Monday, February 16, 2009

Fourteen for the Fourteenth

Fourteen Layer Cake. This is apparently a favorite at family get togethers in the South. Now, I’m from the South and I’ve never heard of such a thing. Actually, when I first heard the name, I didn’t believe it. Fourteen individually baked layers … no way. Who would do that? And… why? Then, I thought, it must be good if someone goes to that much trouble. And I did want something new to bake for Valentine’s Day.

Hmmm…let the googling begin.

Well, they do exist. In no time, I had the recipe for a 10-Layer Cake, a 12-Layer Cake and a 14-Layer Cake.

Looks like I’ve been going to the wrong parties.

I decided to go with the 12-Layer Cake recipe because it looked like it would work the best for me. The 10 would be too small and the one for the 14 called for cutting the cake layers and I didn’t think that would go very well. So I used the 12 and just poured it into fourteen pans. Fourteen aluminum foil pans. That way I didn’t have to wait for the pans to cool and be cleaned in between baking. This was a huge time saver.

Here they are … fourteen – 8.5″ pans… Shiny!

Aluminum Pans

Then, I cut 14 sheets of parchment paper, stapled them together and cut out circles the same size as the bottom of the pan.

Getting ready

I decided to err on the side of caution with greasing the pans, because fourteen stuck cakes would make me very unhappy.
So, I greased the bottom and sides with a stick of butter. Then, I laid the parchment circles down and lightly buttered and floured the top of the parchment paper.

Please work!

Fourteen Layer Cake Pans

While those are waiting, I mixed up all the ingredients for the cake batter -
the HUGE amount of cake batter. (Mom, if you’re reading this… thank you again for my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. I love it.)

Cake Batter

Then I placed a heaping 2/3 cup full of batter in each pan.

Fourteen Layer Cake

Then, just spread it out as evenly as possible.

Fourteen Layer Cake

I was able to bake three cakes at a time. Each set baked for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, (the recipe says 375, but I went with 350). So that means there were five sets at 12 minutes each. (About an hour to bake. Not too bad.)

When the last batch of cakes go in the oven, it’s a good time to start making the icing.

Then, after the icing cools and before it hardens, you can start spreading a little bit on the top of each layer of cooled cake. Before you start… place the cake on a cake board. Place the board on a wire rack. And place the wire rack over a jelly roll pan to catch any icing that drips.

2 layers

and it will drip…

6 layers

and drip…

8 layers

and drip…

14 layers

and drip. It kinda looks like chocolate covered pancakes!

Right about now, I had to control myself from taking a big huge bite right out of the side. YUM!
When you’re done with the last layer, pour any extra icing over the top and spread it around the sides to cover.

Chocolate covered cake

Now, based on the recipe, you’re done. You can let the icing set and eat it right up. The finished cake will look something like this.

Fourteen Layer Cake

I didn’t really like that too much, so I whipped up a quick dark chocolate buttercream frosting and covered the cake to even out the top and sides.

Frosted Fourteen Layer Cake

There… much better. (I know, I know. It lost some of the “homemade, old-fashioned feel.”)

But, I think if you served the cake like this, no one would suspect there were lots of little layers inside.

And, when you finally cut it open, people would be like… wow!

Fourteen Layer Cake

I MEAN WOW!!!!!!!!

Fourteen Layer Cake Side View

I can’t tell you how happy I was to finally cut into this cake and see how pretty it was… and even better, that it worked. And, it was really good and super moist, too. YAY!

Sliced Cake

Enjoy!

Fourteen Layer Cake

The recipe I used:
The Smith Family’s 12-Layer Cake (used with 14 pans)

Some other recipes you might like:
10-Layer Cake (Smith Island Cake Recipe)
14-Layer Cake (uses a cake mix)
14-Layer Cake (you cut the layers with this one)

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1 box (1 lb) confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 Tbsp milk

  • Cream the butter and cream cheese with a mixer.
  • Add the cocoa and vanilla.
  • Add the confectioner’s sugar in small batches and blend on low until combined. Scrape down sides with each addition.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until you get the consistency you desire.

