To Mix Butter Cakes

An earthen bowl should always be used for mixing cake, and a wooden cake-spoon with slits lightens the labor. Measure dry ingredients, and mix and sift baking powder and spices, if used, with flour. Count out number of eggs required, breaking each separately that there may be no loss should a stale egg chance to be found in the number, separating yolks from whites if rule so specifies. Measure butter, then liquid. Having everything in readiness, the mixing may be quickly accomplished. If butter is very hard, by allowing it to stand a short time in a warm room it is measured and creamed much easier. If time cannot be allowed for this to be done, warm bowl by pouring in some hot water, letting stand one minute, then emptying and wiping dry. Avoid overheating bowl, as butter will become oily rather than creamy. Put butter in bowl, and cream by working with a wooden spoon until soft and of a creamy consistency; then add sugar gradually, and continue beating. Add yolks of eggs or whole eggs beaten until light, liquid, and flour mixed and sifted with baking powder; or liquid and flour may be added alternately. When yolks and whites of eggs are beaten separately, whites are usually added at the last, as is the case when whites of eggs alone are used. A cake can be made fine grained only by long beating, although light and delicate with a small amount of beating. Never stir cake after the final beating, remembering that beating motion should always be the last used. Fruit, when added to cake, is usually floured to prevent its settling to the bottom. This is not necessary if it is added directly after the sugar, which is desirable in all dark cakes. If a light fruit cake is made, fruit added in this way discolors the loaf. Citron is first cut in thin slices, then in strips, floured, and put in between layers of cake mixtures. Raisins are seeded and cut, rather than chopped. To seed raisins, wet tips of fingers in a cup of warm water. Then break skins with fingers, or cut with a vegetable knife; remove seeds, and put in cup of water. This is better than covering raisins with warm water; if this be done, water clings to fruit, and when dredged with flour a pasty mass is formed on the outside. Washed currants, put up in packages, are quite free from stems and foreign substances, and need only picking over and rolling in flour. Currants bought in bulk need thorough cleaning. First roll in flour, which helps to start dirt; wash in cold water, drain, and spread to dry; then roll again in flour before using.