Smith Island cake recipe

(1 rating)

Our Easter Island Cake could just become your new favourite Easter bake, we're sure of it.

Easter island cake
(Image credit: Future PLC)
Preparation Time45 mins
Cooking Time25 mins
Total Time1 hours 10 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories527 Kcal26%
Fat33 g47%
Saturated Fat20 g100%
Carbohydrates50 g19%

This beautiful chocolate-coated cake is one of our favourite Easter bakes - a real show stopper.

Smith Island cake is a chocolate covered cake with lots of layers. When you cut it open, you reveal tiers of thin, almost pancake-like vanilla sponge cake. It looks a little like a crepe cake, but it tastes so much better because the layers are light fluffy sponge. Traditionally it's not an Easter bake - you could make this at any time of year. However, for Easter we've topped this one with a selection of pretty chocolate eggs. It makes a perfect centrepiece for tea over the Easter bank holiday.


For the sponge layers

  • 325g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 200ml buttermilk or natural yoghurt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g self-raising flour

For the frosting:

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 170g light evaporated milk
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks

For decorating:

  • A selection of chocolate eggs

You will need:

  • 3 x 8inch cake tins, greased and lined




  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. For the sponge, using an electric mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add ½ tsp sea salt. In another bowl lightly whisk the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract to break the eggs.  
  2. With the electric mixer running on low, add a few spoonfuls of the egg mix followed by a few spoonfuls of the flour. Repeat until all has been incorporated.  
  3. Divide the cake mixture between the three cake tins and level out. Bake for 25mins until firm to touch. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  4. While the cake is in the oven make the frosting. Put the sugar, evaporated milk, double cream and vanilla extract in a saucepan and heat on low until hot but not boiling. Add the chocolate a little at a time, mixing to incorporate. Then add the butter a little at a time, stir to combine everything. Place a sheet of clingfilm flat onto the mixture. Chill until it has a good spreading consistency (about 30 mins to 1hr)  
  5. Cut the cooled sponges in half through the centre. Place one of the sponge layers onto the serving plate and then spread over 2tbsp chocolate frosting neatly to the edges. Place another layer of sponge on top and again spread over a layer of frosting. Repeat until all the layers have been used up.  
  6. Spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Decorate with the chocolate eggs. Chill for 30 mins to set.

Top tips for making Easter Smith Island Cake:

If you only have two cake tins, reserve one-third of the mixture in the bowl and bake this after the first two. The easiest way to cut the cake sponges is to put the cake onto a flat round surface, such as the insert in a tart case, and swivel the cake while holding the knife still

What is a Smith Island cake?

A traditional Smith Island cake consists of eight to 10 layers of pale, yellow cake with chocolate icing in between. It originates from Maryland and became the official dessert of the American state in 2008. If you're making this at any other time of year, omit the chocolate eggs and replace with sprinkles, some fancy Belgian chocolates or just keep it plain.

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Rose Fooks
Deputy Food Editor

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. Before joining the team, Rose obtained a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Going on to work in professional kitchens at The Delaunay and Zedel.