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Shoofly cupcakes, direct from Penn Dutch country.

September 24, 2008

While I was away in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago (actually more like almost 2 months ago… wow time flies!), I became addicted to shoofly pie. I never liked it before, really, but I went into a place called Dutch Haven and as soon as you walk in, they give you a warm sample, with fresh whipped cream.. and, well… they had me at hello.

And let it be known, I despise pie. I DETEST pie. I hate fruit pies, I don’t even like apple pie! No, not even cherry pie! Even Boston Creme pie is detested by me, and no, I don’t like those frozen Sara Lee chocolate pies either. I don’t like lemon meringue or any of that junk. I don’t enjoy a dessert with a crust (except cheesecake!). But this.. this is different.

This is a pie from the Gods. Yes, I just said “From the Gods.” This is like, the gooiest, most sugary pile of confection to ever be referred to as ‘pie.’ In case you’re unfamiliar with the shoofly- let me school you here for a minute, courtesy of the almighty wikipedia:

“Shoofly pie (or shoo-fly pie) is a molasses pie considered traditional among the Pennsylvania Dutch and also known in Southern cooking.

The more common version of the recipe — sometimes referred to as “wet bottom” — consists of a layer of sweet, gooey molasses beneath a crumb topping sometimes compared to that of a coffee cake. In contrast, a “dry bottom” shoofly pie is more thoroughly mixed into a cake-like consistency.

The dessert has earned quite a reputation in the “Dutch Country” of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where its distinctive flavor and texture is quite alluring to tourists.

The term “shoo-fly pie” first appeared in print in 1926.[1] The name is commonly thought to arise from the fact that the molasses in the pie is so attractive to flies that they have to be constantly “shooed” away.[2]

A Montgomery pie is similar to a shoofly pie though lime juice is usually added to the bottom layer and buttermilk to the topping.[3]. A chess pie is also similar, though unlayered and made with corn syrup.”

Word to your moms, bitches.

So anyway, its basically 600% sugar and 100% artery clogging and 1000% diabetic coma inducing. But it is so goddamn delicious you want to curl into a fetal position and eat an entire pie all by yourself while growling and hissing at anyone who tries to take it from you.

I love Amish country, its so quiet and beautiful. I love the craft stores filled with homemade quilts and all the fresh baked goods that you know are made with excellent REAL ingredients. Plus we went to Hershey Park, which was fun except for me getting soaked on a water ride I was NOT prepared for (if you know me, you know I use a straightening iron religiously, and when my hair gets wet and dries on its own, it curls and I do not enjoy that- nor do I enjoy my M·A·C running down my face and YES I wore full makeup to a amusement park!) and then it started to get chilly and rain, so we were forced indoors. We took the chocolate tour and had a good time. But let me tell you honestly… after 4 days there I’ve never been so happy to come over that bridge and see a billboard that says ‘David Yurman on Madison.’ I LOVE NY!

So I said to myself, “Self.. you oughta make some shoofly cupcakes!” … well no actually… I think Jay or Jen (his sister) mentioned that I ought to make shoofly cupcakes at some point while we were driving over hills looking at cows and silos and getting delirious from shoofly withdrawal and the smell of road apples. So I didn’t think of it myself per se. But I was thinking of how it could be done, and how it could be done without making individual pies. Which I didn’t really want to do because then they wouldn’t be cupcakes… they’d be cuppies.

But thanks to the internet, I was inspired. So here we are folks.. shoofly mothereffin’ cupcakes.



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Mix flour, sugar, shortening and salt together.
  2. Reserve 1 cup for crumbles.
  3. Mix molasses, boiling water and baking soda.
  4. Combine with dry mixture.
  5. Fill individual cups of paper-lined cup cake pan with mixture and top with crumbles.
  6. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
  7. Makes about 24 cupcakes.
ENJOY! Best enjoyed while wearing a bonnet. I’d let them cool a bit first though, not too long if you like ’em warm, but just enough to let them settle.
These are basically the pie, except a bit firmer, and without pie crust, in cupcake liners. Actually they’re more like the cupcake version of the dry-bottom shoofly, which I myself never ate, I’ve only had wet-bottom. But you can’t make wet-bottom without a pastry or pie crust underneath it. So these are just okay. They’re not really sweet enough, the molasses is a bit overpowering. They could use more sugar, that would definitely be the only complaint, but its a fairly big one. So they’re not perfect, they still aren’t quite what I was aiming for, but they’re okay. I topped them with some whipped cream.. I used store bought spray-can stuff, but it can also be made by, well, whipping heavy cream.  The whipped cream helped balance out the non-sweetness. I’m gonna keep trying though. So I’m still on the quest for the best shoofly cupcake- if there is such a thing. Feel free to e-mail me suggestions if you have any! I know there are some Pennsylvanians reading this!
P.S. I took both of those photos of Amish Country myself, from a moving vehicle. I’d make an awesome paparazzo, wouldn’t I?

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  1. Only in America. And who likes the Amish? so boring! I went there and it’s all quite rubbish, but I guess the part you went to was better…

  2. Well it is boring, to an extent. Thats part of the appeal, I think. You go and visit people who are essentially living in another century. Nobody said it was exciting.

    And I didn’t say I liked the AMISH perse… I’m not running off to buy a horse and buggy and change my name to Zook.

    They’re just cupcakes.. relax.

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