I was a Marylander for the first 31 years of my life, and never had this
Maryland dessert. Next time I am down, I will have to change that. For
now, I can make this cake!

Smith Island Ten-Layer Cake

The Washington Post
Some folks believe it was the late Frances Kitching, an innkeeper on the
island, who called for the cake to be 10 layers, as it is in this recipe.

16 servings

For the cake

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks;
plus more for greasing the pans
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup water

For the icing
2 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake: Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to
350 degrees. Use butter to lightly grease ten 9-inch cake pans, or use 2
or 3 cake pans at a time and re-grease them as needed. Sift together the
flour, salt and baking powder. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of
a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed until
light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time; beat until smooth. Reduce
the speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients 1 cup at a time; beat
until incorporated. Still on low speed, add the evaporated milk, then the
vanilla and water, beating until well combined. Place 3 serving spoonfuls
of batter in each of the cake pans; use the back of the spoon to spread it
evenly. Bake 2 or 3 layers at a time on the middle oven rack for 8 to 9
minutes. (A layer is done when you hold it near your ear and do not hear
it sizzle.) While the cakes are baking, make the icing: Combine the sugar
and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the
chocolate and butter; warm through, stirring, until both have melted.
Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15
minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, stirring to
combine. The icing will be thin but will thicken as it cools. As the cake
layers are done, run a spatula around the edge of the pan and ease out the
layers. Let them cool. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate; spread 2 or
3 spoonfuls of icing on each layer. (Don't worry if a layer tears; no one
will notice when the cake is finished.) Cover the top and sides of the
cake with the remaining icing; push any icing that runs onto the plate
back onto the cake.


Recipe Source: Adapted from "Mrs. Kitching's Smith Island Cookbook," by
Kitching and Susan Stiles Dowell (Tidewater Publishers, 1981). Used by
permission of Cornell Maritime Press/Tidewater Publishers, Centreville,
Md.


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