Monday, June 3, 2019

Maryland's Smith Island by Donna Fasano @DonnaFaz

Every state in the US has its symbols. Maryland’s include the Baltimore Oriole (bird), the Blue Crab (crustacean), the Chesapeake Bay Retriever (dog), the Checkerspot Butterfly (insect), and the Black-eyed Susan (flower). On April 24, 2008, Smith Island Cake was officially chosen as Maryland’s official dessert.

Smith Island is a three-by-five mile chain of islands that lie across the Tangier Sound portion of the Chesapeake Bay and can only be reached by boat. No one really knows who baked the first Smith Island Cake, but this impressive 10 layer confection is delicious and versatile. The recipe below, with its cooked fudge frosting, is probably the most popular version, but I’ve filled and topped this buttery cake with peanut butter cream cheese icing, with lemon curd, with flaked coconut buttercream, and many other flavors. The layers are individually baked. I happen to own 10 9-inch cake pans, but you could easily use 2 or 3 and bake the layers in batches. I urge you to try your hand at baking this cake for your next family get-together. Everyone will be wowed!   

Smith Island Cake

For the cake:
2 sticks (8 ounces) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

For the icing:
2 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
5 ounces unsweetened (baking) chocolate, chopped
1 stick (4 ounces) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.     Preheat over to 350°. Lightly grease 9-inch baking pans with cooking spray.
2.     In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the milk, vanilla and water. Add the flour, salt and baking powder, and stir just until all the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated into the batter.
3.     Measure 2/3 cup of batter into each pan, taking great care to level the batter evenly. Lopsided layers make for a sloppy (but still delicious!) cake. Leveling the batter in the pans is very important.
4.     Bake 2 or 3 layers at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 8 to 9 minutes. Cake layers should be cooked through, but not over baked.
5.     While the cakes are baking, make the icing. Combine the sugar and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chocolate and butter, stirring, until melted. Bring to a simmer and cook for for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. The icing will be thin, but will thicken as it cools.
6.     As the cake layers come out of the oven, run a spatula around the edge of the pan and ease the cake layer out and onto a wire rack to cool. Assemble the layers on a cake plate, spreading 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the fudge frosting in between each layer. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides.

Serves 16

Smith Island is a quaint and beautiful area of Maryland. I hope you get a chance to visit someday. More information about Smith Island and the Smith Island Museum can be found at

What are some of the best known symbols of your town, area, state, or province?


This month, I’m celebrating Father’s Day by offering the books in my Single Daddy Club Series for 99¢ each. Books 2 and 3 of the series usually sell for $3.99 each, so please take advantage of this price reduction.

Is there anything sexier than a guy focused on raising happy, healthy children? I say no! Click here to buy the books: 

Derrick, Book 1  ~  Jason, Book 2  ~  Reece, Book 3

About the author: Donna Fasano is a USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Learn more about her on her webside:


  1. A 10 layer cake, Donna? Wow! Thanks for the delicious recipe and interesting info about Maryland. And, your books and special offer are perfect for Father's Day.

    1. Yes. Ten luscious layers. LOL Thank you for commenting, Josie!

  2. OH MY WORD. Such an amazing cake! Thank you for sharing the recipe, Donna. What an interesting post about Maryland, too!

    1. My son requests a lemon Smith Island Cake for his birthday every year. I fill the layers with lemon curd and I frost the cake with cream cheese icing. I can feel the pounds clinging to my hips just talking about it. LOL

  3. This made me hungry and I just had breakfast. :)

  4. I'm not a cake person but WOW!

  5. Next time we visit our daughter who lives in Baltimore, we'll have to take a trip to Smith Island, and she loves to bake cakes.

    1. I hope she'll try this one, Merrillee. If she does, let me know what she thinks.