Smith Island Cake Recipe (Multi-Layered Perfection)

The image shows the process of making batter for smith island cake
4 from 1 vote
Maryland Smith Island Cake Recipe
This cake is a real showstopper, boasting nine layers of scrumptious yellow cake sandwiched between layers of rich chocolate icing.

Hello People, Anne Carter here from Beyond The Bayou Blog to serve you a dish today that has its own historical significance. The name of the recipe itself suggests its belongingness: Smith Island Cake.

The origin of Smith Island Cake can be traced back to the 1800s when the residents of Smith Island, a small island community in the Chesapeake Bay, began baking layered cakes as a traditional dessert. The cake’s creation is often attributed to the resourcefulness of the islanders, who used simple ingredients readily available on the island.

The most attractive thing about this cake is its appearance as it is a minimum 8-layer cake that is typically covered with a cooked chocolate fudge frosting, a technique that allows the cake to stay moist and flavorful for extended periods, making it ideal for celebrations and gatherings.

I came to know about this cake when my cousin sent me a beautiful picture of it on Instagram served along Salted Caramel Apple Pie which made me explore it even more. So here I am today in front of you guys recreating the homemade version of this recipe just to let you guys feel the charm of delight. Let’s begin!

How to Make Smith Island Cake?

Step 1: Making Chocolate Icing

The image shows the process of making Making Chocolate Icing for smith island cake

Image Source: YouTube ( Andrew’s Art Duchy)

  1. Combine cream and corn syrup in a saucepan and heat until simmering.
  2. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate in a bowl, add salt, and let it sit for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir occasionally until smooth and let it cool to room temperature (about 1 hour). Chill in the refrigerator until thickened (about 45 minutes).

Step 2: Preparing Cake Batter

The image shows the process of making batter for smith island cake

Image Source: YouTube ( Andrew’s Art Duchy)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter until creamy, gradually add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in vanilla.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture to the butter mixture alternately with buttermilk in 3 batches.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (12 to 14 minutes).
  6. Cool the cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely (about 20 minutes).

Step 3: Assembling the Cake

the image shows the process of frosting smith island cake

Image Source: YouTube ( Andrew’s Art Duchy)

  1. Place one cake layer on a cake board and spread with chocolate icing. Repeat with remaining layers and icing.
  2. Coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of icing and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Step 4: Decorating the Cake

The image shows the smith island cake ready to serve

Image Source: YouTube ( Andrew’s Art Duchy)

  1. Place the chilled cake on a wire rack over a baking pan.
  2. Microwave reserved icing until smooth and pourable, then pour over the cake and smooth with a spatula.
  3. Chill the cake until set (about 1 hour).

Step 5: Serving

  1. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate and serve at room temperature.

Try More Such Recipes!

These Tips Needs To be Considered!

  • Importance of Buttermilk It’s highly recommended not to skip buttermilk as it plays a crucial role in creating the moist texture you expect from a cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own substitute. Mix whole milk with ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Fill a measuring cup with the lemon juice/vinegar first and then add whole milk to reach ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients Ensure all refrigerated items are at room temperature before baking. This helps the batter mix easily and evenly, resulting in a smoother texture.
  • Fresh Baking Powder Baking powder can lose its potency quickly after opening. It’s recommended to use baking powder that is less than a year old for best results. Older baking powder may not leave the cake properly. You can test its freshness by stirring half a teaspoon into a cup of hot water. If it fizzes and releases carbon dioxide gas, it’s still fresh enough to use.
  • Cooling Cakes Allow the cakes to cool completely before adding frosting. Otherwise, the frosting may melt and affect the cake’s appearance and texture.

What to Serve with Smith Island Cake?

The-image-shows-the-smith-island-cake

Storage and Managing Leftovers!

