, beating hard. Have the whites a stiff froth, and stir in, adding flavoring and remainder of flour. Bake in one large loaf for one hour, letting the oven be moderate. Frost, if liked.
One pound of butter; one pound of sugar; one pound and a quarter of sifted flour; ten eggs; two nutmegs grated; a tablespoonful each of ground cloves, cinnamon, and allspice; a teaspoonful of soda; a cup of brandy or wine, and one of dark molasses; one pound of citron; two pounds of stoned and chopped raisins, and two of currants washed and dried.
Dredge the prepared fruit with enough of the flour to coat it thoroughly. To have the cake very dark and rich looking, brown the flour a little, taking great care not to scorch it. Cream the butter, and add the sugar, in which the spices have been mixed; then the beaten yolks of eggs; then the whites beaten to a stiff froth, and the flour. Dissolve the soda in a very little warm water, and add. Now stir in the fruit. Have either one large, round pan, or two smaller ones. Put at least three thicknesses of buttered letter-paper on the sides and bottom; turn in the mixture, and bake for three hours in a moderate oven. Cover with thick paper if there is the least danger of scorching. This will keep, if well frosted, for two years.
One pound of flour; one pound of sugar; half a pound of butter; one teacup of milk; six eggs; one teaspoonful of baking powder; one grated nutmeg.
Cream the butter; add first sugar, then beaten yolks of eggs and milk, then whites of eggs beaten to a stiff froth, and last the flour. Bake forty-five minutes in a large dripping-pan, sifting fine sugar over the top, and cut in small squares; or it may be baked in one round loaf, and frosted on the bottom, or in small tins. Half a pound of citron cut fine is often added.
WHITE OR SILVER CAKE.
Half a cup of butter; a heaping cupful of powdered sugar; two cups of flour, with a teaspoonful of baking powder sifted in; half a cup of milk; whites of six eggs; one teaspoonful of almond extract.
Cream the butter, and add the flour, beating till it is a smooth paste. Beat the whites to a stiff froth, and add the sugar and essence. Now mix both quickly, and bake in a sheet about an inch and a half thick. About half an hour will be needed. Frost while hot, with one white of egg, beaten ten minutes with a small cup of sifted powdered sugar, and juice of half a lemon. This frosting hardens very quickly. Before it is quite hard, divide it into oblong or square pieces, scoring at intervals with the back of a large knife. The milk can be omitted if a richer cake is wanted. It may also be baked in jelly-cake tins; one small cocoanut grated, and mixed with one cup of sugar, and spread between, and the whole frosted. Or beat the white of an egg with one cup of sugar, and the juice of one large or two small oranges, and spread between. Either form is delicious.
One cup of sugar; half a cup of butter; two cups of flour; yolks of six eggs; grated rind and juice of a lemon or orange; half a teaspoonful of soda, mixed with the flour, and sifted twice.
Cream the butter; add the sugar, then the beaten yolks and the flour, beating hard for several minutes. Last, add the lemon or orange juice, and bake like silver cake; frosting, if liked. If frosting is made for either or both cakes, the extra yolks may be used in making this one, eight being still nicer than six.
Two cups or a pint-bowlful of raised dough ready for baking; one cup of butter; two cups of sugar; one teaspoonful of ground cinnamon, or half a nutmeg grated; three eggs; one teaspoonful of soda in quarter of a cup of warm water, and half a cup of flour.
Cream the butter, and add the sugar. Then put in the bread dough, and work together till well mixed. The hand is best for this, though it can be done with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, then the flour, and last the soda. Let it stand in a warm place for one hour, and bake in a moderate oven forty-five minutes, testing with a broom-straw. A pound of stoned and chopped raisins is a nice addition. Omitting them, and adding flour enough to roll out, makes an excellent raised doughnut or bun. Let it rise two hours; then cut in shapes, and fry in boiling lard. Or, for buns, bake in a quick oven, and, a minute before taking out, brush the top with a spoonful of sugar and milk mixed together.
One pint-bowlful of dough; one cup of sugar; butter the size of an egg; one teaspoonful of cinnamon.
Boll the dough thin. Spread the butter upon it. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, and sprinkle on it. Now turn over the edges of the dough carefully to keep the sugar in, and press and work gently for a few minutes, that it may not break through. Knead till thoroughly mixed. Roll out; cut like biscuit, and let them rise an hour, baking in a quick oven.
The same rule can be used for raised doughnuts.
