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Make A Smith Island Cake!

Eva Niessner

Make A Smith Island Cake!

Maryland is no stranger to amazing desserts. We here in the Old Line State brag about our Berger cookies until we're blue in the face, and for a state so small, we've got a pretty good number of bakeries, creameries and other dessert shops. No matter what our sweet tooth demands, we can find what we need somewhere here in Maryland. 

But our state dessert is the Smith Island Cake--a dessert hailing from a very cool place in Somserset County. You might already know it for the unique accent of the locals (and if you're reading, Smith Islanders, shout-out to you!). Did you know, though, that the Smith Island Cake is the official state dessert of Maryland? 

According to lore collected by the Smith Island Baking Company, this recipe was sent to the oystermen of the island by their wives to give them a taste of something sweet while they worked hard out on the water. Soon, bakers were competing to create the thinnest, most delicate layers. 

Image via Somerset County Tourism.

Let's face it. Unless you're actually on Smith Island, you're just not quite going to get the authentic Smith Island Cake experience. Sure, you can (and should) take a road trip--er, a boat trip--to the island for yourself to experience the real deal. But if you're planning a special dessert for a Marylander sometime soon and you don't have time to run out to the little island on the Chesapeake Bay, or to order one from the Smith Island Baking Company, you can always make one yourself. Though the super-layered cake looks like a complex dish, it's really not so hard. 

So here's the recipe, courtesy of Smith Island itself! (Don't worry, there's video, too--perfect for watching to make sure you're on the right track.) If you're hoping to make your cake as true to tradition as possible, you'll use chocolate fudge frosting instead of buttercream and make it ten layers, but keep in mind--this is YOUR cake! You can play around with flavors and layers as you like. Who knows? Maybe you'll come up with a variant that's a hit, and your spin will become the new Maryland favorite. 

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