Easter Smith Island cake recipe

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serves: 16
Skill: medium
Cost: mid
Prep: 45 min
Cooking: 25 min

Nutrition per portion

Calories 527 kCal 26%
Fat 33g 47%
  -  Saturates 20g 100%
Carbohydrates 50g 26%
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  • Our Easter Smith Island cake is the ultimate showstopper. The combination of a decadent glossy glaze and soft sponge cake is one we're sure you and your guests will love at any time of year. 

    Essentially this Easter Smith Island cake is a layer cake with a chocolate glaze and filling. Smith Island cake is not a traditional Easter bake but we’ve used chocolate eggs to decorate and make it seasonal. The cake originates from Smith Island, the state of Maryland’s last inhabited island, which can only be accessed by boat.  

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    • For the sponge layers
    • 325g unsalted butter, softened
    • 225g caster sugar
    • 400g self-raising flour
    • 200ml buttermilk or natural yoghurt
    • 4 large eggs
    • For the frosting:
    • 125g caster sugar
    • 170g light evaporated milk
    • 150ml double cream
    • 1tsp 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


    • Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. For the sponge, using an electric mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add 1/2tsp sea salt. In another bowl lightly whisk the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract to break the eggs.


    • 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.

      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.


    • 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)


    • 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.


    • Spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Decorate with the chocolate eggs. Chill for 30 mins to set.

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    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, such as the insert in a tart case, and swivel the cake while holding the knife still
    • Omit the chocolate eggs if you're making this cake at another time of year and replace with sprinkles, chocolate truffles or just keep it plain

    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.

    Related features:

    Mary Berry's chocolate cake
    Triple layer chocolate cake
    Nutella chocolate cake


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