Fans of Moravian Sugar Cake, you will flip for this Moravian Sugar Cake Bread Pudding. Baked French toast by another name, this coffee-cake-soaked-in-custard-and-then-baked is equally at home for brunch or for dessert, or for both!
Feel free to start with stale sugar cake that you’ve purchased, or make your own from my Moravian Sugar Cake recipe.
For ease of browsing, here are all of my custard and pudding recipes in one place. Thanks for stopping by!
First, You Need Some Moravian Sugar Cake
Lord, have mercy. If you are already a fan of Moravian Sugar Cake, Moravian Sugar Cake bread pudding is going to a)change your life and b)require that you order stock in the Stretchy Pants company of your choice.
For those of you not In The Know, Moravian sugar cake is a yeast-raised coffee cake made with a potato enriched dough that is then dimpled kind of like focaccia and baked with lots of butter, sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
That buttery goodness pools in the dimples of the bread, and well, it’s just magical.
If you have easy access to Moravian Sugar Cake because you live around Winston-Salem, North Carolina or around Bethlehem, PA or you actually happen to be Moravian yourself, then you’re good to go.
If, however, you do not have easy access to Moravian Sugar Cake and you still feel Moravian Sugar Cake Baked French Toast calling to you (can you hear it?) you can buy them online from Dewey’s Bakery.
And you can always follow my recipe for Moravian sugar cake with Idaho potatoes. It is dreamy.
How to Prepare Your Moravian Sugar Cake for Baked French Toast Heaven
Once you have your Moravian Sugar Cake, you’ll need to eat some straight away, because you will need some willpower for the next step. So take the edge of your MSC craving before proceeding.
After you have taken the edge off your feeding frenzy, give an 8″ square of Moravian Sugar Cake to someone who maybe hates eating altogether and have them hide it for a week or so until it is hard and crunchy.
You could also achieve this in a very low oven (no higher than 200F), letting the cake dry out for a couple of hours or so.
What you want is for your Moravian Sugar Cake to be a dry sponge just waiting to soak up custardy goodness.
Once you have a stale or dry Moravian Sugar Cake, you are ready to make this bread pudding.
First let me stress that making Moravian Sugar Cake Baked French Toast is the only reason ever you should allow your MSC to get stale. Ever.
How to Make Moravian Sugar Cake Bread Pudding
Making the pudding is a very straightforward process.
The most important part to remember is to allow your stale MSC to soak in the custard long enough that it penetrates all the way to the center.
Here’s the rundown:
- Mix up some brown sugar and browned butter and spread into the bottom of your 9″ square pan. Stick in the fridge to set up.
- Mix up the custard.
- Put your stale Moravian sugar cake in the pan on top of the butter/brown sugar mixture.
- Pour the custard over the MSC, a bit at a time, allowing it to soak in before adding more. You will have some custard leftover. See note below.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to overnight.
- Bake, allow to cool slightly, and enjoy with maple syrup or my maple-sorghum sauce.
NOTE: Depending on how custardy you like your bread pudding, keep the extra custard mixture and add some in after your cake has soaked up all you poured on it initially.
If you like a drier bread pudding with crisp edges, you can use the leftover custard to make regular French toast or maybe some Hawaiian roll French toast muffins.
If you have questions about this post or recipe, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can leave a comment on the post and I will get back to you within about 24 hours.
If your question is more urgent, please shoot me an email, and I will respond within 4 hours, unless I’m asleep.
A Note About Measurements
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend. If you’re unsure, please read my post about how to use a food scale.
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
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I really hope you love this Moravian Sugar Cake Bread Pudding, you guys! It is seriously delicious. Seriously.
Moravian Sugar Cake Bread Pudding
Moravian Sugar Cake bread pudding is the only reason you should ever allow Moravian Sugar Cake to get stale.
Bring out the stretchy pants, because if you're anything like me, you will eat this at any and every opportunity until it is gone.
A stale or oven-dried Moravian Sugar Cake makes the perfect dry sponge to soak up a very standard lightly sweetened custard.
The magic is in the toffee-like layer of brown sugar and browned butter coating the bottom of the pan as well as the sugar topping from the MSC itself. Pure, unadulterated bliss.
