How to Make a Smith Island Cake

Throughout America, virtually each state has a signature meals or dessert that residents get pleasure from. In Maryland’s case, that recipe is the enduring Smith Island cake.

What Is Smith Island Cake?

This recipe dates all the best way again to the 1800s, when ladies on Smith Island would bake truffles for his or her husbands to get pleasure from in the course of the island’s autumn oyster harvest. The truffles have been supposed to function a logo of togetherness, and remind the oyster hunters of their family members ready for them to return residence. In the present day, the cake is legendary in Maryland, the place it’s particularly well-liked as a vacation dessert.

At its core, a Smith Island cake is a cake product of many skinny, pancake-like layers of yellow cake separated by decadent fudge icing. It’s considerably like a crepe cake however with fewer, thicker layers. Whereas this taste mixture is taken into account the unique, bakeries on Smith Island and alongside the Maryland coast have begun deviating from the traditional recipe, providing flavors comparable to coconut, double chocolate, pink velvet and lemon.

How Many Layers Does a Smith Island Cake Have?

In contrast to conventional layer truffles which have solely two or three layers, a Smith Island cake has anyplace from eight to 13 layers of moist, yellow cake. Finally, it’s as much as the person baker to find out precisely what number of layers to make use of of their cake. In our recipe, we’re following the steerage of Brian and Pleasure Murphy, homeowners of the official Smith Island Baking Firm in Maryland. Their well-known truffles function eight layers of fluffy, moist cake.

What Sort of Frosting Does a Smith Island Cake Have?

One other key ingredient of a Smith Island cake is the frosting. As an alternative of buttercream, it makes use of a wealthy, fudge-like frosting. Traditionally, such a frosting was used as a result of buttercream didn't maintain up as effectively whereas being transported on the annual oyster hunts. In the present day, the usage of such a frosting is solely a matter of custom.

Learn how to Make Smith Island Cake – Step by Step

Lauren Habermehl for Style of Dwelling


Yellow Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2-1/Four cups sugar
  • Three giant eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-3/Four cups cake flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-1/Four teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/Four teaspoon salt

Fudge Frosting

  • Three cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • Eight ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Three tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/Four cup) unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instruments You’ll Want

  • If you happen to’re in want of cake pans, look no additional than our Style of Dwelling 9-inch nonstick cake pans. They've an embossed design that not solely strengthens the pan but additionally will increase airflow for even baking.
  • Anybody who bakes regularly ought to spend money on a top quality stand mixer like this KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer.
  • An offset spatula like this 13-inch model by Wilton will make icing truffles a breeze. Its angled design helps unfold frosting evenly over a cake for a clear look.


Step 1: Combine the cake batter

Lauren Habermehl for Style of Dwelling

In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt collectively. Put aside. Subsequent, in a stand mixer, cream collectively butter and sugar till fluffy; about Three minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend on low till mixed. Subsequent, progressively incorporate the dry substances, mixing on low till all the things is moist; about 1 minute. Lastly, add within the buttermilk along with your mixer on its lowest velocity till the batter is clean and no lumps stay.

Step 2: Bake the layers

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, put together two 9-inch cake pans by greasing them with butter and lining with parchment paper. We will probably be baking two cake layers at a time—we’re going to imagine you don’t have eight 9-inch cake pans in your cabinets!

Lauren Habermehl for Style of Dwelling

Add about 3/Four cup (212 grams) of the cake batter to every pan after which unfold into an excellent layer utilizing the again of a spoon.

Lauren Habermehl for Style of Dwelling

Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the cake is barely golden and set within the center. Take away from the oven and let cool within the pan for 5-10 minutes, then fastidiously take away the cake layers and switch to a wire rack to complete cooling. Repeat till all eight layers are baked.

Get our greatest cake baking ideas we realized from Grandma.

Step 3: Put together the fudge frosting

Lauren Habermehl for Style of Dwelling

In a medium saucepan over medium warmth, whisk collectively the sugar and evaporated milk and prepare dinner till the combination is heat. Scale back the warmth to medium-low after which add the chocolate, cocoa powder and butter. Stir the combination till the chocolate and butter have melted and the combination has warmed by way of. Proceed to prepare dinner the frosting till it has thickened, about 6-Eight minutes. Take away from warmth after which stir within the vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.

Editor’s Notice: The fudge will probably be skinny at this stage. Don’t fear, it would proceed to thicken because it cools.

Step 4: Assemble

Lauren Habermehl for Style of Dwelling

Start by inserting the underside layer of cake on a plate or cake stand. Then, unfold a beneficiant, even layer (2-Three tablespoons) of fudge frosting over the cake. High with the subsequent layer of cake after which repeat.

Lauren Habermehl for Style of Dwelling

Whenever you attain the ultimate layer, unfold the remaining fudge frosting on the highest and down the edges of the cake. We suggest utilizing an offset spatula to get the frosting good and clean.

Editor’s Notice: Don’t be too involved when you get a couple of tears in your cake layers alongside the best way. Even as soon as sliced, these imperfections won't be noticeable on the completed cake.

Subsequent, plan to make extra traditional recipes from Maryland.

Learn how to Retailer Your Cake

Retailer leftovers of Smith Island cake in a lined cake provider at room temperature for as much as 2-Four days. If you happen to reside in a heat local weather or your kitchen runs sizzling, you might also retailer the cake within the fridge to forestall the fudge from melting. If saved within the fridge, you should definitely retailer the cake in an hermetic cake dome to forestall it from drying out.