[star icon] To Order a Smith Island Cake

[star icon]Lisa Evans
9" cake - $25.00 + shipping; ships chocolate and chocolate-peanut butter

[star icon]Lisa Manzo
Smith Island Baking Company

[star icon] Mary Ada Marshall
9” cake - $22.00 + shipping, usually $6-$12 depending on the destination; ships some flavors

[star icon] Sharon Marshall

[star icon] Betty Jo Tyler
Bayside Inn Restaurant


The Origins of Smith Island Cake

Smith Island Cake is a confection that consists of many (usually ten) thin layers of cake separated by an equal number of layers of sweet icing.

Nobody is quite sure who first developed the concept of the Smith Island Cake, though it is believed to have been started as a variation on an English torte. Frances Kitching, whose recipes comprise the island’s official cookbook, is often given credit. An excerpt of an interview with Dave and Midge Patterson for the Crisfield-Smith Island Alliance newsletter has this to say about it:

When we asked about the origin of the famous, multi-layered Smith Island Cakes, she (Kitching) responded, "Well, I don’t know who made the first one . . . I could’ve very well been. I don’t know . . . but my kids loved the icing as well as they did the cake . . . " So it seems that those fabulous, thin-layered cakes may well have evolve to satisfy the craving of children (and maybe a few grown-ups too!) for more of that sweet, tasty icing.
The most popular icing flavor is chocolate, but many bakers have branched out and now specialize in such exotic flavors as banana, orange, and coconut. The cake is usually yellow, though some bakers prefer to make it with chocolate batter.

The cake is a favorite at family gatherings and social events on Smith Island. It has become such a part of the island’s culture that the Visitors' Center on at the Museum features a display of cake pans used to make this special dessert–and a video of Mrs. Kitching assembling one of her masterpieces.

The cake found its way over to the mainland and is now available for sale at bakeries and restaurants in Crisfield. Visitors to the area who are lucky enough to sample Smith Island Cake don’t soon forget it. In fact, a popular souvenir of a trip to Somerset County is a copy of Mrs. Kitching’s cookbook–which, of course, includes a recipe for the island’s beloved cake.

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© Copyright November 15, 1995, Crisfield & Smith Island Cultural Alliance, Inc. bv