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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Limes – Torcik

In England there are some old fashioned sweets called chocolate limes, which I really like. They consist of a crunchy lime coating over a dark chocolate paste centre.

I have been making several chilled cakes – torcik – and thought I would try out a variation based on this chocolate and lime idea.

This torcik is a variation on ones that I made previously with different fruits and bases.

I tried out a few variations on the proportions of the ingredients and decided that just having two layers worked best with a chocolate flake decorations on the top.

  1. Biscuit & chocolate base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lime jelly

Ingredients

  • 100g of plain biscuits such as petit beurre, morning coffee or rich tea
  • 40g butter
  • 50g dark  chocolate
  • *
  • 300g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 4 yolks
  • 1 packets of lime jelly
  • *
  •  Cadburys flake or grated dark chocolate to decorate.

Method

  • Use a 22cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • This is a smaller size than for my previous ones.
  • Lightly rub the base with some butter.
  • *
  • Crush the biscuits into small crumbs.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate gently, stirring to prevent burning.
  • Add the biscuit crumbs and mix well together.
  • Put the mixture into the base of the tin and press it down firmly.
  • Leave till it is cold.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lime jelly in 150ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • *
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the base.
  • Level the top.
  • *
  • Leave for around 30 minutes so the jelly is starting to set.
  • Decorate  the top with sprinkled grated chocolate or flakes or both.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.
  • Use a long thin spatula to ease the edge.
  • Use a tin to place the cake tin on to move it apart from the base.

 

Tea plates Waterlily by Taylor and Kent

Cherry Torcik

  • The inspiration behind the flavours in this torcik is from a Black Forest Gateau, which is a chocolate cake with sour cherries and Kirshwasser – a cherry spirit, and often with cream.
  • It is claimed to have been invented in 1915 but other sources say it was in the 1930s.
  • It was very popular in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • This torcik is a variation on two that I made previously with different fruits and bases.

When making a torcik you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next.

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

  1. Chocolate sponge base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with black cherry jelly
  3. Drained bottled cherries in black cherry jelly

Ingredients – base

Ingredients – cherry layers

  • 300g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (you could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 4 yolks
  • 1 packet of black cherry jelly
  • *
  • Sweet or sour bottled cherries
  • 1 packet of black cherry jelly

Method

  • Use a 22cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base and sides with some butter.
  • *
  • Melt the butter and chocolate and leave to cool a little.
  • Stir in the cake crumbs.
  • Mix together well.
  • Place on the base of the tin and pat down with a spoon.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • *
  • Dissolve the cherry jelly in 150ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the sponge base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • *
  • Mix up the black cherry jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Drain the cherries from the juice.
  • Arrange the drained cherries over the black cherry/cheese layer.
  • Gently put the black cherry jelly over the cherries – use one spoon to pour this over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.
  • Sprinkle some chocolate curls or flakes around the serving plate.

 

Tea Plates by Royal Crown Derby – Derby Posies  – 1972

 

 

 

Torcik – with Bottled Blackcurrants

This torcik is a variation on two that I made previously with different fruits and bases.

When making a torcik you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next.

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

  1. Sponge cake base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lemon jelly
  3. Drained bottled blackberries in blackcurrant jelly
  • For the base I used a kefir sponge cake which I cut into thin slices.
  • I adjusted the ingredients in the lemon/cheese mixture from previous ones and did not use egg whites.
  • I used real fruit juice Polish jellies and bottled blackcurrants.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 500g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (you could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 4 yolks
  • 1 packet of lemon jelly
  • 1 packet of  blackcurrant jelly
  • *
  • Thin slices of sponge cake – I used my kefir sponge cake
  • *
  • Blackcurrants drained from a jar of bottled blackcurrants (keep the juice)

Method

  • Use a 25cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base and sides with some butter.
  • Using thin slices of sponge cake make a layer on the base of the tin.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lemon jelly in 150ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the sponge base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • *
  • Mix up the blackcurrant jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Arrange the drained blackcurrants over the lemon layer.
  • Gently put the blackcurrant jelly over the blackcurrants – use one spoon to pour this over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.

Coffee set & plates – Counterpoint by Royal Doulton  from 1973 – 1987.

Note

  • Next time I would pour several tablespoons of the juice over the sponge base.
  • Here I put a little of the the juice on the serving plate and let it soak in before serving.

 

 

 

Torcik – with Strawberries

There are loads of strawberries in the garden and as I have previously made a torcik with alpine strawberries  – I thought I would make a slightly different version using strawberries.

This torcik has a sponge finger rather than a biscuit base and the lemony curd cheese layer has more butter and egg yolks but the egg whites are omitted.

There does not seem to be an exact English translation for Torcik – the terms icebox cake or no bake cake convey some of the ideas.

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

When making a torcik like this you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next or you will get mixing of the layers.

  1. Sponge Finger base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lemon jelly (this is a richer mixture than in the alpine strawberry  torcik)
  3. Strawberries in blackcurrant jelly

I have had super results using the following brand of  real fruit juice Polish jellies.

