Dinette Cake – and the secret of cake flour!

DinnerFor2bfLOReturning once again to 1958 and Ms. Crocker’s  Dinner for Two – I came across a recipe for Dinette Spice Cake, which is, apparently, Dinette Cake with, ermmm, spice.

Tricky, those mid-century cookery book folk were.

Irregardless; Dinette Cake would appear to be a small, single layer cake (think 8″ square pan), suitable for two – and I can almost see the gleam in the copy editor’s eye when he/she came up with that cunning little name. The basic recipe was ‘customized’ throughout the book – you want a small pineapple upside down cake? No worries! There’s a Dinette Cake version – tho’ THAT leaves you with half the batter and instructions to make six cupcakes, which seems a might excessive for just two, but mebbe that’s just my thinking.

I had no interest in making a small upside down cake, or a half dozen cupcakes (or both), but when I came across the spice cake version…

YUM! One of my favorite cakes of all time – and one of my favorite childhood desserts – right up there with butterscotch pudding – THIS I had to try!

Basic Dinette Cake:
•1-1/2 cup sifted Softasilk flour (see note below)
•1 cup sugar
•2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/3 cup soft shortening (i.e. Crisco) – but if you’re one of those soft margarine houses (not that there’s anything wrong with that), you could probably use that instead
•2/3 cup milk – we only keep skim in the house, so I used half and half
•1 tsp flavoring – ermmm, I assumed vanilla
• 1 egg

FlourSpicesbfLOFor spice cake, add:
•1/2 tsp nutmeg
•1/2 tsp cinnamon
•1/2 tsp ground cloves

Heat oven to 350º.

FlourSPicesShorteningbfLOSift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together (add the spices now, too, if you’re making spice cake), and then add the shortening, milk, and vanilla (or other flavoring). In my opinion, there was just way too much sifting going on, so I used the whisk attachment on my mixer to blend, lift, separate, whatever sifting is supposed to do.

I also cut the shortening into the flour mixture with the whisk before adding the milk and flavoring, but the original recipe called for adding them all at once.

CakeBatterbfLOBeat for two minutes on medium speed, then add the egg and beat two minutes more.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8 inch  square pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.

Softasilk flour seems to be (have been? the web page is empty) Pillsbury’s version of cake flour, so you could use cake flour…

CakeBakedbfLOOR – follow these simple steps and make your own!

For every cup of cake flour called for, measure out one cup of flour and put back two tablespoons. Then add two tablespoons of cornstarch to the flour and sift together – da Google says FIVE times (!) – get me my whisk attachment.

So – for this recipe – measure out 1-1/2 cup flour and take our three tablespoons; then add three FlourCornstarchSiftbfLOtablespoons  of cornstarch and get sifting.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I sifted the flour and cornstarch together ONCE before getting out my whisk attachment for the mixer. Worked a treat, and the cake came out mighty fine.

Now, we always had spice cake with my mom’s white frosting, but Dinner for Two suggested “Easy Penuche Icing” – which I tried.

Nice, tho’ I think I prefer white frosting.

“But, wait!” you say…

“What about the Easy Penuche Icing?”

Hmmm. Monday, I think, tho’ I should warn you; there’s more sifting called for.

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