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The Official Dessert of Maryland Will Make Frosting Lovers Giddy

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Tra-la-la, it's The Fall Cookbook Cake Parade: a new cake from a new cookbook every single day. Are your costumes cake pans ready?

Today: The official dessert of Maryland is for chocolate lovers, from Irvin Lin's Marbled, Swirled, and Layered.

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8-Layer Orange-Scented Smith Island Cake
8-Layer Orange-Scented Smith Island Cake

Smith Island is a little dot off the coast of Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay, the last inhabited island of the state, and only reachable by boat. According to Maryland's state website, Smith Island was settled in the 1600s and has been the home to "watermen and their families for centuries." Because of this isolation, the website notes, an island culture developed and has stayed intact, including—funny-enough—a love of multi-layered cakes. More specifically, the signature Smith Island Cake.

In Marbled, Swirled, and Layered: 150 Recipes and Variations for Artful Bars, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and More, Irvin Lin shares a version of the cake, an orange-scented one with 8 layers. (To be authentic, Smith Island cakes must be between 8 and 14 individual layers, notes the Smith Island Cultural Center.) He goes on to note why it's a chocolate lover's dream:

Smith Island cake in an intriguing dessert, with thin layers of sumptuous chocolate sandwiched between eight thin layers of yellow cake. It’s a cake for chocolate lovers. The cake is named after an island in the Chesapeake Bay and is the official dessert of the state of Maryland. It’s not hard to make from a technical standpoint, though it can be repetitive, especially if you only have two 9-inch pans, in which case you will need to bake the cake layers in four batches. The key to making the cake is a little bit of time and an offset spatula if you have one (though you certainly can make it with just a spoon or butter knife). But if you’re a fan of fudgy chocolate frosting, this cake, with its high frosting-to-cake ratio, is the one for you.

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8-Layer Orange-Scented Smith Island Cake

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Makes 1 layer cake; 12 servings

For the cake batter:

  • 3 1⁄3 cups (465g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1⁄3 cups (465g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons (190g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated, plus 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the chocolate fudge frosting:

  • 12 ounces (350g) bittersweet chocolate (about 70% cacao)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons (140g or 1 1⁄4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For more desserts like this one, check out Marbled, Swirled, and Layered by Irvin Lin.


See more of our Fall Cookbook Cake Parade

Tags: smith island cake