Grandma’s Easter Morning Shoo-Fly Cake

P1030112Among the Easter festivities I remember as a little girl, one was this Shoo-Fly Cake that my Grandma Laury always made for Easter morning breakfast. I’m not sure how she came to always bake up this old-fashioned cake for Easter- I wish I knew if there was a story behind that tradition that the different branches of my family (my mom, sister, myself) still keep alive each Easter.

The shoo-fly pie (or cake, in this instance) has it’s roots with the Pennsylvania Dutch. This make sense to me because my grandfather’s father’s side of the family had roots in Pennsylvania. So, I’m not sure if this is a recipe that his side of the family made and my grandmother adopted the recipe, or if it was something she came across some other way. (she was P1030109Swedish). How I wish I knew the story. I would love to know how long this recipe has been in the family. But, however this cake made it’s way to her kitchen, it has been enjoyed on Easter morning for years and years now.

Shoo fly cake is a molasses cake- so it has a very distinct flavor. My favorite part is the crumb topping. It’s very different from anything I’ve had on other sweets- mildly sweet, crumbly texture, and it just creates a good contrast to the sweet and richer molasses cake. The cake has such a “different” flavor- so different from traditional sweets and breakfast cakes that we usually enjoy these days, and this most definitely comes from the molasses flavor. Of course, molasses was a predominant sweetener in the ‘old-days’. As a side note- did you know that it is also very good for you?  (“Molasses, on average, contains 41 mg of calcium and 48 mg of magnesium for 1 tbsp. At 293 mg of potassium per 1 tbsp., it qualifies as a high-potassium food comparable to kiwi or oranges, according to In addition to small amounts of other nutrients, molasses also offers iron, vitamin B6, selenium and copper. Read more)  Amazing!

Baking time makes a difference in the final product of this cake. My dad prefers the cake to be more gooey. (which would be in keeping with traditional shoo-fly pie) I prefer it to be a little more on the moist side. So, you can take it out of the oven sooner if you are more of a “gooey” shoo-fly person…or leave it in for a few extra minutes to give a slightly dryer, but still moist outcome.

Though my grandmother has been gone many years now, she leaves behind a godly legacy and testimony of faith that continues to inspire and serve as an example to me. I miss her more all the time. I love that on Easter morning, I can enjoy something that she shared with her family with love on many occasions. And, in that way, the memory of her still shares this special day with us year after year.

Shoo Fly Cake

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 cups flour (I did 2 of white flour/ 1 of white-wheat flour)
  • ½ cup butter (this was the only real change I made…original recipe called for 1/2 c. shortening)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup molasses (dark)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


Mix together the sugar, flour, butter, and salt in a food processor or small bowl.


Cut in the butter, either by pulsing the food processor or using a hand mixer.

Take out 1 ½ cups of this mixture for the topping ( this will be added on the last step)


In another bowl, mix together the molasses and egg. Then add the hot water and baking soda. Mix well.

Pour this liquid mixture over the remaining flour mixture. Beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into 2 greased round cake pans or a 9 x 13 pan.


Sprinkle all of the reserved crumbs on top.

Bake at 350 degrees about 20-25 minutes. (Mine baked for 23 minutes, and it turned out still slightly gooey, but not overly-so)


Happy Easter, Everyone! He is Risen- He is Risen, Indeed!


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