Old Cook Book Cake Recipes

Baking By GrandmaG Updated 19 Jul 2008 , 7:39pm by GrandmaG

GrandmaG Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 12:23pm
post #1 of 13

I was looking in my Mom's old (40's) cookbooks for cake recipes. They all called for shortening. Could any one tell me what the difference in texture will be depending on if I use shortening, butter, or oil? I am looking for some dense, large crumb vs. the light and airy recipes.
Also why did they use shortening instead of butter? I know butter was hard to come by during the war but this book came out in 1949 I think. Thanks!

12 replies
sadiepix Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 8:26pm
post #2 of 13

I collect and love old cookbooks and am a food history addict!

Butter was still really expensive in the 40's and was still harder to get in some places as opposed to margarine/shortening/lard.

Plus if they had butter, many folks preferred to use it for things that needed it in or on, and use the cheaper sub for cakes that would be sweet and covered in frostings etc.

For me, cakes with shortening do come out a bit denser (depending on the flour used also) and a bit more large-crumbed. I often use a self-made mix with shortening in it (I keep it in the freezer and just add eggs and milk when I want to bake) and it has a nice dense texture and coarser crumb.

If I want a cake recipe I like to be a bit firmer and less airy I add an extra egg yolk or two as well.

I love those older cookbooks and recipes!

GrandmaG Posted 18 Jul 2008 , 2:31am
post #3 of 13

Thank you so much for your reply! From what I have read shortening is supposed to make a softer, lighter cake. It gets really confusing some times when I read different views. Very interesting though. I think it's cool that you study old cook books.

GrandmaG Posted 18 Jul 2008 , 2:22pm
post #4 of 13

Will you share your self-made mix?

sadiepix Posted 18 Jul 2008 , 9:49pm
post #5 of 13

Let me dig out the recipe once I get home and I will post it this evening.

TC123 Posted 18 Jul 2008 , 9:51pm
post #6 of 13

Oh, thank you, sadiepx! I look forward to it, too! icon_smile.gif

sadiepix Posted 18 Jul 2008 , 10:42pm
post #7 of 13

Okay, here is my mix recipe and the variations to flavor it etc.

*I have good luck with butter, and keep the mix in the freezer (just pop in the fridge to soften a little before using).

*I have used both shortening and lard also, and while (for me at least, and it may be my method/crappy oven and add-ins) the shortening makes for a bit firmer cake and the lard a bit wetter overall. With these two you can store the mix in the pantry.

*I don't use this for everything, but it comes in handy in a pinch and for basic cakes. I am sure you experienced folk will also have fun playing with the flavors and method.

*Also, I have started using a bit less baking powder as mine were tasting a bit acidic, but that may be my haphazard measuring!

*I used this for a WASC cake recently since I don't use a lot of boxed mix. I left out the extra baking powder called for in the WASC recipe and aside from being a bit yellower than boxed it was very very good.

*Be sure to really bang the bubbles out of the batter once it is in the pan. Forgetting to do that was my biggest problem with this, it does leave air bubbles.

Cake Mix to Store and Flavor
7-1/2 cups sifted flour
1 Tbsp. salt
4-1/2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. double acting baking powder
3/4 cup cold butter (or shortening/butter-flavor shortening/lard)

Mix the dry ingredients together. Measure out 3 cups (roughly) into another bowl and cut the butter/other into it. Remix this with the rest of the dry ingredients lightly.
Divide into three 4 cup portions, by lightly scooping the mix and leveling off with a knife. Store in sealed bags/containers.
Each mix makes two 8 inch cakes or one 9x13.

For White Cake-
4 cups mix
4 egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter, softened (or shortening/oil)
1 cup milk

For Yellow Cake
4 cups cake mix
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter, softened (or shortening/oil)
3 eggs
1 cup milk

For Chocolate Cake
4 cups cake mix
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter, softened (or shortening/oil)
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. milk
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder

Bake as you would any cake.

*I had used cake extender type recipes with this for years, and just love it for adding in. I personally think it can be used for any of the recipes that normally call for a box mix with add-ins. The WASC was new to me when joining CC as it had so much more to add and I really think it worked well too.

My favorite box-cake was the old Bacardi-style rum cake with the walnuts, and I was sad not to eat it when I made more of an effort to stop eating processed foods. I have since used this recipe for the rum cake and love it just as much!

Rum Cake
4 1/4 cups mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup oil

Mix as above and pour into a pan (I use a tube) that has been greased, and a cup or more of chopped walnuts with cinnamon sprinkled on the bottom. Bake at 325 for one hour.

Make a glaze by lightly boiling 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup rum and 1/4 cup water til syrupy. While still warm, pour over the cake.



*I should say, this is a recipe based off another I had found, not strictly MINE. Someone else came up with it first and I have just tweaked it a little for my needs. I meant MINE because it is the one I USE.
Did not mean to imply I made up the whole thing or a cake-mix is just my idea. Would hate to look like a snob! icon_biggrin.gif

GrandmaG Posted 19 Jul 2008 , 12:30am
post #8 of 13

You are so kind to write all of this down for us. So helpful! Can't wait to try it!! Thank you so much.

TC123 Posted 19 Jul 2008 , 12:51am
post #9 of 13

And a big thank you from me, too! You are wonderful to share this with us!

Have a wonderful weekend, Sadie & GrandmaG!

sadiepix Posted 19 Jul 2008 , 10:27am
post #10 of 13

Aw, thanks ladies! No trouble at all, I keep all my recipes on paper AND the computer. Was just a minute to copy and paste!

I love sharing recipes...I think I only have 4 I won't give out (only one is cake) but those are my specialties...icon_smile.gif

Hope it works for you ladies! Lovely weekends back atcha!

GrandmaG Posted 19 Jul 2008 , 11:12am
post #11 of 13

I have a question about your WASC version. Did you mean you leave out some of the baking powder from your scratch mix for the WASC or the WASC? None of the recipes for WASC that I have call for baking powder so I want to make sure. This will be so great to use! I'm so excited!!

sadiepix Posted 19 Jul 2008 , 11:35am
post #12 of 13

Oh what a dummy I am! I meant the salt! Good grief...brain was not on I suppose!

I leave out the extra salt in the WASC recipe when using the home mix as I find it tastes a bit funny.

Will edit the post f it will let me...right now I don't have an edit button on that post...weird.

Sorry about that!!!

GrandmaG Posted 19 Jul 2008 , 7:39pm
post #13 of 13

You're not a dummy! icon_cool.gif Thanks!

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