 

Ingredients

  • 500g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 packet of light coloured jelly (lemon)
  • 1 packet of dark coloured jelly (blackcurrant)
  • *
  • Sponge finger biscuits – around a packet
  • *
  • Lots of sliced strawberries – enough to cover the surface of the torcik

Method

  • Use a 25cm in diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base with some butter.
  • *
  • Arrange the sponge fingers over the base of the tin – breaking some up so the whole base is covered.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lemon jelly in 125ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Gently mix in the cool lemon jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for 3 hours at least.
  • *
  • Mix up the blackcurrant jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Prepare the strawberries, remove any stalks and leaves and cut them into slices.
  • Arrange the strawberries on top of the lemon layer.
  • Gently put the blackcurrant jelly over the strawberries – use one spoon to pour the jelly over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.

 

 

Tea plate – Royal Doulton – Counterpoint – 1973 – 1987

Placek with Gooseberries

Ribes uva cripaagrest in Polish – gooseberries are related to black and red currants.

Gooseberries are the first soft fruits of the summer.  They grow well in cooler climates. These gooseberries were picked the evening before this placek was made.

This placek – flat-cake has the lovely contrast of the sweet cake against the tart fruit.

Ingredients

  • 400-450g of gooseberries
  • 250g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons of yoghurt
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Grease and use one sheet of greaseproof to line two sides and base of a 32 x 22cm baking tin.
  • Top and tail the gooseberries.
  • Cream the butter and sugar
  • Add the eggs one by one and continue creaming.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder.
  • Gently mix in the flour.
  • Add yoghurt to make a soft dough.
  • Lightly press the dough into the baking tin.
  • Scatter the gooseberries on top.
  • Bake for 45 – 50 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Torcik – with Alpine Strawberries

Five years of blogging today!

I know I said this last year but I still cannot believe it!  I posted my first post five years ago today – 4 July 2015.  Time has gone so quickly but there is still much more to write about.  

This will be post number 280 and there have been visitors from more than 130 countries.

Suddenly in the garden there were loads of alpine strawberries – time to use them in a recipe!

I had seen lots of cakes in Poland with a layer of fruits and jelly on top and decided now was the time to start trying some out.

Torcik – this is a word that I have just learnt.

There does not seem to be an exact English translation!

I have seen the terms icebox cake or no bake cake, which convey some of the ideas.

  • Tort is a layer cake, a gateaux and the -cik  ending usually denotes a diminutive – something small.
  • A torcik is a dessert type cake which is not baked.
  • A torcik can be assembled cold from previously baked parts such as meringue circles, crushed biscuits or sponge fingers.
  • It usually has a mousse or custard layer  or one which has been set with gelatine.
  • Curd cheese, twaróg or yoghurt cheese is often used.
  • In Poland this would not be called a sernik  – a cheesecake as it is not baked.
  • *
  • Many recipes use gelatine or bought flavoured jellies.
  • Polish jellies come in the form of powdered granules.
  • English jellies come in a concentrated jelly block.
  • I have had super results using the following brand of  real fruit juice Polish jellies.

 

 

  • I intend to try out some more recipes out using English style jellies.
  • If you are adapting recipes between using gelatine and using bought jellies – you need to adjust the sugar content.
  • *
  • I think a Charlotte Russe could be described as a torcik.
  • It was invented up by the French chef, – Marie Antione Carême(1784-1833) who was working for the Russian Tsar, Alexander I.
  • It is not layered but has many of the same element.

When making a torcik you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next  – my first attempt was a disaster in looks!

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

  1. Biscuit base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lemon jelly
  3. Alpine strawberries in blackcurrant jelly

Ingredients

  • 500g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 packet of light coloured jelly (lemon)
  • 1 packet of dark coloured jelly (blackcurrant)
  • *
  • 125g of plain biscuits such as petit beurre, morning coffee or rich tea
  • 70g butter
  • *
  • Lots of alpine strawberries – enough to cover the surface of the torcik

Method

  • Use a 25cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base with some butter.
  • *
  • Crush the biscuits into small crumbs.
  • Melt the butter, add the crumbs and mix.
  • Put the mixture into the base of the tin and press it down firmly.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lemon jelly in 125ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yokes, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Fold the whites into the mixture.
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • *
  • Mix up the blackcurrant jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Prepare the alpine strawberries – removing any stalks and leaves.
  • Arrange the alpine strawberries on top of the lemon layer.
  • Gently put the blackcurrant jelly over the alpine strawberries – use one spoon to pour this over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.

Tea plates – Queensbury by Midwinter from the 1970s

 

 

Mincemeat Yeast Buns

I have been doing a lot of yeast baking recently and  posted recipes for cinnamon buns and for poppy seed yeast buns, which were very soft and fluffy.

I still had a little mincemeat left over from Christmas and thought why not use some of this. The resulting buns are reminiscent of English Chelsea Buns.

This English fruit mix would be recognised in Poland as bakalie -Balkan mix.

