Moravian Sugar Cake (Authentic)

Total Time
4hrs 45mins
Prep 45 mins
Cook 4 hrs

My Grandma would roll over in her grave right now if she knew I was posting her Moravian Sugar Cake recipe but why keep such a delish recipe under wrap? My family is Moravian this recipe comes straight from the church. My Grandma used to make this all the time on Sunday mornings for breakfast with coffee or tea. It's a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. To proof yeast, add a pinch of sugar to the yeast in lukewarm water (hot water will kill the yeast action). If it foams, it is good.
  2. In large mixing bowl, cream eggs, salt, sugar & shortening till smooth.
  3. Gradually add warm milk & 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.
  4. Knead dough until soft & 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 & cover with a damp towel. Let dough double in size (approx. 2-3 hours).
  5. Punch down and divide dough.
  6. Place in greased pie pans or large cookie sheets, cover & let double in size again (approx. 1 ½ hrs.).
  7. 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 the topping thoroughly & pour into holes in the dough.
  8. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top & sprinkle with cinnamon.
  9. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden & fully baked on the bottom. Serve warm.


Most Helpful

THIS WAS AMAZING. Grew up going to the Moravian church, in Bethlehem PA. This tasted exactly like what I remember being served in church Love Feast services. One question though, what size pan is this meant for? A jelly roll pan? Or a 9x13? "A cookie sheet or two pie plates" is a bit vague. My sister and I halved the recipe thinking it would make way too much, and spread the dough out in a jelly roll pan. It was delicious but the cake was very thin. Might try again in a 9x13 pan (with the halved recipe).

Julie M. May 03, 2016

This must be the Pennsylvania variant of the recipe, which may be the original since the Moravians came to PA first. The Old Salem, NC recipe does not have flour in the topping and uses a lot more sugar and butter. The picture looks like the Old Salem version. I would caution against using instant potatoes (I've done it before). Even after they are reconstituted, they continue to absorb moisture. All in all, this looks like it would produce a pretty tasty treat.

SteveB December 22, 2015

This is the REAL thing! This is the Sugar Cake I remember growing up in Bethlehem, PA, another large Moravian community. It was so light, and so sinfully sweet that it transported me right back to the Christian Education Building after Easter sunrise service! Warm it up a bit for breakfast and all that sugar gets good and gooey! Pretty easy to make and impressive to serve!

nfrank62 October 12, 2010

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a