Maryland’s state dessert will be honored for its defining role in American culture.
Maryland's state dessert is being recognized for its historical and cultural significance with a new roadside marker.
The Smith Island Cake, a show-stopping confection consisting of at least seven layers of thin cake with cooked fudge icing, became Maryland’s state dessert in 2008, though residents of remote Smith Island have been making it since the early 1900s.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the sign marker is part of a grant awarded to Smith Island United by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation's "Hungry for History" program, which recognizes “significant food dishes that have played a role in defining American culture and forging community identity.”
Smith Island United’s initial request for a marker was denied due to lack of proof that the Smith Island Cake was at least 50 years old. But with help from Beach to Bay Heritage Area, Smith Island bakers Mary Ada Marshall and Janice Marshall submitted handwritten letters confirming that they baked the cakes with their grandmothers and mothers.
Smith Island, Maryland’s last inhabited island without a connection to the mainland, is currently home to about 200 residents, who all still cherish the legendary cake.
In the early 1900s, female residents would send their husbands off with these elaborate cakes to keep them nourished and energized on long fishing trips in the Chesapeake Bay. The butter-less recipe meant it didn’t require refrigeration.
The Smith Island Cake marker, which will be erected in front of the Smith Island Cultural Center in Ewell, will reportedly read:
SMITH ISLAND CAKE PROCLAIMED MARYLAND STATE DESSERT IN 2008, THE 8-10 LAYER CAKE HAS BEEN A TRADITION ON THIS ISLAND SINCE CA. 1900. WILLIAM G. POMEROY FOUNDATION 2023.
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation told WMAR that the marker is being manufactured now and a date will be announced later for the unveiling.
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