funny cake

Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake

A spoonful of sugar

We Pennsylvania Dutch like our sweets, and oooey gooey takes the prize every time in my Coalcracker Kitchen!

When thinking of Pennsylvania Dutch pies, the first to come to mind might be the famous Shoo Fly Pie, but thus Funny Cake is also a welcomed addition to a hearty dinner or eaten as breakfast with a cup of coffee.

What is funny cake?

Funny cake is a layer of moist vanilla cake with a golden top, floating on a layer of chocolate filling, all nestled into a pie crust — and it is delicious!

Legend has it that the “funny” in the name came about because the dessert combines both cake and pie in one. When you pour the chocolate mix over top of the cake batter, the chocolate layer sinks to the bottom during baking and the fillings form layers with the cake ending up on top.

Funny cake tips

  • This recipe originally notes it makes 2 8-inch pies, but I use 9 inch pie plates; your filling might not be as deep in the crust, but I usually go a little larger in pie plates to avoid spilling when filling and baking. I like to use glass or aluminum pie pans.
  • If making the homemade crust from this recipe, chill it for an hour before rolling, filling, and baking.
  • If you prefer, you can use store-bough pie crust.
  • Placing the pies on a baking sheet before filling makes moving the pies in and out of the oven easier.
  • Pour the mix for the chocolate layer over top of the cake layer. The chocolate will sink to the bottom of the pie during baking. A large measuring cup makes this easy to track the amount poured into each pie.

Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: essertsCuisine: Coal Region, Pa. DutchDifficulty: Intermediate

Part pie, part cake, the fillings in this pie form layers as it bakes.

Ingredients – MAKES 1 PIE

  • Pie Crust (or use store-bought) for a single-crust pies
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 cup of butter or shortening OR half of each

  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water

  • Chocolate layer
  • 1/4 cup cocoa

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Cake layer
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 egg

  • 1 Tablespoon shortening OR butter, melted

  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Pie Crust
  • In a bowl, blend flour, salt and shortening together with fingers until mealy, about the size of peas. Add enough ice water to form dough. Mix just enough to moisten. Over-mixing will result in a tough dough. Press into disks, cover with plastic and keep chilled in the fridge till you’re ready. Chill at least 1 hour. When ready, roll out on lightly floured surface and fit into pie pans. Flute edges as desired.
  • Cake layer
  • Combine flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine eggs, shortening or butter, sugar, milk and vanilla; mix well. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Pour cake batter into pie crust.
  • Chocolate layer
  • In another bowl, combine ingredients for chocolate layer. Gently pour chocolate layer over cake layer.
  • Baking
  • Bake at 350 F degrees until cake is done 45 to 55 minutes, checking at 45 minutes. If center jiggles, bake a few more minutes until center is set. You can cover the edges with foil for the first 40 minutes to keep the crusts from getting too brown if desired.