  • Refrigeration Recommended It’s highly recommended to store Smith Island Cake in the refrigerator because of its rich fudge frosting. Place the cake in an airtight container or tightly cover it with plastic wrap to prevent any odors from affecting its taste.
  • Keep Cool and Dark To maintain the cake’s quality, store it in a cool, dark place inside the refrigerator. If possible, place it on a shelf away from strong-smelling foods to avoid any flavor transfer.
  • Consider Slicing For convenience, consider slicing the cake before storing it if you don’t plan to consume it all at once. This helps in preserving freshness and prevents excessive exposure to air each time you take out a slice.
  • Freezing Option If you need to store the cake for a longer period, freezing is a great option. Wrap individual slices or the whole cake tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Don’t forget to label it with the date for freshness tracking. Frozen Smith Island Cake can last for several months.
  • Room Temperature While it’s possible to keep the cake at room temperature for a day or two, it’s not recommended for extended periods due to the perishable frosting. Ensure it’s covered with a cake dome or plastic wrap to avoid drying out.

What Is the Difference Between Doberge and Smith Island Cake?

The main difference between Doberge and Smith Island Cake lies in their origin and composition. Doberge cake, originating from New Orleans, typically features multiple layers of cake with custard or pudding filling, often topped with a glossy glaze. On the other hand, Smith Island Cake, from Maryland, is known for its many thin layers of cake with frosting between each layer, creating a towering dessert that showcases its rich flavors and textures.

The image shows the process of making batter for smith island cake

Maryland Smith Island Cake Recipe

This cake is a real showstopper, boasting nine layers of scrumptious yellow cake sandwiched between layers of rich chocolate icing.
4 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 54 minutes
Calories: 845kcal
Author: Anne Carter
Servings: 12

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Hand Whisk
  • Spoons
  • Cake Pans
  • Cooking spray

Ingredients

Chocolate Icing

  • Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 and 2/3 cups (335g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup (optional, for shine)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream

Cake

  • 3 and 3/4 cups (443g) sifted all-purpose flour* (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*

Instructions

  • Combine cream and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until it simmers.Pour the hot mixture over chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, add salt, and let it sit for 2 minutes.
    The image shows the process of making Making Chocolate Icing for smith island cake
  • Whisk until smooth and cool to room temperature (approximately 1 hour).Chill in the refrigerator until thickened and spreadable (about 45 minutes), stirring halfway through.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease nine 8 1/2-inch round disposable cake pans and line them with parchment paper.Beat butter until creamy, add sugar gradually, and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla.Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture to the butter mixture alternately with buttermilk in 3 batches.
    The image shows the process of making batter for smith island cake
  • Divide batter evenly among the pans and smooth with an offset spatula.Bake in batches until a toothpick comes out clean (12 to 14 minutes).Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer cakes to wire racks to cool completely (about 20 minutes).
  • Place 1 cake layer on an 8-inch round cake board and spread with 1/3 cup icing. Top with another layer and repeat with remaining layers and icing. Coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of icing. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    the image shows the process of frosting smith island cake
  • Place the chilled cake on a wire rack over a baking pan.Microwave reserved icing in intervals until smooth and pourable (60 to 90 seconds).Pour icing over the cake in a steady stream, starting at the center and moving to the edges.Smooth out the sides and fill any gaps with an offset spatula.
  • Chill the cake in the refrigerator until set (about 1 hour).Carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate.Serve the cake at room temperature. Enjoy your delicious homemade treat!
    The image shows the smith island cake ready to serve

Notes

  1. Make-Ahead Tips:
    • Bake and cool the cake layers in advance, covering them tightly at room temperature overnight.
    • The icing can be prepared ahead and refrigerated; allow it to soften at room temperature for an hour before use.
    • Assembled cake can be frozen for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature before serving. Fresh is best!
    •  
  2. Layering Technique:
    • Bake the 8 cake layers individually instead of thick cakes, ensuring even baking.
    • Baking each layer takes about 12 minutes, and baking 3 at a time finishes in less than 40 minutes.
    • This method prevents over or under-baking and ensures even layers. Adjust based on available cake pans.

Nutrition

Calories: 845kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 56g
Keyword best smith island cake recipe, smith island cake, smith island cake recipe

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