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For flavor and texture butter is preferred over margarine and shortening. Lard is better for pastries but not cakes. When creamed the butter should be at room temp: 70 deg. If cooler it will not disperse into the other ingredients properly. But if it is melted air will not properly be incorporated into the batter.
Add sugar and beaten egg yolks gradually; beat well after each addition. The sifted dry ingredients and the liquids are added in three or more alternating batches. after adding flour, the mixing should be gentle so as to not develop the gluten. Mix just so the flour is not dry; over-blending results in too fine a crumb. The egg whites are beaten until stiff but not dry and folded or cut in gently but quickly.
Always pre-heat the oven and grease the bottom but not the sides of the cake pan.
From the Joy of Cooking. Posted by Jim Weller.
Submitted By JIM WELLER On 12-10-95