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Funny Cake (Chocolate Pie)

Makes one 9-inch pie

This Pennsylvania Dutch pie recipe is so good and goes way back to my childhood. I suppose it is called a 'funny' cake because it is really a wet bottom, upside down one-layer cake in a pie crust. Most of the sauce, which is poured on top of the batter before baking, ends up on the bottom of the pie after baking, and the top is similar to a light sponge cake. Everyone in my family preferred the chocolate sauce bottom, but I have included a butterscotch variation. In my grandparents' day, they often served funny cake as part of a hearty breakfast, but I prefer it as a dessert or sweet treat.


Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the shortening. Add the milk and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes with electric mixer. Add the egg and beat 1 minute more. Pour batter into pie crust. Pour prepared chocolate or butterscotch sauce (see recipes below) over batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top springs back to touch. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. Leftovers can be refrigerated, then brought to room temperature before serving.

Notes: I like to substitute butter for the shortening in recipes whenever possible. I checked a funny cake recipe in an old personal receipt book I received from a cousin, Doris Balmer. The recipe is exactly the same as this one except that it uses butter instead of shortening. I have not tried it as yet, but that is the way Doris made it. I imagine there would be a slight difference in texture and flavor of the cake layer.

Chocolate Sauce

Place butter, sugar and melted chocolate in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring often. Add water and bring back to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and continue stirring. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour hot sauce as evenly as possible over cake batter. (Do not spread the sauce or it might cool and thicken before you get it into the oven.) Bake as directed above.

Butterscotch Sauce

Use the same ingredients and directions as in the chocolate sauce except to substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons corn syrup for the chocolate.