The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah, the ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah, the ants go marching eight by eight and ruined a perfectly good Funny Cake, and they all go marching down to the ground, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
I'm highly upset. Not that I had ants, but because they stole my Funny Cake from me!
My Aunt Arlene use to make Funny Cakes and then my mom started to make them. Hmmm, good. This Pennsylvania Dutch treat marries a combination of all my favorites ... pie crust, white cake and gooey chocolate.
A couple of months ago I was feeling ambitious and thought I'd try making Funny Cake for a get-together with friends. It was my first time. Since it was too early in the morning to call Mom for her recipe, I went to my old stand-by cookbook, "Cooking in Upcountry Pennsylvania" by Mildred Haney Ryerson, which is filled with old Pennsylvania Dutch recipes.
Being Pennsylvania Dutch, the "gut and plenty" adage always works for me, so I opted for the recipe for two 9"inch Funny Cake Pies.
I dug out my favorite pie crust recipe from a TIMES NEWS cookbook that featured Martha Serfass's "Blue Ribbon Pie Crust." And it is a blue ribbon winner! It's for two 9"inch pies, but the first time I made it, all I got was one pie crust. That's because I love pie crust and I like to make it thicker than most. So, the second time I made it, I one-and-a-half times-ed it. I get nice thick flaky pie crusts with just enough dough left over to make butter, sugar and cinnamon roll ups. Yum!
When I took my Funny Cakes out of the oven, I was thrilled to see that they looked just like Mom's. They smelled like Mom's. And they tasted every bit as good as, if not better (Sorry Mom!) as Mom's. I took them to our get-together and they were a hit!
Last Saturday, we were invited to a picnic and I decided to make Funny Cakes again. What's nice about having two? One for company, and one for me. OK. And Harry.
Sunday night, there was one whole pie and one piece left over.
All day Monday, I thought about that one piece of Funny Cake. As I was driving home from work, I knew the first thing I was going to do when I got in the house was eat that piece.
But, a Funny Cake thief got to it before me because he beat me home from work. Not to be deterred from my mission, I cut a piece from the second full Funny Cake.
Just a little one. De-lish.
And then I saw them. Little teeny tiny ants. Just like the ones we had last year. On my stove. In the vicinity where I had put the second pie with Saran Wrap over it because I had put the first Funny Cake in my cake saver to take to the picnic.
"Harrrrrrry! They'reeeeeee back!" I yelled.
He came running and we both stared at the stove. Then we both stared at the Funny Cake.
"Noooooo!" we both moaned.
I picked it up and sure enough, a few little devils were there.
"Maybe they didn't get in?" Harry asked hopefully.
We both stared at the glass bottom. There was one. Then another.
"OMG!" I screamed. "I ate a piece! I probably ate ants!" And I immediately imagined feeling teeny tiny movements in my stomach.
We examined the Funny Cake more closely. There were only a few that we could see and for a few moments, we seriously considered just removing them and try to salvage the rest of the Funny Cake because we really hated the thought of throwing it all away. But, the idea of maybe possibly swallowing an ant persuaded us to toss it in the garbage.
Last year when we had them, Duane Masonheimer, a pest control expert, told us not to spray them. He told us to get Terro Liquid Ant Baits and they worked like a charm. Harry still had some and he put a few around the populated areas.
I'm happy to say, it took care of the ants.
I'm sad to say, I feel really Funny Cake deprived.
Only one thing to do ...
Funny Cake Recipe (Just in case you've never had any and would like to make them.)
Chocolate Sauce: 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, cup water, 1 tsp. vanilla. Pour into a saucepan and let come to a boil.
Cake Part: 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 eggs, 2 cups sifted flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup milk. Cream sugar, butter and egg. Add flour, baking powder, vanilla. Gradually add the milk. Place in two 9" unbaked pie shells. Divide the Chocolate Sauce in two and pour over the tops of each cake part. The chocolate mixture will sink to the bottom. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.
Martha Serfass's Blue Ribbon Pie Crust: 3 cups flour, 1 cup Crisco, 1/2 tsp. salt, 8 tbsp. cold water. Mix until it forms a dough. Cut in half and roll out.