Drożdżówka – Yeast Cake

The Polish word for yeast is drożdże and drożdżówka is any sweet cake or bun made using yeast.

Often the cake is a large flat cake ( placek) made in a large roasting tin.

This yeast cake is made with plain flour not strong flour and the mixture is mixed with a wooden spoon to form a soft mixture and is not kneaded.

My late father has two cousins living in Białystok, North East Poland, they are both wonderful cooks.

This yeast cake is based on a recipe given to me by one of these aunties.

As with any recipe made with yeast, timings are so unpredictable depending on many variables including the room temperature.

I always bake with yeast when I am at home for most of the day with other activities to do whilst waiting for the dough to rise etc.


Yeast Cake

400g plain flour

250ml of tepid milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

150g of raisins or sultanas

10g of fresh yeast or 5g of dried yeast

Crumble Topping

2 tablespoons of plain flour

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar


Mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and leave this till it starts bubbling.

In a bowl whisk together the egg  and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.

Add the oil and whisk again.

Add the milk and the raisins or sultanas and mix well.

Add the flour and mix this all together with a wooden spoon to form a very loose, soft dough.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a cloth and leave in a warm place to rise.

Make the crumble topping by rubbing the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs and then stir in the sugar.

Grease and line a large roasting tin.

25cm x 34 cm or 22cm x 32cm.

Put the risen dough into the tin – use a spatula to spread it out.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top and leave to rise again.



Pre-heat the oven to  GM6 – 200°C.

Place the risen cake into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Then lower the temperature to GM5 – 190°C and bake for another 10 minutes – keeping an eye on this and cover with foil if it looks like it is burning.

You might want also want to move it down a shelf for the last 5  minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then take it out and remove from the greaeproof paper – so it does not go soggy on the base.


Served on Sonnet by Royal Doulton, 1971 – 1998.

As with most yeast cakes this is best eaten as soon as possible as it will soon go stale – you might need to invite round lots of friends and family!

If all is not eaten on the day of baking, I cut the cake into slices and pack into a plastic container and freeze – these are then toasted and served with butter at a later date.







Toasted and buttered yeast cake served on Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.


The dried fruits added can be varied  and I have made this with raisins, mixed peel and 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.





Served on Counterpoint by Royal Doulton, 1973 – 1987.

Other dried fruit options can be used, such as apricots, cranberries, pears or prunes and so on,  chopping larger fruits into small pieces.

I made this with apricots, sultanas and a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence.


The dried fruits add sweetness to the cake and I think the small amount of sugar works well – you can if you like add a few extra tablespoons of sugar.





Karpatka – Carpathian Mountain Cake

Karpatka – Carpathian Mountain Cake  – gets its name as the top looks like the rugged mountains and the icing sugar dusting looks like a fine covering of snow.

The Carpathian Mountains – Karpaty in Polish –  are a mountain range in an arc roughly 1,500 kilometres in central and eastern Europe; part of the range is in Southern Poland  and can be described as Alpine.



It is made with 2 layers of  choux pastry with vanilla pastry cream in between the layers and the top dusted with icing sugar.

Choux Pastry

This was invented by an Italian chef in the mid 16th century and soon became popular in France.  It gets its name from the French for cabbage as the little buns made from this pastry  looked like little cabbages.

It is made without any raising agent. It is the large water content in the dough which turns to steam in the high oven temperature which causes the pastry to rise.

I read loads of conflicting advice on how to make choux pastry. 

My first attempt came out more like a Yorkshire pudding.

After several attempts I  now have a recipe that works.


6 eggs

300ml of water

2 teaspoon of granulated sugar

200 g of plain flour or strong plain flour *

100g butter

pinch of salt

*Using strong flour gives a drier pastry whilst using plain flour gives a softer pastry.


Pre-heat the oven to GM6 200°C

Grease 2 equal sized rectangular baking trays with sides or a large rectangular tin.

Put the water, pinch of salt, sugar  and the butter into a saucepan.

Heat gently so the butter melts and then slowly bring this to the boil.



Sift the flour.

Taking the pan off the heat add the flour, all in one go.

Return the pan to a gentle heat.

Using a wooden spoon blend this all  together until the dough forms a ball in the middle of the pan.








Take the pan off the heat and put the dough into a bowl and leave till it is completely cold.

Add the eggs one by one, continually blending the mixture. You can use a wooden spoon to do this – I have found it easier to start with an electric whisk to begin with and then cahnge to a wooden spoon at the end.  You get a thick paste type mixture.



Divide the mixture between the two trays and spread it out to fill the tray – do not smooth down the top – you want to have rough peaks.

Bake for  10 minutes.

Increase the heat up GM7 and bake for another 10 minutes

Using a cake tester make holes in the top of the pastry to remove some of the steam.

Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.

