Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Not too long ago, I came across a photo of Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake – and I took notice right away. I had made this super simple but oh so delish cake before, with my Mom’s help when I was a teenager. And I remembered because this cake is so distinctive looking and I’ve yet to see another cake that’s anything like it.

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake


Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake is a coffee cake (if you are elsewhere, in the States, a coffee cake is made to be eaten with coffee and isn’t a cake that contains coffee) but what makes it stand out is the brown sugar-cinnamon topping that is like no other! As you can see there are dimples in the cake that form pockets and rivulets of ooey-gooey caramelly deliciousness. That being said, it’s not so over the top that you should be afraid to eat it; it’s just a perfect amount of sweetness to balance the rest of otherwise plain jane cake.

About Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake:

Like many heritage recipes, Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake is a little conservative in the use of butter, sugar, and eggs so this cake isn’t overly rich; it’s a little plain, in fact except for the topping. And while I couldn’t nail down exactly why it’s called a flop cake (there are speculations it is based on a Swedish flop cake), I think someone thought it must have been a bit of a flop when they first pulled it from the oven! Until they tasted it!

The Moravians are a Protestant religious community originating in Bavaria and Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) who established a permanent presence in Pennsylvania around 1741, and from there, expanded into North Carolina. And of course, they brought their history, culture, and food with them, including this Cinnamon Flop Cake. You’ll find versions of this cake in all kinds of old cookbooks and it hasn’t changed up too much over the years. At least not enough so it’s not still recognizable.

Since some of the earliest versions, as I’m guessing these early settlers had to “make do,” only contained two tablespoons of butter and sometimes no egg at all, the original must have had a kind of biscuit quality. And this one still does, but there’s no denying that most cakes are a little better with a little more butter and an egg doesn’t hurt, either. Nor does just a smidge more of the topping! Even with those few additions (and a lot of recipes these days have both egg and a little more butter), this simple coffee cake is still very much in keeping with the old recipes.

You’ll want to eat your Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake warm if possible, as soon as it’s cooled enough to handle. And while it’s still good the next day, you’ll notice the texture begin to change a bit as the topping softens so don’t keep it around too long. Leave it around for several days, depending on the humidity, and it isn’t as pleasant to eat. So for this cake, you’ll def want to live in the moment!

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Making Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake:

This cake super easy to make by hand (and fast – it takes no time) and you’ll see the similarities to biscuit making; it uses what we call today the reverse creaming method. Rather than creaming the butter and sugar together and proceeding with the recipe, the butter is cut into the dry ingredients, the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt mixture. It’s easy enough to make by hand; you can pull out a mixer or food processor if you want, but it’s so simple it’s almost not worth dirtying either!

After the cake is spread into the pan (and it does have to be spread, it will be thick) it’s topped with a simple streusel. Since this streusel contains no flour, it doesn’t have a lot of structure; it’s not like the crumbly topping you might see on our standard American coffee cakes like my Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping. It just kind of melts on and into the cake. I always find streusel works best if you start sprinkling it on at the edges and work towards the center.

Then, and here’s what makes the pockets, butter is cut into small cubes, about a  half an inch or so, and sprinkled over the cake. Then the butter is pushed down until no longer visible. Don’t be too perfect with cutting the butter, it’s nice to have some pockets larger and deeper, some smaller. And don’t be too perfect with the distribution of the butter over the top so you end up with a variety of holes and rivulets in your cake rather than something lined up like regimental soldiers. Be sure to butter or spray the bottom of the pan well; some of those pockets of cinnamony, sugary deliciousness will make it all the way to the bottom of the pan as the cake bakes and you want to be able to get the slices out and not have them stick.

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Saving Money on Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake:

This coffee cake is incredibly cheap to make! I priced it at about $1.25, but then that’s with using all sales-priced ingredients. I’ve gotten to the point that I buy all my baking goods, eggs, and butter at Aldi, where the regular prices rival shopping at the grocery store during the holiday sales. If you don’t have an Aldi nearby, stock up on your baking items when they’re on deep sale. Freeze any flour items coming into your house for three days and you’ll avoid any “peskies.”

More and more, eggs and butter are going on sale pretty much around any holiday. Butter though, as it’s getting more and more expensive, is very worthwhile to stock up on heavily during Winter holiday and Easter holiday sales. You’ll find it’s half price on a good sale. Figure out how much your family can use, how many weeks until the next great holiday sale, and buy appropriately. Freeze it; it keeps well for months.

