Orange Layer Cake

Using an iconic brand of cake flour.

In 1853, a farmer named Levi Igleheart, Jr. started a mill in Evansville, Indiana. (He had been born in Kentucky, but his father moved the family to Indiana after encountering land title problems and partially due to his opposition to slavery.)

His brothers joined him in the venture, which operated as Igleheart Brothers. It was Levi’s son Addison, however, who in 1894 discovered a new way of milling wheat that resulted in a lower-protein product. (What that method was, I’m not entirely sure, but I can tell you that modern cake flour is made entirely of the endosperm of wheat, it’s ground more finely than all-purpose flour, and it’s often chlorinated in processing, so any of these could’ve been Addison’s innovation.)

They marketed it as Swans Down Cake Flour, the name intended to evoke lightness and purity. The company was consolidated into General Foods in 1926, but the Swans Down name lives on, purchased by families who have used Swans Down for generations.

From the box of A.D. from Lutz, Florida, by way of Pennsylvania in the 1940s, and originating in Ohio in the 1920s.

Orange Layer Cake

1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 c. Swans Down cake flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. orange extract

Cream shortening. Add sugar and beat until light.

Add egg yolks. Add other ingredients and beat smooth. Bake in layer 20 to 25 minutes.

Orange Filling and Icing

Whites of 2 eggs
Juice, rind, and pulp of 1 orange
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Whip eggs to stiff froth. Add sugar. Beat in pulp, juice, and rind of one orange.

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