Saturday, 20 March 2010

Economy Cake

I haven't forgotten you, my little Singles! In fact, I sat down yesterday at the computer, and it started to act funny, and as I struggled with it, jet lag set in, and thus I went to bed. So there you are.

Now that I am home in Canada, I have the run of my mother's cookbooks. The principle cookbook of my youth was (and don't laugh, pls!) Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book. My father brought it with him into his marriage. It was a gift from his mother, and his elder brother got a copy, too. After my uncle died, his pristine copy went to my brother Nulli. (Mum, I'll have you know, brought Chatelaine's Adventures in French Cooking and other sophisticated tomes.)

Dad's copy, used by all in the family except, perhaps, Dad, could be boiled to make a nourishing soup. But this leaves me with a dilemma: what recipe to choose?

I have decided to go with One-Egg Cake because it is economical, needing only one egg. Some days you have only one egg, but you want a nice cake, and so here one is:

Economy Cake

2 cups pastry flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 soft shortening
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg (1/4 cup)

1. Heat oven to 350 F.
2. Get out two 8" x 1 1/2" layer pans or a square pan measuring 9" x 9" x 1 3/4".
3. Blend flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. Add shortening, 2/3 of milk and vanilla.
5. Beat thoroughly: 2 min with the mixer or 300 "vigorous strokes by hand". (That's what it says.) Scrape bottom and sides of bowl often.
6. Add rest of milk and eggs.
7. Beat 2 more minutes, scraping bowl constantly.
8. Pour into pan or pans.
9. Bake layers about 30 minutes, square 30-35 minutes.
10. Cool.
11. "Frost with your favo[u]rite icing."

If you aren't feeling as economical as all that, I bet you could use butter instead of shortening. It's only a third of a cup, after all. Mmmm! Butter. Incidentally, I would never use anything except butter to make icing. Here's the simplest I know:

Fast Frosting

1/3 cup soft butter
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp milk or cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
food colouring (optional)

1. Blend butter and sugar. Be careful or the super-light sugar will fly all over you.
2. Stir in cream (or milk) and vanilla until smooth.
3. Divide frosting into one big bowl and one little bowl.
4. Colour the frosting in the big bowl with a few drops. This is for covering the cake. Stir well until colour mixed in.
5. Colour the frosting in the little bowl with a few drops of a contrasting colour. Stir until colour mixed in. Stuff this icing into an cake decorating tube and write cheery messages or dab interesting designs on the cake.

I hear someone saying, "It would be even cheaper to get a mix from the supermarket." Well, I am shocked. Shocked! There is no substitute for real, homemade cake. Bake one and invite the girls around.


Maggie said...

Made this today- very nice! Thanks Seraphic!

Annabel said...

I made a one egg cake for my flatmate on Tuesday and it was horrible (though possibly my baking skills); wish I'd found this recipe before now! Will definitely be trying this one next time.