Smith Island Cake

A funfetti and strawberry take on Smith Island Cake.
carriesassafras/Used With Permission

Smith Island is Maryland’s last inhabited island, and it’s only accessible by boat. Once populated by over 800 people, the dry, Methodist community twelve miles off the coast now has fewer than 200 residents. The remaining men work mostly in a dwindling seafood industry, even as the coastline erodes and water levels rise. But the women from this remote, rugged place make something glamorous and stately: Smith Island Cake.

Grandmothers on the sleepy island assemble this elegant dessert using 8-12 layers of yellow dough. They sandwich cooked chocolate icing in between each fluffy layer, then use more of the same fudgy frosting to cover the cake. The exterior is unassuming and uniform, never decorated with nonpareils…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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