North Carolina - Moravian Sugar Cake

North Carolina is home to a large Moravian population, specifically in Winston-Salem where you can find delicious treats like Moravian Cookies and Moravian Sugar Cake in local bakeries.  I have a hard time passing up recipes for anything yeasty, buttery and sugary so I was excited to make Moravian Sugar Cake!  

This recipe makes 2 half sheet trays (large cookie sheets) which may seem like a lot, but you will quickly realize how fast this cake disappears and be happy it makes so much!  



1 (1 Tablespoon) package dry yeast, dissolved in
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup hot mashed potatoes (if using instant, use water for liquid and do not add salt) 
1 cup scalded milk, cooled to warm
6 - 7 cups flour
1/2 cup melted butter 

for the topping
1/2 cup flour
1 pound light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
dash of cinnamon 

  • To proof yeast, add a pinch of sugar to the yeast in lukewarm water (hot water will kill the yeast action).  If it foams after a few minutes, it is good.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream eggs, salt, sugar and shortening until smooth
  • Gradually add warm milk and mashed potatoes, stirring a bit.  Then add yeast, mixing well.  Add flour, a cup at a time, until dough is stiff enough to turn out on a floured board.
  • Knead dough until soft and spongy (about 10 - 15 minutes by hand, or if done in a food processor, mix until it forms a ball).  Place in large greased bowl in a draft free, warm place and cover with a damp towel, let dough double in size (approximately 2 - 3 hours)
  • Punch down and divide dough
  • Place in greased large cookie sheets (with sides), cover and let double in size again (approximately 1 1/2 hours)
  • Spread melted butter on top of cakes, punching holes in dough about 1 inch apart with fingers.  Be careful not to punch down to bottom of pan but only half way down.  
  • Mix flour, brown sugar and softened butter together to make the topping.  Pour into the holes in the dough
  •  Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top of cakes and sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden and fully baked on the bottom.  Serve warm.  

So good!  Love the little pockets of cinnamon and sugar yumminess you get every-other bite!!!  I can see why this is such a popular bakery treat and family speciality in North Carolina! 


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