The pastry should be ready now, test to see if it feels dry – if not return for a few more minutes.

Vanilla Pastry Cream


Budyń made with 500ml of milk. (see previous post)

3 tablespoons  of granulated sugar

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

1 egg yolk

125g butter


Cream together the butter, sugar and egg yolk till pale and fluffy.

Add the vanilla essence and mix this in well.

Add the budyń, spoonful by spoonful, mixing it well in.

Assembling the Cake


Whilst testing this recipe, I used half quantities of the choux pastry – ie just 1 tray – and cut this in half – the photographs – reflect this.

Great Cake Lifter






Place one piece of the baked pastry onto a serving board.

Cover the pastry with all the  pastry cream spreading it evenly  to the edges.

Place the second piece of pastry on top.

Dust the top lightly with icing sugar.

Cut into squares to serve.


Served on Las Palmas by Aynsley  from the 1960s.

Easier Option

Though not as authentic but easier you can just use the chilled budyń on its own as the filling.

Served here on  Greenaway by John Russell from the 1960s.



Budyń – Polish Custard

Budyń is similar to the thick English custard that is used on trifes, rather than the pouring type.

The word comes from the French  –  boudin, as does the English word pudding.
It is made from milk, egg yolks, sugar  and potato flour & flavoured most often with vanilla.

I have found numerous recipes – this one is my favourite.

I think this is best eaten after it has been very well chilled.


500ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

1 tablespoonful of butter

3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

3 drops of vanilla  essence

2- 3 tablespoonfuls of potato starch (you can use cornflour – if potato flour is not available)

3 egg yolks


Put 300ml of the milk, the butter, sugar and the vanilla essence into a saucepan.

Heat gently till the butter had melted and the sugar dissolve, stirring all the time.

Bring this to the boil for a few seconds and then take of the heat.

Blend together the rest of the milk (200ml) with the egg yolks and potato flour.

Add some of the boiled mixture to this and stir well.

Add this to the rest of  the boiled mixture and stir well.


Put the pan back on the heat and bring back to boiling point, stirring gently.

Keep at boiling for 1 minute, stirring all the time.

Pour into a glass dish (or several small dishes) – leave to cool.

You can cover the budyń with greasproof paper to stop a skin forming.







Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve with grated chocolate, fruit or fruit syrup.


Served  here in Art Deco sundae/trifle glass dishes from the 1930s.

Packet Budyń

Budyń can be made from packet ingredients with fresh milk.

The ingredients are cornflour & potato flour with flavouring.


This is similar to  British Birds custard which is made from cornflour and flavouring and added to fresh milk.

The budyń comes out thicker – not a pouring sauce,

Using Budyń

Budyń is used in cakes and pastries as a filling and to make  vanilla pastry cream used in several recipes including Karpatka (recipes to follow in future posts) Carpathian Mountain Cake.


When I visit my friend in The Netherlands we often have vla for dessert – this is very similar to budyń.

Vla used to be sold in bottles but more often now comes in cartons.  Originally it was also made from milk, sugar and eggs  but now the thickening is more usually cornflour.

With yoghurt

In the Netherlands,  vla is often mixed with yoghurt.

I mix roughly equal parts of budyń with chilled Greek yoghurt and whisk it together to get a well combined mixture.

This can be served with grated chocolate, fruit or fruit syrup.




1930s Art Deco glass dish



Ribs with Sauerkraut

For this dish use the best pork you can buy – I used some locally reared Yorkshire pork.


1 -2  racks of pork ribs

900ml – large jar of sauerkraut

2 onions – thinly sliced – fried.

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 tablespoon of sugar (more or less depends on the sourness of the sauerkraut)

4-5 peppercorns

350ml- of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate) – extra might be needed for topping up.

Caraway Seeds


Take the sauerkraut out of the jar and put into a saucepan with any liquid from the jar.

Cover the sauerkraut with water and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3- 160°C

You need a large oven proof dish with a lid  – I use an enameled dish.

Put the sauerkraut, and any liquid, and onions in the dish and mix well.

Add, caraway, garlic, sugar & peppercorns.

Pour most of the stock over the sauerkraut mixture.

Place the ribs on top of the sauerkraut and pour the rest of the stock over them.





Put the lid on the dish and place in the oven.

Check on the liquid level during the cooking time and add any extra needed so it does not dry out.

Move some of the sauerkraut  mixture over the ribs.

Cook for 3-4 hours.

This would usually be served with either rye bread or boiled potatoes.

Kotlety with Cabbage

On my last trip to Poland my  cousin in Białystok suggested this variation on kotlety mielone – minced meat burgers.

The idea is to add shredded white cabbage to the minced meat mix.

I used the following  amounts by weight:

2 parts minced meat : 1 part cabbage – you can go up to equal weights of each.


