For emergencies, the wise hostess always has "something dainty in the cake box"
Cookies and Little Cakes
Women and the Home
For emergencies, the wise hostess always has "something dainty in the cake box"
THERE are people who, no matter how ambitious they may be in that direction, never feel that they achieve unqualified success in the making of layer cakes and their like. For such a one there is a masterly retreat open, retreat with victory, in fact. The way lies in the making of some of the many kinds of excellent little cakes which are really so immeasurably useful. They are attractive and lend themselves so well to pass-around service that they are necessarily a part of all entertainment plans. They are so simple and easily made that they solve many minor problems of everyday fill-in needs; and there are varieties which keep well, and thus may be made up in quantity to give one that pleasant knowledge of “something in the cake box” to meet an unexpected call.
The most useful types of small cake are the Drop Cakes of various kinds—such familiar friends as hermits, rocks and macaroons, the many members of the rolled cooky family, rich little cakes made of a batter resembling pound cake or the delicate sponge, angel and sunshine batters. These may be baked individually or in a sheet pan; in which case small squares and diamonds and all kinds of fancy shapes are cut from the inchthick sheet of cake and individually frosted and decorated.
The Drop Cake
'T'HERE are a few simple tools of the trade that will be of great assistance. Most drop cakes, as their name implies, are simply dropped on a baking sheet or pan in small quantities from the tip of a spoon —usually with the aid of another spoon to scrape off the dough, which is thick enough to hold its shape at least until the heat spreads it. Occasionally we find it convenient to use a good-sized pastry bag through which to force the batter—this is one way of shaping lady fingers, for instance, if you are not using the finger pans.
For everything of cup-cake type, small editions of the gem pan used to be employed; to be really dainty these must be very small, and as one frequently has not
enough of them, it is better to use the small paper cakecups. These come in a large package for a small price, have become very popular, and have several advantages. They require no greasing, for which reason many cooks set one in each gem pan when using them. They can be set very close together in a cake pan, so that the oven will take a number at a time. And they come in graded sizes, so that you can get exactly the size you want, and the paper casing seems to keep the little cakes from drying out before they are used.
A pastry bag, or metal pastry tube or gun, will give much assistance in decorating frosted cakes. You can
get a variety of the small outlets or tips, and a little practice with them will enable you not only to put on simple borders and rosettes, but effective sprays of flowers and leaves, with icing that you have tinted into your desired color scheme; ordinary butter icing or confectioners’ icing both work easily.
Orange juice and grated orange or lemon rind, red fruit juice and even pineapple juice used as the liquid, will
give more or less of a tint to your frosting. But you can, of course, get the pure vegetable coloring—in either liquid or paste form—that will give you any tint Cochineal, too, is an old stand-by for the pinks and reds. When using coloring, remember that a very little goes a long way; you know the “cheap candy” appearance of a too pink or too green tint. The safe way to proceed is to take out a small portion of your made frosting, add coloring drop by drop, or speck by speck, and then mix this colored part a little at a time, into the main mixture until it is just the delicate shade you want.
Further decoration is added to little frosted cakes with glacé cherries and other fruits, bits of angelica and thinly shaved citron—they make good stems and leaves —nutmeats halved or chopped, candied rose and violet leaves, chocolate shot and grated chocolate, silver dragees and so forth.
Just a word on mixing your cakes. Begin with a dependable recipe. Use good ingredients, and handle them in the right way. Measuring is important; use standard measuring cup and spoons because they will have been used in any authoritative recipe. Stir up any light dry ingredient, such as baking powder, before measuring. Spoon your flour lightly into the measuring cup—never
dip the latter into the flour
container and scoop with it; do not pack or even shake the cup of flour, but when you have heaped it lightly, use your spatula or knife and level off the top of the cup even with the brim. Level your spoonful of baking powder, etc., in the same way.
A quick way to measure part of a cupful of shortening is this: if you want a quarter cupful, put three-quarters of a cupful of cold water into your
measuring cup first; then drop in pieces of cold hard
shortening until the water rises to the rim of the cup.
With adequate cooking utensils and your oven heated to the right degree—if your range has no dependable indicator, you should treat yourself to a small oven thermometer on an easel, which you place right on the baking rack—you should be able to proceed with all confidence.
Almond Ginger Drop Cakes
3-2 Cupful of shortening 1 Cupful of brown sugar 1 Unbeaten egg V/2 Cupfuls of flour
Teaspoonful of baking powder 3J Teaspoonful of salt Cupful of sultana raisins 3 Tablespoonfuls of finely chopped preserved ginger
Y Cupful of blanched and sliced almonds
Cream the shortening well and work the sugar into it; stir in the unbeaten egg. Sift the well mixed flour, baking powder and salt, and add to first mixture. Add the fruit—the sultanas should be divided—having coated it beforehand with a little of your measured flour. Stir the mixture vigorously and drop from a teaspoon on a greased baking sheet or inverted pan. Sprinkle the tops of the cakes with granulated sugar and bake in a moderate oven, 375 deg. Fahr, to a golden brown.
Orange Drop Cakes
li Cupful of shortening y2 Cupful of sugar 2 Egg yolks 1 Orange rind, grated 1 Cupful of nutmeats y Cupful of orange juice 1 }/2 Cupfuls of flour y Teaspoonful of salt
1 Teaspoonful of baking
Cream the butter well and work in the sugar. Beat egg yolks well and add them, also the grated orange rind and juice. Mix the dry ingredients and sift them in, mixing well. Add the chopped nuts—they may be walnuts or pecans for one type of cake, or blanched almonds for another; filberts or peanuts give a very individual flavor. Drop mixture from a teaspoon on greased pan and bake in moderate oven, 375 deg. Fahr.
