A slice of Piernik - Polish gingerbread cake
Food,  Poland

Remembering Poland with Piernik – Polish Gingerbread Cake [Recipe]

Karis loved the gingerbread so much in Poland, it influenced her baking. If you have a sweet tooth and want to remember time spent in Poland, this Polish gingerbread cake is for you.

My trip back in December to Poland (as part of the Poland Tastes Good campaign) and specifically the time spent at the Toruń Living Museum of Gingerbread, inspired me in my baking recently. I wanted a ginger-style baked ‘something’ but wasn’t in the mood for biscuits, so I decided to make a Polish gingerbread cake.

From what I can tell, usually this cake is layered with a plum jam, but I like to experiment and the jar of blueberry and rose jam from Poland (I’m a sucker for baking with florals) was calling me to use it. When I opened it up, I was quite surprised that the texture and consistency weren’t like a jam we know, but more like a fruit puree. Totally adding health points to this cake. It also smells amazing!

Polish blueberry and rose petal jam

I also wanted to add in a bit more of Poland, so I decided to top the cake with a honey glaze made with honey from Jabłonna, home of the Association of Beekeeping Enthusiasts (Stowarzyszenie Nasze Pszczoły), which I also visited during my stay in Poland. I bought quite a bit of their honey to give away as gifts – I realise now that was a bad idea because I only have a little bit for myself! I added some white chocolate later to ‘jazz things up’.

Polish honey glaze

What is piernik?

If you’ve read anything else I’ve written for Ladies What Travel, it will come as no surprise that I’m all over food with a history. Polish gingerbread certainly fits that criterion. As far back as the 13th Century, gingerbread has been made in Toruń and while it has changed somewhat over the years, it’s considered a national icon. An excellent basis for a sweet tooth like myself to remember my time in Poland, so here goes:

Piernik Polish Recipe

This cake has a lovely spice and is very light. It would look great on an afternoon tea table and is a fancier alternative to gingerbread biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 140 grams butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 300 grams honey
  • 100 grams light brown sugar
  • 375 grams self-raising flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspooon ground pepper
  • 3 large eggs

Filling

  • Around 100 grams of a jam of your choice

Topping

  • 20 grams honey
  • 20 grams salted butter
  • 50 grams of melted white chocolate for drizzling purposes
Piernik - Polish gingerbread ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Grease and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Put the honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. Put the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix everything together.
  5. Once the liquid ingredients have cooled, whisk in the eggs.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients, whisking them together to form a smooth batter – keep in mind that overmixing can lead to a dry cake.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, slice the cake in two, horizontally – I use cake levelling tool, but you can use a good bread knife and some toothpicks (here’s a tutorial).
  9. Spread the jam across the bottom layer, then pop the other layer back on top.
  10. Now for the glaze. Put the honey and butter into a microwave-proof bowl and pop it in the microwave until runny.
  11. Put the cake on the serving plate you’re using and then pour over the glaze, making sure you get even coverage.
  12. Melt your white chocolate and then drizzle over the cake with a spoon (if you’re patient, you can certainly transfer to a piping bag and do it properly – I quite like the rustic look!).
Piernik - Polish gingerbread cake
Piernik - Polish gingerbread cake with blueberry and rose petal jam.
Piernik reading for eating

Piernik – Polish gingerbread cake to remind me of Poland – Pin for later!

Spicy, light and paired perfectly with a mug of hot chocolate or Earl Grey tea sweetened with honey. I can highly recommend making this cake as a treat to share with friends.

Remembering Poland with Piernik

Disclaimer: I was invited on a press trip for the ‘Poland Tastes Good’ campaign to try some of the lesser-known food products in Poland. However, as always, all my thoughts above are my honest opinions.

Karis is an Aussie living in Bristol. During the working week, she works in communications, and in her spare time she’s scouring the Internet for cool places to visit and great travel deals, as well as talking about food on her podcast, At the Sauce. She loves good food and history, so her travel itineraries usually reflect this. Places she loves include Vietnam, Japan, France and Spain. Places she can’t wait to get to include Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Poland and Georgia.

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