How to Make a Cake
Two of the most important elements of baking a good cake, are the freshness of your baking powder, and not opening the door of the oven too often, and inadvertently slamming it. That really does make a cake "fall".
For a two layer cake, you'll want to prepare your pans before starting on the mix. Some people will advise you to just grease the inside, while others will advocate greasing and dusting with flour. The only down side to the second method, is that if the cake becomes overcooked, verging on burnt, that flour on the outside can taste rather like paper. However, a light flouring is very popular because it helps to loosen the cake after it has cooled.
Another method is to grease the pans, and then put a single layer of wax paper in the bottom. Just set your pan on the wax paper and trace around it to get the right size, and cut it about 1/4 inch smaller. Place it inside the pan and smooth it down, then grease the top.
A basic cake mix batter consists of stirring or sifting together: 2 cups of flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup shortening with 1 1/4 cups of white sugar. Add two eggs, one at a time, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Blend in the flour, alternating with small amounts from one cup of milk.
Pour evenly into pans, and bake on the middle rack of your oven at 350F degrees, for 30-35 minutes. Test with toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and set the pans on cooling rack for a few minutes, until the cake edges shrink away from the side of the pans. Turn layers out on the rack, and peel the wax paper off the bottom.
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