Simple Cake Recipe

Simple Cake with Old Fashioned Mocha FrostingSimple Homemade Cake with Mocha Frosting and Walnuts
(Source: Magazine Clipping, c. 1930s)

These old fashioned simple cake recipes are very easy to follow, and by applying easy variations to the one basic recipe, you can make up to one dozen (12) different dessert cakes!

These versatile cake recipes belong in your kitchen, and you'll be proud to serve the delicious dessert cakes to your family and guests.

Old Fashioned Simple Cake Recipe

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

The never fail, versatile white cake recipe below can be cleverly adapted to make a variety of dessert cakes simply by altering a few ingredients or the baking method. Get ready to learn the secret.


Simple White Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 cupful butter
1 cupful sugar
2 cupfuls cake flour
3 level teaspoonfuls baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 cupful milk
1 teaspoonful flavoring

Note: All measurements are level.

First: Beat or work the butter with a slotted wooden spoon until it has a whitish appearance around the edges. Gradually add the sugar to the butter, beating the mixture, meanwhile.

Second: Sift the flour, measure, add baking powder and sift three times.

Third: Separate eggs. Beat yolks until light.

Fourth: Beat egg whites until very light and fluffy.

To the creamed butter and sugar add eggs yolks, then alternately the 2/3 cupful of milk and the flour with the baking powder. Beat thoroughly until smooth. Add flavoring. Then carefully fold in the egg whites.

Bake in 2 round layer greased pans (8 x 1-1/4 inches) or in a loaf pan (7 x 7 x 2 inches) in moderate oven (350°F to 375°F).

Spread Mocha Frosting (see below) between layers and top and sides of cake. Decorate with walnut meats.

Orange Cake

Simple Orange Dessert CakeSimple Orange Dessert Cake with White Mountain Cream
(Source: Magazine Clipping, c. 1930s)

Use the old fashioned simple cake recipe. Bake in 2 layers or double the recipe and make 3 large layers and add the orange filling below.

Orange Filling:

1/2 cupful sugar
3 tablespoonfuls cake flour
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoonful butter
2 tablespoonfuls water
1/4 cupful orange juice
1 tablespoonful lemon juice
(Double ingredients for 3 layers)

Mix in order given. Cook in double-boiler until thick enough to spread. Spread filling between layers. Cover top of cake with White Mountain Cream Frosting (see below) with orange flavoring added, and 1/4 teaspoonful salt. Spread on top of cake and decorate with thin half slices of orange.

Silver Cake

Simple Silver CakeSimple Silver Cake with Butter Cream Frosting
(Source: Magazine Clipping, c. 1930s)

Use the old fashioned simple cake recipe. Fold in stiffly beaten whites of 3 eggs instead of 2 whole eggs. Bake in small loaf pan. Cover with Butter Cream Frosting (see below) and decorate with candied cherries cut in halves.

Variety Cake

Bake the old fashioned simple cake recipe in 2 layers. Spread jelly, White Mountain Cream Frosting (see below) or custard filling between layers. Cover with sweetened whipped cream.

Fruit Layer Cake

Bake the old fashioned simple cake recipe in 2 layers. Use 1/2 cupful nuts, 1/2 cupful raisins or dates, and 1/2 cupful figs, all put through a food chopper and mixed with boiled icing as filling. Ice with plain icing.

Marble Cake

Divide basic cake mixture into 2 parts. Add 4 tablespoonfuls cocoa powder to one part. Drop by spoonfuls into pan — alternating light and dark.

Chocolate Cake

Simple Chocolate CakeSimple Chocolate Layer Cake with Halved Pecans
(Source: Magazine Clipping, c. 1930s)

Basic old fashioned simple cake recipe. Take out 4 tablespoonfuls flour and add 6 tablespoonfuls cocoa. Bake in 2 layers or loaf. Cover with Butter Cream Frosting (see below). Decorate with halves of pecan meats.

Spice Loaf Cake

Simple Spice Loaf CakeSimple Spice Loaf Cake with Sea Foam Icing
(Source: Magazine Clipping, c. 1930s)

Basic old fashioned simple cake recipe. Add the following:

1/2 teaspoonful cloves
1/2 teaspoonful nutmeg
1/4 teaspoonful allspice
1 teaspoonful cinnamon

Bake in long loaf and cover with Sea Foam Icing (see below).

Snowball Cake

Bake Silver Cake (recipe above) in layers. Make a boiled icing. Mix 2/3 cupful of coconut with 1/3 cupful frosting. Put between layers. Cover cake with white icing of choice. Sprinkle generously with coconut.

Dark Fruit Cake

Basic old fashioned simple cake recipe. Add the following:

1/4 teaspoonful cloves
1/4 teaspoonful allspice
1 teaspoonful cinnamon
1/2 teaspoonful nutmeg
1/4 cupful chopped walnuts
1/4 cupful raisins
1/4 cupful currants
Few strips of citron

Bake in loaf — slow oven (325°F).

White Fruit Cake

Simple White Fruit CakeSimple White Fruit Cake with Almond Flowers
(Source: Magazine Clipping, c. 1930s)

Make Silver Cake (recipe above), adding 3 tablespoonfuls coconut, 1/3 cupful chopped nuts, and 1/3 cupful chopped citron.

Bake in stem tin. Cover with White Mountain Cream Frosting (see below) flavored with almond or vanilla. Decorate with almond flowers.

