Recipe courtesy of Mary Ada Marshall

Smith Island Layer Cake

This version of this recipe is the beginner's version.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: One 9-inch, 8-layer cake
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Cooking spray, for greasing

2 cups evaporated milk

2 cups regular milk

1/2 cup softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

One 18.25-ounce box yellow cake mix, such as Duncan Hines


6 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons evaporated milk


  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease eight 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray. 
  2. Add the milks, butter, vanilla, salt, eggs and cake mix to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until fully combined. Evenly divide the cake batter between the cake pans, about 1/2 cup per pan. Bake until the edges are nicely browned and pulling away from the sides of the pan, 6 to 8 minutes. 
  3. Let the cakes cool on damp kitchen towels. 
  4. For the frosting: Meanwhile, heat the sugar, butter, cocoa and evaporated milk in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined. Let cool about 5 minutes prior to frosting. 
  5. Once the cakes have cooled, frost and stack each cake layer. Allow to rest about 1 hour before slicing.