Step-by-step guide to a perfect old-fashioned spice cake (1950s)
Old-fashioned spice cake — one of the most flavorful of all cakes — is becoming increasingly popular these days.
The secret of an excellent spice cake, says Duncan Hines, America’s foremost authority on good eating, is in the skillful selection and blending of the spices so that no single spice is permitted to overpower the others. If the cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice, ginger or clove predominates, it’s like a raw barb on the tongue.
Another suggestion by Hines is to select a frosting that will complement the spice flavors — and not dominate them. He suggests a seafoam frosting made with brown sugar.
The 6 steps to a perfect spice cake recipe
By Vilya Y. Steck and Marjorie Griffiths – McCall’s Magazine, 1952
1. Grease bottoms and sides of pans. Then sift a little flour into each and shake hard so pans are well floured. Dump out surplus. This helps cakes drop from pans easily.
2. Measure flour carefully. Sift first, then spoon lightly into standard measuring cup. Cut off excess to make level cup. Sift with remaining dry ingredients, then sift again.
3. Cream thoroughly. Work or cream shortening, butter or margarine until soft and light. Then work in brown sugar gradually, next granulated, until mixture is very fluffy.
4. Add eggs, unbeaten, one at a time to sugar mixture, beating very, very hard after each egg has been added. Beating is important here to put air into your Spice Cake.
5. Add flour and milk alternately (important for a creamy batter). Start with 1/3 flour. Stir only until mixed. Then stir in 1/2 buttermilk or sour milk. Repeat, ending with flour.
6. Divide batter in pans. Then bang pans once sharply on table top to distribute air equally through cakes and to prevent air tunnels. Don’t be afraid of this trick, it really works.
How to frost it? Check out one of these vintage recipes! Get the classic 7-minute frosting recipe, plus a dozen variations to try