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Food & Drink > Recipes > Shoo Fly Cake

Shoo Fly Cake

I am at 'work' for the river coalition, but really just killing time for another hour and a half until the highway opens up and I can go home. I have been here since 7 this morning. I do a lot of the coalition projects from home when I don't have meetings here in town, and that's nice, but I enjoy being around the city employees who all have their noses to the grindstone. I have my own loaner cubicle.

After a cold snap, the hot sun is pouring in the windows, and we are in for some melting of the snow before the next storm, whenever that is.

My father-in-law's 91st birthday is February 2, and I have no inspiration as to what to give him. He adores shoo-fly pie, that Pennsylvania Dutch delight that mostly tastes like molasses, so I'm thinking of that. A few years ago I discovered Shoo-Fly Cake, which doesn't require a pie crust in order to get the same effect. It's better than the pie. I've provided the recipe so you can get an idea.

Shoo Fly Cake
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 pound butter
2 cups flour
1 cup molasses (can use part Karo syrup)
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix brown sugar, butter, and flour until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup. Arrange the remaining crumbs on the bottom of an 8 by 8 inch square baking pan and press down. Mix the liquid ingredients well and pour over the crumbs. Top with the reserved crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes, until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. This can be baked in two pie plates, where it resembles a pie with a graham cracker crust.

This is 1/2 of the recipe that is supposed to make an 9 by 13 inch cake and take 45 minutes to bake. I made the full recipe once, and it made 3 of the 8 by 8 inch pans.

posted on Jan 27, 2017 1:35 PM ()


I am tempted to make this because it sounds easy and then I probably would wan tto eat it, which would interfere with my diet, and so I don't know if I will do it. Also, Ed would probably eat all of it before I had a chance to get some anyway, and he is diabetic. You have introduced a dilemma into my household. Thank you. xx, T
comment by tealstar on Jan 29, 2017 8:21 AM ()
I suggest: Cut the recipe in half, use a small casserole for the batter. You and Ed each have a spoonful for educational purposes - learning about the Pennsylvania Dutch culture - and throw the rest away. If it's just too good, portion it out into small containers and freeze them, doling it out to Ed over a period of time. It's best warmed slightly in the microwave.
reply by troutbend on Jan 29, 2017 11:48 AM ()
I like reading recipes for old-fashioned things. We usually had a bottle of molasses at home, although I'm not sure what we made with it. Suddenly ginger snaps sound really good...
comment by drmaus on Jan 28, 2017 8:05 AM ()
Sometimes people put it in baked beans.
reply by troutbend on Jan 28, 2017 11:36 AM ()
No chocolate, no butter cream, no whipped cream, but otherwise I suppose it's edible.
comment by jjoohhnn on Jan 28, 2017 7:33 AM ()
Sometimes he puts ice cream on it.
reply by troutbend on Jan 28, 2017 11:35 AM ()
My father loved sorghum molasses. A taste I never shared. When there
was no dessert, he always had some with bread and butter.
comment by elderjane on Jan 27, 2017 3:56 PM ()
My grandfather moved from Missouri to Colorado in the early 1900s, and missed sorghum molasses so much he'd send away for some once a year. The way my uncle described that, I gathered the rest of the family didn't share his taste for it.
reply by troutbend on Jan 28, 2017 11:39 AM ()
"Shoo-Fly Cake"-I hope Granddad isn't a diabetic--or do you have an ulterior motive???
comment by greatmartin on Jan 27, 2017 3:45 PM ()
Nope, not a diabetic.
reply by troutbend on Jan 28, 2017 11:12 AM ()

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