The flour for cakes should be dried and sifted. The currants must be washed and dried before they are used, and dropped a few at a time on a plate, to discover if there are any stones amongst them.
Sultanas should be rubbed inn flour and the stalks picked off.
When the whites of eggs are beaten separately from the yolks, remove the germ and beat them to the strongest possible froth.
To cream butter, beat it in a basin with a wooden spoon or the hand, until it is of the consistency of cream; add the sugar, and beat both together until quite light, from ten to fifteen minutes. If this is not done, heavy streaks will appear in the cakes.
When baking-powder, soda, etc., are used, put them in just before mixing the cake and bake at once, otherwise the effervescence passes off and the powder is valueless.
Be careful not to mix cakes in which the fat is rubbed into the flour to wet. This is a common mistake and makes them heavy.
In following any of the recipes given in this book, do not grease the tins unless specifically directed to do so, but line them with paper, following the directions for doing so exactly. Grease makes the crust of the cake liable to burn, but it is sometimes necessary.
Cakes should be put in the hottest part of the oven first, to throw them up and make them light. When this is done, place them in a more moderately heated part, and let them cook slowly. An inexperienced cook may test a cake, to see if it is cooked, by running a skewer into the center. If it is cooked, the skewer will come out quite clean.
Gingerbread cakes and biscuits must be baked in a very slow oven, as they burn quickly in a hot one.
Source: New England Cookbook 1905