Diamond Gold Cake

Basic old fashioned simple cake recipe — using 3 egg yolks instead of 2 whole eggs. Bake in stem pan. Cover with White Mountain Cream Frosting (see below) flavored with almond or vanilla. Decorate with candied fruits or nuts.

Old Fashioned Frosting Recipes for Simple Cakes

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

White Mountain Cream Frosting

1 cupful sugar
6 tablespoonfuls water

Boil until it spins a thread. Pour hot syrup on a stiffly beaten egg white. Beat until of spreading consistency.

Butter Cream Frosting

4 tablespoonfuls butter
6 tablespoonfuls milk
1 teaspoonful vanilla
Powdered sugar enough to make a frosting that will spread evenly.

Sea Foam Icing

1 cupful brown sugar
6 tablespoonfuls cold water

Cook until it spins a thread. Pour hot syrup on a stiffly beaten egg white. Add 1/2 teaspoonful cinnamon. Beat until cool and creamy to spread.

Mocha Frosting

6 tablespoonfuls melted butter
6 tablespoonfuls cold cooked coffee
4 tablespoonfuls cocoa
Confectioners' sugar, enough to stiffen to easy spreading consistency

Spread frosting between layers and top and sides of cake. Decorate with walnut meats.

Versatile Old Fashioned Simple Cake Recipe

Mary at The Farm and Book of Recipes (1915)

Old Fashioned Marble Cake Made from ScratchMake Marble Cake and Other Cakes Using One Versatile Recipe
(Source: ©Xalanx/Depositphotos.com)
Portrait of Aunt Sarah Landis 1915Aunt Sarah Landis 1915

Learn how to bake cakes from scratch the traditional Pennsylvania German way with a practical lesson in cake baking that reads as an entertaining story.

Step back in time and enter the cosy farmhouse kitchen of Aunt Sarah Landis, a traditional Pennsylvania German housewife.

You will learn how to create a variety of cakes all adapted from a single old fashioned simple cake recipe.

Listen in as she shares her prized cake baking secrets and cooking experience with her young niece Mary:

"Aunt Sarah," questioned Mary one day, "will you tell me how it is possible to evolve a number of cakes from one recipe?"

"Certainly I will, my dear," said her Aunt. "For instance, take the simple cake recipe from which I have for years baked layer cake. You may have other cake recipes from scratch given you, equally as good, but I feel positive none are better."

Continue reading below:


White Layer Cake

The cake made from this versatile recipe is not rich enough to be unwholesome, but a good, reliable, inexpensive, easily made WHITE CAKE, with which I have NEVER had a failure

The recipe, as you know, consists of 1-1/4 cups of granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of a mixture of butter and sweet lard (or use all butter), 1/2 cup sweet milk, 2 cups flour, and 2 teaspoonfuls baking powder. And 3 eggs.

The simplest manner of baking this cake is in two square cake pans. When baked, take from pans and ice each cake with a boiled chocolate icing and put together as a layer cake, or ice each cake with a plain, boiled white icing and, when this is cold, you may spread over top of each cake unsweetened chocolate, which has been melted over steam after being grated.

When cake is to be served, cut in diamonds or squares. Or add to the batter 1 cup of chopped hickory nut meats, bake in 2 layers and cut in squares.

Chocolate Cakes

For a CHOCOLATE LOAF CAKE, add two generous tablespoonfuls of unsweetened melted chocolate to the batter just before baking.

If you wish a CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE, use the same batter as for the chocolate loaf cake, bake in two layer pans and put together with white boiled icing.

Small Fruitcake

Or, add to this same batter one scant teaspoonful of cinnamon, ginger, 1/2 teaspoonful of grated nutmeg and cloves, a cup of raisins or dried currants, and you have a SMALL FRUITCAKE.

Lemon Cake

Or, add a small quantity of thinly shaved citron to the original recipe, flavor with lemon, bake in a loaf and spread a white icing flavored with lemon extract over top of cake, and you have a LEMON CAKE from scratch.

Marble Cake

Or, add chocolate and spices to one-half the batter (about one-half as much chocolate and spices as were used in batter for fruit cake) and place spoonfuls of the light and dark batter alternately in a cake pan, until all batter has been used, and you will have a cheap, old fashioned MARBLE CAKE.

Lady Baltimore Cake

Or, bake cake over original recipe, in two-layer pans, placing between layers either tart jelly, a creamy cornstarch filling, grated coconut, apple cream filling, or you might even use half the recipe given for the delicious icing or filling for LADY BALTIMORE CAKE.

Small White Cakes

Royal® Baking Powder Box circa 1919

Lastly, bake SMALL CAKES from this same versatile recipe. Mary, you should have small pans for baking these delicious little cakes, similar to those I possess, which I ordered made at the tinsmith's. I took for a pattern one Frau Schmidt loaned me.

They are the exact size of (round) one-quarter pound boxes of Royal® Baking Powder. Cut the box in three pieces of equal height, and your cakes will be equally as large in diameter as the baking powder box, but only one-third as high.

I place a generous tablespoonful of the batter in each of the twenty-four small pans, and cakes rise to the top of pans. Usually, I have batter remaining after these are filled. Ice all the cake except the top with a white boiled icing or chocolate icing.

These small cakes keep exceedingly well, and are always liked by young folks and are particularly nice for children's parties.

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