This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
It is unnecessary to ice a cake to have it look attractive; in fact, cake which is iced should be used only when it is to act as the sweet in the meal. If a plain layer cake is made, it can be attractively garnished with powdered sugar sifted on evenly just before serving, or a few broken nut meats finely chopped, or candied fruit, may be sprinkled over the mixture before it is put in the oven to bake, the rough edges making a pretty finish. Or, a combination of chopped almonds and granulated sugar may be substituted. This is very attractive on small cakes. It is a good plan to spread the top very lightly with jelly, egg white or honey before sprinkling the sugar on a cooked cake, as this will stick it in place.
The easiest icings are those which need no cooking. They may be made with either water, cream, cold coffee, butter, fruit juices, or egg white, but in making them only confectioner's or XXXX sugar should be used. This should be sifted, or, if very lumpy, rolled, and then sifted before adding to the liquid.