The mixing and baking of cake requires more care and judgment than any other branch of cookery; notwithstanding, it seems the one most frequently attempted by the inexperienced.
Two kinds of cake mixtures are considered: —
- Without butter. Example: Sponge Cakes.
- With butter. Examples: Cup and Pound Cakes.
In cake making (1) the best ingredients are essential; (2) great care must be taken in measuring and combining ingredients; (3) pans must be properly prepared; (4) oven heat must be regulated, and cake watched during baking.
Best tub butter, fine granulated sugar, fresh eggs, and pastry flour are essentials for good cake. Coarse granulated sugar, bought by so many, if used in cake making, gives a coarse texture and hard crust. Pastry flour contains more starch and less gluten than bread flour, therefore makes a lighter, more tender cake. If bread flour must be used, allow two tablespoons less for each cup than the recipe calls for. Flours differ greatly in thickening properties; for this reason it is always well when using from a new bag to try a small cake, as the amount of flour given may not make the perfect loaf. In winter, cake may be made of less flour than in summer.
Before attempting to mix cake, study How to Measure and How to Combine Ingredients.
Look at the fire, and replenish by sprinkling on a small quantity of coal if there is not sufficient heat to effect the baking.