Miodownik – 3

  • This is honey & spice cake, which could be made for Christmas time.
  • I saw this cake recently in a post by Thistles and Kiwis thistlesandkiwis.org whose interesting blog I follow. 
  • It is adapted from “In Good Company” by Sophie Hansen.
  • I have adapted it a little to make it more like a Polish Cake.
  • In this cake butter is used rather than oil as in my Mama’s miodownik.
  • This cake can be made at the last minute for Wigilia(Christmas Eve) or Christmas Day.

Ingredients

  • 150g butter
  • 240g runny honey
  • 260g plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 eggs – beaten
  • 200g full fat Greek style yoghurt
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust or lemon icing

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Grease and line a 32 x 22cms or 26 x 20cm cake tin.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Add the honey and mix well together.
  • Add the orange zest.
  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Mix the baking powder and flour together.
  • Add the sugar and spices.
  • Add the eggs and yoghurt and mix well.
  • Add the butter and honey mixture.
  • Mix everything together to give a thick batter.
  • Pour into the prepared tin.
  • Cook for 30 -35 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • *
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve or glaze with a thin lemon icing.*

Royal Standard – Lyndale tea plate – 1949 – 1960.

*Option – Add a Chocolate glaze – this one was some Chocolate with Orange Peel melted with butter.

 

  • The china tray is by Ross Dean in Burslem
  • The octagonal tea plate is by Paragon – Made in England and hand-painted. 

Miodownik – Honey Spice Cake 2

Miód is the Polish word for honey and  Miodownik is a Honey Cake which usually contains spices.

These cakes have been known in Poland since the 12th century and the  spices would have come from Turkey (originally brought back by the crusaders) or India.

The main spices used are cinnamon and cloves with the addition according to different recipes of cardamon, black pepper, caraway, nutmeg, and sometimes as in this recipe – ginger and then in later recipes allspice, which is from the New World.

Honey was the original sweetener, long before sugar and there are many traditional recipes that use honey not only in cakes, but also in meat dishes.

I learnt recently that my paternal grandfather kept bees and that my dad’s sister, my godmother, helped to look after them.

I was given this recipe recently and it is similar to one I have posted before, which was my mother’s recipe.  Her recipe used sunflower oil which is a more recent addition to recipes in Polish cookery whilst this one uses soured cream.

I had a large jar of Polish honey and used some for this recipe.

It is a dense squidgy cake which is lovely and moist.

Honey cakes are served over the Christmas Period in Poland.

Ingredients

  • 300ml clear honey
  • 225g granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 250ml soured cream
  • 290g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Method

  • Use a 23cm loose bottomed or springform tin
  • Grease and line the base or use a cake liner.
  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 – 180º C.
  • In a small saucepan bring the honey to the boil and then leave to cool.
  • In a separate bowl mix the flour,  bicarbonate of soda and the spices.
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.
  • Whisk in the soured cream.
  • Whisk in the cooled honey.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and mix well together.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and fold these cake mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  • Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around  60- 65 minutes.
  • Take care as this has a tendency to burn at the top, you might need to cover it after about 45mins hour with a piece of greaseproof paper of aluminium foil.
  • Test to make sure it is cooked through with a fine cake tester.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.
  • *
  • This cake has a tendency to sink a little in the middle – nothing to worry about!

 

Tea plates – Bramble Rose by Duchess –  from the 1960s

Tea cups – Harvest Pink by Queen Anne – 1959 – 1966

Note

  • The instructions were for a round cake – the second time I made this I used a 32 x 22cm greased and lined tin.
  • The timings are roughly the same.
  • The cake is easier to cut into portions.
  • It is not quite as moist or squidgy as the deeper round version.
  • Wrapping it in aluminium foil and put in an airtight box will make it softer over time.
  • *
  • A loose bottomed deep square tin may be better and easier to get the cake out – but I do not have one of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miodownik – Piernik – Honey Spice Cake

Miód is the Polish word for honey and so Miodownik is a Honey Cake which usually contains spices. Pierna is an old Polish word for spices and so Piernik is also a Honey Spice Cake.

