Nov 20, 2012

Shoo-Fly Cake


Today's baking project is the unfortunately-named Shoo-Fly Cake (based on the Shoo-Fly Pie). I say "unfortunately", because, really, who wants to think about flies while they're cooking and eating? 

Despite its name, this cake is delicious.  It's a dense, moist, gingerbread-type cake crowned with buttery crumbs. If I were to name it today, I would call it "Gingerbread Cake with Shortbread Topping." There, doesn't that sound better? :)


The Shoo-Fly Pie has a long history in the U.S. It's most commonly associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch, but also well-known in Southern cooking. Some sources say it came over with the earliest settlers, and that it might even be descended from the English treacle tart.


The origin of the name has been debated for years and will probably never ultimately be solved. The most logical explanation is that during the early years of our country, all baking was done in big, outdoor ovens. As these sweet, molasses-filled pies cooled beside the ovens, flies would hover, needing to be "shooed" away.


Not everyone cares for molasses or gingerbread flavors, but if you do, this cake is for you.

Shoo-Fly Cake

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes

Cake:

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup unsulfured blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (I used regular salt)
 1 cup warm coffee

Directions:

Center an oven rack and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 2 inch cake pan with 1 tablespoon soft butter. I used a 10 1/2 inch iron skillet. I loved the idea of baking such an old-fashioned cake in an old-fashioned pan. 

To make the crumb topping, combine the brown sugar and flour in a small bowl. Toss in the butter cubes, and, using your fingertips, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients to make crumbs. Place the bowl in the freezer while you make the cake.


To make the cake, whisk together the sugar, butter, molasses, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Blend in the eggs one at a time.


In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, then whisk the ingredients together by hand to make sure they are well mixed. Using a rubber spatula, stir the flour mixture into the batter in three additions, alternating with the coffee in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Pour the thin batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle with the chilled crumb topping. 


Bake in the center of the oven until the top is just firm, about 45 minutes. Be careful not to overbake or it will be dry. Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before serving warm from the pan.


Well wrapped and kept at room temperature, this cake keeps for 3 days.


I thought it might have been even better the second day.

batter

 
sprinkle on the crumb topping 

mmm...fresh out of the oven

that first slice is warm and moist..and it smells heavenly!


Shoo-Fly Cake is from Vintage Cakes, and may have been taken to some of these great parties!




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47 comments:

  1. I do like both gingerbread and molasses, so I bet I would love this! I actually grew up eating molasses with grilled cheese sandwiches--a combo that was started by my grandmother, I think!

    I enjoyed hearing about the possible origin of the name "shoo-fly"!

    I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. I'm bettin' you might have a yesterfood or two on your table this Thursday. : )

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  2. Oooo, I think I would have enjoyed your grandmother! :) We had molasses on biscuits, and sometimes on cornbread, when I was growing up. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  3. WOW! I love your cake, love the pictures! It's all sooo perfectly vintage! :) You do such a great job Joy! So happy to bake with you! :)

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  4. Thank you, Paloma! This was so much fun! :)

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  5. Although I live on the other side of the world, I can already imagine the aroma and smell of that cake. Totally love the way you presented your cake on that pan :)

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  6. Joy!!

    This is so totally rustic in a skillet! I am so so wanting one of my own!

    This first cake's FUN!

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  7. Grace, thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the aroma- we sure did! :)

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  8. Emily, I use any excuse to bake in my iron skillets! :) Yes, this cake was fun!

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  9. Wonderful pictures! Love using the cast iron - so goes with the idea of this cake.

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  10. Thank you! I was glad it worked! :)

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  11. What a great idea to bake it in a cast-iron skillet--it totally suits the rustic nature of the cake.

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  12. Well, I think you did a superb job and the pan you used for it is perfect, just completes the whole cake!

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  13. Joy....what a BRILLIANT idea to bake this in a cast iron pan! Talk about Vintage! Your cake turned out beautifully and your pictures are wonderful! : )

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  14. Your cake looks perfect and so moist and tender. Lovely presentation too. Welcome to the group :)

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  15. Your pictures are so pretty! I'm glad you liked the cake too. I'm so glad you had success with your first cake of the group :)

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  16. Ladies, thank you so much- you are wonderful! You've really made this new kid feel very welcome! :)

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  17. Love, Love , Love you blog! So nice to have you bake with us!
    Love the odea of using a cast iron skillet! Love those pans!

