shoo fly

Shoo Fly Cake

Shoo fly cake.

This a great breakfast cake or dessert for any meal. It favors its sister, shoo fly pie, but it doesn’t have the crust on the bottom. Both the pie and the cake have a combination of brown sugar and molasses for the sweetener. Flies are attracted to this, and in pioneer days when pies were put outside to cool, flies found their way quickly to enjoy the feast. Hence the term “Shoo, fly!” for this pie or cake.

If you’re not from Pennsylvania or of Pennsylvania stock, you might not be familiar with this shoo fly flavor. It’s so good with a dollop of ice cream and/or some milk or coffee.

Coffee or Dessert

My friend Jane served this shoo fly cake to us for dessert recently and I decided it’s time I make it again. You could bake this in a spring-form pan and serve it up as a coffee cake as well.

This shoo fly cake is delicious if it is kept moist; one way to do this is to check it carefully and remove it from the oven before it is over-baked.

shoo fly

Shoo Fly Cake

My Windowsill
A simple and delightful cake that can be served for breakfast as a coffee cake or for dinner as a dessert.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup dark Karo or molasses
  • 2 tsp. baking soda


  • Combine first three ingredients (flour, brown sugar, and margarine/butter)
  • Mix together until crumbs are formed
  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups for topping
  • Mix water, molasses, and soda
  • Add wet mixture to the remaining dry crumb mixture
  • Mix well. Batter will be very thin.
  • Pour into greased and floured 8 x 13 inch pan
  • Top with remaining crumbs
  • Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry

shoo fly


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  1. Hi James,
    Do you mean wet bottom pie? I can probably find a recipe for you, but I’ve never made it. I have a sister who makes shoo fly pies for me. 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I grew up in California and this was one of our deserts we ate in school lunch!! So yummy!!

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