This is the perfect recipe for a cake you want to cover with frosting and decorate. It’s easy and delicious, but the flavor of the cake stays enough in the background so you can highlight the sweet frosting on top. (See this recipe for a good buttercream frosting here.)
I used this as the base for the Cookie Monster Cake. This recipe is for a double-layer 8- or 9-inch round cake. Halve the recipe for a single-layer cake of the same diameter, though I used half in a 6-inch round cake pan and it turned out well.
I clipped this recipe years ago from the newspaper. It said it won an award at the 1997 Boulder county fair for a woman named Jan Bentley. I feel I ought to give her credit for such a delicious creation!
2 1/4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
4 egg whites
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Blend in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a separate bowl, mix egg whites, milk, and vanilla. Add liquids slowly to the flour mixture and mix by hand, scraping the sides of bowl, until blended. Beat with the mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes until tops are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Don’t worry if the top is turning dark and you’re still waiting for the toothpick to come out clean, because you’ll slice off the top later.)
Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on wire racks until cool completely, about 2 hours.