Makes 16 servings
2 packages active dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup lukewarm milk
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½ cup sugar
½ cup soft shortening
1 teaspoon salt
All-purpose flour (4 1/2 to 5 cups)
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon milk powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 small egg
1. Soften yeast in warm water for five minutes. Meanwhile, mix milk, sugar, shortening and salt. Stir in dissolved yeast mixture, then eggs. Mix flour in with a spoon, then use your hands until you have added enough flour to make the dough easy to handle.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Oil top of dough and place in an oiled, covered bowl. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until it doubles in size, about 1½ to 2 hours. Punch down, cover and let rise again. After the second rising, round up and let rest 15 minutes so dough is easy to handle. Spread dough evenly into a 12-by-15-inch sheet pan and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. For the butter topping, cream sugars, butter, milk powder, vanilla and salt. Mix in egg. Spread butter topping evenly over dough. Let dough rise until light, about 15 to 30 minutes. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cake should be golden brown but still somewhat wobbly when done.
—Adapted by The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore pastry chef Gerhard Kadolph