PA Dutch Cake Recipes

Amish Cake RecipesNothing beats a delicious cake.  Amish bakers have mastered the art of creating wholesome, tasty cakes using a wide array of ingredients.  Molasses cake, coffee cakes, spice cake, sponge cake, even shoofly cake are among the two dozen traditional Pennsylvania German and Amish cake recipes you’ll find below.

Cake Recipes

 
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CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE

Cake:

Use chocolate cake mix, made according to package directions, or your favorite chocolate cake recipe (see below for one example).  Bake in 2 round 8” or 9” cake pans.

To make frosting:

  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese; softened
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 12 oz. Cool- whip topping
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate syrup or caramel

Slice cakes in half, making four layers.  Frost the layers. Then shave some chocolate on top.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup or caramel. (adapted from The Connection magazine, September 2010)

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CHOCOLATE MARBLE CAKE

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 square Baker’s Chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the 1/3 cup butter and sugar together.  Add the well-beaten eggs.  Mix together well. Sift flour and baking powder and add it, alternating with the milk, to your butter-sugar-eggs mixture. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into a bowl.  Melt 1 tablespoon or butter and chocolate together.   Add this to the bowl as well.  Add vanilla to the remaining white batter. Drop the white batter, and then chocolate batter, by spoonfuls into a deep, well-greased cake pan.  Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Add frosting if you wish. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)

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CHOCOLATE MONTANA DELUXE

  • 2 boxes of chocolate cake mix
  • 2 (6 oz. ) boxes instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 (12 oz.) containers Cool Whip
  • 6 or 7 Skor candy bars ( or Reese’s cups)

Bake cake mixes according to the package directions. Set aside. Get a large glass trifle bowl or serving dish. Slice and crumble a good-sized layer of cake into the bottom of your bowl or dish. Pour on some chocolate pudding, then a layer of Cool Whip. Top with crumbled candy bars (Skor or Reese’s work well). (adapted from Ladies Journal, Katie, Shrock, July/August 2012)

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COOKIES AND CREAM CAKE

Cake:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 ¼ c. water
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs whites
  • 1 c. crushed chocolate
  • Sandwich cookies

Frosting:

  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • ¾ c. shortening
  • ¼ c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pan. Combine all cake ingredients into a bowl, except for the crushed cookies. Blend well. Stir in half of the cookies. Pour batter into the cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. Combine all frosting ingredients in a bowl, and beat until smooth. Spread onto the cake.  Alternatively you can use your favorite frosting. Place the other half of the crushed cookies on top of the frosting as a final layer. (adapted from The Connection magazine, January 2011)

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TURTLE CAKE

  • 1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 (14 oz.) pkg. caramels
  • 7 oz. Eagle Brand milk or evaporated milk
  • 6 oz. chopped pecans
  • 1 c. chocolate chips

Mix the cake mix according to package instructions. Bake half of this batter in a Greased and flour a 9”x 13” pan and use it to bake half of this batter for about 15 min at 350 degrees F.  While baking, melt butter, caramels, and milk. Cool this slightly, remove cake from oven, and then pour over the baked cake. Pour the remaining cake batter over this, then sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. (adapted from Ladies Journal, Pollyanna Hochstetler, Jan/Feb 2011)

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APPLESAUCE CAKE

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves, ground
  • a little nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins (or currants)
  • pinch of salt

Cream together butter, sugar and spices. Add apple sauce, flour and soda dissolved in a little warm water. Add the raisins or currants. Beat thoroughly and pour into a loaf tin. Bake for about 50 min at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the icing:

Combine 1 cup of pulverized sugar, and a piece of butter the size of a walnut. Moisten with a little water and spread over cake.

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SUGARLESS APPLESAUCE CAKE

  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1 c. dried fruit
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. liquid sweetener
  • ¾ c. vegetable oil
  • ½ c. chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the raisins, fruit and water in a saucepan. Cook until the water evaporates and the fruit becomes tender. Cool. Combine the eggs, oil, vanilla, sweetener, and applesauce. Add the nuts and the tender cooked fruit. Stir into dry mixture, blending well. Bake for 30-40 min at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until done. (adapted from The Fishwrapper, Feb 4th, 2011)

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MOLASSES CAKE

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins and currants
  • flour to make a soft batter
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups sour milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and beaten eggs. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with 1½ cups of sour milk. Mix the soda in the remaining milk and add with the remainder of flour. Finally, add the raisins and floured currants. Bake in a loaf pan at 300 degrees F for about 60 min.

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POUND CAKE

This recipe takes some time, and elbow grease, but you’ll be rewarded with a tasty pound cake when you’ve finished.

