You’ve heard of Shoo-Fly Pie, right? It’s a deeply sweet molasses-based pie with crumble topping and is wildly popular in the Pennsylvania Dutch area of the country. No, it doesn’t have flies in it. Since it’s such a sweet pie, back in the old days they had to shoo the flies away from it and I guess every other pie name had been taken; thus…Shoo-Fly Pie.
This is from Classic Home Desserts by the late James Beard award winner Richard Sax. I previously made a Double Chocolate Pudding from his book and it was excellent, so I’ve been thumbing through and looking for another recipe. It’s adapted from the pie recipe and is made into a cake instead!
I loved the deep molasses flavor in contrast to the crumbly topping, but thought it was a little better with a big dollop of whipped cream on top to cut the sweetness. After the addition of the whipped cream, it was luscious and eye-rolling worthy.
If you’re looking for a quick, different, and deliciously-sweet cake, this is it!
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/6 C (1/2 lb.) light brown sugar
- 1 stick butter cut into pieces and softened
- 1 C boiling water
- 1/2 C molasses
- 1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour an 8x8" baking pan. Set aside.
In an electric mixer bowl on low speed, combine the flour, brown sugar and butter and work into fine crumbs (2 to 3 minutes). Remove and reserve 1 cup of the crumbs for the topping.
In a small bowl, combine the boiling water, molasses and baking soda; add to the mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for several minutes until the batter is smooth and thin. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack. Serve with whipped cream.
Tips and Stuff: The original recipe was doubled and uses a 13x9" pan. When you add the baking soda to the water and molasses, it will foam up a bit - that's O.K. Homemade whipped cream: 1 Cup whipping cream, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. sugar or other sweetener. Whip with an electric mixer in a cold bowl until it's the consistency you want (5 minutes or so). You don't want very sweet whipped cream with this cake since it's already so sweet! Next time I will add a teaspoon of cinnamon. I think that will kick it up even another notch.