Sunday, October 16, 2011

14 Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I made this the other day for my son and daughters birthdays. It actually came out. I did 12 layers rather than 14, but you can certainly stretch it to make 14 layer pans.

14-Layer cake

You will also need: 14 aluminum 8x5 disposable pans, parchment paper, & cake cardboard round, and a rack (to place cake on while icing).

Cake Ingredients

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

3 cups milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Ganache:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , preferably Dutch process

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut up

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375°. Lightly butter four 8 1/2- to 9-inch cake pans (you will bake the cakes in three batches) and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Flour the pans and tap out the excess.

To make the layers, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the mixture one more time, and set aside.

Beware: there is a TON of batter. I ended up mixing the batter in a large punch bowl. I am away from home for 3 weeks, and taking photos with my iPhone, but doing my best to show you what it looks like.  Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle blade on high speed until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and be sure the mixture is well-blended. On low speed, add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Using a scant cup for each layer, spread the batter evenly in the pans. It will make a thin layer.

I greased, lined with parchment paper, and floured, which I am happy I did, since the cake can easily stick. I put about ¾ of a cup of batter in each pan, then spread it evenly out with a spatula. I did all the pans at once so I could make sure I filled them evenly.

Staggering the pans on the racks so they are at least 2 inches from each other and the sides of the oven and not directly over each other, bake the layers until they feel firm when pressed in the centers and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans, about 12 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Invert the layers onto cake racks, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely. Wash and prepare the pans. Repeat the procedure until all 12 layers have been baked and cooled.

To make the ganache icing, bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and evaporated milk to a full boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the icing has thickened slightly (it will resemble chocolate syrup but will thicken as it cools), about 3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Let the icing cool until thick enough to spread, but still pourable.

Place a layer of cake on a wire rack set over a jelly-roll pan. Spread with a few tablespoons of the icing, letting the excess run down the sides. Stack the remaining cakes, icing each layer. Pour the remaining icing over the top of the cake. If you wish, smooth the icing on the edges to cover the sides. Let stand until the glaze sets. (The cake is best served the day it is made. To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting to go on top:
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.


  1. I've seen these cakes before & they look so cool! Yours looks very nicely done, I like the use of the disposable pans (because who has 14 cake pans! :) )

  2. This is a Smith Island cake, the official dessert of my home state of Maryland! Great job on all those layers!

  3. Whoa that is one impressive cake! Geez, if that's 12 layers, then I can't even imagine what fourteen looks like!

  4. @Wilde-the disposable pans were a life-saver. This cake is VERY labor intensive, and this is the only way to do it without spending the entire day in the kitchen.

  5. @Smartcookiecook: I was so darn tired after the 12 layers, I couldn't finish the last two LOL!

  6. I've never made a cake with more than 3 layers! You did an awesome job! Your cake looks so perfect and beautifully done!

  7. Nicely done. That is one beautiful looking cake!