WEST OCEAN CITY — A fledgling West Ocean City-based bakery has struck a deal to distribute handmade miniature Smith Island Cakes to 29 Giant grocery stores in Maryland, Delaware, and Northern Virginia.
The Original Smith Island Cake Co., a patisserie at the Ocean City Factory Outlets, brought its 3-inch layer cakes to a Giant Food vendor fair this year, where store and district managers gave the thumbs-up. The mini-cakes won’t have 10 layers like their namesake counterparts, but are baked individually and hand-assembled to yield four modest slices — or two generous ones.
The bakery already has doubled production, including Saturdays, to meet an expected demand of nearly 2,000 mini-cakes a week, said Kim Brady, the bakery’s cafe manager. She delivered their very first orders of original yellow cake, coconut, red velvet, and the seasonally-flavored pumpkin cake. Next month, the seasonal flavor will be chocolate mint.
Brady said Giant at first wanted to feature the mini-cakes in about seven stores.
“We ended up starting in 29, and they wanted us to do more,” she said. “We just said, well, we don’t want to bite off more than we can chew at this point. We want to make sure we can handle this.”
The bakery opened in May 2009. Brady said business is booming, thanks to several wholesale accounts. The business in June also began shipping its baked goods across the U.S.
Brady said their Smith Island-style cake doesn’t use cooked chocolate icing like the traditional recipe, but instead holds its layers with a chocolate ganache. “It’s a more finished look,” she said. “We think the presentation is much better.”
The $10 retail cakes will be sold at Giant Food stores across Maryland, including Salisbury, Annapolis, Easton, as well as Rehoboth Beach and Long Neck in Delaware. They’re already a hit at the Giant in Salisbury, said bakery clerk Ashley Williams.
“I heard for them to come from a grocery store, not a specialty Smith Island-type place, they’re pretty good,” she said. “They’ve been selling, and more people have come asking about them. They’re catching on real fast.”
“We’re very pleased with the partnership,” said Giant spokesman Jamie Miller. “It’s something we’ve been looking to do more and more, partner with local manufacturers. The feedback from our customers on the Smith Island cakes has been very positive. We hope to be able to expand it in the future.”
Headquartered in Landover, Giant Food employs about 22,000 people and operates 179 supermarkets in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.