Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!


I had the most amazing birthday ever! The Saturday before Mom and I went shopping. We really went to pick up my earrings, but they are still being tinkered with a month later since they had to be converted to clips. However, while perusing the Neiman Marcus Last Call sale, I found an adorable handbag that I had to have. Mom bought it for my birthday. It may be my new favorite.

Birthday Outing

Mom and me before some birthday shopping!

Birthday Flowers

My birthday itself was crazy cold, as was the entire week, so I did a lot of staying home and protecting myself from chilblains as much as possible. The sun shone in the house a tiny bit, always welcome. Dad took the day off so we could all spend it together. I may have had an ulterior motive in that it meant he would go pick up fish and groceries for the week, but shhhhhh . . . he doesn’t have to know that 🙂 After catching up on morning news and eating breakfast, I blogged and opened presents. A gorgeous purple nail polish and all three of the cookbooks from Baked Bakery! You guys should be really excited about those. I can’t wait to break them in. The homemade marshmallow crème to be used in fudge caught my eye immediately. I discount so many fudge recipes because they call for marshmallow crème, but now I don’t have to! During baking, the most beautiful, seriously most beautiful flowers arrived. Bright lilies that smell like summer, roses, daisies, tulips, and flowering kale. I love flowering kale, they are so pretty with the shape of a rose. The fabulous flowers came from Tiffany Florist in Birmingham, Michigan. If you live in the area, the next time you need flowers, call them. You will not be disappointed. I just want to sit and stare at them all day long.

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

Mom and I baked and watched some more TV, and I read more of Gone Girl. Can’t wait to see what happens – so engrossing. Dinner was broiled swordfish and Cabbage Slaw with Vinegar Dressing, followed by dessert. We rounded out the evening watching ParaNorman. It was seriously the cutest movie ever and the perfect way to end the day. In fact, at the very end I found an eyelash on my finger. I thought about what I wanted to wish for, as I always take a minute to make a wish when the opportunity presents. The day had been so lovely, so amazing that I couldn’t think of anything for which to wish. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I want, some material, other decidedly not. But there was nothing else to ask for that day, as perfection cannot be improved upon, except maybe for the day to never end.

The dessert I made was Dolley Madison Cake. I made it once before right before I started the blog and couldn’t wait to share it with you. I’m sorry it’s taken so long, because you totally need this cake in your life. It’s an unconventional layer cake, fitting for this unconventional girl’s birthday, and it simpler to make than your average layer cake.

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

The cake is light, white and fluffy, leavened entirely with egg whites. Cakes leavened with only egg whites are delicate and have a fine crumb, however, the butter and milk in this cake leave it with a bit of density too, a wonderful compromise in texture. It has a mild vanilla flavor that really allows the icing to shine. The cake is covered in a scrumptious caramel icing or glaze. It soaks into and runs all over the cake, infusing every bite with rich, complex caramel flavor. I didn’t want my piece of cake to end, with the cake mixing with the icing, a perfect balance of sweetness between the two. Luckily there’s more in the freezer to celebrate another day.

I want to keep the celebration going, so I have a giveaway! Vanilla is an important ingredient in this cake, as well as most of the baked goods I make. I only use Nielsen Massey vanilla, as they are the gold standard. They were kind enough to provide one 2 ounce bottle of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and one vial of 2 Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans for one lucky reader.  Good luck!

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

Here are the details: To enter to win the vanilla and vanilla beans, answer the question: What is your favorite spice?
To earn additional entries:

Follow @piesandplots on Twitter. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Like Pies and Plots on Facebook. Come back and let me know you’ve liked me in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Follow Pies and Plots on Pinterest. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Follow @piesandplots on Instagram. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Subscribe to Pies and Plots via email using the form at the top of the page on the right hand side. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional and entirely separate comment.

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

Important: In order for each of your entries to count, you must leave entirely separate comments. Meaning it is possible for the first six comments to all have been left by one person. If you leave all of this information in one comment, you will only be entered in the giveaway one time.
The giveaway ends Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST.

The winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: Nielsen Massey provided this giveaway, but all opinions, as always, are my own.

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!

5.0 from 9 reviews
Dolley Madison Cake and Giveaway!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 8 large egg whites
  • ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in a large bowl. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would also work. Stir in the vanilla. Slowly add milk, mixing until combined. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and cornstarch, then add to the sugar mixture. Stir until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the egg whites in two or three batches until just mixed in. Do this gently to avoid deflating the egg whites. Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until cake springs back and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely in pans.
  4. Make the icing. Whisk together sugar, cream, and butter in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. I use a glass bowl, but some people prefer stainless steel. Use what you feel comfortable with. Cook, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes, until the sugar and butter are dissolved and the mixture is homogeneous. It may be slightly thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool completely.
  5. Using a serrated knife, cut the cakes in half so you have four cake layers. Put one layer on a plate or cake stand cut side up and spread about ½ cup icing evenly over the layer. Repeat with next 2 layers. Place the final layer on top, cut side down and cover cake with enough frosting so the top of the cake is covered and the sides are nearly covered. Do not use all the frosting or it will all pool around the cake. Save leftovers for serving.
  6. Serve at room temperature with extra caramel icing if desired. May be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, but bring back to room temperature before serving. Maybe be frozen for up to three months, either whole or in pieces, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag. Thaw at room temperature at least 1 hour; the bigger the portion, the longer it will take to thaw.
Recipe adapted from The Martha Stewart Show, April 2008


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  1. Awww it sounds like the most wonderful birthday! GORGEOUS flowers! And this cake is so cool and unique and looks sooo great.

