of new flour. If the flour takes fire, or assumes a dark brown color, the temperature is too high and the oven must be allowed to cool; if the flour remains white after the lapse of a few seconds, the tempera- ture is too low. When the oven is of the proper temperature the flour will slightly brown and look slightly scorched.
Another good way to test the heat, is to drop a few spoonfuls of the cake batter on a small piece of buttered letter paper, and place it in the oven during the finishing of the cake, so that the piece will be baked before putting in the whole cake; if the little drop of cake batter bakes evenly without burning around the edge, it will be safe to put the whole cake in the oven. Then, again, if the oven seems too hot, fold a thick brown paper double, and lay on the bottom of the oven; then after the cake has risen, put a thick brown paper over the top, or butter well a thick white paper and lay carefully over the top.
If, after the cake is put in, it seems to bake too fast, put a brown paper loosely over the top of the pan, care being taken that it does not touch the cake, and do not open the door for five minutes at least ; the cake should then be quickly examined, and the door shut carefully, or the rush of cold air will cause it to fall. Setting a small dish of hot water in the oven, will also prevent the cake from scorching.
To ascertain when the cake is done, run a broom straw into the middle of it ; if it comes out clean and smooth, the cake will do to take out.
Where the recipe calls for baking powder, and you have none, you can use cream of tartar and soda in proportion to one level teaspoon- ful of soda, two heaping teaspoonf uls of cream of tartar.
When sour milk is called for in the recipe, use only soda. Cakes made with molasses burn much more easily than those made with sugar, Never stir cake after the butter and sugar is creamed, but beat it down from the bottom, up and over ; this laps air into the cake batter, and produces little air cells, which cause the dough to puff and swell when it comes in contact with the heat while cooking.
When making most cakes, especially sponge cake, the flour should be added by degrees, stirred very slowly and lightly, for if stirred hard and fast it will make it porous and tough.
Cakes should be kept in tight tin cake-cans, or earthen jars, in a cool, dry place.