Cakes & Pastries
There seems to be is no end to the variety of cakes in Poland: yeast cakes, tort(layer cake), poppy seed cakes, apple cakes, cheesecakes, cakes with berries, honey cakes, cakes with nuts and many more. I could write a book just on cakes alone, even on just one type of cake.
The influence of France, Austria and Hungary can be seen or rather tasted in some of the cakes and pastries. This has come about through royal alliances in the past with foreign princesses bringing their chefs to Poland.
There are special cakes for different days of the year especially Easter and Christmas Eve.
A Few Notes on Ingredients
I have adapted some recipes, as did my mother, to take into consideration the availability of ingredients here in England.
Cream in Poland is smetana – soured cream, and before its general availability in England we would use single or double cream with lemon juice added to it.
As in many countries in Europe, there is not any self-raising flour in Poland. There are different flours for bread making and there is a special plain flour for cake making to which you have to add baking powder. Many recipes use potato flour and sometimes cornflour.
Sugar in Poland is from sugar beet and is white sugar so there is not a tradition of cakes with brown sugar or syrup or treacle. Strangely enough the sugar is granulated or icing there is not any caster sugar.
Butter in Poland is unsalted and this although is better for baking and certainly for making butter cream, I do not find it makes enough of a difference to go out and get this type specially, salted will do if that is what you have.
Tort is usually layered up with rich butter cream or similar.
Chocolate is usually dark chocolate.
I am going to start with a Traditional Poppy Seed Cake recipe.