Some helpful tools:
Aluminum foil cake pans
Cake board
Cake rack
Jellyroll pan

Happy Baking!

601
Kayla Franklin said...

ok, I made this cake following the recipe to a tee! BUT when I got about half way through stacking the cake, i couldnt keep the layers from sliding off. In the end the cake looked much worse then yours…more like sleeping beautys cake to the point where it fell over! Any advice on what can I do next time to keep the sides from shifting so much?

June 15, 2012 03:03 PM
602
Elaine Engler said...

My grandmother used to make a cake like this and we have been trying to duplicate it for years. She used cast iron skillets and my mom said she remembered her poking holes in the top so the frosting would seep into the cake. We are from North Carolina. I am going to give this one a try and I love the idea of the multiple cake pans instead of the cast iron ! I’ll let you know how it turns out! Thanks for posting.

July 7, 2012 03:53 AM
603
lirone said...

This would be amazing if you dyed each layer a different color and used a white chocolate filling. It would be the ultimate rainbow cake!!!

July 9, 2012 12:04 AM
604
Cassandra said...

Smith Island is on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. They have been making Smith Island cake there forever. I’m from the Eastern Shore of Maryland; and we would eat this cake all the time. It is now the official State dessert of Maryland.

July 15, 2012 02:02 AM
605
Millie Carter said...

I have brothers (twins) who turn 18 in September. I want to make it really special for them and thinking of doing an 18 layer one of these….do you think that would work?! It looks fantastic!

July 21, 2012 05:37 AM
606
Claudia said...

We make this kind in northeast NC. Notes: 1. the first one I ever saw was made using an black iron skillet=all 14/15 layers=skillet lined with waxed paper. 2, Use a regular chocolate icing/frosting, not that runny one. 3. Most importantly: DO NOT CUT/SLICE like reg. cake, Make first cut across round end; the make a cut in cake so you will either have 2 or 3 pieces. Then slice so that serving of cake is about pinky finger wide=ie very thin. Very rich. Have eaten a lemon, and a carmel one also.

August 4, 2012 01:53 PM
607
Meghan said...

My Mema always said you could tell how good a cook was by the number of layers in her chocolate cake. And yes, her’s had fourteen layers!

August 7, 2012 09:53 PM
608
Anonymous said...

My granny would make these cakes from scratch and seeing these pictures brought back so many memories of her and I baking together.

August 19, 2012 12:00 PM
609
Emanuela said...

I would like to congratulate this amazing effort with a unique comment but the (literally) 100s of other before me have said what I am thinking. Well done. It looks amazing!
Emanuela @ thefoodiegoddess.com

August 20, 2012 06:44 AM
610
Anonymous said...

This recipe originated from smith island, md. Hence the name Smith Island cake. It’s not a southern recipe. But yes it is delicious!!!

September 1, 2012 02:44 PM
611
MiracleMommy said...

There are hundreds of comments to sift through, so don’t know if it’s been mentioned…but my dad is from Kentucky where they make “Stack Cake” that is made like this, but with layers of a light spice cake with apple butter of applesauce (preferably thick, homemade applesauce) in between.

Legend/history has it that these would be made for weddings in the old days, and that everyone would bring a layer to add to the stack(s).

My ex’s mom made the best apple stack cake!

September 3, 2012 02:29 AM
612
AlyI said...

I was super excited that the bakery doing our wedding cake had the Smith Island one as a flavor (I’m a MD girl) and we picked that and a strawberry one for our different parts of the cake. I was so sad that I never got any of this one. It had chocolate AND peanut butter together! So tragic.

September 9, 2012 03:55 AM
613
Renee said...

My great grandmother has made this cake for over 40 years. The only difference is she used homemade Hershey fudge and poured it between each layer adding pecans on top from the pecan tree in the back yard. This is still my favorite cake by far!

September 9, 2012 10:43 PM
614
Courtney said...

I make a cake very similar to this. However, if you freeze Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, then pulse them to a fine powder in your food processor. Sprinkle the powder in between each layer with the chocolate. DIVINE!!!

September 12, 2012 11:10 AM
615
emily starnes said...

the trick is to use the bottom of a spring form pan to bake your layers. it keeps them thin with out worrying about breaking it (or using 14 pans!) just put a thin layer of cake batter, bake, and then use a spatula to remove the layer gently

September 15, 2012 12:00 AM
616
Paige said...

My cousin’s husband makes one of these but he bakes his in black iron skillets-the edges of the cake get all a little crispy and wonderful. Mmmmm….
And yes, we are from the south…

September 16, 2012 05:36 PM
617
Connie Juranek said...

I am from Tennessee and this is a form of stack cake. A true stack cake here is traditionally made with layers but filling is cooked dried apples spiced with cinnamon, cloves and small amount nutmeg. After it is made it is wrapped up and allowed to sit for at least a week. Some brush with bourbon before wrapping is up to sit. Yum!!!!!

September 16, 2012 05:37 PM
618
Anonymous said...

My friends southern mom made this cake …it was one of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted!

September 16, 2012 08:56 PM
619
Sue said...

Oh my…memories of the cake my mom would make on my birthday. The only difference is that instead of milk in the icing she would use strong coffee….try it sometime. I think you would love it.

September 17, 2012 10:41 AM
620
jessica said...

What are the ingredients for the filling in-between the layers? It looks different then the buttercream frosting.
Thanks!

September 19, 2012 11:49 AM
621
Gail said...

I’m wondering, why not just make 14 cake batter pancakes? Seems like it would taste the same and be a whole lot easier???? Any comments???

September 19, 2012 09:47 PM
622
DebbieL said...

My grandma use to make something like this, except she would put applesauce or apple butter in-between the layers and just glaze it with a clear powdered sugar glaze…she called it apple stack cake..it was always on the Thanksgiving table. I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet though.

September 21, 2012 05:35 PM
623
nonnawick said...

Anything with that much frosting HAS to be good! Thanks for a neat recipe!

September 24, 2012 11:07 PM
624
Dave said...

The cake is awesome and I am going to try it but, did you use the same icing between the layers as you did on the top and sides? It looks and seems different. I want mine to come out as nice as yours.

September 29, 2012 07:50 PM
625
kiki said...

dnjkidh

October 2, 2012 01:09 PM
626
Phaedra said...

Making this for a cake Auction on Saturday as a fundraiser…. how much in advance can I make this and what is the best way to store it so that it stays moist…..
Sure looks yummy, I wish I could taste it after I made it!

October 3, 2012 10:13 AM
627
Helen said...

Thank you for the idea. I actually made one for my sister’s birthday. I made a strawberry cake with lemon creamcheese icing instead. I was soooo yummy that I want to make different version of this cake. :)

October 5, 2012 02:28 PM
628
Krystle said...

My grandmother called it her 15 layer chocolate rum cake. It is still in our family. Amazing!

October 5, 2012 05:37 PM
629
Ce Ce Campbell said...

My family is from North Carolina and we make this cake with apple sauce and spice..(stacked apple sauce cake)

October 5, 2012 07:14 PM
630
J Claude said...

I make a lemon version of this cake… It is the best cake I’ve ever tasted…

October 6, 2012 11:05 PM
631
Fran said...

My mother ( 90 years old) makes this but uses a Laplander frosting. My family cannot wait for a special occasion for her to make one – there is never a crumb left.

October 7, 2012 11:02 AM
632
Susan T said...

Oh My. I have lived the majority of my 45 years in the South and have never heard of a 14 layer cake (or any of the other names)… How sad for me! Must make soon. Possibly for one of our upcoming family birthdays. :) Thanks!! Will be pinning.

October 14, 2012 09:59 PM
633
Diona said...

I’m originally from South Georgia and we’ve had one of these at every family reunion I can remember!

October 17, 2012 02:03 PM
634
Jenn said...

I’m from Baton Rouge, La and grew up loving a cake like this called a Doberge cake. My favorite was the lemon and I requested it every year for my birthday!

