Shoofly pie on a plate with strawberries
The History Of The Shoofly Pie Is As Exciting As Its Name
As a mix of crumb cake, coffee cake, treacle tart, and pie with a rich molasses filling, shoofly pie is a staple of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where it likely first developed.
I​​t was believed to have been derived from the centennial cake to mark the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (via Atlas Obscura).
One unique feature of the pie is its unusual name. A theory from author Patricia Brunning Stevens suggests that as the pies cooled, molasses pools would form, attracting flies.
Bird-in-Hand-Bakery notes the bakers would then have to shoo the insects away. However, since these pies were believed to be made in winter, it's unclear where the flies came from.
Food historian, 13th-generation Pennsylvania Dutchman, and director of the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism, William Woys Weaver, has another idea.
He shared with Bake From Scratch, "The pie takes its name from Shoofly the Boxing Mule, who was part of a popular traveling circus act in the Dutch Country."
Shoofly the Boxing Mule was so popular that many products were named after him, including Shoofly Molasses, which was made in Philadelphia and may have been used in the pies.