Cooking With Gas ~ Cakes

Cakes and Biscuits

Cake Method (Creaming)

All fruit should be cleaned and if it is necessary to wash it, see that it is quite dry before it is added to the mixture. Remove the sugar from candied peel. Get as much cold air as possible into the cakes by plenty of beating, as cold air expands in a hot oven.

Beat together the butter and sugar until they are white and like thick cream. Beat the eggs and add them, a little at a time, beating each lot well in before more is added. (If added too quickly, the mixture tends to curdle.) Add the flavourings. Then stir in lightly the fruit, nuts, etc. Sift together the baking powder (or cream of tartar and bi-carb of soda), salt and flour, as this not only breaks down any lumps in the flour, but also aerates it. Add this to the eggs, etc., a little at a time, “folding” it in as lightly as possible. (Beating a cake after the flour is added tends to make it heavy, as the flour breaks down the little air cells and lets the air escape.) If the mixture is too stiff, a little milk may be added; the mixture should just fall easily from the spoon.

Pastry Method

This method is used for scones, biscuits, dripping cakes, etc.

Pass through a sieve the flour and baking powder (or cream of tartar and bi-carb of soda). Rub in the fat with the tips of the fingers. Add the rest of the dry ingredients (sugar, fruit, nuts, etc). Beat the eggs and milk, and add sufficient liquid to the dry ingredients to make the dough of the required consistency. Knead lightly on a floured board and roll out. For scones the dough should be ½ inch thick, for biscuits less than ¼ inch is necessary.

Never bang the oven door when cakes or pastry are in the oven- more especially large rice cakes-always close it gently.

To test if a cake is cooked, run a clean hot skewer through the centre of the cake; if the cake is done, the skewer will come out clean and smooth.

Leave large cakes in the tins for about 10 minutes before turning out to cool, and cool them either on a wire cake rack, a sieve, or a clean towel folded flat several times.

Don’t wash the tins, but wipe them clean, firstly with soft paper and then with clean tea-towel, and put them away when cold.

*Brunswick Cake

  • 8 oz flour
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoonfuls mixed spice
  • About ¼ pint milk
  • 1 teaspoonful cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoonful bi-carb soda
  • 1 level teaspoon cream of tartar

Mix the cake as mentioned above, adding sufficient milk at the last to make a slightly softish mixture. Pour the mixture into two well-greased sandwich tins and bake in a moderately hot oven for 30-35 minutes. When cold, put a layer of almond paste or apricot jam in the centre [Gastat 6].

N.B.-The sandwich tins should be 8” in diameter and 1” in depth. The cake may be iced with glace icing.

*Christmas Cake

  • 12 oz butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 12 oz sugar
  • 12 oz plain flour
  • 12 oz sultanas
  • 12 oz large raisins
  • 12 oz mixed peel
  • ½ teaspoonful mixed spice
  • 1 lb currants
  • ½ teaspoonful salt
  • ½ gill brandy
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Stone and halve the raisins, chop the mixed peel and clean the currants and sultanas. Mix as for cake method, above, and bake in a tin 9” diameter, two-thirds of the way down in a slow oven for 4½ hours. [Gastat 4].

N.B.-To prepare the cake tin, line the bottom and the side with two thicknesses of greaseproof paper, and tie round outside a band of brown paper. Bothe the greaseproof paper lining and the band of brown paper should stand 2” higher than the cake tin.

Self-raising flour is not suitable for this recipe.

Napoleon Biscuits

  • 4 oz flour
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 3 oz butter
  • 1 oz ground almond or 1 oz fine semolina and ½ teaspoon almond essence
  • Raspberry jam

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and work in the butter as for pastry method. Roll 1/8” thick and cut into finger lengths in pairs to fit. Cook in a very moderately-heated oven until a pale biscuit colour. Cool, spread one with jam on the underside, fit together on top, and sprinkle with icing sugar. [Gastat 5].

Queen Cakes

  • 1 egg: its weight in butter, sugar and flour (see instruction before Egg and Cheese dishes
  • 1 oz currants
  • ½ oz cherries, cut small
  • ¼ teaspoonful baking powder
  • Grated rind of half a lemon

Mix as for cake method, and bake in paper cases in a fairly hot oven [Gastat 7].

If small greased tins are used, bake the cakes in a moderately hot oven [Gastat 6].

Swiss Roll

  • 2 eggs *
  • ¼ teaspoonful bi-carb soda
  • 3 oz flour
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • ½ teaspoonful cream of tartar
  • 3 oz castor sugar
  • Hot jam

Grease a flat swiss roll tin and line it with greased paper. Beat together the eggs and sugar in a deep basin over hot water till quite thick and frothy. Add the cream of tartar and bi-carb of soda to the flour and stir it into the eggs very lightly. Lastly add the boiling water, mix and pour at once into prepared tin and bake in a fairly hot oven for about 10 minutes. Turn on to sugared paper. Spread over the hot jam, roll up, dredge with sugar and stand on a rack to cool. [Gastat 7].

*If dried eggs are used, cook at 8.

A 6½" sponge sandwich may be made from the same mixture. Mainstat at E or 5, time 15 minutes.


  • 8 oz flour
  • 1½ oz margarine
  • 1½ oz lard
  • Yolk of egg (optional)
  • 1½ oz sugar
  • 2 oz currants or sultanas
  • 1 teaspoonful cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoonful bi-carb soda
  • ¼ teaspoonful salt
  • About ¼ pint milk, sour if possible

Mix as for pastry method. Adding enough milk to make softish dough. Knead lightly on a floured board, roll to ½ inch thickness, cut into rounds about 2 inches across, and bake on a greased tray for about 15-20 minutes in a fairly hot oven [Gastat 7].

N.B.-The scones may be brushed over with a little yolk of egg, or with a little milk before baking, or may be brushed over with melted butter as soon as cooked.

Note- Scones made from a plainer recipe should be baked at Gastat 8.