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Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake

I can still remember my grandma serving this delicious cake on the big wooden table in her farm kitchen. Every time I bake this unusual cake, it takes me back to those special days at Grandma's. —Diane Ganssle, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1-1/2 cups milk, divided
  • 2 unbaked pastry shells (9 inches)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream, optional


  • In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar and cocoa. Blend in 1/2 cup milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour into unbaked pastry shells, tipping to coat the pastry halfway up the sides; set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar. Add egg, shortening, vanilla and remaining milk; beat until smooth. Starting at the edge, spoon batter into the pastry shells, completely covering the chocolate. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream if desired.

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  • Laura
    Dec 31, 2020

    I look up "authentic" Pennsylvania Dutch recipes for pies and see either shortening or vegetable oil in ingredients. Only problem is they did not have vegetable oil or shortening. Mennonites, Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch used lard or as it is know in the U.K. as "dripping". As well as having some Mennonite in my family I grew up and lived in the most densely populated area of Mennonites in Canada, Waterloo County in Ontario They are mainly old world mennonites there.

  • Kathy behrens
    Sep 25, 2020


  • Robin Palmer-Burton
    Jul 27, 2020

    This recipe is okay, but missed the point of why it is called Funny cake. The chocolate is pouring on top of the batter and when it is finished baking it is on the bottom which is why it is "funny".

  • Suellen
    Jun 28, 2020

    Last year I was looking for a recipe for a PA Dutch dessert and came across this one. It sounded delicious and thought I would give it a try. Even though everyone said it tasted good, and I agreed, I thought it was terribly dry. We drank lots of milk or coffee while we were eating it! Probably won't make again unless I can figure out how to make it more moist.

  • Ewe
    Jun 14, 2020

    Hello, I just had a question. Its taking me nearly 1.5 hours to bake this using a convection oven. Am I doing something wrong or is this expected?

  • colleen
    Apr 27, 2020

    This is very unique and yummy! Definitely a "funny" presentation of dessert!?? To Kathy I love your story and So glad that this recipe was here for you and your mother to enjoy together!

  • Kathy
    Mar 17, 2020

    My Mom and I used to make this when I was a kid before my brothers were born(they were a real handful). Before she died she asked me if I had her cookbook, she wanted to make a funny cake with me just like way back then. I didn’t have her book but I found this, we made it and enjoyed the making, baking and eating. I felt like a youngster again.

  • greenmachine49
    Feb 20, 2020

    This is not how the Funny Cakes here in Pa Dutch Country are made. As one reviewer pointed out - in a true Funny Cake recipe,, the chocolate is poured on the top of the yellow batter and ends up on the bottom.

  • D.
    Oct 14, 2019

    This is delicious but nowhere on the page (that I could find) tells that this recipe makes 2 pies. I figured it out, luckily, before I started the process, but someone should really correct the page so that at the top of the recipe it plainly states that this makes 2 pies, it doesn't use 2 pie shells for just one pie (no top crust). It was very tasty though and I will make it again now that I understand the recipe a bit better.

  • Richmeister67
    Jun 24, 2018

    It's real funny that this doesn't look like a cake but is actually a cake....LOL