Sugar Cakes

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Looking for a foolproof treat that combines the best of cookies and cakes? Try these Sugar Cakes! Made with everyday ingredients, these cookies bake up soft, fluffy and oh so tender! They’re perfect for sharing, gifting, or enjoying yourself!

sugar cakes with colorful sprinkles on a plate.

Welcome to the sweet simplicity of Sugar Cakes! These delightful treats are more than just cookies; they’re a nostalgic nod to the comfort of home baking. Originating from an Amish recipe, Sugar Cakes capture the essence of homemade goodness with their light, fluffy texture and classic flavor. 

I got the idea for making these Sugar Cakes from my dad. On a recent trip to visit my brother who lives near Amish country in Pennsylvania, my dad stopped to buy a few packs of sugar cakes at a local market. His enjoyment of these sugar cakes spiked my interest, so I decided to see if I could make them myself. 

I did just that and as it turns out, they are so easy to make! And, according to my dad, mine tasted better! If you’re looking for a sweet treat that’s simple, classic, and delicious, I recommend trying this recipe! 

two sugar cakes with sprinkles on a plate.
platter full of sugar cakes.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Sugar Cakes merge the soft, fluffy texture of cake with a cookie’s convenience and size making them a perfect snack alongside your favorite cup of coffee or tea. Their light and tender crumb sets them apart, offering a uniquely enjoyable eating experience!
  • These cookies are the epitome of user-friendly baking. The recipe is straightforward with no fancy techniques or obscure ingredients making it accessible for bakers of all skill levels. 
  • Sugar Cakes are incredibly adaptable, serving as a delicious canvas for culinary creativity. Add a hint of lemon zest for a zesty twist, or fold in some cocoa powder for chocolate lovers. The recipe invites you to experiment with different flavors ensuring that there’s a Sugar Cake to match any preference.
  • Not only are these cookies wonderful for treating yourself, but they’re also great for sharing. A single batch yields an amount perfect for gatherings, gift-giving, or filling up your cookie jar. 

Looking for more fun cookies? Check out this collection of my best unique cookie recipes. There are so many you’ll love!

platter filled with sugar cakes and two served on a small plate.

Ingredients

Simple ingredients make up these Sugar Cakes. Here’s what you will need: 

  • Vegetable Shortening (Crisco) – This ingredient is the secret to the light and fluffy texture of the cookies, providing a stable base that helps them maintain their delightful softness.
  • Sugar – Essential for sweetness, sugar enhances the flavor and contributes to the golden color and tender texture.
  • Eggs – Eggs bind the ingredients together and add moisture, contributing to the cookies’ rich flavor and delicate crumb.
  • Vanilla Extract – A splash of vanilla adds a warm, aromatic flavor that complements the sweetness of the cookies, giving them a classic and universally loved taste.
  • Buttermilk – The slight tang of buttermilk enriches the cookies with a subtle complexity and ensures they remain moist and tender.
  • Baking Soda – Acts as a leavening agent, helping the cookies rise and achieve their characteristic light and airy texture.
  • Flour – The backbone of any cookie, flour provides structure, ensuring the Sugar Cakes hold their shape while staying soft and chewy.
  • Salt – Just a pinch enhances the flavors of the other ingredients, balancing the sweetness and bringing out the best in the cookies.
  • Baking Powder – Works with the baking soda to ensure the cookies puff up nicely making them irresistibly soft and fluffy.
  • Coarse Sugar and Sprinkles – These add a bit of crunch and festive color to the tops of your Sugar Cakes making them as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate.
three rows of sugar cakes on a platter.

How To Make

And with that, we’re ready to get baking! I’ll walk you through the steps below. I’ve also provided a full ingredient list and detailed instructions in the printable recipe card below. 

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add the vanilla extract.
bowl of batter making sugar cakes.
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda into the buttermilk until well combined.
  2. Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the sugar and shortening mixture, mixing after each addition until just combined.
spatula stirring batter for sugar cakes in a bowl.
unbaked sugar cakes on a cookie sheet with sprinkles.
  1. Drop large spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (12 to a sheet) and sprinkle with coarse sugar or sprinkles. Bake for about 13 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown around the edges.
  2. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

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It’s that simple! The classic flavor of these cookies is something everyone will love. 

I had fun decorating some of my Sugar Cakes with red and white sprinkles for a Fourth of July celebration

two sugar cakes with sprinkles on a plate.
sugar cakes served on a table with some on plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use butter instead of vegetable shortening? 

I recommend vegetable shortening for achieving the lightest and fluffiest texture; you can substitute butter if you prefer, but be mindful that butter may cause the cookies to spread a bit more and have a slightly different texture. You may want to substitute with butter-flavored vegetable shortening. 

Why is my dough sticky and how can I handle it? 

If your dough turns out sticky, it is often due to variations in flour types or environmental humidity. Simply dust your hands and work surface with a bit of flour, or chill the dough for 30 minutes to make it easier to handle.

How long will these cookies stay fresh? 

Sugar Cakes will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (or longer according to my dad). Also, you can freeze the baked cookies for up to three months, ensuring you have a delicious treat on hand anytime.

Absolutely! As I mentioned above, these cookies are a fantastic base for customization. Feel free to add chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, or spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to the dough before baking to create your unique version.

What’s the best way to store these cookies to maintain their softness? 

To keep your Sugar Cakes soft and delicious, store them in an airtight container. 

rows of sugar cakes on a platter.

Thank you for joining me in baking these charming Sugar Cakes! I hope you enjoy making and tasting them as much as I enjoy sharing them. If you try this old-fashioned recipe and love it, please stop back and leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. 

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three rows of sugar cakes on a platter.

Sugar Cakes

Looking for a foolproof treat that combines the best of cookies and cakes? Try these Sugar Cakes! Made with everyday ingredients, these cookies bake up soft, fluffy and oh so tender! They’re perfect for sharing, gifting, or enjoying yourself!
Print Pin Rate
Course: cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, cake cookies, cookie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
13 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 40
Calories: 151kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then, add the vanilla extract.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda into the buttermilk until well combined.
  • Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the sugar and shortening mixture, mixing after each addition until just combined.
  • Drop large spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (12 to a sheet) and sprinkle with coarse sugar or sprinkles. Bake for about 13 minutes or until the sugar cakes are slightly brown around the edges.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Nutrition

Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

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