Over a Cup of Coffee: A word about sifting flour
Recently, some of the recipes in this column have referred to “sifting flour.” Readers who have been cooking for a while know about sifting flour and other dry ingredients, like salt, baking powder, and spices. I think I had a sifter one time, but I don’t know what happened to it. Mom had one, and she did sift flour. I couldn’t remember why recipes call for sifting flour — especially older recipes — so I did a little research in one of my old cookbooks.
According to “1000 Recipe Cook Book, No 3” (1949), published by Dell Publishing Company, flour must be sifted before measuring because left unsifted there’s too much flour by weight for the measured cupful. Once it’s sifted you’re supposed to “lift it lightly” into the measuring cup, heap it slightly, and then scrape off the excess flour.
Then you put the flour back in the sifter and add other dry ingredients called for in the recipe, such as baking powder, salt, and spices. My mother used to cut off a piece of waxed paper, put the sifter on it, and then sift it all onto the waxed paper. I can see her now, picking up the waxed paper by the edges and using it to pour the sifted flour and other dry ingredients into the batter.
One of these days I’m going to find a sifter and sift the flour to see if it makes a difference in making a cake.
Meanwhile, this week’s recipe is for a “Chocolate Cream Cake.”
Chocolate Cream Cake
• 2 cups sifted cake flour
• 1 ¼ teaspoons soda
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup shortening
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar or 1 ½ cups firmly-packed brown sugar
• 2 eggs, unbeaten
• 3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
• Buttermilk or sour milk (See below for amount)*
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
With vegetable or any other shortening use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk. With butter or margarine, use 1 cup buttermilk.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour once, measure, add soda and salt and sift together three times. Cream shortening and add sugar gradually. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add chocolate and blend. Add flour alternately with the buttermilk, a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add vanilla. Turn into two deep nine-inch layer pans which have been lined on the bottom with waxed paper and greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until done. When cool, spread with your favorite frosting.
If you have recipes you would like to share with readers, please call me at 970-824-8809 or write to me at PO Box 415, Craig CO 81626.