Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Funny Cake

Funny Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker

It’s a cake, no it’s a pie, no it’s Funny Cake- one of my dad’s favorite desserts. My father, born on April 1st, wasn’t expected to live beyond his childhood having severe hemophilia, yet he constantly fooled the doctor’s. Despite numerous internal bleeds that nearly took his life and untold hospital stays, my dad lived with vigor and vim taking long road trips by himself proving that he could be independent- even if he had to get around with a couple of canes or crutches- starting churches in new areas, and moving our family to different states. He often disagreed with doctors saying, “What do they know? I’m the one who lives with hemophilia.” It was nothing for my dad to check himself out of a hospital when he decided that he was well enough to go home. Since hemophilia is a rare genetic condition, my dad had to go to hospitals with a trained hematologist often a couple of hours away. I’ll never forget the night a specialist from a large university hospital called me at home begging me to talk to my dad and convince him to stay overnight. Nobody ever forgot my father once they had met him. Today my son carries the same genetic gene of hemophilia like his grandfather, who died when Dwight was eighteen months old. Even though my son is more laid back that his grandfather, Dwight still has many mannerism of my father. I had to smile the other day when my grown son told me that he didn’t care what the hematologist or an orthopedic surgeon said about one of his ankles, he wasn’t going to have any surgery until he was good and ready. The last time I saw my father alive, I made a Funny Cake for him. After my father died, I quit making Funny Cakes. This week in honor of my father, I made a Funny Cake for my son, who shares the legacy of hemophilia with his grandfather.

Funny Cake is a German Pennsylvania Dutch dessert that is so named because it is a pie and cake all in one with a gooey chocolate bottom topped by a vanilla cake in a pie crust. Some put the chocolate on top of the cake batter that reverses itself when it is baked. The recipe I use comes from an Old Mennonite cookbook. Funny Cake is a perfect April Fool’s Day dessert. Preparation time for my Funny Cake is about ten minutes (not counting baking time) and this recipe makes one 9-inch pie.

Funny Cake

1 (9 inch) pastry

½ c sugar
¼ c cocoa
1/3 c hot water
¼ tsp vanilla extract

½ c sugar
¼ c shortening
1 egg
½ milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 c self-rising flour

Combine the sugar, cocoa, hot water, and vanilla in a small bowl and pour into the pie pastry. In another bowl cream the sugar, shortening, egg, milk, and vanilla together and then stir in the flour. Pour on top of the chocolate mixture spreading it around in a circle. Bake at 350º for 1 hour. Let cool and serve on a cake plate!

Weekly tip: One easy way to line a pie plate with a crust is to wrap the pastry around a rolling pin and slowly unroll over the pie pan without stretching the dough. Trim the edges of the crust and then flute as desired!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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