2 2/3 cups cake flour, plus more for pans
1 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sifted sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, for icing
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more if necessary, for icing
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for icing
1/8 teaspoon salt, for icing
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, for icing
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, for icing
Make the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350F (177C; Gas mark 4). Butter 2 (8-inch) (20 cm) round cake pans and dust them with flour.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter until soft. Continuing to beat, add the sugar slowly, then beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and stir to combine, then stir in the milk.
In a separate bowl, using a whisk or clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold them into the batter.
Divide between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes, then invert the pans and remove the cakes. Let cool completely.
Make the brown-sugar frosting: Combine the brown sugar, 1/2cup (125 ml) cream, the butter, and the salt in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture just comes to a boil.
Remove from the heat, transfer to a mixing bowl, and add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too dry, add a bit more cream. It should be thick and easy to spread.
Assemble the cake: Put one cake layer on a cake stand and frost the top. Add the second layer and frost the top and sides. Serve.