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Quick Cakes

Any busy homemaker is attracted to time-savers, so I’m sure that was Mom’s thinking when she clipped this recipe.  I find several things unusual in this clipping.  

The instructions have baking powder added to the wet ingredients and beating two to three times.  I was of the opinion that you shouldn’t mix baking powder into the wet ingredients because as soon as you do it starts to work.  So I looked it up on the internet and found this: “The chemical reaction that produces the carbon dioxide bubbles occurs immediately upon adding water, milk, eggs or another water-based liquid ingredient. Because of this, it’s important to cook the recipe right away, before the bubbles disappear. Also, it’s important to avoid over-mixing the recipe so that you don’t stir the bubbles out of the mixture.”  I might have to do an experiment…..

The 8 x 10 pan size is strange to me.  That’s about the size of a basic sheet of copier paper (8 1/2 x 11).  Well, I don’t have one that size and I can’t find a pan that size available on the internet, so I’m wondering if that’s just the size she assumed the pan was.

Egg whites in the frosting caught my eye, because I remember for a while Mom had us making our cake frosting with the white of an egg in it.  I think my sister may have started that, tho, because Mrs. McCormick used it in a cake she made while spending the night with her friend, Patsy. As I remember, the frosting was rather glossy but pasty (no pun intended as far as spelling goes).  

I’m also wondering if the drawing of Hope Needham printed with her column was flattering or not.  I probably wouldn’t recognize her if I met her on the street.

Dear Hope and Householders:

To those of you who like to make quick cakes, I’d like to pass along a hint about a mixing method I stumbled on quite by accident when I had to hurry.  Although I’ve made dozens of quick spoon-whipped cakes using cream, either sweet or sour, I never really knew there is a technique in achieving light, moist, even textured cakes with a minimum of trouble.

To my notion, any cake made with cream stays moist and soft to the very last, more so than when using other shortening.  Of course in making other types of cakes, such as angel food, sponge or fruit cakes, it pays to follow methods suitable for them alone.

The secret lies in dissolving the sugar and making powder with the eggs.  Beat up with a spoon and let stand a few minutes while preparing oven, pan, etc.  Sugar doesn’t dissolve quickly, as you well know, when dissolving it in your coffee.  It takes two or three stirrings.  I usually add all the ingredients together at once, except the cream and flour.

Here is my basic recipe and method:

Into your mixing bowl place 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 /4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 level teaspoons baking powder.  break in 3 eggs, and with your spoon beat swiftly until thoroughly mixed and quite light.  Let stand awhile and beat up once or twice more to be sure sugar is well dissolved and mixture is syrupy.  At this stage you will notice how light it looks.

Then add 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour and 1 cup sweet cream, not too thick.  Mix only long enough to smooth out all lumps, and bake at 350 degrees until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  My pan is 8 x 10 inches but you can divide into layers if you wish.

If using sour cream stir one-half level teaspoon soda into the cream, but do not alter the first party.  Variations to basic recipe may be according to taste  — spice, lemon, chocolate, raisins.  If one cup raising are used, cook them 10 minutes and add 1/2 cup raisin water in which they were cooked.  All measures to be standard.l  Try it and report results.

Here is a quick never-fail frosting:

Beat up 2 egg whites with rotary beater until fairly stiff, add 1/8 teaspoon salt and  heaping teaspoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Add about 3 cups powdered sugar, more or less, to make thick enough to spread.  Covers an average-sized cake.




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