To Prepare the Pan
- 3 oz browned butter, , melted
- 3 oz brown sugar, (scant 1/2 cup, packed)
For the Custard (you most likely will not need all of it for this recipe)
- 3 cups whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (1.75 oz) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 8 " or 9" square of stale or dried Moravian Sugar Cake
For the Sorghum Maple Emulsion Sauce (you can use whatever sauce you like, but this stuff is The Best)
- 3 Tablespoons sorghum syrup
- 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons butter, soft but not greasy
- tiny pinch fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
To Prepare the Pan
- Spray a 9" x 9" baking dish with pan spray (or brush it with softened butter)
- Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Drizzle the browned butter over the sugar, trying to soak as much of the sugar as you can.
- Stir the sugar and butter mixture around with a spatula to get most of the sugar "wet" with butter. Spread the butter sugar mixture in the pan as evenly as you can. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes or so, or until the butter/sugar mixture is firm.
For the Custard
- While the browned butter is hardening in the freezer, whisk together the custard.
- Combine all the custard ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to make sure the sugar dissolves. Strain the custard to get out any stray bits of lumpy egg. We don't want that.
- Place the stale Moravian Sugar Cake on the brown butter/sugar mixture. Take a skewer or toothpick and poke holes all over the cake, poking down all the way through.
- Slowly and evenly pour about a cup of the custard over the cake. Let the cake completely absorb the custard, and then evenly pour on another 1/2 to 1 cup of custard and let that soak in. It's fine if the cake floats a tiny bit, but you don't want it bobbing in a sea of custard. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate an hour or two or up to overnight.
- After at least two hours, check the cake and slowly pour on more custard if you think it needs more. It should have swelled up with custard and will fit nicely in the pan, but a bit of extra custard will keep it from getting crunchy edges. It also depends on how custardy you like your French Toast. If you like it super custardy, add some more. If you like yours on the drier side, you can probably leave it like it is.
- About half an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Once your cake is custardy to your liking, bake it on the center rack until the center of the cake reads about 165-170F on an instant read thermometer, about 30-35 minutes. It may still look a bit wet in the very center, but the sides will be nicely set. If you stick a knife in the cake about an inch or so from the center, it should come out clean.
- Cool to warm before serving with the Sorghum Maple Emulsion.
- I strongly encourage you to eat it warm, although it's pretty dang good straight from the fridge too.
- This cake is not an exact science, but I promise you it will be completely worth it once you try it.
To Make the Sorghum Maple Emulsion
- Combine all the ingredients in a small, microwave-safe bowl (or in the top of a double boiler.
- Either way you choose to go, heat the mixture until the butter is about halfway melted.
- Remove it from the heat.
- Either pour the syrup into a blender and blend in high for a few seconds or use an immersion blender to emulsify the sauce into thick, creamy goodness.
- Even though this doesn't sound like a lot of sauce, I promise it's enough to top each serving cut from one pan of Moravian Sugar Cake Baked French Toast.
Since each square of MSC is different and will absorb differing amounts of custard, you may not need all the custard you make. Take any extra custard, pour it into a ramekin or small baking dish and bake the custard at 300F in a water bath until set. Cool to warm before eating, then dig in.
To make this baked French toast fall down solidly on the dessert side of things rather than the breakfast and brunch side, serve with some whipped cream you sweeten lightly with either some sorghum syrup or maple syrup. You will not be sorry.
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Nutrition InformationYield 9 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 289Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 164mgSodium 247mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 0gSugar 26gProtein 6g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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What Others Are Saying...
audrey thompson says
greetings from VERY rural Pa. i have MSC available at our farmers market, but not sorghum syrup..go figure….my query is why is this called a scrumptious breakfast treat of french toast, and not a” delish” dinner dessert of bread pudding?
Jennifer Field says
Hi Audrey! You know, it could have gone either way. I tend to come down on the dessert side of things but I guess there are folks who’d eat this for breakfast as well. Baked French Toast and bread pudding are pretty much the same thing–I just think baked French Toast sounds more…decadent…or something? Totally subjective though! If you do give this a try, let me know what you think!
Betty Ann Quirino says
Oh my lord. I got a head rush reading this post and the recipe. I need this right now. Will put moravian sugar on my shopping list, thanks to you. Thanks for sharing this amazing cake/French toast, Jenni!
Jennifer Field says
The stuff is amazing, BA. I’m not even exaggerating. So good! =)
Suzanne Fondl says
From Bethlehem, though currently living in MA, & one set of great-grandparents were Moravian. Guess I better get those stretchy pants out again!!
Jennifer Field says
You will definitely need them if you decide to make this, Suzanne! =)