  • 1 pound sugar
  • 1 pound flour
  • 1 pound butter
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Wine glass of brandy

Work butter and sugar together until very creamy. Add eggs, one at time, alternately with the flour. Work each egg  into the mixture for at least 5 minutes. This will take around 1 hour. Add any leftover flour to the mixture. Add the nutmeg and brandy. Line a very deep pan on the sides and bottom with greased paper, and pour batter into the pan. Bake for two hours on a small stand in the lower section of the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)

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COFFEE CAKE

For the Sponge:

  • ½ cake yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sifted flour

The night before baking, crumble and soak yeast for 20 minutes in lukewarm water. Scald the milk, add salt and let it cool. Add yeast to the lukewarm milk.  Mix in enough flour to make a thick batter. Beat the batter smooth. Cover the batter, and let it rise in a moderately warm place (around 78 degrees) overnight.

For the Dough:

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour

In the morning scald and cool milk. Cream the butter, sugar and salt, then add in the beaten eggs. Mix the sponge with lukewarm milk, then add the butter mixture and enough flour to create a soft dough. Beat hard, or knead using the hands. Let the dough rise until it has doubled. Then turn the dough on a floured board.  Roll it out gently until it’s ½ inch thick. Place into buttered pans. Brush the top with melted butter. Let it rise until it has doubled. Sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon and bake for 20 min at 400 degree Fahrenheit.

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MINI COFFEE CAKES

  • ½ cup shortening, half butter
  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 whole eggs and
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tblsp. sugar
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 yeast cake

Dissolve the yeast cake in a quarter cup of warm milk.  Add 2 tablespoons of flour.  Let it stand in a warm place to rise. Cream the butter and sugar, add salt and the eggs (beat the eggs in individually).  Add the sponge containing the yeast, the lukewarm cream and the sifted flour. Grease muffin pans then sift a small quantity of flour over them. Fill the pans about ⅔ full with batter. Set in a warm place until the dough rises to the top of the pans. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

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“JIFFY” COFFEE CAKE

This is a much faster version of the Coffee Cake above, not requiring preparation the day before.

  • 2¼ cups flour, sifted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 egg

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cream the shortening and sugar, beating it until fluffy. Add the egg, beat well, and then the milk. Add the flour mixture.  Stir it just enough to moisten. Turn into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.

To make the topping you’ll need:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream the butter and sugar well. Add bread crumbs and cinnamon. Blend together well and sprinkle over the cake dough. Bake for 40-50 min at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Tastes best served hot.

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ANGEL FOOD CAKE

  • Whites of 11 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift the dry ingredients together 4 times. Beat the egg whites until dry, and fold the dry ingredients into the eggs. Add flavoring.  Bake in an ungreased angel food cake pan, for 60 min at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)

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SPONGE CAKE

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tblsp. warm water
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Beat the eggs until thick and creamy. Add sifted sugar and beat well. Add the water and lemon juice and beat again. Sift the flour, add the baking powder and salt, and sift again. Combine the dry ingredients with the egg mixture gradually–adding just a little at a time, and gently folding it in. When the mixture is well-blended pour it into an ungreased pan with a center tube. Bake for 50 min at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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GINGER CAKES

  • 1 cup shortening (butter and lard)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add the eggs and beat together well. Add the molasses, and baking soda which has been dissolved in the boiling water. Sift the flour and ginger together.  Combine with other ingredients and mix together well.  Grease muffin pans well, and pour batter into pans.  Bake for around 20 min at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)

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WALNUT GINGERBREAD

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup black molasses
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup chopped black walnuts

Cream the sugar and shortening in a bowl. Add the molasses and pour the cup of boiling water over it. Mix well. Combine the flour, soda and spices.  Sift and add to the molasses mixture, beating well. Add the eggs individually.  Blend thoroughly. Add the chopped walnuts. Grease a loaf pan well.  Pour batter into pan. Bake 40 min at 350 degrees F.

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CHEESECAKE

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pound cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pastry

Line a deep pan with pastry. Bake pastry pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until it starts to brown.  While pastry is baking, mix flour and sugar together.  Add the cream cheese and mix together well. Beat egg slightly.  Add the cream and vanilla and combine with first mixture. Pour into the pastry shell after it has started to brown (remove the pastry from the oven only to pour the filling in.  Bake for another 40 min at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes)

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SPICE LAYER CAKE

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. salt

Cream sugar and shortening and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until light. Sift the flour, add salt, spices, baking powder, then sift again. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture alternately with the milk. Beat well.  Flour the raisins and add them to the mix. Greased two layer cake pans, and pour batter into pans. Bake for 25-30 min at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the icing you’ll need:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tblsp. butter
  • vanilla

Cream together sugar, milk, and butter, and boil until it forms a soft ball when dropped in water. Add vanilla and beat until cold. Spread between layers of the cake, over the top and on the sides.

