Archive for October, 2007

This is a very good primer on how to make cakes. I like recipes like this because they explain how a basic recipe gives rise to multiple variations. Knowing how to adapt basic recipes gives one a good basis for unleashing your own creativity! These notes teach principles of the creaming method.

In previous postings, I assumed that when grandma wrote ‘shortening’ this referred to vegetable shortening like Spry or Crisco. However, the term can refer to any kind of fat that makes the batter ‘short’ and crumbly, so butter and margarine are also kinds of shortening. I’m not sure which type is preferable for these cakes.

The note “Y.W.” in the top right hand corner might indicate that grandmother learnt these principles of cake-making from the YWCA, the Young Women’s Christian Association. I’ve written about her association with the YWCA here.

A summary of the different kinds of cakes covered:
Loaf cake
Layer cake
Cup cake
Chocolate cake
Marble cake
Maple cake
Nut cake
Spice cake
Silver cake
Golden cake
Gala cake

Standard Cake A

Standard Cake B

Standard Cake C

Standard Cake D

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I recently baked another cake called a “coffee cake” which also had no coffee. The name refers to cakes that are best when accompanied by a cup of steaming, aromatic coffee (as described here).

Coffee cake photos and recipes here and also on this site, which explains that coffee cakes are usually made in the same manner as muffins: wet ingredients + dry ingredients with minimal mixing. This method is also used in the Blueberry Muffin and Applesauce Nut Bread recipes which I posted earlier.

A search on the internet seems to point to coffee cakes as a particularly American type of cake, which is consistent with the other very American recipes in my grandmother’s notebook.

Tea lovers like me should perhaps be baking tea cakes (which also do not contain any tea) instead :)?

Raisin Apple Coffee Cake

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