    And my fave spice is probably garlic powder or basil 😛

  2. Theresa Tworkowdki says:

    The cake looks amazing!

  3. Jeffrey says:

    I love cinnamon but vanilla is a close second!

  4. Jeffrey says:

    I follow you on Twitter.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    I like your Facebook page.

  6. Jeffrey says:

    I follow your Pinterest boards.

  7. Jeffrey says:

    I get your email updates at

  8. Nikki says:

    my favorite spice is garlic powder

  9. Barbara says:

    cinnamon is my favorite spice

  10. Eric says:

    My favorite spice would be cinnamon. Love it on French toast and waffles.

  11. Dad says:

    This is delicious.

  12. Judi says:

    Following on Pinterest

  13. Judi says:

    I love vanilla and then cinnamon next

  14. My favorite spice would be cinnamon, though vanilla would be a close second!

  15. I follow you on Twitter!

  16. Kimberly says:

    I don’t know if I could just pick one spice.. but since I have to, it would be vanilla. So yum!

  17. Pumpkin pie spice is a fave because it’s a lovely combo of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

  18. The Ninja Baker aka Kim Watkinson liked Laura and Pies and Plots on FB =)
    P.s. Pumpkin Pie Spice is still a fave. It’s tasty and makes the kitchen smell divine, too!

  19. Lubna Karim says:

    That’s an gorgeous and drool worthy cake….loving the pics….my fav spice is cardamom…..

  20. Heather says:

    Currently I’m on a kick for turmeric and mahlab.

  21. steph says:

    I love cinnamon (in everything!), but for a savory spice I am obsessed with smoked paprika.

  22. steph says:

    I like you on FB.

  23. steph says:

    I follow you on pinterest

  24. Heather says:

    Like Pies and Plots on Facebook.

  25. Heather says:

    Follow @piesandplots on Twitter.

  26. Dina says:

    the cake looks great, i love the icing! my favorite spice is probably cinnamon because it’s so versatile and i use it for basic things like oatmeal and tea as well as cookies and cakes.

  27. Lauryn says:

    This cake looks so good! Yum! Happy Birthday! I just followed you on twitter!

  28. Lauryn says:

    and I just followed you on Facebook too!!! xoxo

  29. Sue says:

    The spice I use most often is cinnamon. I think chili powder is my favorite.

  30. Sue says:

    I follow you on pinterest

  31. Sue says:

    I am signed up for your email updates.

  32. Shannon C says:

    The caked looks so totally AMAZING.
    I have been going crazy over my new purchase of smoked paprika. It’s been going on pretty much everything.

  33. Traci Tripp says:

    This looks amazing!

  34. Jen O'Brien says:

    My favorite spice is nutmeg. Since it’s so sneaky in eggs, squash and wonderful in baked goods.

  35. Jen O'Brien says:

    And I just followed on Instagram. 🙂

  36. Jen O'Brien says:

    And following on Twitter. I look forward to the deliciousness.

  37. Andrea says:

    My favorite spice is paprika, I use it on savory pies dough and fillings, on boiled potatoes with olive oil and salt, and many more things.

  38. Andrea says:

    I follow you on Pinterest.

  39. Jackie says:

    Hmmm…I like to try a lot of different stuff but in the end I love cinnamon and garlic powder (not mixed together of course) 🙂

  40. Susan Z says:

    I love garlic powder

  41. Liz Blunt says:

    My favorite spice is cayenne powder!

  42. Taysha Riggs says:

    That cake looks YUM!!!

    My fav spice is pumpkin spice

  43. What a gorgeous cake! It looks like you had a lovely birthday 🙂 My favorite spice is definitely cinnamon – YUM!

  44. Those flowers are so pretty. And the cake looks so amazing. Love the way it’s layered with that caramel icing!

    My favorite spice would be cinnamon. I practically put it on everything!

  45. I follow Pies & Plots on twitter

  46. Like Pies & Plots on Facebook

  47. Follow Pies & Plots on Pinterest

  48. Instagram follower

  49. Subscribed to your newsletter!

  50. Linda says:

    Vanilla would be my favorite spice, and this cake looks like one I could really like. How is it after being frozen?

  51. Linda says:

    My next favorite spice is cinnamon. Oatmeal in the morning with a banana sliced in and sprinkled with cinnamon, a great way to start the day.

