Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake

Timeless Tradition: Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake – A Culinary Legacy of Sweet Surprises

Embark on a journey through time and taste with the Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake – a cherished dessert that has graced Pennsylvania kitchens for generations. This delectable treat is a marriage of rich chocolate and buttery cake, creating a symphony of flavors that delights the palate. Join us as we delve into the heart of this timeless tradition, exploring its history, unraveling the recipe secrets, and guiding you through the steps to recreate the magic in your own kitchen.


For the Cake Batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water

For Optional Garnish:

  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream


Step 1: Preheat and Prepare

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Step 2: Make the Cake Batter 2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract.

Step 3: Combine Dry Ingredients 3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step 4: Alternate Mixing 4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients, ensuring everything is well combined.

Step 5: Create the Chocolate Sauce 5. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cocoa powder and sugar until well combined. Pour in boiling water and mix until smooth.

Step 6: Layer the Batter and Sauce 6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Slowly and evenly pour the chocolate sauce over the batter. Do not stir.

Step 7: Bake to Perfection 7. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Step 8: Cool and Serve 8. Allow the funny cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack. Once completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cooking Notes:

  • Buttermilk Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Chocolate Sauce Consistency: The chocolate sauce will sink to the bottom during baking, creating a delightful layer of gooey chocolate at the base of the cake.
  • Serving Warm: This cake is often enjoyed warm, highlighting the contrast between the moist cake and the rich chocolate sauce.
  • Storage: Store any leftover funny cake in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat individual slices in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy the gooey chocolate goodness.


1. Nutty Delight: Sprinkle chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, over the chocolate sauce layer before baking for added texture and flavor.

2. Orange Zest Infusion: Add the zest of one orange to the cake batter for a citrusy twist that complements the richness of the chocolate.

3. Espresso Elegance: Incorporate a tablespoon of instant espresso powder into the chocolate sauce for a subtle coffee undertone.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

For the Keto Enthusiasts:

  • Cake Batter: Substitute almond flour for all-purpose flour, and use a keto-friendly sweetener instead of sugar.
  • Chocolate Sauce: Replace sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener.

Low-Carb Adaptation:

  • Cake Batter: Reduce the amount of all-purpose flour and sugar. Use a low-carb flour alternative and a low-carb sweetener.
  • Chocolate Sauce: Use a low-carb sweetener in place of sugar.

In conclusion, the Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake is more than a dessert; it’s a taste of history and a testament to the culinary ingenuity of the Pennsylvania Dutch community. With its layers of moist cake and gooey chocolate sauce, this sweet treat captures the essence of comforting, homestyle baking. Whether you’re savoring a warm slice with a cup of coffee or impressing guests with a dusting of powdered sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the funny cake invites everyone to partake in a delicious tradition. So, set your oven aglow, mix those ingredients with care, and relish the heartwarming delight that comes with each bite of Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake – a dessert that transcends time and brings a piece of history to your table. Enjoy the sweetness of tradition and the warmth of community in every slice!

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