Smith Island Cake

Eh, just another chocolate cake?  Nope, take a look at this…

Counted the layers?  12.  Yes, 12 layers with yummy chocolate pan frosting.

You’ve likely seen this cake on numerous blogs. I know I have, and actually, the first time I made it was after I saw it on a blog. I know you may be thinking, there’s no way I’m making that cake. But, here’s the thing, it is so not hard. A little time consuming? Yes. But difficult? Nope. I even made it more simple by starting with a cake mix.  Sure, you can make if from scratch; in fact, if you want the recipe, Google 12 layer cake recipe, and you’ll get 1.8 million hits.  When I made this last year, I made it from scratch.  Then, I thought, why?  And I decided to use a cake mix the next time around.  And you now what?  Nobody could tell.  It’s your choice.
Personally, I love the element of surprise when you slice the cake, as it appears to be nothing more than a chocolate frosted layer cake. But, when you slice it, everyone is almost rendered speechless, except for the oohs and aahs this cake elicits. You will be granted Rockstar status. Okay, maybe not rockstar status, but still, everyone will forever talk about that “million layer cake” you made and you will be rewarded with entry into your family’s dessert hall of fame.
Smith Island Cake Printable recipe
1 box butter recipe cake mix
8 oz cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
12 9″ disposable aluminum cake pans
Parchment paper cake liners or cut parchment to fit
Non-stick spray
8″ cardboard cake circle
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pans: spray with non-stick spray, place parchment cake liner, and spray again.  Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, extracts, and sugar until fluffy.  Mix in oil and water.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add cake mix and mix on high for 3 minutes. 
In each pan, pour in 1/2 cup cake batter.  If you have some batter left over, you can divide it amongst the pans or make a tiny loaf cake. Using an off-set spatula, smooth batter to edges of pans.  Place cake pans in oven – I was able to fit 3 pans at a time.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  I removed the pans after 11 minutes.  Remove pans from oven and allow to cool.  While layers are cooling, make pan icing.
Chocolate Pan Icing
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
5-6 cups powdered sugar
In a heavy saucepan, melt butter.  Add cocoa and milk and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract, along with the salt.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.  Stir icing for 5 minutes, until thickened.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment and place cake rack in pan.  Place cardboard cake circle on rack.  Invert a cake layer on cardboard circle and lade on chocolate pan icing.  Repeat procedure with remaining cake layers and pan icing.  Pour remaining icing over top of cake and allow icing to set.  You can serve the cake at this point, or frost with chocolate buttercream.
Chocolate Buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cocoa
1 box powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk, +additional if needed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream together butter and cocoa.  Mix in vanilla. Add powdered sugar, milk, and salt and slowly cream together until fluffy.  If necessary, add additional milk if too thick or more powdered sugar if too thin.

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