This cake and the buns that follow are served by the Moravians in Pennsylvania and parts of the South for their Christmas and New Year celebrations, two of the five "love feasts" they hold during the year to commemorate the Last Supper, a custom handed down from early Christian times.
2 envelopes dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 cups melted unsalted butter
1 cup hot mashed potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)
1/2 cup water from boiling potatoes
4 cups flour, approximately
Sprinkle yeast into warm water, add I tablespoon sugar, cover
loosely and set aside in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes, or until
foamy. Combine remaining sugar, salt, eggs and % cup melted
butter. Add hot potatoes, water and yeast. Mix thoroughly. Gradually sift in flour, stirring well between additions, until dough is
smooth but very soft and pliable. Cover loosely, place in a draft-free
corner and let rise until double in bulk--about 1 1/2 hours. Punch
down and let rise again until double in bulk. Divide dough in half
and place each portion in a well-buttered, deep 11-inch pie plate,
or a similar size rectangular pan. Cover loosely and let rise again
until not quite double but puffy. Poke your fingers into the cakes,
making indentations about 2 inches apart. Fill these holes with a
thick mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar and remaining melted
butter. Bake in preheated 350° oven for about 25 minutes. Cool
and serve cut in squares or wedges.
Makes 2 cakes
MORAVIAN LOVE FEAST BUNS
Prepare dough as in preceding recipe. After it has risen for the second time, punch it down and knead until smooth. Pinch off
pieces and shape into balls about 3 inches in diameter. Place 4 in. apart on a buttered baking sheet, cover loosely and let rise again until not quite double in bulk. Bake in preheated 375° oven for about 30 minutes. Brush with melted butter as buns begin to brown. Cool and serve.
Makes about a dozen buns
Note: checked Bill Neal's Southern Cooking and his love feast bread has NO POTATOES! but does have both cinnamon and a lot of nutmeg (3/4 tsp. for 4 cups of flour).