First put on the lard, and let it be heating gradually. To test it when hot, drop in a bit of bread; if it browns as you count twenty, it is right. Never let it boil furiously, or scorch. This is the rule for all frying, whether fritters, croquettes, or cakes.
One quart of flour into which has been sifted a teaspoonful of salt, and one of soda if sour milk is used, or two of baking powder if sweet milk. If cream can be had, use part cream, allowing one large cup of milk, or cream and milk. One heaping cup of fine brown sugar; one teaspoonful of ground cinnamon, and half a one of mace or nutmeg; use one spoonful of butter, if you have no cream, stirring it into the sugar. Add two or three beaten eggs; mixing all as in general directions for cake. They can be made without eggs. Roll out; cut in shapes, and fry brown, taking them out with a fork into a sieve set over a pan that all fat may drain off.
Cut thin, and baked brown in a quick oven, these make a good plain cooky.
One cup of butter and lard or dripping mixed, or dripping alone can be used; one cup of molasses; one cup of brown sugar; two teaspoonfuls of ginger, and one each of clove, allspice, and mace; one teaspoonful of salt, and one of soda dissolved in half a cup of hot water; one egg.
Stir together the shortening, sugar, molasses, and spice. Add the soda, and then sifted flour enough to make a dough,—about three pints. Turn on to the board, and knead well. Take about quarter of it, and roll out thin as a knife-blade. Bake in a quick oven. They will bake in five minutes, and will keep for months. By using only four cups of flour, this can be baked in a loaf as spiced gingerbread; or it can be rolled half an inch thick, and baked as a cooky. In this, as in all cakes, experience will teach you many variations.
Two cups of molasses; one of sour milk; half a cup of lard or drippings; four cups of flour; two teaspoonfuls of ginger, and one of cinnamon; half a teaspoonful of salt; one egg, and a teaspoonful of soda.
Mix molasses and shortening; add the spice and egg, then the milk, and last the flour, with soda sifted in it. Bake at once in a sheet about an inch thick for half an hour. Try with a broom-straw. Good hot for lunch with chocolate. A plain cooky is made by adding flour enough to roll out. The egg may be omitted.
The richest jumbles are made from either the rule for Pound or Dover Cake, with flour enough added to roll out. The Cup-Cake rule makes good but plainer ones. Make rings, either by cutting in long strips and joining the ends, or by using a large and small cutter. Sift sugar over the top, and bake a delicate brown. By adding a large spoonful of yellow ginger, any of these rules become hard sugar-gingerbread, and all will keep for a long time.
Any of the rules last mentioned become drop cakes by buttering muffin-tins or tin sheets, and dropping a teaspoonful of these mixtures into them. If on sheets, let them be two inches apart. Sift sugar over the top, and bake in a quick oven. They are done as soon as brown.
One pint of boiling water in a saucepan. Melt in it a piece of butter the size of an egg. Add half a teaspoonful of salt. While still boiling, stir in one large cup of flour, and cook for three minutes. Take from the fire; cool ten minutes; then break in, one by one, six eggs, and beat till smooth. Have muffin-pans buttered, or large baking-sheets. Drop a spoonful of the mixture on them, allowing room to spread, and bake half an hour in a quick oven. Cool on a sieve, and, when cool, fill with a cream made as below.
FILLING FOR CREAM CAKES.
One pint of milk, one cup of sugar, two eggs, half a cup of flour, and a piece of butter the size of a walnut.
Mix the sugar and flour, add the beaten eggs, and beat all till smooth. Stir into the boiling milk with a teaspoonful of salt, and boil for fifteen minutes. When cold, add a teaspoonful of vanilla or lemon. Make a slit in each cake, and fill with the cream. Corn-starch may be used instead of flour. This makes a very nice filling for plain cup cake baked on jelly-cake tins.
MERINGUES, OR KISSES.
Whites of three eggs beaten to a stiff froth; quarter of a pound of sifted powdered sugar; a few drops of vanilla.
Add the sugar to the whites. Have ready a hard-wood board which fits the oven. Wet the top well with boiling water, and cover it with sheets of letter-paper. Drop the meringue mixture on this in large spoonfuls, and set in a very slow oven. The secret of a good meringue is to dry, not bake; and they should be in the oven at least half an hour. Take them out when dry. Slip a thin, sharp knife under each one, and put two together; or scoop out the soft part very carefully, and fill with a little jelly or with whipped cream.
THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes