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Innkeeper’s Pie is a vintage recipe with a pie crust filled with vanilla cake and a layer of chocolate fudge underneath. Add a sprinkle of chopped, toasted walnuts on top before baking.

Innkeeper's Pie

Innkeeper’s Pie is another delicious recipe we recently discovered in the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook (affiliate link), which was published this year in celebration of Maine’s 200th anniversary of statehood.

What is Innkeeper’s Pie?

It’s a very delicious pie – that is really more of a vanilla cake baked in a pie crust, which bakes up with a fudgy layer of chocolate on the bottom and a sprinkle of nuts on the top. It’s one of those interesting recipes where, when it’s assembled, the chocolate is placed on top of the batter with the nuts. Then, as it bakes, the cake and chocolate essentially ‘swap places’ and the fudge layer ends up on the bottom, near the crust and underneath the cake.

It bakes up wonderfully moist – and I can definitely see why this Innkeeper’s Pie recipe is a long-time favorite.


Innkeeper's Pie

Innkeeper’s Pie history

This Innkeeper’s Pie recipe was submitted by Katie Murphy of North Yarmouth, Maine, who wrote, “This pie often shows up at community potluck suppers.”

It was served at The Pocket Watch Shop in North Yarmouth, Maine. The shop owner, Valda Verrier operated the gift shop and tea room for decades out of her beautiful, remotely located 1906 home.

In 1962, the Verrier house was moved on a flatbed truck to a new location close to town, where the shop operated until the early 1970’s. The recipe was preserved by the North Yarmouth Historical Society.


Innkeeper's Pie

Innkeeper’s Pie is also sometimes called a Colonial Innkeeper’s Pie (as named in a 1959 Betty Crocker Cookbook), and the Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake is similar as well. That pie gets the name, from what I read, because people found it ‘funny’ that a cake was baked in a pie crust. But, if you recall reading our Boston Cream Pie recipe – back in the day, the terms ‘pie’ and ‘cake’ were used interchangeably because both were baked in a round pan.

Innkeeper's Pie

No matter what you call it – Innkeeper’s Pie is a delicious dessert that would be a great addition to the dessert table at any occasion.  Serve it with whipped cream on top if you’d like.  Enjoy!

You may enjoy these other pie recipes:

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Innkeeper's Pie

Innkeeper’s Pie

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked

½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (pecans or pine nuts could also be substituted)

Chocolate layer

½ cup water

1 ½ ounces unsweetened chocolate

2/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup butter

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Cake layer

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoons salt

¼ cup butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

½ cup whole milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of heavy cream to whip and serve over each slice, or buy already whipped cream.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the pie dough into a 9-inch pie plate and fold the edges in to make the edge double thick, then using your knuckles or thumbs, flute the edge. Place back in the refrigerator after forming until later in this recipe so the dough stays firm.

Chop the nuts fine and toast in a small saute pan over medium heat. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a boil, then shut off the burner and add the chocolate. Stir with spoon until melted.

Add sugar and bring back to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. If the butter doesn’t melt, heat the pan back up for a few seconds until the butter melts. Stir and set the pan aside.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter then add sugar and beat for one minute.

Add the egg and beat to combine. Scrape and beat again.

Alternate adding the milk and dry with the mixer running then add in the vanilla and beat to combine. Scrape and beat again.

Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator and scrape in the cake layer batter, smoothing the top.

Stir the chocolate mixture once then pour over the cake layer.

Sprinkle the nuts over the top and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Ours was perfect at exactly 45 minutes. As it bakes, the chocolate sinks and the cake rises. (They basically swap places).

Cool and cut into eight wedges and serve with whipped cream.

While the pie is cooling, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and serve over each piece.

Store any leftover pie in the refrigerator.

Keywords: Innkeeper's Pie


Innkeeper’s Pie

Innkeeper’s Pie

Innkeeper’s Pie

Innkeeper’s Pie

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  • Denise wrote:

    Due to food allergies, I substituted a flax egg for regular egg and used almond milk instead of whole milk. I also used 1/3 cup stevia in the raw and 1/3 cup sugar in the chocolate sauce. YUMMY! The cake was moist and crumbly, and the chocolate was the perfect balance of sweetness to the cake. I took this to a family dinner and everyone loved it. Thank you for a delicious recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you for sharing the swaps you made Denise – I’m sure there are other readers out there with food allergies that will find this information very valuable! So glad the pie was a hit!

  • Heidi E Hoogwerf wrote:

    I love this pie. My late Aunt used to make this for Thanksgiving years ago – I have taken it on. This is the first year that I’ll be traveling and will need to make it ahead of time.

    How long in advance of Thanksgiving can I make this pie and travel with it – keeping it cold wile traveling???

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Heidi – I’d suggest making it a day ahead of traveling for the best freshness (cake like pies can get stale!) hope that helps!

  • Dorrinda Merluzzi wrote:

    In Pennsylvania this is called funny cake, but with out the nuts. It has been around through the decades. I believe it originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch.

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes Dorrinda – we mentioned that in our post! I’ve found that Mainers and Pennsylvania Dutch often claim the same recipes as their own (Whoopie Pies is another example) – I suspect the same family recipes were circulating in both areas…hard to know who for sure made the recipe first!

  • Linda jo wrote:

    I made the innkeeper pie, it’s delicious!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Linda!

  • Hollie wrote:

    That looks as delicious as it is beautiful! Bookmarking this recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the pie Hollie!

  • Elizabeth wrote:

    I lived in New England much of my life. Why have I never heard of this pie before?? The recipe says to put the chocolate layer over the cake batter, but the picture looks like the chocolate is poured in first? Either way, I can’t wait to try this

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Elizabeth – We’re life-long New Englander’s too and had never heard of this pie either! Not sure if you read the post, but we talk about the chocolate layer…it sinks to the bottom as it bakes. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Jrz wrote:

    Okay .. I’m probably committing a terrible faux pas .. but can I use a cake mix for the cake instead of making it from scratch?

    • Martha wrote:

      I don’t know! I think a mix will be too much cake for a pie…but we’re also not sure if the consistency of the cake batter will allow the fudge to sink to the bottom as it would with the batter in the recipe.

  • Mercedes wrote:

    This sounds delightful! Would i need to add extra flour to the cake because I live in a high altitude?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Mercedes – I’m afraid we aren’t at all familiar with high altitude baking…we live close to sea level so we’d only be guessing at the changes needed. I found this article by King Arthur Flour – you might find it helpful:

      Sorry we can’t be more help. Martha

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