We haven’t talked much lately about shopping for milk. In every area, there are usually stores that have milk at a low. It can be hard to stock up on, obviously, because it’s bulky, especially for families that go through several gallons a week. If that’s you, know which stores have the lowest prices, try to avoid quick trips to the gas station or convenience store where prices are always higher. It’s the smaller ticket items that add up over the course of a year that make an incredible difference in our spending. If you’re buying an additional three gallons a week in quick stops at the convenience store you’re likely paying (and this varies) an extra $1.75 over the grocery store price. That adds up to about $275 a year,

I’ve started making my brown sugar rather than buying. You just mix up the sugar with a little molasses in the food processor, easy peasy and it saves money; making your own is about half the price of buying it at the store and I don’t have bags of brown sugar sitting around and possibly getting hard. See Homemade Light or Dark Brown Sugar.

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake


Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast or Brunch
  • Cuisine: Moravian



For The Cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/4 cup butter or 1/2 stick) chilled and cut into small cubes, about 1/2″
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg

For The Topping:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar – packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/4 cup butter or 1/2 stick) chilled and cut into small cubes, about 1/2″


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 pan generously with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Drop in the butter, separating as you do. Toss the butter in the flour mixture, then working with a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like sand.

Add the egg to the milk and stir. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined and moistened. Transfer to prepared baking dish and smooth.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting at the edges, sprinkle this mixture over the batter in the pan. Shake the pan gently to distribute the topping evenly. Scatter the small cubes of butter over the topping. Press each cube into the topping so they are barely visible.

Bake for 23  to 25 minutes or until the top, on a drier spot, springs back up when gently pressed and the edges are slightly brown. The toothpick test is unreliable for this cake.

Notes: May also be baked in 8 or 9″ round pans; check for doneness a few minutes early and watch carefully; timing has not been tested.

Keywords: Breakfast or Brunch Dish, coffee cake, Eggs, milk

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I’ll be sharing Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake at Fiesta Friday #285 this week.

Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake is a heritage recipe; pockets of gooey cinnamon sugar run through the cake & it's the fastest easiest coffee cake, ever! Mix by hand in minutes! #MoravianCinnamonFlopCake #FlopCake #CinnamonFlopCake #MoravianCoffeeCake #CoffeeCake

41 thoughts on “Moravian Cinnamon Flop Cake

  1. Susan Sims

    Hi! I was wondering….could I spread some pie filling in the batter before doing the cinnamon/butter chunk part….or perhaps peach slices? Thinking about trying it. Thanks!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Susan I really couldn’t say that I am a firm believer of playing with my food! I love to hear how it turns out if you try!


      • Susan Sims

        Ha! 😉. I’ll report back….success or failure. I’m going to cut up some sliced canned peaches for the first experiment. I absolutely love your recipe! This is one delicious cake which I’ve actually made in the middle of the night its that easy. When the urge strikes, sometimes you’ve just got to go for it!! Yum, yum at 3 am!

        • Susan Sims

          I did it! Wow! Moravian Peach Flop!! Success with sliced peaches. Sensational in fact. Your recipe except to put 1/2 batter on bottom, sliced peaches drained 15 oz. Placed on batter, spread top layer with remaining batter then topping, etc! Baked for 32 mins. Yum, yum! I hope you try this….I adore recipe “as is” but I just couldn’t help myself! Next time, cherries! 😊

  2. Susan Sims

    What an amazing cake! Easy to make, delicious and absolutely beautiful with all the crunchy “bumps” on the top. I’ve never made a cake that looks like this one and I love it! The brown sugar on the edges seeped down and created the most wonderful crunchy crust. I baked mine in a 9″ x 13″ LeCreuset so the cast iron made it perfect. I used almost 1 cup of dark brown sugar and 2 TBS additional butter as I wanted plenty of topping. Added 1 tsp vanilla to cake batter and will cut the sugar down to 3/4 cup on next one. I think Moravian sugar cake is a good name for it because nothing about it says “flop”!. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love that you loved it!! What a great idea to bake it in the Le Creuset! I don’t have one and I am a little jealous at the thought – I’m a little obsessive about baking and cooking wares! But you did give me the thought that maybe this would be fab in my big cast iron skillet and also the thought that maybe that might have been how it was originally made, maybe even in a spider, one of those cast iron skillets with the legs that nestle in the coals! And more topping could never be wrong!