The dough is soft and rather hard to handle. After the first rising the dough is NOT knocked back but just used as it is to make a rectangular shape. Putting the buns into a deep foil lined roasting tin helps to let them rise into shape.

Ingredients

  • 250g strong flour
  • 250g plain flour
  • Half a tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 50g butter
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Around 330ml milk
  • *
  • Several tablespoons of mincemeat

Method

  • Line a roasting tin with foil taking it all up the sides.
  • Warm a little of the milk and add the yeast.
  • Leave for around 10 minutes.
  • Mix the flours together.
  • Rub the butter into the flour – like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Add the beaten egg
  • Slowly add the milk – you might not need all of it.
  • Use a knife first to start to bring everything together
  • Then use your hands and form a soft dough ball.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for at least 5 minutes – even up to 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough into a bowl, cover (a disposable shower cap is good) and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.
  • DO NOT KNOCK BACK THE DOUGH.
  • Using you fingers gently flatten and shape the dough into a rectangle.
  • Cover the dough with the mincemeat.
  • Roll into a log.
  • Slice into thick pieces.
  • Place the pieces into the tin.
  • Cover and leave to rise.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C
  • Once all the pieces are touching put in the hot oven.
  • Bake for around 20 mins – check and maybe cover after 15mins.
  • Drizzle with icing made with lemon juice and icing sugar or just dust with icing sugar
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a cake grid.

 

Poppy Seed Yeast Buns

I recently posted a recipe for cinnamon buns, which were very soft and fluffy.

I thought – Why not use the traditional sweet Polish poppy seed mixture instead of the cinnamon mixture? – and so I did.

A mixture of strong and plain flours is used making the dough softer and a little harder to handle. After the first rising the dough is NOT knocked back, just used as it is to make a rectangular shape. Putting the buns into a deep foil lined roasting tin helps to let them rise into shape.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g strong flour
  • 250g plain flour
  • Half a tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 50g butter
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Around 330ml milk

Method

  • Line a roasting tin with foil taking it all up the sides.
  • Warm a little of the milk and add the yeast.
  • Leave for around 10 minutes.
  • Mix the flours together.
  • Rub the butter into the flour – like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Add the beaten egg.
  • Slowly add the milk – you might not need all of it.
  • Use a knife first to start to bring everything together
  • Then use your hands and form a soft dough ball.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for at least 5 minutes – even up to 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough into a bowl, cover (a disposable shower cap is good) and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.
  • DO NOT KNOCK BACK THE DOUGH.
  • Using you fingers gently flatten and shape the dough into a rectangle.
  • Cover the dough with the poppy seed mixture.
  • Roll into a log.
  • Slice into thick pieces.
  • Place the pieces into the tin.
  • Cover and leave to rise.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C
  • Once all the pieces are touching put in the hot oven.
  • Bake for around 20 mins – check and maybe cover after 15mins.
  • Drizzle some icing made from lemon juice and icing sugar over these or just dust with icing sugar.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a cake grid.

Ingredients – Poppy seed mix

  • 180ml of milk (full fat or semi)
  • Around 100ml of runny honey (extra may be needed)
  • 120g of poppy seeds *
  • 50g of raisins
  • Strong Earl Grey tea
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • *
  • * You can grind the poppy seeds – I used a little electric grinder.

Method

  • Make some strong Earl Grey tea.
  • Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with the hot tea and leave till they go cold.
  • Into a small saucepan put the poppy seeds and the milk.
  • Bring to the boil then lower the heat.
  • Simmer gently for around 20 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Take care not to let the mixture burn.
  • Add the honey and continue heating and stirring.
  • Drain the raisins and add them to the mixture and mix them in.
  • Keep stirring and try and drive off any liquid left.
  • Taste for sweetness – you may want to add more honey.
  • Leave to go completely cold before using.
  • Add the grated lemon rind.
  • *
  • If this is too much filling – you can always freeze some.

 

 

Grape Meringue Placek

This cake is a cross between my grape meringue cake and placek(flat cake) with rhubarb and meringue. 

There are two parts to this cake

  • Short pastry base – baked and cooled
  • Grapes & Meringue topping.

Short pastry base

The base of this is made made from the recipe for  Ciasto kruche 1 – using raw egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche.  

However as the topping is sweet, I used less sugar in the pastry – you might be able to omit all the sugar – I have not tried this.

Ingredients – Base

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter – chilled
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 4 egg yokes
  • pinch of salt

Method – Base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the yolks and gently mix them in
  • Bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in grease proof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C.
  • Grease and line a 33 x 23 cm baking tin – use one long piece for sides and base – helps to take it out. 
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Ingredients – Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 sponge fingers  – crushed
  • *
  • 300g seedless green grapes

Method – Meringue

  • Preheat the oven to GM 2 -150°C.
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add granulated sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the crushed sponge fingers.
  • *
  • Place 1/3 of the meringue over the cake base.
  • Place the grapes over the meringue.
  • Cover the grapes with the rest of the meringue
  • Put into the oven for 50 – 60 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

Served here on  Royal Doulton – Sonnet  1971-1998