October 22, 2012 01:01 PM
635
Lynn said...

This is beautiful! How clever to put the choc. buttercream on the outside to “neaten” it up…as well as make it even tastier. I am from the south (Georgia), and I’ve known about these cakes all of my life. My mother has made them many times, as well as my grandmother before me. At family reunions and church gatherings, they get ‘the eye’ right away. They’re an old tradition…and it’s usually the choc. version you see the most. We just call them “14 layer chocolate cake”.

October 28, 2012 09:23 AM
636
Lynn said...

Oh…one more thing. My mother figured out the best way for her to measure the cake batter…she uses a ladle, and just her three cake pans.

October 28, 2012 09:26 AM
637
Melissa said...

Help!!! I stacked and glazed per the instructions but my cakes keep sliding. How do I keep them from sliding after stacking?

October 28, 2012 05:46 PM
638
herb said...

i always thought this cake( torte) had german / eastern european origin

October 29, 2012 02:29 AM
639
Barbara Showell said...

I thought this was a Smith Island Cake as soon as I saw it! Yum. I’ve not yet been inspired to make one yet.

November 3, 2012 09:58 AM
640
Hope said...

I am from the deep south (Ga/Al), and now live in the NOLA area. I have seen this cake since I was little and seen the derberge cake. You have an amazing knack for baking! Beautiful cake!

November 5, 2012 10:31 AM
641
Jessi said...

I made this and it was beautiful but the cake was dense, the frosting had too much cream cheese flavor and it just wasn’t worth the effort. I’m not sure what I did wrong.

November 20, 2012 01:09 PM
642
Natalie Kirbo said...

I just had to comment – I had a cake just like this for every birthday growing up! (I’m from Northwest Florida) So for my husband’s birthday, I made this cake (14 layers like yours with the 12 layer recipe) and it was SO similar to the ones I grew up with! It was wonderful, and I’m making another one for Christmas this week! Where I’m from, when you say “chocolate layer cake,” this is what you get! :) Thanks for sharing this!

December 20, 2012 09:37 AM
643
Genie said...

I grew up,with 14-layer chocolate and 14-layer caramel cakes, and that are the best. We bake them in S GA using cast iron griddles (8 inch) one layer at a time, using 1/2 cup cake batter. Yummy!

January 2, 2013 03:40 AM
644
Kate said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! It looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it! I’ve had an ‘opera’ cake recipe for about 15 years and too scared to attempt it!

January 8, 2013 02:12 AM
645
sandra said...

My grandmother used to make these for all special events. She would lightly sprinkle each layer after icing with ground pecans. On the top she would use whole half pecans and do a wagon wheel design. It was my job to pick each off, without her catching me, and eat them. She always made the biggest fuss aobut “WHO ate the pecans”. I always thought i was getting away with it. In my GMs later years, when she couldnt cook any longer she confessed to me she knew all along that it was me. Said she knew because I always giggled when she would ask who did it. Ahhhh- I would kill for just a bite once more.
I will be trying this for sure

January 9, 2013 10:36 PM
646
Mary G. said...

I can see doing a 16-layer cake for a girl’s Sweet Sixteen Party! That would be amazing! ?

January 12, 2013 10:35 PM
647
Julia said...

Hi, I have been thinking about making your cake for a 4-H project, but I would be using it to make a “hidden flag cake” (http://www.dessarts.com/2012/06/how-to-make-a-hidden-flag-cake.html).
Some commenters have said that this cake is like a pancake and I was just wondering if this is true.
Also some one suggested powdered sugar for the cake recipe and I was wondering if that was what you used.
I am going to use buttercream frosting and I was wondering if that would work well with this recipe.
Do you think that this cake would be too tall for making the “hidden flag cake?”
Is there any other suggestions you have for me?
I am hoping to try out this cake next Saturday (Jan 23).
Thank-you for your help! I will try to post a picture when I finish.

January 23, 2013 11:37 AM
648
Theresa said...

This looks wonderful and Delicious! My only question is how difficult was this to cut and transfer to a plate! I’m imagining great balancing and quick movements! I will definitely be trying this one out!

