Mike and Nick’s Improved Smith Island Cake (8 layer cake with raspberry buttercream and chocolate ganache frosting)

August 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Made this cake for a recent birthday celebration. I’ve been wanting to make this again with a different/better frosting than used for the original recipe posted early in this blog’s life. This new concoction was undeniably successful. Even though the leftovers have to be kept in the fridge (because of the buttercream), this cake remained fresh, moist and really tasty for 4 days (only a emergency kept this from lasting that many days though). The cake recipe is the same as that posted before, but I’ll include it all for easier access.

For those that think making 8 cake layers is too much work (I assure you it’s really not), I think this combo would work very well in a two or three layer cake as well.

Raspberry buttercream adapted from Call me cupcake! and chocolate ganache frosting (not a glaze) adapted from Martha.



1 box cake mix (Duncan Hines yellow is the go-to, but use a flavor if you’d like, I suggest adding zest of 2 lemons to flavor)

1 can evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup water

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 t. salt

8 T. softened butter

The steps

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease four 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray, dust with flour, and knock out any excess. Set aside.

2. Put cake mix, 1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk, butter, vanilla, salt, eggs, and 1⁄3 cup water into a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 10–12 minutes.

3. Divide half the batter between prepared cake pans (if using 4 pans). Set remaining batter aside. Using the back of a spoon, spread out batter so that it covers the bottom of each pan, making it slightly thicker around the edges than in the middle. Bake until cooked through and golden around edges, 12–14 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly, then loosen cake layers with a knife and invert onto cooling racks.

4. Wash and dry cake pans. Repeat process a second time with cooking spray and remaining flour and batter.

While all the cake layers are cooling, make the raspberry buttercream then the ganache.


Raspberry Buttercream 

This was on the sweet side for me when tasted alone but balanced really nicely in the cake. Adjust if desired or if using for another purpose (will also depend on your fruit).

5 egg whites

3/4 cups sugar

1 stick plus 6 T butter (just 2 T short of 2 sticks)

6 oz package of raspberries, macerated with a sprinkle of sugar


1. Pour eggs whites and sugar in a clean bowl to be used for a double-boiler. Put the bowl in your make-shift double-boiler (pyrex bowl over a pot with a little simmering water in it). Whisk the sugar and eggs constantly until the mixture gets to about 140 degrees F (or rub some of the mixture between figures, if sugar has melted you’re done).

2. Remove from heat, whip until white, fluffy and cool (should be mixture of shaving cream). Start adding butter 1 T at a time. This process can take 10-15 minutes. Just when you think you’ve done something wrong it all comes together. If it gets to cold, put over the double-boiler for a few seconds and re-whip. If it gets to hot and looks curdled and soupy, put it in the fridge briefly and re-whip.

3. Add raspberries (strain if desired, but I wanted it all in) and vanilla to taste. Whip until smooth.

4. Put just enough on each layer.


Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1.5 cups whipping cream

1/3 cups powdered sugar (a little more to taste if desired)

12 oz bittersweet chocolate (roughly chopped, I used 70% Ghirardelli and an amazing local chocolate)

pinch of salt

vanilla to taste

1. In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, salt to a gentle boil. Add vanilla, and pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl.

2. Let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined.

3. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.


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§ 2 Responses to Mike and Nick’s Improved Smith Island Cake (8 layer cake with raspberry buttercream and chocolate ganache frosting)

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