How many layers are in a Smith Island cake?

Why does Smith Island cake have so many layers?

How many layers are in a smith island cake?

Before the 1930s, the island didn’t have electricity, and making thin layers in a wood-fired oven was easier than thick layers. Another common theory is that the thick, fudge-like icing between thinner layers helped keep the cake fresh when watermen are out on the water. With the rise in popularity of this sweet treat, so has the number of different stories about its origin and unique construction.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for a qualifying purchase. See my affiliate disclosure for details.

How many layers are in a Smith Island cake?

Traditionally, the Smith Island cake is made up of eight to thirteen layers of yellow cake with chocolate icing sandwiched between each layer and spread all over. However, various variants have developed, both in icing flavors and in the cake itself.

What is the origin of Smith Island cake?

where to buy smith island cake

The origins of this cake are unknown.  Residents just say, “It’s always been here.”  Some say this Smith Island Cake can be traced to Welsh and English settlers who came to the island in the late 1600s.

The recipe for the Smith Island Cake was first published in the 4th edition (1994) of the cookbook called Mrs. Kitching’s Smith Island Cookbook (pg 110). Earlier editions do not list the Smith Island Cake recipe. The cake was originally four layers, but the women started to stack the cake even higher as a form of competition. (source)

Where did Smith Island cake come from?

Here’s some Smith Island cake history. Smith Island is the birthplace of Maryland’s official dessert. This populated island is still home to its 276 occupants, most of whom are watermen and their families. Smith Island Cake has a long history dating back to the 1800s. The islanders would send these multi-layered pastries with the watermen for the fall oyster harvest.

What are the Smith Island cake ingredients?

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a Smith Island Cake. See full island cake recipe

Layer cake

☐ 2 cups sugar

☐ 2 sticks unsalted butter, chunked

☐ 5 eggs

☐ 3 cups unbleached flour

☐ ¼ teaspoon salt

☐ 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

☐ 1 cup evaporated milk

☐ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

☐ ½ cup water

Chocolate Icing

☐ 2 cups sugar

☐ 1 cup evaporated milk

☐ 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate

☐ 1 stick unsalted butter

☐ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Where to buy Smith Island cake near me

While most of you reading this article do not leave near Smith Island, the good news is that there are several places selling amazingly good Smith Island cakes.

Here is one of my favorite places to buy Smith Island Cakes!

Classic Cakes Salisbury MD

classic cakes salisbury md

I live on the Eastern Shore and absolutely love the Classic Cakes Salisbury MD bakery. Not only do they always have the classic Smith Island cake on hand, but they also have many other Smith Island Cake flavors to choose from. Custom Smith Island birthday cakes are a must-have in our house!

Listed below are some slices I’ve recently purchased from Classic Cakes!

Here is a picture of a slice of Classic Smith Island Cake. So delicious!

smith island banana cake

The Smith Island Banana Cake is crazy good as well!

reese's chocolate peanut butter smith island cake

We recently celebrated a birthday and went with Reese’s chocolate peanut butter Smith Island cake. For all the chocolate lovers out there, this is your cake!

Hope you enjoyed this post, ‘How many layers are in a smith island cake?’. Be sure to see all of our Chesapeake Bay recipes.