Smith Island Baking Company Carries on The Legacy of a Multilayered Source of Maryland Pride

CROSS THE BAY BRIDGE onto the Eastern Shore, and you’ll likely see signs for Smith Island cake at nearly every seafood shack and produce stand that dots the string of tiny towns on the 115-mile drive down to the tip of the peninsula in Crisfield. Every person has their own riff on the iconic layer cake, but here, in Crisfield, the Smith Island Baking Company is the only bakery that bears the name of the 400-year-old remote fishing village located just over the Tangier Sound, and whose fame over the last 11 years has led to the shipping of cakes across the country.

Prior to the COVID crisis, theirs was the Smith Island cake you could eat at Nordstrom’s café, the Silver Diner, Harris Teeter, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. And devotees can be found way beyond the bay.

“I’ll never forget, I got a call from a guy in Beverly Hills on a Friday afternoon,” says the baking company’s founder Brian Murphy. “He said, ‘My wife is going to kill me. She wanted a Smith Island cake for her birthday and her birthday is tomorrow.’ By Saturday, he had one of our cakes.” Coincidentally, on that same Friday afternoon, a customer “wanted a Smith Island cake while elk hunting in Idaho,” recalls Murphy. “I sent a cake there, too.”

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