Smith Island Cake

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I’m back! Sorry it’s taken so long. December was a very busy month. I spent a few weeks baking cookies for clients and then went to MI for a week during the holiday. I did manage to do a little baking while I was away and hope to be back to my regular schedule next week.

I read an article either in Bon Apettit or Saveur where they had issues putting this cake together. With the icing and cake layers being so thin, the cake just kept sliding around and eventually fell. I keep kicking myself for not being able to find the article to share with you. I of course saw this as a challenge and self-imposed dare and decided to make the cake myself.

I complained quite a bit when the recipe made me bake the layers separately instead of two layers that I could cut later. After the cake was done and I began to assemble, I understood.

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The cake came together without a hitch and the icing was pretty awesome. It tasted almost like hot fudge that you would put over ice cream. I think the secret to not having the layers slide all over the place is to let the icing cool over the 30 recommended minutes. I let mine cool to room temperature where it was still pourable, but stiff enough to spread.

I really enjoyed this cake. The layers tasted like butter, and the icing reminded me of sundae’s I had as a child.

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Smith Island Cake

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 24 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
  • 3½ cups flour, plus more for pans
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs

Icing:

  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Method

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour four 9″ cake pans; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set dry ingredients aside. Whisk together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and eggs in another bowl. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients, and using a whisk, stir together until just combined; let batter sit for 15 minutes. Stir batter again until smooth, and then divide half the batter among prepared pans; tilt cake pans around to let batter cover entire bottom. Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through cooking, until barely browned, about 15 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans, and then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Clean and dry pans, and grease and flour again; divide remaining batter among pans, and repeat baking process.

Make the icing and assemble the cake: Bring both chocolates, sugar, milk, and butter to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves, chocolate melts, and mixture is smooth and shiny, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla; let icing sit until thick enough to spread, about 30 minutes. Place one cake on a cake stand and, using an offset spatula, spread with 1/4 cup icing; repeat with remaining cakes and 1 1/2 cups icing, leaving top cake un-iced. Chill cake to set icing between cakes, about 30 minutes. Rewarm remaining icing, if necessary, and spread over top and sides of the cake; let icing cool before serving.

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