In honor of the The First Lady of the United States Dolley Madison’s birthday, let’s celebrate with a layer cake! The recipe is courtesy of Cokie Roberts’ book “Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation.” It can also be found on Martha Stewart’s website.
Dolley Madison was born May 20, 1768. She is most famously known for saving the portrait of George Washington during the War of 1812.
She also created the role of First Lady. Dolley was instrumental in hosting official functions on behalf of the President, at first widower Thomas Jefferson and later for her husband, James Madison. She also contributed to the development and decoration of the White House.
Dolly Madison was the only First Lady given an honorary seat on the floor of Congress.
Yield: One 8-inch Layer Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
- 8 large egg whites
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Carmel Icing*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, set aside.
Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form; set aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer running, slowly add milk; mix until well combined. Sift together flour and cornstarch; slowly add to mixer and beat until well combined. Add vanilla and mix well.
Gently fold in reserved egg whites and divide evenly between prepared pans. Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in cake pans on wire racks, about 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.
Place 4 strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Pour over about 1/2 cup icing, spreading evenly to cover. Repeat process with 2 more layers. Repeat process with two more layers. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer and cover cake completely with remaining icing.
- 3 cups light-brown sugar
- 1 cup light cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk together sugar, cream, and butter in a medium bowl. Set bowl over (but not touching) simmering water, cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; stir in vanilla. Let cool.