Moravian Sugar Cake (Authentic)

"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."
photo by onlinepastrychef photo by onlinepastrychef
photo by onlinepastrychef
photo by laura.l.machell photo by laura.l.machell
Ready In:
4hrs 45mins
2 large sheet cakes




  • 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.
  • In large mixing bowl, cream eggs, salt, sugar & shortening till smooth.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Punch down and divide dough.
  • Place in greased pie pans or large cookie sheets, cover & let double in size again (approx. 1 ½ hrs.).
  • 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.
  • Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top & sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden & fully baked on the bottom. Serve warm.

Questions & Replies

  1. Is 1lb brown sugar correct?
  2. What size sheet pans, or how many pie pans? I can't wait to try this!
  3. Did you add milk and butter to the mashed potatoes?


  1. Delicious! I absolutely loved this recipe. Super fluffy and moist! I've tried other Moravian sugar cake recipes before, most using a simple butter and brown sugar topping, but they were always very granulated. I much preferred the slight crunch to this topping that had the addition of flour. It was slight streusel-esque. And the fresh mashed potato makes a much better cake than versions made with instant. Totally worth the extra trouble of boiling a russet just for this. I made the whole recipe and found all the measurements to work perfectly, including the amount of flour. My first proof lasted about 2 1/2 hours (67°F room temperature). I divided the dough in two, shaped it into a rough rectangle, and placed them into 9x13 pans. After placing in the pans I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. I took them out to come to room temperature about 3 1/2 hours before I wanted to make them. I do this a lot with yeasted breakfast treats so that I can bake them off fresh for morning coffee but not have to wake up and do the work at 3 am. Although sometimes this does mean waking up at 4am to place a pan on the counter. Worth it. I highly recommended this perfect moravian cake recipe to anybody looking to explore this unique treat. An absolutely wonderful addition to my recipe arsenal.
    • Review photo by laura.l.machell
  2. Absolutely perfect! I went with this recipe because of other reviews saying its just like the Moravian Sugar Cake serviced at the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA. It truly is! I'm out in CO now, so bringing some PA traditions with me to share with others is very special. It is definitely worth the time, used real potatoes for the mashed potatoes.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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!


I love to cook and I love to bake even more. Obviously growing up here in Lancaster County (PA Dutch Country), I come from a long history of women who were homemakers with many children and cooking and baking were MANDATORY every night. 3 course meals with freshly baked desserts were staples every day growing up in my family. I, on the other hand, am a busy, professional, business owner with very long/late hours. I try to make as many homemade meals as possible but it is very difficult with my work schedule. In this neck of the woods, most recipes we grew up on and love are all stored in the mind only, no paper trails to be found. There are so many recipes I've gathered from watching my mom cook & bake over the years that are consider comfort food to me that I must take the time to write down the measurements so I can share them with all of you. I feel it's the least I can do after all of the wonderful new recipes I've obtained from everyone here. I just love to try new recipes and experiment with new ingredients.
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes