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10 layer cake - recipe search

  • j

On my way to the NC Coast this past weekend I stoped at Mike's Farm and Restaurant in Beaulaville for a slice of "10 Layer Cake". The cake was yellow with a very thin chocolate frosting on top and between the layers. It was a really, really good cake and I have searched my recipe books for a recipe and haven't found one. Does anyone have recipe for a similar cake or know of where to look? I have seen references for a Smith Island Cake but the recipe calls for candy between the layers which this cake doesn't have.

I am bordering on completely obsessed with this cake and any help or direction would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I saw a segment on Taste of America (on the Travel Channel) and they were making the Smith Island cake. The version they made didn't have candy between the layers. It had what you described as a thin chocolate frosting. Maybe try finding the recipe on the Travel Channel website or find a Smith Island cake recipe that uses the frosting. And when you find it, post it. I've been dying to make it since I saw the show!

    Edit: I found it! Ok, so it uses a cake mix, but if you wanted to make from scratch, I'm sure a regular yellow cake would work.

    1. depending on how many cake pans you have, i'd bake several at once and when cooled just slice very thinly. this would work with any cake.

      1. THere's a recipe on the Oprah site for a Smith Family 12 Layer Cake that sounds similar to what you're looking for.


        1. Thanks for the link. I do want to try it with a homemade cake but will try the cake mix if push comes to shove.

          1. Ohhh.. i am really excited by the Oprah link. The frosting on the cake I had was very thin almost runny and I think this frosting sounds really similar. Thanks so much!

            1. It sounds like what the Austrians, Germans and Hungarians call "Dobos Torte" or "Dobosch." If you google it, you will find lots of recipes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mothrpoet

                In New Orleans, everybody gets doberge cake for special occasions. Possibly related? Here's a sample recipe, which I've never tried:


                Or buy one:


              2. The Dobos Torte looks really good but this cake is much more "down-home". I could see it as a staple at cake walks and sunday chuch dinners but not so much at a bakery. The place where I tried a slice is called Mikes Farm and Restaurant
                Under bakery you can scroll down to "Our Famous 10 layer Chocolate Cake" and see an image. I tried to attach the image but I don't think it worked.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jean9

                  you know what that actually looks like? The chocolate crepe terrine that was posted on chowhound recently.. lemme find the link

                2. Martha Stewart had a recipe for this as well - it was yellow cake in super-thin layers with chocolate ganache in between. We did make it, and rather than slicing a tall cake into layers, each later was individually baked.

                  Fair warning, it took all night to do.

                  1. Thanks for the doberge reference. My sister used to live in New Orleans and that is the first place we looked, Gambino's Bakery. I think doberge is similar but not quite right as far as the cake goes. This cake didn't have a custard filling but rather frosting between the layers. I may need to order one just to be on the safe side ; )

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jean9

                      a couple weeks ago the washington post food section had an article about the smith island 10 layer cake. they had the recipe for it in there and i think its what you're looking for. no candy or peanut butter. you can find it on the washington post website.

                    2. I bought one of these cakes last December. (Our youth group goes there once a year. We are from Kinston, NC.) I think the frosting has peanut butter in it. I was delighted with the cake. My husbands grandmother had a similar recipe for the frosting. If you haven't found anything yet, I would be happy to send it to you.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Michelle5

                        jean9: young lady your recipe for the ten layer cake is on (www.about.com) go to
                        that website and you can get the recipe, how to make it and the frosting as well.

                        1. re: Michelle5

                          Thanks so much for the offer. I would love a new recipe! Also the Smith Island cake was just profiled in this months Saveur with a recipe for anyone interested in it. You could email me at sjfelsenfandl@yahoo.com for an address for the recipe... unless it is listed below as bigjimbray states.

                        2. Hi. I am from the area that was featured on the Travel Channel and know exactlly what you are looking for. The cake is a "Smith Island Cake". I have made this recipe for many years and it is as follows:
                          (It does use cake mix, but I also have the homemade version. If you'd like I can look that one up and send to you later)

                          1 box Duncan Hine's yellow cake mix
                          (make cake according to directions)

                          Divide cake batter into 10 equal portions and bake in 8 or 9 inch pans on 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or just until tops of cake are done but not overlly browned. (This makes a moister cake if you do not overbrown).

                          Meanwhile, make the frosting.

                          In a large saucepan, combine 1 stick butter
                          1 can evaporated milk,
                          4 heaping tablespoons hershey's unsweetened cocoa
                          1 16 ounce box confectioner's sugar
                          2 tsp. vanilla
                          pinch of salt

                          Bring icing to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens. This will take about 15 minutes. Keep icing on simmer while frosting cake layers.
                          You can start frosting the layers while they are still warm. (This also makes the cake moister). When you get to the last layer, put the remaining icing on top and sides of cake. The icing will get thicker towards the final layer and turn almost "fudgelike". Let cake set up for at least 8 hours before serving. Slice in thin slices since this is so rich.

                          This is the traditional cake that is indigeneous to my area, the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It originated on Smith Island , Maryland, which is a quick boat ride from my hometown dock located on the Chesapeake Bay. This is really a great area to visit and we have alot of great seafood recipes as well as desserts that would probably be a new experience for you as well. Look us up on the web.
                          Hope you enjoy the cake recipe!

                          1. http://www.smithisland.org/index.html

                            This is the link to the Smith Island, Md website. They have the traditional recipe (which calls for candy) and a peanut butter version. You can also order one from the site.

                            1. And for those interested in food history, there's an apple stack cake made in Tennessee that is very like the Smith Island cake, excpet, being inland, apple butter and variants thereof was used between the layers.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: shallots

                                I would love to have the recipe with the apples, we love apple cakes. Would appreciate if you could post the recipe. We will be coming into apple season soon. TIA

                                1. re: shallots

                                  I know this is an old post but would love to get the receipe for the Apple Stack Cake, I made one last year and it was awful. Wasted alot of our homemade apple butter.

                                  1. re: Taylordayne

                                    here's one http://recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/1... you can substitute apple butter for the dried apple filling if you think it's similar enough :) good luck this year!

                                2. I was delighted to see this thread on the famous Smith Island cake. My family is from the island and the cake is a part of history that is taught to Smith Island daughters at an early age. I don't have much to add to the recipe posted earlier this month except my mother (who was not an islander) wondered if the origins were from the old "british torte". If you know about Smith Island - the language is closer to old English (like from England) than American and many of their traditions are as well. Reading these postings makes me wish I was there.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: aevans

                                    My mother made this cake her entire adult life. She always told me she got the recipe on the back of a Golden Eagle flour bag. I never tried to make it until she passed away. I couldn't find Golden Eagle flour, but I duplicated it by making a rich yellow cake and a thin chocolate syrup. She would melt about a stick of butter, mix up some white sugar and cocoa powder and add that to the butter (she didn't measure), then thin it with milk (I used cream) until it was just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. I think I use about a cup of sugar to 1/2 cup cocoa. This cake is truly worth the effort. I think I'll go make one now. :)

                                  2. Hi Jean9 ----

                                    I have had that heavenly cake at Mike's Farm and understand your obsession. I also went searching for the recipe a year or so ago. I live in Wilmington. Did you ever find a good version of the recipe?

                                    My sister went to Mike's Farm today, hoping to buy one for a bday party tomorrow, and they are only open Thurs-Sun. She & I both have recipes for a similar cake, and we don't know which one to try. I think we're both gonna make both and see if either one seems to be Mike's cake.

                                    A school mom friend of mine claims she has the recipe, and I'm gonna try it. I can email it to you, but I don't have it in a text version, so I can't paste here without re-typing. I'll type it in later, if you want it that way.

                                    Wondering what you ever discovered....

                                    1. This may not have been exactly what you experienced at Mike's, but if you've never tried making Baumkuchen (Google Baumkuchen and try to get the most authentic German recipe you can find) you haven't lived:
                                      Heres what it looks like ...
                                      This type of cake was originally prepared on a rotating spit over hot coals.

                                      1. Thanks to everyone for all the info and history. After some more research it seems the "Mike's farm" cake is closest too Smith Island cake recipe but without the candy or peanut butter and I have found versions around Raleigh at Farmer's markets though none are as good as Mikes. The oprah recipe seems the closest from the recipes listed though all the versions I have found (or have been so generously given) sound great.

                                        1. The Original Smith Island Cake recipe can be found at: www.smithisland.org/cakerecipe.html
                                          Adding candy to it is optional.

                                          1. gosh, jean9, thanks for your report back!

                                            the only ten layer cake i had was at fuller's in lumberton, nc, and it was a little dry. i felt like it is just a yellow cake with thin layers. am i missing the "good thing"?

                                            1. I didn't see the show, but I know it's not a doberge torte. Is it kind of like this 14 layer cake? http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fourteen... I've never made it, but it could be a good starting point.

                                              1. Here's the recipe that was in the Washington Post earlier this year.


                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                  Just as a follow-up, I made this recipe for New Year's day. The final product was very tasty, but I ran out of icing and made a quick ganache for the outside of the cake.


                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                    The most recent Cook's Country magazine has a great looking recipe for this cake.

                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                      i loved this line from the recipe: "A layer is done when you hold it near your ear and do not hear it sizzle." i'll bet the ganache frosting made it even better!

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        I liked that line too! I didn't hear any sizzle, though. I think if I made this again I'd just skip to the ganache instead of the icing they suggest--it's so much easier, and tasted better too (IMO, of course).