Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position oven rack in middle of oven. Either prepare two (2) 9-inch cake pans or 2 or 3 (6-inch) tea cake pans.
This cake can be baked in any shape pan you desire. Coat the bottom and sides of the pans with non-stick baking spray. Dust the bottom and sides with granulated sugar until lightly coated.
In the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, at medium speed, cream the butter. Add a small amount of sugar at a time, and continue beating until creamy. Add the cake flour, baking powder, milk, and vanilla extract; beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and cling to the bowl. Fold the the egg white meringue into the prepared batter mixture. Pour into the prepared pan/pans.
Optional: In lieu of an iced cake, generously sprinkle shredded coconut onto the top of the batter, covering the batter completely.
Bake for approximately 20 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Prepare the Basic Butter Cream Icing.
When cake is cool, remove from the pan/pans.
With a warmed flat knife, ice the cake with your desired colored Butter Cream Icing. Decorate with with colored sprinkles or design of your choice.
Basic Butter Cream Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature*
1 /2 cup milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or other desired flavoring
1 pound box powdered (confectioners') sugar
Pastel food coloring
* Use vegetable shortening when pure white icing is desired.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer at low speed, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and food coloring of your choice until the mixture is smooth. If stiffer icing is needed or the weather is very warm, add a little sugar.
To create pastel colors, divide the icing into separate bowls for each color desired. Using a toothpick, add one drop of color at a time and mix until desired color is reached.
Yields 3 cups icing.
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Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions (RED WAGON PRESS), a lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included The Waldorf=Astoria and Plaza Hotels. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.
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