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southern little layer cake
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4.19 from 32 votes

Southern Little Layer Cake (10 Layers)

Course cake, Dessert
Cuisine American, southern
Keyword chocolate frosting, country, layer cake, old fashioned, vintage
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 people
Author Divas Can Cook



  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter 2 sticks
  • 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 6 eggs room temperature
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk warmed

Hot Chocolate Frosting (double recipe. See note)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • pinch sea salt.
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Line 5 (8-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper. (I used 10 disposable pans). Grease the pans and flour lightly. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together sugar, butter and shortening.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
  • Mix in vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredient, alternating with the milk until batter is combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour 1 cup of the batter into each prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  • Bake for 10-12 minute until edges are lightly golden and center of cake is set. Do not overcook. The cake will continue to cook as it cools.
  • Once pans are warm to the touch, remove cake and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Repeat with the next five cakes.
  • While layers are cooling make the frosting (see note about frosting before continuing)
  • To make the frosting, in a large saucepan melt butter in deep skillet.
  • Stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and evaporated milk.
  • Bring to boil until it reaches about 235 F. on a candy thermometer.
  • Reduce heat to low and add vanilla extract and salt.
  • Keep the icing hot while you frost the cakes. Frosting should be the texture of thick chocolate syrup.
  • Place the first layer on a cake board on top of a cooling rack. Place a pan on a baking sheet under the cooling rack to catch the dripping frosting.
  • Spoon about 1/4 cup of frosting (may need a tad bit more) in between each layer and spread it over it out. Repeat until all layers have been stacked and frosted.
  • Next, make up another batch of frosting.
  • When frosting is done pour it over the top of the cake. This will fill in any gaps and give the cake a smooth frosted finish.
  • Let the cake sit until the icing is firm.
  • Slice and serve!



FROSTING: I like to cook the frosting in two batches but feel free to double the recipe and make it in one big batch. While the first batch of frosting is setting up on the cake, make the second batch. Keep the frosting warm over low heat.