Sunday, February 8, 2015

Shoofly Cake

Shoofly Cake and Pie are about PA Dutch as you can get. The cake is easy to make and nice because it's also eggless. 

As to the name and where it came from, how did these pies/cakes get their name? The most logical explanation seems to be that the sweet ingredients attracted flies when the pies were cooling. The cooks had to "shoo" the flies away, hence the name shoofly pie.

Another story claims that this is really a French recipe, and that the crumb topping of the pie resembled the surface of the cauliflower, which is "cheux-fleur" in French. This was eventually pronounced as shoofly. Locals have a little problem with that explanation, and most of us have never seen this pie served up in the fine restaurants of Paris.

No less an authority on things Pennsylvania Dutch than John Joseph Stoudt states clearly that shoofly pies "are soundly Pennsylvanian, made in the earlier days with sorghum, later with molasses, and with brown rather than granulated sugar." Phyllis Pellman Good, in her book Amish Cooking, feels that these pies may have been common because "this hybrid cake within a pie shell" faired better in the old style bake ovens after the bread had been baked. With modern kitchen stoves, temperatures could be controlled and the more standard, lighter pies developed.

Warm shoofly cake right from the oven....mmmmm.
Shoofly Cake-
4 C Flour
2 C sugar
1 C shortening
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon

Take one cup and set aside for top of cake.
2 C hot water
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C baking molasses
Mix together and add the crumbs. Mix well and pour into greased and floured 9 x 11 pan Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top and bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Shoofly Pie-

Mix for crumbs: (reserving ½ cup for topping)

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon solid shortening
1 cup flour


1 cup molasses (good and thick)

¾ cup boiling water
1 egg beaten
1 Teaspoon baking soda

Combine soda with boiling water, then add egg and syrup. Add crumb mixture (this will be lumpy). Pour into unbaked pie crust and cover with reserved crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes (until firm). When cut into, the bottom may be "wet." This is okay, and is called a "wet bottom shoo fly pie."