      • Susan Sims

        No maybe about it! 😋. Give the cast iron a try especially for the delicious browning that it creates. It probably would have originally been cooked in cast iron as it was the most widely used. That and clay/pottery. Love your site!

        • Susan Sims

          Also, Mollie, don’t be jealous about my LeCreuset baking dish. I’ve owned it and a dutch oven for 40 years. It was a big splurge then, but I am 70 years old now and consider it one of the best investments of my life. When I divide what I paid for them by all the years they have been faithfully serving me, the daily cost is pennies. Go ahead and splurge…get yourself one! You will NEVER regret it. You may have a bit of instant “buyer’s remorse” but it will pass the first time you cook with it. Trust me! 😉

          • FrugalHausfrau

            Thanks for the lovely compliment, and It is so true when you buy quality and treat it well it always pays off in the long run!! I do have my Mom’s Le Creuset Dutch oven; she passed in 2000 and had it years and years before then. And I’m sure my kids will fight over it when it’s my time! Hey if I get the casserole, there will be something for each of them, lol!! They’ll probably still fight…

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Oh my gosh that is so nice to know Linda! I always think things look more elegant in around Pan. Hope you enjoy it and remember is best eaten soon. Thanks for sharing your findings with us. Mollie

  3. lindyken

    I’m baking this in a round tin – it is taking longer than 23-25 minutes – I think it’ll be done in 40-45 minutes – the cake batter is totally uncooked in the centre at 25 minutes – edges looking good though! And it smells wonderful! I’ll let you know how it is !

  4. I’m going to have to try this. Up here in Labrador, Canada, the Moravian missionaries set up schools, hospitals and other facilities for the Innu (Indians) and Inuit (Eskimos). It’s nice to see a recipe that connects to that heritage. (And sounds really good!)

    • Cindy Lauxen

      Our family grew up in the Moravian Church in Covina CA. The Moravian Sugar Cake (this exact recipe) was served at our traditional Christmas Candlelight Lovefeast Service.
      All the women in the church would spend a day in the kitchen preparing on Christmas Eve.
      Thanks for the memories!

      Cindy Lauxen

      • FrugalHausfrau

        Hi Cindy, I would have loved to participate in that bake-off! I haven’t heard it called sugar cake but I see why. Thanks so much for commenting. Mollie

      • Roberto Moschella

        Pretty good. Would have been nice to have flavor in the cake part. The timing was way off for me. Made in in an 8in round pan.

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Hi Roberto, thanks for the comment. Yeah, the cake portion is very simple, no vanilla but then I guess there was no vanilla to be had back then!! Did you happen to note what the timing was when you used for the 8″ pans? Just curious!



    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Sheree, its an easy cake to make and kind of fun to put it in the oven and wait to see how it transforms.

      • Jenny

        I’m from Winston Salem, NC home of Old Salem and a large Moravian community. This is a favorite of my family. We still order them from Dewey’s Bakery and Moravian cookies from Mrs Hanes Cookies. They call it Sugar Cake in Winston Salem.

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Oh my gosh, a friend visits that area often and has told me of some of the bakeries and goodies there! I love the name “sugar cake!” Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of the history!


  5. I love cinnamon so that cake is making me drool. Unfortunately, I would be the only one eating it and since you say it doesn’t get better with age, I’d better not make one until I have more eaters to serve it to.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I sometimes bake and then try to pawn things off on the neighbors, but it seems everyone is on a diet these days!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Barb, I have never tested almond flour in this. I did do a search to see if King Arthur flour had written anything about how to sub in amond flour for all purpose bcause of all the baking sites, I absolutely trust them. Everythng I’ve ever made from them whether it ws way back when off the back of a flour bag or their wonderful website has been perfect.

      From what I’m reading, even a 25 percent mix of almond flour and cake flour can affect some recipes while others look like they turn out great. They have a whole list with side by side photos. I think this would taste wonderful wth almond flour in it…how it would look might be a different matter. On the other hand, I just keep thinking, how bad could it be = I mean even if it’s not perfect I’m sure it would taste good!

      Here’s the article and if you try it, I’d love it you’d check back and let us know how it all worked out! I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

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