2 Tablespoonfuls of flour y2 Teaspoonful of baking
1 Cupful of chopped dates
2 Eggs, beaten light
1 Cupful of chopped nuts
2 Tablespoonfuls of melted
1 Cupful of white sugar
Sift the baking powder and flour together and use to coat the chopped and well mixed dates and nutmeats. Cream the butter and sugar together and add to them the well beaten eggs. Combine these two mixtures, shape in small balls with the hands, roll in icing sugar and bake in a moderate oven, fifteen to twenty minutes.
Uncooked Fruit Balls
Suggested by the Fruit Balls just given, this recipe is actually more of a sweetmeat than a cake. It offers a delicious bite at a tea party, appreciated by many people who would not like a candy but enjoy this as something between the two.
Cut up stoned dates and red glacé cherries—about one-third as much cherry as date. Add chopped walnuts or pecans and chopped marshmallows. Mix with a little honey and a dash of lemon juice. Form in balls and roll in pulverized sugar.
Chocolate Cup Cakes
2 Squares of chocolate y2 Cupful of milk
1 Cupful of sugar y2 Teaspoonful of vanilla
3 Tablespoonfuls of butter 1 ys Cupfuls of flour
1 Teaspoonful of soda y2 Cupful of milk
Cut up the chocolate and melt it in double boiler over hot but not boiling water; stir in the first half-cupful of milk and the very slightly beaten egg yolks and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens smoothly! Remove the mixture from the heat and add the butter; mix the soda thoroughly with the flour and add to the first mixture alternately with the second half-cupful of milk; fold in the stiffly beaten whites of the eggs and the vanilla. Turn into paper cups or greased gem pans (small) and bake in a moderate oven, 375 deg. Fahr., about fifteen minutes.
Cover with butter icing and grate bitter chocolate over the top, or sprinkle with cocoanut.
Cream two tablespoonfuls of butter until v.ery light. Sift icing sugar into it and when it becomes too stiff, add a little cream and more sugar. Make a nice consistency to spread. Flavor with vanilla, or other flavorings when preferred. For chocolate icing, add melted chocolate and the necessary sugar.
Filled Sunshine Cakes
Sunshine cake has always been a favorite member of the Sponge family; it
calls for eggs in generous quantity, but has no butter in it, and is so good anyway, as to justify itself quite fully.
5 Egg yolks
1 Cupful of fine sugar
7 Egg whites
1 Teaspoonful of vanilla y Teaspoonful of cream of
Ys Cupful of pastry flour Pinch of salt
Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, and into them beat half of the sugar, using your rotary beater. Be sure to wash it well before beating whites with it.
Beat the egg whites very stiff in another bowl, adding the cream of tartar to-them. This is another little trick of the experienced cake-maker, for the cream of tartar serves to strengthen the fragile egg-white cell walls, thus giving added firmness to the mixture. Into this stiff white mixture gradually sift and fold the second half of the sugar.
Mix the salt well with the flour and sift four or five times to make very light.
Into the egg yolk mixture fold alternately small additions of the egg white mixture and the flour. Use a spatula or egg whisk and work very lightly, with an upward-and-over motion and just a3 little manipulation as will blend the ingredients. Turn into a flat pan—ungreased, if you have one which has never been greased; otherwise butter and flour it lightly. Bake in a slow oven, 320 deg. Fahr., for probably about forty-five minutes. When the cake is baked, invert it over a cooling rack—it may loosen itself from the pan as it cools and settle down upon the rack; if it does not do so, loosen it gently with your spatula.
For filling, the cake works best if it is one and a half to two inches deep. Cut it in squares about one-and-a-half inches each way; cut a deep wedge from the top of each square, being careful to leave sufficient uncut depth at the bottom. Into each cavity drop some very soft butter icing made as above, but thinned with rich cream or, for a very good effect, whipped cream; flavor it with a little mocha or maple or any other preferred flavoring. Cut off part of the wedge you removed from each cake and replace the top of it as a cover for the filling. Cover the top of the cake with the icing and sprinkle a border of finely ground nutmeats, cocoanut or chocolate shot, around the edge of each cake.
These little cakes sound rather fussy to make, but they are especially good and so worth the time they take.
Fruited Chocolate Wafers
2 Squares of chocolate
1 Cupful of shortening
y¿ Cupful of sugar
y Cupful of milk
1 Teaspoonful of vanilla
3 Cupfuls of flour
y2 Teaspoonful of salt 3 3^2 Teaspoonfuls of baking powder
y Cupful of glacé cherries, red and green
y¿ Cupful of blanched almonds
Melt the chocolate over hot, but not boiling water; add the shortening and work until well blended. Add the sugar and mix well. Beat the eggs slightly, and add them, also milk and vanilla. Mix and sift together the flour, salt and baking powder, adding gradually to the mixture. Add the cut-up cherries and the blanched almonds. When thoroughly blended, form in a compact roll about three inches in diameter, or pack into a loaf pan. Put in refrigerator or cold place and chill thoroughly; or chill the dough well and then roll out a small portion at a time, shaping with cutters. If the “ice-box method” is followed, cut the chilled roll in very thin slices with a very sharp knife.
Bake about ten minutes in a moderate oven, 350 deg. Fahr.
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