Cake Good..Better...Best - Vintage Baking PamphletHere is a charming vintage pamphlet from Rumford Baking Powder that’s all about cakes–why they fail and what steps are needed to bake a perfect one every time. There’s also a recipe for a plain cake.

I don’t see a date but believe this was published sometime between the 1920’s and 1930’s.

I’ve typed the pamphlet below as well as scanned the entire copy, click to view larger images.



which is yours?

FIRST, let’s talk a bit about something every woman knows: The funny way cake acts at times–going its own sweet way–up or down–regardless of our earnest endeavor to follow the recipe right down to the dot on the “i” and the cross on the “t.”

Page 1 - Cake Good..Better...Best BookletFrom the scientific or laboratory point of view here’s an interesting point on RECIPES. If a recipe is to produce the perfect cake it should, that recipe must be “balanced.” That is, the chief ingredients must be properly proportioned to each other in a ratio which is always the same.

Chemical changes which take place in leavened foods are based on actions and reactions which do not change except when proportions and quantities are changed. Hence the importance of preserving a proper balance among ingredients. A poorly balanced recipe will give a poor cake regardless of the care taken in the mixing. On the other hand a well-balanced recipe, equally well mixed, will give a delicious cake.

When considering a recipe, always remember that all measurements are level. Next, remember that

4 cups flour = 1 lb.

2 cups sugar = 1 lb.

1 cup milk = 1/2 lb.

1 cup butter= 1/2 lb.

NOW, here is how to determine whether your recipe is perfectly balanced or not:

Page Two - Cake: Good..Better...Best Vintage Pamphlet

  1. The volume of sugar should not exceed one-half the volume of flour.
  2. Liquid ingredients (milk and eggs) should equal one-half the volume of flour.
  3. Shortening should equal one-half the volume of sugar.
  4. Leavening–one level teaspoonful RUMFORD BAKING POWDER per cup of flour for cake.

HERE is a balanced recipe for plain cake:


1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups cake flour
2 level teaspoons RUMFORD BAKING POWDER
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla or
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Variations above or below these amounts should be slight.

These proportions are based on the use of good grade cake or pastry flour, and fine granulated or so-called “berry” sugar.

Butter is preferable because of its flavor, but any fat which is odorless and tasteless may be substituted with good results, taking care to meet the salt requirements of the butter substitute.

Thorough blending of all ingredients as you go along is very necessary. It is of particular importance if you desire a fine-textured result, i.e., a smooth, fine, even-grained cake.

Page Three - Cake: Good..Better...Best Vintage PamphletFirst–Cream the butter, add the sugar gradually, and blend thoroughly.

Second–Add the beaten eggs and beat the mixture until light and well-blended.

Third–Add the sifted flour into which RUMFORD BAKING POWDER and the salt have been sifted; adding the sifted mixture alternately with the milk to which the flavoring has been added.

Fourth–Beat this completed mixture thoroughly for about 30 seconds before putting it in the pan.

Fifth–See that the oven temperature is moderately hot–that is, from 350° to 360° (white paper turns light brown in one minute at this temperature).

Cake when done shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan and is not dented in the center when lightly touched with the finger. To be absolutely sure, insert a small wooden skewer or straw in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is done.

NOW let us look over the more easily identifiable reasons why cakes misbehave. You may be able to spot your own particular trouble-maker and overcome it in the light of the foregoing discussion.

I. Cake falls during baking because of–

  1. An excessive amount of sugar.
  2. An excessive amount of baking powder.
  3. Too low an oven temperature.

II. Cake falls after leaving oven because of–

  1. Insufficient time in oven.
  2. An excessive amount of sugar.

Page Four - Cake: Good..Better...Best Vintage PamphletIII. Cake has poor texture because of–

  1. Improperly balanced recipe.
  2. An excessive amount of sugar.
  3. An excessive amount of shortening.
  4. An excessive amount of baking powder.
  5. Too slow an oven.
  6. Insufficient beating or blending of ingredients.

IV. Cake does not rise sufficiently because of–

  1. Insufficient blending of ingredients.
  2. Insufficient baking powder.
  3. An excessive amount of baking powder.
  4. An excessive amount of moisture.

V. Cake has a soggy streak because of–

  1. An excessive amount of moisture.
  2. An excessive amount of baking powder.
  3. Too hot an oven.

VI. Cake cracks because of–

  1. Too stiff a batter.
  2. Too hot an oven.

Back Cover - Cake: Good..Better...Best Vintage PamphletWHEN a cake fails us we’re apt to wail “The oven wasn’t right,” “The flour was poor,” “The sugar’s too coarse”–and what we really should say is, “Did I wait till the oven was 350°?” “Did I blend the butter and sugar enough?” “Did I measure the flour accurately?”

Study the six difficulties analyzed above. You may find yours among them. Then by carefully studying the balanced recipe and its working out, you will be able to bake delicious, fine-textured cakes all the time.

The only trouble about good cake is that it doesn’t last as long as poor cake–unless you keep it under lock and key!

RUMFORD is a pure all-phosphate BAKING POWDER. It is scientifically made to leaven batter and dough thoroughly and correctly in the perfect proportion of two-thirds in the mixing and one-third in the oven heat.

RUMFORD is uniform, economical, wholesome. Because of its calcium phosphate content, it adds real food value to whatever it leavens.


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