- 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 3¼ cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 6¼ cups sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1¼ cups milk
- 16 tbsp. salted butter
- 2 12-oz. cans evaporated milk
- Heat oven to 350°. Making sure all ingredients are at room temperature, grease two 9″ round cake pans with 1 tbsp. unsalted butter; dust with 1 1⁄2 tbsp. flour, tap out excess, and set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside. Beat remaining unsalted butter and 2 1⁄2 cups sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 batches, beating smooth after each addition. Divide batter between pans. Bake until golden, 30–35 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes; remove cakes; let cool completely. Slice tops off cakes to level them.
- To make icing, cook remaining sugar and salted butter in a pot over high heat, stirring constantly, until light brown, 7–8 minutes. Carefully stir in evaporated milk; reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, 8–10 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until icing registers 240° on a candy thermometer, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove from heat; beat with a wooden spoon until thick, glossy, and spreadable, 20–25 minutes. (A dollop dropped on a plate should ooze only slightly.) Ice bottom layer of cake; top with second layer and ice the outside. Chill cake until set.