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SHOO-FLY CAKE

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lard or butter
  • 1/2 cup New Orleans molasses
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • Pastry

Line a pie pan with the pastry.  Make crumbs by combining the flour, sugar and shortening. Dissolve the soda in hot water.  Combine with the molasses. Pour into the pastry-lined pan.  Add a layer of crumbs to the top.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until cake becomes firm. (adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Fine Old Recipes) For the better-known pie version, see Shoofly Pie recipe.

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CRUMB CAKE

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Combine the dry ingredients. Work in melted butter until crumbs are formed. Add nuts. Sprinkle over the top of coffee cake dough (see Coffee Cake) and bake.

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OUT OF MY HEAD CAKE

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup lard
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pudding or sugar icing (optional)

Beat 2 eggs, 1  3/4 cup lard, and 1/2 cup white sugar thoroughly in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 tsp. salt. Do not stir.  Add 3 cups flour and 3 tsp. baking powder to the top of this mixture.  Beat thoroughly.  Add 1 tsp. of vanilla and beat again.  Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and dust with flour. Bake at 375 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  This cake can be served with pudding, or you can add powdered sugar icing to it. (adapted from Plain and Happy Living: Amish Recipes and Remedies by Emma Byler)

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JOHNNY CAKE

A cornmeal flatbread also known as Johnny Bread or Shawnee Cake. 

  • 1½ cups yellow corn meal
  • ¾ cup flour, sifted
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tblsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1¼ cups sour milk or buttermilk
  • ¼ cup shortening, melted

Sift flour, corn meal, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar together. Combine eggs and sour milk (or buttermilk).  Add to the flour mixture. Mix well and stir in the shortening. Grease an 8 × 8 × 2-inch pan and pour mixture in.  Bake for 40 min at 375 degrees F.

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SCRIPTURE CAKE

Also known as “Bible Cake” and “Old Testament Cake”.  The Scripture references point to passages in the Old Testament where each ingredient is mentioned.

  • ½ cup butter
    Judges, 5:25
  • 2 cups flour
    I-Kings, 4:22
  • ½ tsp. salt
    Leviticus, 2:13
  • 1 cup figs
    I-Samuel, 30:12
  • 1½ cups sugar
    Jeremiah, 6:20
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
    Luke, 13:21
  • ½ cup water
    Genesis, 24:11
  • 1 cup raisins
    I-Samuel, 30:12
  • 3 eggs
    Isaiah, 10:14
  • Cinnamon, mace, cloves
    I-Kings, 10:10
  • 1 tblsp. honey
    Proverbs, 24:13
  • ½ cup almonds
    Genesis, 43:11

Blend butter, sugar, spices and salt. Beat egg yolks and add to the mixture. Sift in baking powder and flour.  Add the water and honey. Process fruit and nuts through a food chopper and flour well, then fold into the mixture.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes.

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GLUTEN-FREE RHUBARB DESSERT

To make the crust, you’ll need:

  • 1 c. Gluten Free flour
  • 1 tbsp. raw sugar
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • ½ t. x-gum or baking powder

Crumble and press in pan. Bake for 15 min at 350 degrees, and then top with filling.

For the filling, these ingredients will be needed:

  • 2 ½ c. rhubarb
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. Gluten Free flour or cornstarch
  • ¾ c. raw sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. cream or dairy free milk

Cook together until thick.  Pour on top of crust. Bake for 15 minutes more, and then top with meringue.

To make the meringue, you’ll need:

  • 3 beaten egg whites
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • ¼ tbs. cream of tarter
  • Pinch of salt

Bake until golden brown. (adapted from The Connection magazine, August 2011)

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NUT CAKE

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (hickory nuts or black walnuts)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup milk
  • a little salt

Rub butter and sugar to the consistency of a light, white cream. Add egg yolks.  Beat until smooth. Sift flour, salt and baking powder and add to the mixture, together with the milk (a little at a time), beating well. Fold in the chopped nuts and the stiffly-beaten egg whites. Pour into a single loaf pan, or 2 nine-inch cake pans. Bake for half-an-hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (for layer cake) or 60 minutes (for loaf cake). Use black walnuts or hickory nuts.

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Molasses cake: Andrea R/flickr
Unless otherwise noted, recipes adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.

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