In Poland, an aromatic cake made with gingerbread dough is an integral part of Christmas. It is packed with spicy aromas and a deliciously intense taste. It can be found in almost every Polish household where baking this delicious cake is a cherished family tradition that is popular even with the youngest. Along with carp, pierogi and cabbage with mushrooms, gingerbread is a symbol of Christmas in Poland.
Gingerbread dough is usually leavened with baking powder or baking soda. Most people use a mix of wheat and rye flour to bake this cake. Honey and spices are added to the recipe to give the gingerbread dough its characteristically aromatic taste. Natural honey is added after melting or after lightly browning. However, you can also replace it with artificial honey or a mixture of sugar and caramel. The main spices used are cinnamon and cloves. Small amounts of nutmeg, ginger and allspice can be added optionally if desired. Alternatively, you can also use a store-bought finely ground gingerbread spice mix. This cake should be baked a few days before being eaten as it takes time to soften to the right texture. It is best to store the cake in a cool, dry place where it can be kept in a closed container for several months.
350 g honey
200 g sugar
4 eggs, separate the yolks and egg whites
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter
1 kg flour (half wheat, half rye)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
Caramel made from a teaspoon of sugar
200 g roughly chopped walnuts
100 g blanched sultanas (raisins)
Butter to grease the cake tin
Method of preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Cream the butter until it is light and fluffy.
3. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar. Mix the baking powder in the flour. Add these to the creamed butter along with melted honey and caramel (wet a teaspoon of sugar with water and brown in a small saucepan).
4. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon to form a smooth dough.
5. Add nuts and sultanas.
6. Stir in all the spices and fold in the beaten egg whites.
7. Knead the dough carefully and transfer it to a greased cake tin.
8. Place it in your preheated oven and bake for about 50 minutes.
9. Test to see if it's done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, take it out of the oven.
10. Lift the cake out of the pan once it has completely cooled.
Recipe variations: You can replace the raisins with candied orange peel or leave out the nuts altogether. After the cake has cooled, you can cut it in half horizontally and spread a layer of jam in between the two halves.
So get started on this delicious recipe right away and enjoy it with your loved ones - Merry Christmas!
This article was submitted by Aleksandra, a member of Team Poland at Piccantino. Thank you, Alex!