In the regions surrounding Moravian Church communities, particularly in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, delicious coffee cakes known as “Moravian cake” are frequently baked. A sweet yeast dough with mashed potatoes is used to make it. In a flat pan, the dough is allowed to rise. Just before baking, deep wells are made in the dough’s surface with the tips of the fingers, and melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon are poured on top. This develops a thick, sweet crust during baking that seeps all the way into the cake’s center. Although Moravian sugar cake is best enjoyed warm from the oven, it freezes well and can be stored at room temperature for many days.
Moravian Sugar Cake Recipe
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1/2 cup warm water, (you can use the water from cooking the potatoes, if you want)
- 1 Tablespoon dried yeast
- 1 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes, (just potatoes--no milk or butter or anything)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 1/2 ounces melted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 pic whole eggs
- 32-35 ounces all-purpose flour, enough to make a soft, sticky dough
FOR THE TOPPING
- 6-8 ounces melted butter (your call)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
FOR THE DOUGH
- Pour the heated water and yeast into the bowl of your stand mixer that is attached with a paddle. Stir to dissolve the yeast for about a minute.
- Add the milk, eggs, butter, salt, sugar, potatoes, and roughly half the flour. Once you have a smooth batter, mix on low speed.
- Most of the remaining flour is added after switching to the dough hook. After combining on low speed, knead the dough for 5 minutes on medium speed. Pulling some dough with your fingers will allow you to test it. It should be extremely gooey, stretchy, and nearly flowy. Add the remaining flour and knead the dough if it lacks body. Remember that when it comes to yeast dough, moister is preferable to drier.
- When you are satisfied with the dough, take the bowl out of the mixer and use a hand or spatula that has been sprayed with cooking spray to smooth the dough's top.
- Cover and let to double in size for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a semi-warm environment.
- I made two batches, one with parchment-lined trays and the other without. Spray two jelly roll pans with pan spray. You can omit the parchment if you choose because it is not required for this.
- Place one half of the dough on each of the prepared sheets after dividing it in half (I weigh mine). To prevent sticking, spray pan spray on your hands and the dough's surface, then begin pushing, patting, and stretching the dough to suit each pan. To give the dough a chance to unwind and make it simpler to stretch, switch between pans.
- After the dough has been formed, spray it lightly with pan spray once more, cover it with a lint-free cloth or plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for approximately an hour, or until puffy.
FOR THE TOPPING
- Oven racks should be placed in the bottom and top thirds of the oven. Set the oven to 400°F (204C).
- Salt, cinnamon, nutmeg (if using), and sugars are thoroughly combined.
- Total Fat 7.1g
- Saturated Fat 4.3g
- Cholesterol 25mg
- Sodium 137mg
- Carbohydrates 26.2g
- Fiber .6g
- Sugar 9.6g
- Protein 2.8g
The best sugar cake is Moravian, so the Moravians must also be the best in my opinion. But unless you are from the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania area or central North Carolina, it’s unlikely that you have ever heard of the Moravians or their enchanted sugar coffee cake.