SNOW HILL – Eastern Shore heritage and tourism promoters want to put the region on the map with a cake, an eight to 10-layer delicacy from Smith Island that could become the official state dessert of Maryland if all goes to plan.
Smith Island cake supporters hope to attract more visitors to the lower shore with the state dessert designation.
Legislators Paige Elmore and Lowell Stoltzfus are on board and will introduce legislation in the General Assembly this winter to declare the Smith Island cake the state dessert, said Worcester County Tourism Director Lisa Challenger.
“The Smith Island cake is multiple layers of very thin cake and wonderful frosting, and it’s indigenous to Smith Island and the region,” said Sharon Scheuer, director of the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council, which started the campaign.
“It seems a no-brainer,” Challenger said. “I hope nobody else steps forward. … It would just mean a lot of really great PR.”
“From a tourism standpoint I think we’ll have more press out on the region and more people visiting Smith Island and areas on the way,” Scheuer said. “This is part of our state’s heritage.”
People probably will not visit just for the cake, Challenger said, and the effect on county tourism would be indirect, but it would be another way to publicize the shore.
“It’s been in ‘Southern Living’ and other magazines. It just gives the region a little bit of interest,” said Challenger. “It also gives a lot of recognition to some very well deserving Smith Island folks who carry on this tradition.”
The County Commissioners endorsed the idea this week and wondered why Challenger did not bring a cake with her.
“Jan. 2, there better be a Smith Island cake here,” Commissioner Louise Gulyas said.
Challenger promised to bring a Smith Island cake for that meeting.
When the legislation is considered in the General Assembly in Annapolis, Scheuer will attend to lobby for the bill and she won’t arrive empty handed.
“We will take samples of the cake,” she said.
There are few if any other desserts associated specifically with the state.
“I don’t think there’d be a lot of opposition to the initiative. I don’t think this is very controversial,” Scheuer said. “But you never know.”