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Category Archives: Frosting

Requests, Anyone?

Apparently readers would request recipes from other readers of the Household column. When writing this one, I imagine the reader as having the recipe in her head and she is writing just as she would tell me how to do it.  Apparently she assumes you are right in front of your cupboard and can just reach in to get what you need as we go along.  I imagine her saying to me, “…..and then you’re going to want to put a filling between the layers, once they’ve cooled off…..”, and then, “Oh, I’ve got this really good beet salad I make….it’s so easy….you just……”

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White Cake

Dear Household Friends: I am sending a very good white cake recipe in answer to a request.  If it is too large for your family, just use half of the recipe.

1 cup butter or lard
2 cups sugar, creamed together till very light
3 1/4 cups flour, sifted 4 times with 3 teaspoons of baking power

Add 1 cup milk to creamed mixture alternating with the flour.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla to 8 beaten egg whites and fold into the batter.  Bake at 350 degrees in layers.


For the filling, cream 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, add 7 beaten egg yolks and cook in double boiler, stirring constantly, till thick and smooth.  While hot add 1 cup chopped raisins, 1 cup chopped nuts and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Next I will give a good beet salad.

Beet Salad

Cut 1 quart pickled beets into small pieces, add 3 hard-boiled eggs cut fine, 1/2 cup nuts and enough salad dressing to moisten.

I imagine the beets need to be well drained, maybe even blotted…..because of adding only enough salad dressing to moisten or bind the salad ingredients.


Boiled Icing

This recipe must be well over 100 years old in “Swingin’ Along’s” family by now.  At that point in time the average homemaker didn’t have an electric mixer or rotary beater (invented 1884), so a wire whisk was probably used.  Mom had a whisk that was shaped like a spring in an oval shape attached to the handle.  I remember seeing her making a meringue using that whisk.  

Without a thermometer the cooked syrup had to be tested with a dish of water near by.  This clipping does a good job of describing when the syrup is at the “spinning a thread” stage.  When making divinity or fudge from scratch, you might cook the syrup to the soft ball stage by dropping a tiny bit from the cooking spoon into the water.   

I don’t think Swingin’ is referring to the density of the frosting itself when she says , “If you wanted an especially thick frosting….”  because the remedy would only make more frosting.  Instead, I think she’s referring to whether you want the frosting to be 1/4″ thick on the cake or 1/2″ thick.   She does advise about the perils of making frosting too thick on a stacked cake, though.  

Here is a boiled icing used by my mother over 60 years ago. The old rule was 1 cup sugar to each egg white used. If you wanted an especially thick frosting, add another cup sugar and another egg white.

She used to bake cakes for parties and weddings and would sometimes tint frosting a delicate pink, a feat that was rather hard to do before commercial fruit colorings were on the market, and when the layers were stacked up, lo, the frosting was as thick as the layers and the cake as tall as it was broad!  A little experience is all that is needed to get the knack; anyone who is adept with candies will know how.  The method of boiling the syrup is similar to that used when making fondant candy, and the finished product is like marshmallow creme or divinity.

For an average three-layer cake use 2 cups sugar, one-half cup water and 2 egg whites.  Beat whites to peaks in quite a large bowl, as they puff up when syrup is poured.  Combine sugar and water and stir cold to dissolve, then boil without stirring until syrup will spin a hair when dropped from spoon.  Watch closely; you can almost tell by the size of the bubbles when it is done.  Just dip in spoon, letting syrup drop off in a thin stream and when it is about ready the last few drops will spin a hair.

Lift immediately and pour in a thin stream over the beaten egg whites, beating quickly all the while to cook whites in hot syrup.  Continue beating until mixture looks glossy and is fairly thick, three or four minutes.  Add (1) teaspoon vanilla, stir, and it is (re)ady to spread.  Have layers cold or (coo)l, spread on all layers, let stand (a m)oment to be sure icing won’t roll (down, t)hen Stack. –Swingin’ Along, Iowa.

I’m guessing the words that are in the piece that’s missing.

Best White Layer Cake

I imagine that homemakers constantly were trying to achieve the perfect white cake.  In another post we had my sister-in-law Kathy’s famous “Aunt Aggie’s White Cake”  and there are other white cake recipes in the cookbook.  This one has two ingredients available to farm wives in my mom’s day: lard and eggs.  Cake flour was a staple on mom’s pantry shelf but when cake mixes became more available, I don’t imagine it got used as much.  Well, she probably would opt for a recipe like this if she was trying to use up a bunch of eggs.  This one uses a total of ten eggs between the cake and the icing.

Beat White Layer Cake

1 cup lard
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla
7 egg whites, beaten stiff

Reserve 1/2 cup sugar to beat with egg whites.l  Cream lard, 2 tablespoons water, remainder of sugar and salt.  Sift flour, measure, add baking powder and sift again.  Add flour alternately with water.  Add vanilla to creamed mixture.  Fold 1/2 cup sugar into beaten egg whites and fold into batter. Bake in three 9-inch layer pans in a 375 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes.  Put layers together with 7-minute icing.  For the icing you will need:

2 1/4 cups sugar
7 1/2 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons white corn syrup
3 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients, except vanilla, in top of double boiler.  Cook 3 minutes over boiling water.  Remove from heat, but leave over hot water, and beat 7 minutes.  Blend in vanilla.

Brown Sugar Frosting

Betty had room to copy another recipe on this page.  This was also a Kitchen Klatter recipe.  We always had cream and butter available on the farm. I see it recommends this on a burnt sugar cake.  Mom used to make a raisin cake and this may have been the frosting on it sometimes.

Frosting (Kitchen Klatter)

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet cream
1/4 lb. butter

Bring butter to boil – about 1 1/2 min.  Then add
1 tsp baking powder

Pour this solution over above and start beating at once.  Add:

1 tsp vanilla

Very smooth, especially goon on burnt sugar cake.

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