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  18. Oh, thank you so much, Anabel! So nice of you to come by! :)

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  19. I love that you cooked the cake in a cast iron pan. I love gingerbread but hate molasses. Unfortunately this was not the cake for me.

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  20. Hi, Felice! Yes, I love to bake in cast iron! Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. I'm loving everything about this recipe! I'm a sucker for crumb topping, so that looks amazing.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine- I liked the crumb topping on this one a LOT! :) Thank you for the visit!

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  22. Just wanted you to know that I featured you on my blog party. Thanks for sharing this great recipe. Here is the link: http://rediscovermom.blogspot.com/2013/02/tried-and-true-recipes-party-2.html

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    1. Jackie, thank you so much- I am very excited! Your blog is amazing, and I am so proud to be featured! :)

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  23. Thanks so much for linking up with us at "In and Out of the Kitchen Link Up Party". Love this recipe and it is baked in a cast iron skillet, it has to be good! I love baking in mine.
    Dawn
    http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

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    1. Dawn, you and Cynthia always have such a great party! Thank you so much for coming by! :)

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    2. I love baking cornbread, biscuits and cobbler in mine. Those are the norm.

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    3. YUM! Now I want all three, especially cobbler! :)

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  24. I LOVE IT! I have taught Amara this song and we often sing it while we are swinging. She and I are going to make this one -- probably not until next weekend but we are definitely going to make it. THANK YOU!

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    1. What a special activity that would be- I hope you and Amara enjoy it! I think she must have the most fun Grandma ever! :)

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  25. It sounds delicious! I love the idea of blending ginger and coffee flavors.

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    1. The combination does make it extra flavorful and moist! :) Thank you for coming by!

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  26. Oh my, Shoo Fly Cake?? I can't eat it any longer but I loved Shoo Fly Pie. I am sure this would be just as good. Thanks for linking with me :)

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  27. I WONDER if it was named after the quilt block for some reason or another...I've had the pie in Amish country ( Lancaster, here in PA ) and liked it very much. I might try your cake ...when I can turn the oven on again, lol...had a one or two day respite from heat and humidity but I think the temps are to soar again tomorrow.

    Yes YOUR name sounds better, lol! :)

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    1. No, this isn't really cake-baking weather, is it? :) Thank you so much for coming by, Debra! Your idea about the quilt block is very intriguing- that may be exactly where the name came from!

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  28. Oh, I just love old cookbooks and old recipes! This cake looks great and I can't wait to try it:)

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    1. Shannon, thank you so much. I love the old recipes and vintage cookbooks, too- I can browse through them for hours. Thanks for coming by- I appreciate the visit! :)

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  29. I have not made a Shoo-fly Cake in for-ever! Thanks so much for sharing this forgotten cake! It is delicious and I think it's time I dust off my cast-iron pan and make this again:) Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

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    1. Lynn, I agree- it has such a wonderful gingerbread flavor that it's just right for this time of year! Thank you for stopping by! :)

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  30. I love this recipe, Joy! When I was growing up in Ontario, we lived in an area where there were a lot of Mennonite folk and we always bought their delicious Shoo Fly Pie at the Farmer's Market. I tried making it a few times back then as well but I haven't tasted it in years. I really like the idea of this treat in cake form. April xx

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    1. I really like this cake, April, thank you! I don't know why I've never tried to make the Shoo-Fly Pie. You may have inspired me to give it a shot! :)

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  31. That cookbook sounds perfect for you, Joy. I love that you baked your vintage cake in cast iron...it adds something to the overall feel of the cake. I've never had Shoo Fly Pie or cake, but I do like molasses. The coffee caught my eye too (I'm a coffee junkie). Thank you for linking up!

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    1. You can imagine how excited I was that the group chose that particular cookbook! I'm glad to know that we are coffee sisters, Michelle- it's like comfort food to me! :) Thank you for hosting See Ya In The Gumbo!

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  32. I'll have to try this cake - my mom used to make shoo-fly-pie when we were kids. I don't think I was brave enough to try it, but I always have fond memories.

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    1. Scarlett, isn't that funny- I love this cake, but I have yet to try to make the pie. Maybe for Thanksgiving! :)

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  33. What a wonderful recipe and I love hearing about the origin of food! Thank you for sharing on the Vintage Recipe Series. Pinning!

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    1. Terri, I love the history of foods and recipes, too! Thank you for creating the Vintage Recipe Series, and for pinning the Shoo-Fly Cake. It's such a huge favorite of mine! :)

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