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Dolley Madison Layer Cake

This simple recipe is courtesy of Cokie Roberts and is featured in her new book, "Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation."

  • yield: Makes one 8-inch layer cake

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Ingredients

  • 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
  • Caramel Icing

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, set aside.

  2. Step 2

    Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form; set aside.

  3. Step 3

    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.

  4. Step 4

    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.

  5. Step 5

    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.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, April Spring 2008

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Reviews (8)

  • 12 Jun, 2011

    This one didn't turn out well for me - heavy despite the whipped egg whites. It's nice to try a historic recipe - I'm newly appreciative of baking power &baking soda.

  • 24 Jan, 2011

    Simply delicioso!

  • 24 Apr, 2008

    I made the cake today. I only had three 8 inch pans and the recipe worked great in them. Nice presentation layers. Did you notice that there is no salt in the recipe and unsalted butter? It didn't need it. Taste is buttery and yet light. Very enjoyable. The brown sugar glaze was too thin. Even after cooling to room temp. It even ran in the fridge!. Next time I'll try less cream. Overall, it was a great cake. Thanks.

  • 11 Apr, 2008

    THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!! I ran out today and bought Cokie's new book (loved the first one, "Founding Mothers") and I've been searching through it for the recipe. Now I have it. I'm sure I'll run into it in the book as I read through it. Now I can eat the cake as I read. Thanks again, Martha.

  • 11 Apr, 2008

    If you click on the link for the Caramel Icing it shows a picture for the layer cake and it looks beautiful and delicious! It has 4 layers. I am so excited to make this cake!

  • 11 Apr, 2008

    Step #5 of the recipe repeats "Repeat process with 2 more layers". Shouldn't that only be there once? Also, I missed the part of your show that of what Carmel Icing was used for this recipe. Could you please clarify if the icing can be bought pre-made or what was used for the Carmel Icing.

  • 9 Apr, 2008

    It's one cake with four (4) layers.

  • 9 Apr, 2008

    ""MAKES ONE LAYER CAKE"" BUT, IT CALLS FOR 3 CUPS OF FLOUR, WHICH WILL MAKE MORE THAN ONE LAYER CAKE. ALSO, "BUTTER 4 PANS" HOW MUCH DOES THIS RECIPE MAKE? THANKS