Let them eat cake

Back after a week or so away.  I have another big project that was taking up some time but I’m in the home stretch with it, so it’s time press with our culinary adventures.

This week, I’ve chosen “All About Home Baking” published in 1937 by General Foods.  This little book is a real gem.  There are two names in the front of the book, Jane Erickson with the date April 11, 1938 and Jane E. Thompson dated August 2, 1938 .  Only one address appears in the book and the handwriting appears to be the same on both the names and the address.  I like to imagine that Miss Erickson married and, as Mrs. Thompson, took this sweet book with her into marital bliss.

There really is a great deal to unpack here.  The occasional note from the original owner, a secret surprise recipe, (which I’ll make at a later date) and a wealth of tips on baking.  But let’s start at the very beginning, shall we?  Let’s see what lessons our newlywed might have gleaned.

The first chapter is titled, “It’s a Wise Woman who Knows Her Baking Rules”.  Truer words have never been spoken…er…written! The initial paragraphs spend a great deal of time encouraging our novice baker to take advantage of modern knowledge by employing the recipes and tips provided in this small wonder.  This chapter notes that the “progressive homemake walks right up to Science and says “You tell me how”.  It’s this love of right method, this desire to do things with a reason-in proved ways, that has simplified home baking and made its results more certain.”  

This chapter also lists the 6 basic rules one must follow for successful baking.  They are:

  1. Be orderly
  2. Use good tools
  3. Choose good ingredients
  4. Measure accurately
  5. Mix carefully
  6. Know your pans and oven, and how to cool your cakes

Okay.  I’ve reviewed the rules and I’m pretty excited about getting started so I’m flying through the other chapters to get to the heart of my purpose, making a cake.  Sure, my short cut might come back to bite me in the ass, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take in the interest of baking.  And cake.  Mostly so I get cake.

I’ve chosen a recipe from butter cake section.  It’s the first actual recipe in the book. ( One of the interesting things is that, to the left of the picture I posted, there is a chart that provides the name and page number of each recipe that teaches a budding baker how to make butter cakes and cookies.)

I’ve chosen to make the Calumet One-Egg Cake.  I chose this recipe because the previous owner rated it as only ‘fair’.  Why fair, Mrs. Thompson?  Was it not up to your standards?  What was lacking in this delicacy that had you note it as only ‘fair’?  Enquiring bakers want to know!

Results to follow!  I’m hoping for a better result than fair.  

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