Some sources say the name is from pieprz – pepper or piorun – thunderbolt or devil – because of its spiciness.

These cakes have been known in Poland since the 12th century and the  spices would have come from Turkey (originally brought back by the crusaders) or India.

Honey was the original sweetener, long before sugar and there are many traditional recipes that use honey not only in cakes, but also in meat dishes.

When you travel in Poland you will find many village ladies selling their own honey, the taste varies greatly depending on where the bees have found their flowers and the honey from a forest region is dark and very flavoursome.

Piernik  can vary  from a soft dense cake to a drier but soft biscuit.

The Polish town of  Toruń is famous for its piernik and  Chopin was very found of this.

Pierniki(plural) coated with chocolate are called Katarzynki –  which means Katherine’s cakes – named after Katarzyna the daughter of one of the bakers.

Similar cakes are found throughout Europe including the French pain d’éspices, the Dutch peperkoek and the German lebkuchen.

Miodownik  and piernik are often translated as  Gingerbread but ginger is a spice rarely used in Polish cookery.

The main spices used are cinnamon and cloves with the addition according to different recipes of cardamon, black pepper, caraway, nutmeg, dried orange and/or lemon peel and then in later recipes allspice which is from the New World.

My older recipe book gives the proportions for mixing spices and there is one with black pepper which I intend to try out in the future.

Whilst looking through some of my more recent cookery books it would appear that it in Poland you can buy ready mixed spices for piernik so I would presume you can get these in Polish shops in England. I will try these out in the future as well.

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I use the mixed spice mixture which is sold by Marks & Spencer which contains: dried orange peel, cassia (a variety of cinnamon), ginger, nutmeg, pimento (allspice) and caraway. I think it is the dried orange peel which makes it much nicer than other mixtures I have used.

Some recipes make a cake mixture and then leave it in a cool place for up to several weeks before baking it. I have tried one of these out many years ago and it was very good – I intend to try this again for a post in the early winter of next year.

Piernik in Poland is associated with the Christmas season and would be made for Christmas Eve and for Christmas Day, it would also be made for Święty MikołajDecember 6thSt Nicholas Day. This a day for present giving in Poland to children and I would always get a piernik shaped and decorated to look like the bishop that was St Nicholas.

Mama’s Miodownik

This is of my mother’s recipes and it uses sunflower oil which is a more recent addition to recipes in Polish cookery. It is a dense cake which is lovely and moist and improves with keeping.

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Miodownik on Greenway Hostess designed by John Russell 1960 – 1979

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Ingredients

  • 450g Clear honey
  • 250g Icing sugar
  • 4 Eggs separated
  • 250ml Tepid water
  • 4 Teaspoons cocoa
  • 250ml Sunflower oil
  • 450g Plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 Teaspoon mixed spice (M&S is the best)
  • 100g mixed peel

Method

  • You can use a 25cm square tin or a 31cm x21cm rectangular tray tin.
  • Grease and line the tin.
  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3 – 160º C.
  • In a large bowl, mix the honey and the icing sugar.

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  • Add the water, cocoa, egg yolks, oil and then the mixed peel.

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  • In a separate bowl mix the plain flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and the mixed spice.
  • Add the dry mixture to the honey mixture and mix together to make a batter.

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  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and fold these into the honey batter.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

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  • Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around  1hour 30minutes.
  • Take care as this has a tendency to burn  at the top, you might need to cover it after about 1 hour with a piece of greaseproof paper of aluminium foil.
  • Test to make sure it is cooked through with a fine cake tester.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

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 Store in an airtight container or cover in aluminium foil

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Miodownik on Greenway Hostess designed by John Russell 1960 – 1979

Addendum

I recently made this for Wigilia (Christmas Eve) around 3 weeks beforehand – it was lovely and moist by then.