This week is budget week, and this is indeed a budget cake. Most of the ingredients are cheap ingredients that most people have in their pantry. The only “expensive” ingredient is the vegan butter that you put on the top, and the vegan milk of choice. But I used some homemade oatmilk, making it only cost pennies.

What I find really interesting about this recipe is how information changes from the American Cakes book when I start googling things. The book described this as a coffee cake, to much confusion to the international audience. No- there is no coffee flavor to this cake. Rather this is a cake you would have with your afternoon coffee, much like a teacake is for when you have tea. Most American coffee cakes are usually unfrosted, and have crumb topping. This cake has a crisp sugar topping instead of the crumb, which I haven’t really seen before. But some quick googling shows that most people describe this as a breakfast food. It might seem far fetched but makes sense, it is quick to make and by today’s standard of donuts and danishes, it isn’t so bad.

All the recipes that came up have an interesting marbling effect. Well, this is because the photos in the book doesn’t quite portray this, so I didn’t understand the recipe. I kept the slices of butter near the top and very thin. Most people I think put bigger chunks and dunk them deep into the batter. So I will give directions for my way of making this cake, but you can easily dip the butter further down the batter.

Many people say it is a variation of a Swedish Flop Cake, which seems like a stretch. There are many people describing the cake as having an Amish background. This seems really plausible. A recipe from American Cakes that I’ve been dying to try is the Moravian Sugar Cake, which seems to have similar buttery dimples in it.

So why is it a Cinnamon Flop? As Anne Byrn puts it

Could this coffee cake be named because the cook forgot the eggs and thought it would be a flop? Or was “flop” a corruption of the word “flap”, and could this have been an early breakfast recipe like flapjacks (pancakes) except without eggs? Webster’s dictionary says the first use of the word “flop” in America was 1728, a year after the Amish arrived.

Cinnamon Flop
This is a quick and cheap cake to make on the fly
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  1. 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  3. 4 tbsp canola oil
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  6. 2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1 cup oat milk, at room temperature
  9. 2 tablespoons cold vegan butter
  1. 1 Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and flour an 8" square baking pan, and set aside.
  2. 2 Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside, this will be the topping for the cake.
  3. 3 Place the oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and cream together until well combined.
  4. 4 In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. 5 Add a third of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar and stir to combine. Add half of the room-temperature milk, and stir to combine. Add another third of the flour mixture, stir, then the rest of the milk, stir, and then add the remaining flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Do not overbeat.
  6. 6 Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Slice the vegan butter into 8 thin slices. I places them evenly on top of the batter*.Sprinkle the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly over the top of the batter. Place the pan in the oven.
  7. 7 Bake the cake until the center springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 30-35 minutes. Serve warm.
  1. * Alternatively you can poke them into the cake AFTER sprinkling the sugar, and you will get stronger dimples and possibly some marbling in the cake, if you poke far enough
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