Maryland is famous for a number of things. The United States Naval Academy was founded in Annapolis, Maryland in 1845. Crab cakes made from the distinctly sweet flesh of the blue crab are known across the country. Maryland, in other words, has a lot going for it on a national level. Internationally, the Old Line State is getting even more buzz, as demand for its official dessert, a very different kind of cake than the crab-based variety, is soaring in popularity.
Smith Island, a small island community near the Delaware border in southeast Maryland, was first founded in the early 1600s. Like most islands, a rich fishing culture developed and fueled the economy for centuries. Unlike most island communities, however, Smith Island lays claim to one of the most famous desserts in the country, and now the world: the Smith Island cake.
At first glance, the Smith Island cake doesn’t look that spectacular. Traditionally an eight to 10 layer cake with frosting in each layer, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing unusual about the Smith Island cake. The Smith Island Baking Company, creator of the famous confectionery treat, knows firsthand that nothing could be further from the truth, as a huge leap in global sales of the humble cake is forcing the business to move and expand.
The Smith Island Cake is Now a Hot Item in 2,500 Cities
Smith Island Baking Co. owner Brian Murphy is said to be looking for a larger space for his business in the Crisfield area. The reason is simple enough: Murphy and his team can no longer keep up with production of their famed cakes. The company is small, with only 30 workers currently employed. Since the cakes are now being crafted for customers in all states of the union and 2,500 cities spread across seven different countries, a delicacy once reserved for an island of 172 people has become an international sensation. The cakes are taking the place of the classic flan, a sweet custard with a caramel top, in Mexico, supplanting tea flavored ice creams in Japan, and giving more common American sweets a run for their money. In order to keep up with this huge shift, Smith Island Baking Co.’s only choice is to grow.
Have you ever had Maryland’s Smith Island cakes? Are they worth all the fuss? Tell us what you think in the comments below.