500g beef mince

250g white cabbage

1 onion – chopped fine

3  tablespoons semolina*

2 eggs

Dried breadcrumbs

Salt  and pepper

* I used semolina instead of my usual white bread soaked in milk – I was pleased with this as an alternative.

Sunflower oil  for frying


Chop the onion fine and fry in a little hot oil till lightly browned then leave till cold.

Cut the cabbage into fine shreds and then across so you have small squarish pieces.

In a large bowl mix the minced meat and cabbage till they are evenly mix.

Add the fried onions and mix again.

Add the eggs and mix.

Add the semolina, salt and pepper and mix until you get a uniform mixture.


Try to make each one the same size, take a handful of the mixture and press it between your hands to make a flattened circle and then place this in the dried breadcrumbs and turn it over to cover both sides and edges.


Once coated place them on a tray dusted with breadcrumbs until you have used all the mixture up.

Shallow fry the kotlety in hot oil, depending on the frying pan size,  you can do 3 to 4 at a time, turning them over so that both sides are done. Place them on kitchen roll on a plate or metal tray till they are all cooked –  you can keep them warm in a low oven.




I had found I like these more when they have been in the oven for a while after frying – evenly cooked through.

These can be served in many ways, with boiled or mashed potatoes or rice and a variety of salads.









Served  here with steamed & buttered new potatoes and carrot & apple salad – on

Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998.

Version 2 – using Cooked Cabbage

Whilst doing some research on this recipe,  I found that some cooks used cooked cabbage rather than raw.


As above but this time with 400g – 500g of uncooked white cabbage  (around the same weight as the minced meat).


Chop the cabbage into large pieces and steam it till cooked.

Dry the cabbage with a clean tea towel to get rid of as much water as possible.

Chop the cabbage into very fine pieces.

Proceed as in the method above.










For both versions, should you have any left,  you can reheat them in sauce made with chicken or vegetable stock.

Ribs with Cabbage

Once when on a visit to my late cousin, Krystyna, in the Mazurian lakes, many years ago, she made this dish with pork ribs.



The Mazurian Lakes – The Land  of a thousand lakes in North East Poland.

Maybe because it was the summer time or maybe the type of pork but I remember this meat as being so flavoursome.

It was as a really delicious meal  with the meat just falling of the bones  and we ate the ribs with lovely mashed potatoes.

Use the best pork you can buy – I used some locally reared Yorkshire pork.


1 or 2 racks of pork ribs

2  carrots – coarse grated

2 onions – sliced thinly

Half a head of a small cabbage – cut into fine shreds.

3-4 allspice berries

3-4 peppercorns

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

500ml of chicken stock & more for top-up (can be from a cube or concentrate)


Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Use a large oven proof dish with a lid.

Put the carrots, onions and cabbage into the dish.

Add the allspice, peppercorns and garlic

Pour the stock over the vegetables.


Place the ribs so they sit on top of the vegetables.

Put the lid on top and cook in the oven for several hours.

Check occasionally and add more stock if required.

Lower the temperature of the oven to GM 2 – 150°C for a few more hours-  OR – take out of the oven and reheat for several hours at  GM4 – 180°C the next day.

Tomato Variation

After the original cooking – the next day add stock which has had 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato puree added to it.


Zrazy – made with Minced Meat

These zrazy are like the ones made with braising beef in that the minced meat mixture surrounds various stuffings.

The minced meat mixture  is similar to kotlety mielone  &  pulpety – but  zrazy are cooked differently.

You take a large handful of minced meat mixture , place the stuffing on it and then close up the mixture so you have an oval shape with the stuffing on the inside.


500g minced beef

1 beaten egg

4 tablespoons of semolina

1 onion chopped and fried

Salt & pepper

plain flour for coating

Sunflower oil for frying


500ml of chicken stock

1 -2 bay leaves

3-4 Peppercorns

2-3 Allspice berries


Two stuffings often used are –

Pieces of bottled peppers








Sticks of Gouda cheese or similar



Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C

Mix the beef, fried onion, egg and semolina together.

Season with salt & pepper.

Divide the mixture into around 6 pieces

Flatten out each piece and place the stuffing in the centre.

Close up the mixture around the stuffing to make an oval shaped ball.

Dust the ball with plain flour.


Lightly seal these by browning then in hot oil.


Place the zrazy into an oven proof dish – one that has a lid – so they are not touching.

Pour in the stock – enough to have some at the bottom but do not cover the zrazy.


Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 1 -2 hours.


You can thicken the stock that the zrazy are cooked in with cornflour or you can add other ingredients such as fried mushrooms and soured cream when you come to serve them.




Two shown here – cut through – one with cheese & one with peppers,  served with a mushroom and soured cream sauce.

Served on Royal Doulton  Carnation – 1982-1998