3 cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup currants, washed and plumped
½ cup finely chopped moist citron
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Sift flour, measure and resift 3 times with baking powder and salt. Cream butter until soft; add sugar slowly and cream well. Add beaten egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy. Add sifted flour mixture alternately with milk in several portions, beginning and ending with flour and beating until smooth after each addition. Thoroughly fold in stiffly beaten egg whites, and divide batter into two equal portions; add vanilla to one portion, stirring just enough to mix, and turn into an 8-inch square baking pan 1 ½ inches deep, or a 9-inch round layer pan 1 ¼ inches deep lined with thin, plain paper on bottom. To the other portion, add fruits and spices and stir just enough to distribute thoroughly. Turn into a second similarly prepared pan of the same size and shape. Bake layers in a moderate oven (350 degrees F.), the white about 30 minutes; the dark layer 35 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes; then turn out onto cake racks and cool thoroughly. Use spice layer for the lower layer of cake, and spread Seven-Minute Icing or Butter Cream Frosting between layers and on top and sides. Cut with a very sharp knife.

To decorate: Make a long thin slit across the entire center of the top of the cake (cleaning knife between each cut), then two crisscrossing cuts on the diagonal all the way across cake top (*) and then make smaller < (v) cuts on each corner to make a star pattern in the icing.

Makes: 10 Servings

Note: For Washington’s birthday dinner or other Patriotic occasions, bake a Dolly Varden cake, two layers, each different, and decorate the top with little clusters of maraschino cherries in the center of the cake. So good, you’ll want to bake it again and again.

Never let the urgent crowd out the important. ~ Kelly Caitlin Walker