Thursday, October 06, 2016

1928 Orange Cake / 2016 Orange-Cocoa Cake

Twice in two days! (The world isn't ending, don't least, I hope it's not.)

I made this yesterday.

...because on the weekend, my husband and I went to a favorite antiques shop, and I found the cookbook pictured above (and below).

I collect old cookbooks, in original and facsimile editions, from about 1650 to 1950, though most fall into the 1900 - 1939 category. I use them, too, though you do need to be aware of changes. For example, what in the world does a gill measure? (Half a cup.)
This book was published in 1928, and in 1928, double acting baking powder was around, but not the default leavening agent for quick breads. One could make baking powder at home, with baking soda and cream of tartar, and many people did.

Single acting baking powder starts to rise when it gets wet. Double acting baking powder starts (for the first time) when it's wetted, and begins to rise again when exposed to heat. According to some sources, the amount of rise is the same with both versions of baking powder.

From my own experience, I can say that it is not; if you're using double acting baking powder on an older (1920s or 30s...maybe even 40s), you're liable to end up with something that rises too fast once in the oven, and cracks as a result; in fact, it's possible that it will even fall after the quick rise, as the structure isn't yet hardened enough by cooking to uphold its new height.
I have a "feather cocoanut cake" recipe that I've perfected from a 1930s cookbook that took three or four tries to get right. One thing I did was to change from liquid fat to solid fat, and cream it, but even more importantly, I decreased the amount of baking powder.

I got lazy with this cake...and yes, it rose too fast, and cracked. Hence the flat top...because I turned it over. Which works, within reason!
Here is the original recipe--I'll post the changes I made after this.
Orange Cake
2/3 c. Crisco
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
3/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. water
Cream Crisco and sugar together. Add well-beaten eggs and mix well.  Mix and sift flour, baking powder and salt and add alternately with the combined orange juice and water to the first mixture.  Beat thoroughly. Pour into 3 greased layer cake pans and bake in a hot oven (400 degrees F) 20 to 25 minutes. Cool.
I only had one orange, which meant I had about 1/4 c. orange juice. I did have orange flavoring, and also some good cocoa on hand. Besides, I love orange and cocoa together.
I used 2 3/4 flour, and 1/4 c. cocoa; 3/4 c. water, and 1/4 c. orange juice; 1/8 t. orange flavoring, and 1 tbl. freshly minced orange peel. And, as is usual, I decreased the amount of salt to about 1/4 t.
This makes a fine, velvety cake. It has a pronounced chocolate flavor, because there is no dairy to interfere with the development of the chocolate taste--water will always give you a richer flavor. It is very tender, as well.
The glaze on top is made as follows:
Bittersweet Chocolate-Orange Glaze
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 tbl. Cointreau
2 1/2 tbl. unsalted butter
Melt together over very low heat, stirring constantly. Pour over cooled cake and swirl over top. Dust center of cake with finely minced fresh orange zest.
I did make the full recipe and used the rest of the batter to make four cupcakes and 12 small teacakes, all now in the freezer for teas and picnics of the future. 

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