Dolley Madison's Layer Cake
1 cup butter (plus more for pans, 2 sticks)
8 egg whites
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar (sifted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter four 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, set aside.
Beat egg whites set aside.
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 two more layers.
Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer and cover cake completely with remaining icing.
Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar. Boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in milk. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. Add a little hot water, if needed.