Shoo Fly Cake

Shoo Fly Cake gives you the delicious flavors of the Pennsylvania Dutch favorite Shoofly Pie, but in cake form. It is also more portable than the pie version and pieces wrap up nicely for picnics and lunches. Some people know this as “Molasses Crumb Cake”.

The recipe calls for “molasses”; I use unsulphured baking molasses like Brer Rabbit or Grandma’s (not black-strap molasses). If you find the favor of the baking molasses too intense, you can use “table syrup” (Turkey brand, Dutch Barrel, or King’s Syrup). It is much milder in flavor than unsulphured baking molasses which some folks find too strong for their taste.

If you cannot get table syrup, mix 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses with 3/4 cup light or dark corn syrup. Use what suits YOUR taste!

Shoo Fly Cake

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: DessertCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate

Shoo Fly Cake gives you the delicious flavors of the Pennsylvania Dutch favorite Shoo Fly pie, but in cake form.


  • Crumbs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, preferably unsalted, room temperature

  • Cake Base
  • Crumbs from above

  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses or table syrup (King’s or Turkey Brand, for example)

  • 2 cups hot water

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon warm water

  • Dash of salt


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Grease and flour a 13″ x 9″ inch pan.
  • For the crumbs, combine the flour, sugar and butter. Mix with hands to form crumbs. Measure out 1-1/4 cups for topping and set aside.
  • For the cake, add the molasses and 1 cup of hot water to the remaining crumbs. Beat well. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and beat again.
  • Dissolve the baking soda in the 1 tablespoon of warm water. Add to batter with a dash of salt. Mix well.
  • Pour into prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the top with reserved crumbs.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on a rack before cutting and serving.