Fudge icing is a notoriously tricky confection to execute. Time and temperature are key: just a few seconds or degrees can make the difference between a solid, tall cake and a wonky, edible leaning Tower of Pisa. Case in point: the Smith Island Cake
. Most layer cakes are three or four thick layers, solidly weighed down onto icing, creating a sturdy pastry. But the Smith Island cake consists of eight pancake-like thin, lightweight cakes, sandwiched with a syrupy chocolate fudge icing.
When I first tried to bake the Smith Island Cake featured in Jane and Michael Stern's article Surf and Turf
in Issue #145, I was working as fast as I could with the fudge frosting to stack each layer evenly on top of the next. The first few layers went up fine, but once the sixth and seventh layers were stacked, the cake started to get a little wobbly thanks to the still-warm icing on which they rested. Keep reading »