January 24, 2013 12:29 PM
649
Linda said...

Just wanted to know what kind of filling did you put in that you said it harden?

January 24, 2013 11:03 PM
650
Gloria Walker said...

I have a recipe for ths cake from my Grandmother and the batter and frosting are made from scratch. I have made and sold dozens of these cakes. Everyone always counts the layers. I make 14 layers. Dont let it intimidate you, it really is easy to make. Happy baking!

January 26, 2013 11:23 AM
651
Lantana said...

Fourteen layers? Girl, how do you do these things?

February 15, 2013 12:53 AM
652
Beth said...

If you want to do “real Southern” then change it up to this: http://www.thebittenword.com/thebittenword/2008/11/apple-stack-cake.html My Nanny made it for family reunions and special occasions. Heaven!

March 2, 2013 11:57 AM
653
unchatenfrance said...

Looks delicious. But isn’t this just a Dobos cake without the caramelized sugar on top? According to Wikipedia, the so-called southern “Doberge” cake is actually an adaptation of the Dobos.

March 6, 2013 02:07 PM
654
Jenna said...

haha…I’m from the south and I’ve had this quite a few times…I even remember it the first time I had it when I was a little kid…my aunt made it and I was like…”are these pancakes?” Don’t know if you’ve already tried it or not but another southern hit is a pig-pickin’ cake

March 7, 2013 09:15 AM
655
Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard reading this. I will def pin and try this. born and raised in SC and never saw this either, we must go to the same parties. time to make some new friends.

March 16, 2013 08:37 PM
656
Cristina said...

I think I’m going to use your recipe of the cream cheese choco frosting & do it with pancakes!!
Xoxo

March 19, 2013 09:19 AM
657
Sherry said...

My Grandmother used to make a cake like this.. From Georgia! My mom sometimes make it from my grandmother’s recipe. Occasionally my mother in law will make a multi layer cake. I, personally have not, maybe one day, just to surprise everyone!!

April 2, 2013 11:10 PM
658
Vel said...

I love your work. I have two of your books. I do wish you would watermark your photos. I’ve seen photos right out of your books on people’s Facebook pages. They are passing the photos off as their own.

April 8, 2013 05:19 AM
659
Emily said...

In Louisiana, we call these doberge cakes. I’m not a cake eater, but yours looks incredible!

April 9, 2013 04:03 PM
660
Allison said...

Made this today for my dads 69th birthday and ohhhhh sweet Lord! It was delicious! I ended up with 12 layers even though I prepped for 14. I had enough for one more layer but 13 layers just seemed a little odd! Ha! Not that I’m superstitious or anything! It really wasn’t difficult, just time consuming, but well worth it! Thanks for the recipe!

May 3, 2013 03:24 PM
661
Danielle said...

So thanks to Pinterest, I found this glorious cake and made it for a coworker’s birthday. I called mine the leaning tower of glory though because mine had a distinct Pisa-esque lean. It was still annihilated and I have dreams of it.

May 15, 2013 06:39 PM
662
Sheralyn Milton said...

You mean someone was actually willing to give you the recipe? No one I knew was ever willing, it was too big a family secret. I swear they guard it with their lives. Thank you so much for sharing, my family will be so grateful!

May 22, 2013 10:27 PM
663
Margaret said...

When I was at school in the 1950s I had a Ukrainian immigrant friend who would bring a similar cake to share with us on her birthday. ( a traditional practice where we lived here in Australia) It was a many layered cake filled and covered with a vanilla butter cream. How I have wished I had that recipe over the years. Now I can try yours with a little variation . Thank you.

June 22, 2013 04:58 PM
664
Anonymous said...

Oh how I would love to bake this

July 7, 2013 09:00 AM
665
kelseydb said...

what is the icing recipe you used for between each cake layer?

July 11, 2013 02:56 PM
666
linda said...

This cake orginiated in the southern Appalachians at Wedding or other social functions. Each lady would bring a layer because no household could afford to make a cake of that size. The cake then would be assembled ag the wedding.