  52. Danielle says:

    Yum! My favorite spice is cardamom.

  53. Jenny says:

    I really like cumin now

  54. Jessica says:

    I am so glad you had a wonderful birthday 🙂 This cake looks delicious, though a bit more complicated to make (at least for a novice like myself).

    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Jessica! Actually, I think for a layer cake, this really isn’t too bad or time consuming. I bet you could make it 🙂

  55. Jessica says:

    I follow you on Facebook.

  56. Jessica says:

    I follow you on Pinterest.

  57. Jessica says:

    My favorite spice would have to be cinnamon. It just plain reminds me of fall and all the happiness involved with that time of year 🙂

  58. Jessica says:

    I subscribe to Pies and Plots via email.

  59. Meryl says:

    My favorite spice is cinnamon.

  60. Louis says:

    Chili powder.

  61. Susan Christy says:

    My favorite spice – cinnamon!

  62. Susan Christy says:

    Follow Pies and Plots on Pinterest.

  63. fave spice is cinnamon and N-M rocks!
    your cake looks so good and like nothing ive ever tried!

    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Averie! The cake is really different, which is why I love it so much. Not many cakes like this out there.

  64. I FB like you

  65. Romney says:

    Happy BIrthday!
    My favorite spice is nutmeg.

  66. Lisa Groenewold says:

    My favorite spice is cinnamon.

  67. Joy Couture says:

    My favorite spice is nutmeg (freshly ground is best). This cake sounds perfect – thanks for sharing!

  68. Lendon says:

    Cinnamon seems to be the popular Spice, and I like that too, but I would say Ginger is my favorite. The cake looks great!

  69. Lendon says:

    I follow Pies & Plots on twitter

  70. Lendon says:

    I follow @piesandplots on Instagram

  71. Sarah O. says:

    My favorite spice is turmeric. I love the color and flavor it imparts!

  72. Hilary says:

    Cinnamon is my favorite spice! Yum that cake looks delish can’t wait to make it!

  73. Hilary says:

    I follow you on pinterest!

  74. Hilary says:

    And instagram!

  75. Dee says:

    I LOVE spices & it’s hard to pick a favorite. I think my favorite is CUMIN right now because I’m ready for lunch & wish I had a big bowl of chili with cheese! 🙂

  76. Dee says:

    I follow you on Twitter! 🙂

  77. Dee says:

    I follow you on Pinterest! 🙂

  78. Dee says:

    I follow you on Instagram! 🙂

  79. Vanilla is my favorite spice. This is a beautiful cake: you and the Cooking Actress are making the most amazing cakes this week!

  80. Natalie says:

    Following you on pinterest 😛

  81. rachel says:

    Probably cinnamon! Although I love pumpkin pie spice, too

  82. Debbie Eccard says:

    I just love this Dolly Madison Cake and what a great one for your birthday.

    My favorite sweet spice is vanilla. I love the smell as well as the taste in recipes. My favorite non-sweet spice is dried mustard. I love it in many recipes.

  83. Debbie Eccard says:

    I follow you on Facebook….and I share your posts there.

  84. Debbie Eccard says:

    I follow you on Twitter.

  85. Debbie Eccard says:

    I follow you on Pintrest.

  86. Debbie Eccard says:

    I subscribed to… I read all the posts!

  87. Maggie says:

    My favorite spice is cinnamon–especially in cinnamon sugar cookies!

  88. Maggie says:

    Following on Facebook 🙂

  89. Maggie says:

    Subscribed to email updates 🙂

  90. My favorite spice is PUMPKIN and I tweeted IT!! 🙂

  91. Following you now of !!

  92. Now following you @piesandplots on Instagram.

  93. not only does this cake look yummy I’m excited to share it with my granddaughter, Jersey. My nickname for her is Dolly so this will be fun!!! Thanks for sharing and I’m also following on Pinterest!

    • Laura says:

      Thanks, and thanks for visiting, Bridgitte 🙂 This would be the perfect cake for your granddaughter. It’s so tasty and would be a lot of fun for you to make with her.

  94. Joanna says:

    This cake looks and tastes great! Love the icing and the moist cake.

  95. Phyllis says:

    Cinnamon is my favorite spice-especially on cinnamon toast. Lovely flowers.

  96. Erica Best says:

    i love vanilla and rosemary

  97. Erica Best says:

    Follow @piesandplots on Twitter @purplelover04

  98. Erica Best says:

    Like Pies and Plots on Facebook

  99. Erica Best says:

    Follow Pies and Plots on Pinterest purplelover04

  100. Erica Best says:

    Follow @piesandplots on Instagram purplelover04


  1. […] Don’t forget to enter my Nielsen Massey Vanilla Giveaway! […]

  2. […] yellow cake layered with caramel sauce describes this Dolley Madison Cake. Bite into each layer of caramel-soaked goodness. (via Pies and […]

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