Moravian Sugar Cake
Two hundred sixty-six years ago this Christmas Eve, the city where I reside was named by Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a Moravian leader, in the first house erected in this area. I can almost imagine the Count, said to have been watching the stable animals and listening to hymns being sung, suddenly standing tall and proclaiming the community, "Bethlehem," named after the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
It may have been less dramatic than that, but with our city having officially been dubbed "Christmas City, USA" in 1937, it's hard not to think of a more exciting beginning.This is a Christmas cake recipe well-loved by Moravians everywhere and devoured in record time by my own kids.
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Yield: 4 9x9 cakes
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup plain mashed potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
*6 cups flour
- Dissolve yeast in warm water and add a teaspoon of sugar. Once the yeast has "proved" itself (gotten bubbly), mix potatoes, sugar, butter, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add yeast mixture and stir well. Stir in eggs and enough flour to make a soft dough -- this can be as little as 5 cups or as much as 6 1/2 depending on the humidity the day you make the cakes.
- Cover the dough and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide dough in four equal pieces and roll or stretch out to fit into 9x9 greased pans.
- Cover and let rise again.
- When doubled, make indentations in the top of each cake about 1 inch apart with your fingers.
- Sprinkle each cake with brown sugar, about a 1/4 cup per cake, sprinkle with cinnamon, about 1/2 teaspoon per cake, and set small cubes of butter into the holes in each cake.
- Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.