The Tradition Behind the Preacher's Cake

It's an after-dinner treat for all occasions.

Pumpkin Spice-Heath Cake
Photo: Alison Miksch

Does your preacher still stop by for weekly dinners? (If this cake were on the menu, it would be hard to stay away.)

Weekly or monthly dinners with the preacher call for a dessert that's easy and delicious—namely, a preacher's cake. What makes a preacher's cake? Well, this particular dessert comes in all forms and flavors. It began as an all-encompassing term for the cake a host or hostess would bake in preparation for inviting a visiting preacher to their home for dinner. That's why this cake is all about hospitality. When inviting guests into your home, a delicious dessert goes a long way in the effort of welcoming them—and if the dessert is easy to prepare, that's just a winning bonus.

Now, these cakes are the go-to dessert for any and every Southern host when they're expecting company. Simplicity is the name of the game with this style of cake. It must be easy to prepare and simple to serve, and it must use basic ingredients already on hand. Any preacher's cake worth its salt (or sugar, as the case may be) is easy to whip up when company's coming. It doesn't require much attention and can get to the table without making too much of a culinary fuss. The flavors are usually spice-, pineapple-, and/or coconut-based, so they are often compared to a classic Hummingbird Cake.

You can find a classic Easy Preacher's Cake recipe from Kraft. Filled with flavors of pineapple and coconut, it uses eight basic ingredients (including a spice cake mix, coconut, pecans, and cream cheese, among others) to produce a satisfying cake with enough leftovers to send home with your guests. We also like the looks of the cream cheese-frosted preacher's cake recipes shared by South Your Mouth and NKGriffith at Epicurious.

WATCH: We Cracked the Case of the Hummingbird Cake

What's your go-to preacher's cake recipe? Do you make a classic hummingbird cake, or do you have another traditional recipe you like to make when company's coming?

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