26 Cooking & Baking Tips: Timeless Wisdom Collection

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These tips for cooking and baking are from a large collection of tips I’ve gathered together from a variety of cookbooks and magazines, most are from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Homemaking was serious business and a lot more difficult to manage in those days so every little trick was greatly appreciated. Many were provided by women who would send their tips to the various publications to share and learn from each other (imagine the wealth of info we’d have available to us if they had blogs back then!).

The Timeless Wisdom collections are an occasional feature on Tipnut, I try to select the most useful, interesting, unique (and sometimes humorous) tips. Many you surely know, but I hope you find some new goodies for yourself!


  1. New cake tins should be greased and put in a moderate oven for fifteen minutes to prevent burned cake bottoms.
  2. When beating eggs separately for a recipe, beat whites first and add a little to yolks before beating them. Yolks thicken quicker and will not stick to dish as they do when beaten alone.
  3. To keep cake frosting from sticking to waxed paper, rub a small amount of butter over part of paper that covers the frosting.
  4. To keep chocolate cakes brown on the outside, grease pans and dust with cocoa, instead of flour (also see 43 Cake Baking Tips & Tricks).
  5. Do not grease for sponge, angel food or chiffon cakes. For other cakes grease the bottom of the pan only so that cakes will rise evenly.
  6. Place cards that can be eaten are always an added pleasure. Cut cooky dough in rectangular or other desirable shapes, bake carefully and then write the name of each guest on a cooky with icing, using a pastry tube. Have the cooky place card on a small paper doily and put it in place on the table.
  7. Cracks and uneven surfaces on cakes are caused by too much flour or too hot an oven (also see Why a Cake Fails).
  8. When making a cake, always add 2 tblsps. boiling water to the butter and sugar mixture. This makes a fine textured cake.
  9. To prevent shrinkage when cooking meat, avoid high temperatures. A low steady temperature also gives a nice brown surface to the meat.
  10. Place a quarter of an apple in a tight container with sugar that has become hard. It will soften the hardest lumps (also see 10 Ways To Soften Hard Brown Sugar).
  11. Add a few drops of vinegar to your icing while beating and you will find it will stay soft and not grainy.
  12. To frost a cake and have the plate clean for serving, cut a hole in the center of a sheet of paper or foil. After frosting tear the paper at two ends and slip out from under the cake.
  13. Use orange juice instead of water to make a sponge cake more flavorful.
  14. Swift chocolate frosting can be made by melting chocolate candy (or chips) on the cupcake. Put in a warm oven. When chocolate is soft, spread with a knife.
  15. Meringue will always stand up high and perfect if you use a generous pinch of baking soda while beating whites.
  16. When cream will not whip, add the chilled white of an egg to the chilled cream.
  17. A wet knife will cut through meringue without pulling or tearing. Also good to cut cakes that crumble easily.
  18. Stale cookies can be crushed with a roller (put them in a plastic bag and you won’t have a mess) and used in graham cracker crusts.
  19. A completely frosted cake keeps fresh for as much as a week when stored in the fridge – the frosting insulates the cake and prevents it from becoming stale.
  20. Add sour cream along with regular seasonings for delicious mashed potatoes, whip vigorously (also see Mashed Potatoes Tip List).
  21. Uses for leftover egg whites: Cook egg whites over hot water until firm; dice and add to potato or vegetable salad, along with whole hard cooked eggs which have been chopped or sliced. A few extra egg whites can be beaten in with whole eggs, when cooking scrambled eggs.
  22. A pound of English walnuts in the shell makes approximately a cup and a half of halved nut meats.
  23. Use finely crushed potato chips as topping for baked dishes instead of bread crumbs which are so frequently used. The chips may be crushed in the package.
  24. To avoid having soggy biscuits on a meat pie, you can bake the biscuits separately while the pie filling is cooking. Then just a few minutes before the biscuits are completely browned, slide them of onto the filling and complete the cooking.
  25. Start your pork roast in a very small amount of apple juice instead of water; it improves the flavor greatly and gives it a sweet taste.
  26. Place the recipe file card that you are using between the first and last tines of a fork placed in a glass. This keeps the card off the work table and alwo keeps it clean and is easy to read.

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One Comment to “26 Cooking & Baking Tips: Timeless Wisdom Collection”
  1. Robin Lavaux says:

    Several time now while using a boxed cake, it doesn’t rise. What might be the problem?

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