Tuesday, March 13, 2012

sixteen-layer cake monstrosity

This post is a tad belated, but I wanted to share what I made for my Valentine for Valentine's Day! He's so great, that I thought I'd surprise him with none other but....


Yes, my friends, you heard me right. Sixteen. Layers. Each layer is made with a scant 1/2 cup of batter. So you can imagine the loveliness of putting that amount of batter in a clean 8-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper 16 times. That's love right there, my friends, that's love.
So some background on this recipe. I've only made this recipe twice in my 24 years. The first time when I was 13, when I first discovered the world of baking. I was in a Martha Stewart phase back then, when her show was regularly on channel 7 in the morning. I tried to find the intro of the show on YouTube to share it with y'all because it was just so 90s-esque (and who didn't love the 90s?) but it could not be found.

Anyway, even back then, 13-year old Patti loved a culinary challenge, so I set out to make the cake. It was a horrible experience. Now that doesn't mean that the cake came out bad!! It came out delicious, actually, but the entire prep and baking process was just a nightmare and not fun at all. Hence my 11 year hiatus from baking this cake ever again.

Until now. I just had to make this cake for Matt for Valentine's Day! And this time around, I was an older, wiser, more seasoned baker and the cake actually wasn't that bad to make. Okay, it did take about 3 hours to bake all of the layers, but hey, love makes us do crazy things!
So above we have the 1/2 cup of batter that will haunt you in your dreams because it has to be spread oh-so-thinly over the baking pan. Good times, good times.

It's hard to do the first time, but you get 16 tries, so you get the hang of it after awhile.

And then, you are rewarded with THIS! Sixteen beautiful yellow cake layers that are wafer thin. And let me tell you, these cake layers have a certain cookie-like taste to them. THEY TASTE LIKE COOKIES. And then you put the chocolate ganache between the layers, and by golly, you have arrived at heaven.


SO beautiful.

I also made these Oreo-like chocolate sandwich heart cookies for my family for Valentine's Day, and I decided to top the cake with one of them.

This cake is delicious. Hands down. And you don't need a lot to satisfy your sweet tooth. And let me tell you, it is HEAVY! Must be all those layers of deliciousness. I do have to give my nutritionist plug, however, and say that this cake is to be eaten in moderation and for special occasions! You'll see what I mean when you see the ingredients in the recipe. ;)

If you want tips/suggestions for baking this monstrosity, shoot me a comment!

Alma Etheridge WIlson's Roanoke Sixteen-Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake
From Martha Stewart Living

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
      Cooking spray
      Parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line each with a parchment circle, trimmed to be slightly smaller than the 8-inch pan. Coat parchment with cooking spray, and dust with flour, shaking out the excess. Set pans aside.

2. In an electric mixer bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening on medium high, about 1 minute.

3. Add sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl after adding last egg. Beat 1 minute more.

5. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and vanilla. Reduce speed of mixer to low, and add flour mixture alternatively with milk mixture in five additions, beginning and ending with flour. (1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour) Mix until just combined.

6. Spoon 1/2 cup batter into each of the two prepared pans. Using a small offset spatula, spread batter evenly across pan. Plan pans on center rack in over, and bake until cakes are set and barely golden along the edges, 8-10 minutes.

7. Remove cakes from oven, and let cook on wire rack about 3 minutes. Use offset spatula to loosen edges of cakes, and invert onto wire rack lined with parchment paper. Peel off parchment paper. Repeat process in freshly prepared pans until 16 layers are baked. Keep batter in a bowl at room temperature while you work. The baked layers should be approximately 1/4 inch think. Stack slightly warm cake layers with a piece of parchment between each. Wrap stack with plastic wrap to keep layers fresh as you work.

8. Prepare chocolate glaze ONLY after ALL cake layers are baked. To glaze cake, place one layer on a cardboard cake round, trimmed to be slightly smaller than cake. Place on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath rack. Ladle 2 tbsp. of glaze over layer. Use a small offset spatula to spread glaze over the entire surface of cake. The glaze should just coat the cake. Scrape off any excess glaze.

9. Place second layer of cake on top of first, pressing down gently to secure and create a level cake. Repeat process until all 16 layers are stacked on top of one another. Be careful that the cake remains level as you stack the layers, pressing down on the cake should help.

10. Pour remaining glaze over top layer of cake, and let drip down sides. Using a small offset spatula, smooth sides of cake so they are completely covered. Let stand 30 minutes before serving, if you can wait that long. :)

Chocolate Glaze
7 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped into small chunks
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
5 tbsp. light corn syrup

1. Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler or heat-proof bowl. Set aside.

2. Combine sugar, milk, and corn syrup in small saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Stir often; boil 1 minute. Immediately pour hot mixture over chocolate; stir until chocolate melts.

3. Fill bottom of double boiler with water, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Set bowl of chocolate over double boiler to keep warm while frosting cake.


  1. patti. bake the layer in a jelly roll pan using about 1 1/2 cups per pan. then cut the sheets into 4 while still warm and soft. stack, fill and frost. your cake will be more of a loaf but it's less trips to the oven.

    1. Excellent idea Chef Gary! I love this cake and I get lots of orders for it. I usually turn down the orders because I can't make the cake pretty every time. I will definitely try your method. I believe it will a great new twist on an old favorite.

  2. Ah ha! Great idea, Chef Gary! I will try this the next time I make this. Maybe there can be a little more layer cake in everyone's life if it's easier to make :)