Piernik is a spiced honey-cake.
I would describe this cake as a “Pseudo-piernik” as granulated sugar rather than honey is used.
My Polish friend in Leeds gave me this recipe and she got it from another Polish lady. The written copy could be described as being in “Ponglish” being written partly in English with additional notes in Polish!
The original recipe used cups which except for liquids I find hard to work with and much prefer weights.
I tried out a few alterations & variations until I reached this final version which I feel is the easiest way to get consistent results.
I made it is two different tins: the longer tin gave a thinner cake which was better for cutting in two and adding a filling, the shorter tin gave a thicker cake which was better with just a topping.
- 225g granulated sugar
- 250ml sunflower oil
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 225g coarse grated carrots
- 225g plain flour
- 3 teaspoons of baking powder
- 2 teaspoons of mixed spice (I use Marks & Spencer’s) or cinnamon
- Grease and line a 32cm x 22cm or a 27cm x 21cm tin.
- Pre-heat oven to GM5 – 190°C
- Mix well together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla essence & orange rind (I use an electric whisk).
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices & salt and lightly mix this into the whisked mixture.
- Mix in the grated carrots.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
- Depending on the tin size, bake for 25 – 35 minutes but keep an eye on it and cover with foil or greaseproof if it starts to burn.
- Leave to cool in the tin.
Finishing – several ways
- Dust with icing sugar
- Drizzle with a melted chocolate & butter mixture
- Cut into two and sandwich together with powidła – Polish plum jam* or sour cherry jam – then dust with icing and drizzle with chocolate & butter topping
- Top with orange butter icing
*Powidła is a lovely spread – often translated as jam but is not really a jam.
It is made from fresh ripe plums which are heated and stirred for hours until the water is driven off and you get a thick paste. The traditional version does not have any extra sugar added.
I bought some in my local Polish shop, I have seen it for sale in glass jars or in plastic tubs.
- 50g of plain chocolate
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan with some water in it.
- Heat the water in the pan and stir the mixture to combine it together.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the mixture over the top of the cake.
Orange Butter Icing
- 50g of butter
- 2 tablespoon of orange juice
- Grated rind of 1/2 a large orange
- Around 250g of icing sugar
- Melt the butter with the juice and rind in a small saucepan.
- Leave to cool slightly.
- Mix in the icing sugar to get a thick spreadable icing.
Royal Albert – Primulette – tea set – from the 1950s
Green teapot – Café Culture by Maxwell Williams
Add 100g of sultanas to the mixture.
I have posted a previous carrot recipe which I have used to make small buns.
The ingredients are similar but in different proportions – soft dark brown sugar is used which is not usually available in Poland.