Polish Honey Cake: this deep golden honey of a cake has a wonderful texture and moist tender crumb. It keeps well for days and is a deliciously satisfying bite with your morning coffee or afternoon tea. Try it toasted for breakfast for a special treat. (Skip to recipe.)
It has been a whole lotta fun to explore different countries of the world through their food. I've been part of the food blogger group called the Eat the World Recipe Challenge (#eattheworld), where we visit a different country each month, cooking recipes that reflect the culture.
This month we head off to Poland, Germany's neighbour to the northeast. I can't wait to visit it some day. It's one of those culturally rich countries of central Europe that isn't a top holiday destination, but from reading up on it, it should be. What a beautiful country!
The first dishes that spring to my mind when I think of Polish food are cabbage rolls and pyrogies, but it's really so much more. A lot of my family's cooking has similarities with that cuisine, as my mom and dad both grew up in German speaking communities in central Europe (the former Bessarabia, which is now Moldova). My parents and their families also both spent considerable time in Poland during their migration to western Germany during the war. I love all the noodles and cabbage dishes that come from there.
In my research on Poland, I came across several recipes for Honey Cake, which reminds me of my mom's Honig Kuchen. She still makes it every year, but doesn't really have a recipe for it. Hers is different, and I mean to learn how she makes it. Meanwhile, the Polish Honey Cake really intrigued me, and I've had a lot of fun combining and tweaking recipes to come up with this utterly delicious version that works splendidly with gluten free flour. It has the most lovely texture, moist, firm yet soft, and just wonderful to eat out of hand.
Or you can be civilized and eat it on a plate . . . with a fork.
Polish Honey Cake is tender and moist and not the slightest bit crumbly. I love its complex honey flavour; intensified even more if you use a bit of buckwheat honey. Some versions I found had lemon or orange peel in it, or tons of spices, but I opted to keep this cake simple, as I imagine the Polish housewives of years past would not have had easy access to citrus fruits and would have used their precious spices sparingly.
The sweet honey is the star of the show. If you have a rich, dark wildflower honey, this is the place to use it. Or if you have buckwheat honey on hand, use it for half of the honey called for in the recipe. Then enjoy slicing through this deliciously moist cake and savour a slab of it with your favourite warm beverage. Add a smear of salted butter to take it over the top.
Or toast it for breakfast.
However you slice it, we can thank the Poles for this wonderful Honey Cake.
Kitchen Frau Notes: This cake turns out beautifully with my gluten free flour mix. I have modified my original recipe: I now add 3 tablespoons of potato flour (not potato starch) to the basic flour mix recipe, and I find the texture is so close to regular all-purpose wheat flour that I can substitute it in almost any recipe. It really works well in this cake, giving it a lovely springy texture that makes it a pleasure to eat.
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup (100gms) brown sugar
- ¾ cup (180ml) oil
- 1 cup (350gms) liquid honey (use a dark, flavourful honey, or use half buckwheat honey, if you have it)
- 1 cup coffee or strong black tea, cooled to lukewarm
- 3 cups (375gms) flour (I use my gluten free flour mix - see note* above)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 10 or 12 cup (2.4-2.6l) non-stick Bundt pan well. You can also bake the cake in two 9"x 5" loaf pans.
Beat the eggs, brown sugar, and oil together in the bowl of an electric mixer until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the honey and lukewarm coffee or tea and beat some more until it is silky smooth.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt all at once, and beat slowly to combine, then increase the speed of the mixer and beat just until most of the lumps are gone. It will be quite a thin batter.
Pour the batter into the greased Bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If you are making the honey cake in the smaller Bundt pan, it will take the longer time to cook, as it is higher. It will also rise above the pan, but will settle somewhat after cooling.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a plate to keep cooling. Slice the cake once it has cooled. It will keep, covered, at room temperature for up to five days.
Serves 10 to 12.
Guten Appetit! or Smacznego!
Check out all the wonderful Polish dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Camilla: Pierniczki (Polish Gingerbread Cookies)
Amy: Baked Polish Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
Juli: Zupa Orgorkowa
Evelyne: Polish White Borscht Soup Recipe
Margaret: Polish Honey Cake
Syama: One Pot Bigos - The Hunter’s Stew
Wendy: Piernik (Polish Gingerbread)
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