July 17, 2013 03:25 PM
667
Maggie said...

You should Google “Smith Island Cake”, they use a cooked chocolate frosting that is absolutely the most authentic and also delicious ever for this style of cake!

August 21, 2013 11:26 PM
668
Carey said...

My grandmama makes a 25-layer cake! Similar process but different icing and takes about an hour!

September 2, 2013 01:13 PM
669
Annika Gandhi said...

Hi! This looks delicious and I was planning to make it this upcoming weekend for my aunts anniversary party. :) the only question I had is what kind of sugar did u use for the ganache icing that went in between the layers of cake? The Oprah recipe didn’t specify ????. If you could respond i would be very greatful! :) Thank you!

September 4, 2013 06:06 PM
670
Ann said...

I see you think this is better the day it’s made. I’d like to make it for my grown daughter’s birthday on Sunday but there’s no way I can get it done before church. If I make it late Saturday evening it should be fine for midday Sunday, don’t you think? And should I refrigerate it? I live in SC. I’ve made layers like this before but yours sounds delish!

October 31, 2013 03:07 AM
671
Becky Aduddell said...

My East Tennessee Grandmother used to make a similar cake, but she called it “stack cake” and used homemade apple butter between the layers – and no frosting on the top and sides! I have never seen another like it!

November 6, 2013 11:49 AM
672
Meg said...

I’ve just come across your recipe. Must try it, looks delicious.

December 11, 2013 03:05 AM
673
Mandy Shannon said...

Oh this looks amazing! I just got a Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas from my dad and I love it soooo, will love making this cake too I’m sure :)

January 20, 2014 10:59 PM
674
Tammy Hare said...

My mother-in-law taught me how to make cakes like this but different on the icing. I’ve made 10 layers 12 layers and one time for fund raiser made 15 layers it sold for $50.00. The cakes are really good.

January 20, 2014 11:53 PM
675
Shannon Lescarini said...

Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to make myself now.

January 21, 2014 09:56 AM
676
Betty Waddell said...

where is the recipe for chocolate icing?

January 23, 2014 11:22 AM
677
Cathy said...

This is my next cake to bake!! I see in the ingredients for the cake it calls for cocoa, yet your cake looks yellow. Am I missing something? I want to make sure to do it correctly as it looks like a lot is involved in it.
Thank you!

February 3, 2014 03:36 PM
678
Melissa Yarbrough said...

My family has made this cake every year at Christmas for as long as I can remember and I’m 34. We are in Kentucky. It’s a family recipe passed down from my Mamaw.

February 13, 2014 10:30 PM
679
Alicia said...

There is a version from New Orleans called Doberge that is heavenly. Instead of icing, the layers are separated by a thin layer of custard. Then it’s iced in buttercream. Chocolate is probably the most common but lemon and caramel are my favorites.

February 15, 2014 11:28 AM
680
Kristy said...

My Aunt Maudie (also of SE Alabama – Choctaw Co.) made the same cake layers but filled them with her homemade jams – damson plum or muscadine or plum. They were covered with a hard-setting caramel icing. She used pound cake batter and did her layers in cast iron griddles. For a decade or more as a child and then teen, that cake was my birthday cake. How I miss them.

March 10, 2014 12:24 AM
681
J. Overman said...

My Aunt calls this cake “Liberty Cake”. She makes it for every family reunion.

March 11, 2014 05:18 PM
682
Kelli said...

What did I miss? My frosting doesn’t drip. When I reread the recipe, I know I had all the measurements right. In reading the instructions, they say at the top: when it cools but before it hardens—how did it get hot? Did I miss the heating up part?

April 18, 2014 03:57 PM
683
Michelle said...

Melissa said her grandmother baked a layered peanut butter cake I would love a recipe for this.please

June 5, 2014 08:50 AM
684
Fourteen Layer Cake said...

Good

July 3, 2014 11:04 AM
685
Gerry Owens said...

Look just like my Grandmother made often,, I must give it a.try Who knows, I might get good at it :~)

August 25, 2014 01:21 AM
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