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Helen Simpson

  • [On fruitcake:] One last test is to lift it from the oven and listen to it, placing your ear to its side. If you can hear it singing away to itself inside, it is not cooked.

  • [On fruitcake:] Even impatient people should not cut the first slice until six weeks have passed.

  • ... cakes are highly responsive to the mood of their makers. If you are in a hurry or a fluster, if you do not really want to be making a cake, the cake will know it and behave accordingly. ... Cakes are so sensitive that they lapse immediately into sadness if lack of confidence in their progress is shown. They must be allowed to cook as slowly as they like. ... Every cake should be a planned cake ...

  • Sponge cakes ... are perhaps the most temperamental and sensitive of all cakes. ... in the days when eggs were beaten with a fork or a bunch of birch twigs, you did not lightly undertake to bake a sponge cake. Recipes would carry the instruction, 'beat eggs for three hours.'

Helen Simpson, English writer

(1897 - 1940)