This is an heirloom recipe I received while visiting Old Salem, North Carolina. It’s a simple Czech dessert that came to this country with an early wave of immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The secret ingredient is mashed potatoes, which make the cake moist with a good crumb. Eat a slice while it’s still warm from the oven with a cup of hot black tea.



  • 1 package active yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 3/4 cup cooked mashed potatoes, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperatue
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Topping
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into slices


  1. Butter two 8-inch square pans
  2. Mix yeast and cooled potatoes together and let sit for at least 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
  3. Stir the sugar, milk and egg into the yeast mixture.
  4. Whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour to the dough in half cup incrèments until you have a soft, but not sticky dough.
  5. Work the melted butter into the dough. If it gets too sticky, add more flour.
  6. Divide the dough between the two prepared baking pans. Cover and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Cut the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter together with a fork to blend.
  8. After rising, use your knuckle to make indentations in the tops. Scatter the sugar cinnamon butter mix over the tops. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned.