Smith Island Cake Recipe from Natalie Franke
June 7, 2013
DessertsBirthday CakeFood & Drinks
After my epic chocolate cake fail the other day, I started hunting for the perfect recipe to try. This time vowing to follow all the instructions to a T. Then, this little number fell right into my lap. A ten layer piece of chocolate perfection crafted with love and flawlessly photographed by Natalie Franke. She styled it at the Black Ankle Vineyard for an anniversary session, which I love, but I sort of think this cake is just as good for a random Friday. Don't you?
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From Natalie...The perfect dessert for any Anniversary and one of Maryland's best kept culinary secrets is the Smith Island Cake! Known for having eight to ten layers, this sweet treat is perfect for celebrating special occasions! Each layer signifying many years of happiness and a long, sweet life together!

Note: The recipe calls for your favorite yellow cake. We recommend either hitting up a box or using this amazing one that we've tried in the past and can totally vouch for!
Smith Island Chocolate Layer Cake
Prep Time
60 Minutes
Cook Time
60 Minutes
Total Time
120 Minutes
15 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips 1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cup sugar 1/3 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 recipe (of your favorite) yellow cake batter, enough to make 2 8-inch cake layers
To make the frosting: Place chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the cream, sugar, and salt in saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer. Pour mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and butter until glossy. Cover and refrigerate until icing is set but still spreadable, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.
Spread one-eighth of batter (about 2/3 cup) evenly in each pan. Try to spread the batter all the way to the edges.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes.
Cool on rack for 5 minutes and then invert onto rack to finish cooling.
Allow pans to cool, then wipe clean and repeat process 3 more times for a total of 8 layers.
To assemble the cake: Put 1 tablespoon of frosting on the cake platter and then place 1 cooled cake layer on top of it.
Spread 1/4 cup frosting over the cake. Top with second cake layer and additional ¼ cup frosting.
Repeat with the next 6 layers.
Frost top and sides with remaining frosting.
Photography: Natalie Franke | Venue: Black Ankle Vineyard