Polish Christmas Honey Gingerbread (“Piernik”)

Out of my top 3 Polish Christmas treats, this has got to be no. 1.  Slathered in a chocolate glaze, layered with plum/prune filling, this spicy honey cake is to die for.  Working with honey is always tricky though.  This year was no exception.

First, I had to heat up some honey.

I added sugar to the pot and brought the mixture to a boil.

In a separate bowl, I combined the flour and spices (basically the same spices used for pumpkin pie).  The two tunnels in the flour that you can see in the photo below are nothing to worry about–just my son trying to bring in some comic relief.

After the honey cooled somewhat, I mixed the honey with the flour and then added in the eggs and candied orange peel.  I poured the batter into the prepared loaf pan, or rather, two pans, because I decided to make two loaves in one shot this year.

What I forgot to do in my haste was to mix in the baking soda!!  You are supposed to add baking soda mixed with a little bit of water into the batter before mixing in the candied orange peel.  Luckily, I caught my mistake before putting the pans into the oven.  It might have been a bad omen, because when I took the two loaves out of the oven, one had a weird shape.

And the other loaf looked like it collapsed in the middle.

I cut off the parts that stuck out so that the tops of the cakes would be flat.  This meant delicious scraps of cake to eat!  Even though the second loaf appeared to have collapsed, it actually wasn’t raw or dense in the middle, so the cake was still usable and didn’t end up being a disaster.

I cut the loaves in two and spread the bottoms with a prune filling.  A nice plum jam would work well as a filling too.

After topping the cake and refrigerating it for a bit, I poured a chocolate glaze over it.  The top and sides of the cake should be covered in the chocolate glaze.

This Polish Christmas cake is so, so delicious, I can hardly describe it!

Print Recipe
Polish Layered Honey Gingerbread ("Piernik") with Dark Chocolate Glaze
2017 © HollyTrail.com
Course Cakes
Cuisine Polish
Keyword Cake, Polish
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
For the Gingerbread
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup candied orange peel (purchased or homemade--see link below in the Notes section)
For the Filling
  • 1 cup dried prunes
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste
For the Chocolate Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Course Cakes
Cuisine Polish
Keyword Cake, Polish
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
For the Gingerbread
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup candied orange peel (purchased or homemade--see link below in the Notes section)
For the Filling
  • 1 cup dried prunes
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste
For the Chocolate Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour one loaf pan (9”x5”x3”). Combine honey and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. In a separate bowl, combine flour and spices.
  2. When the honey mixture is just warm to the touch, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer set at low speed, gradually mix in flour. Mix in eggs, one at a time until well-combined. Dissolve baking soda in 1 teaspoon water and mix into batter.
  3. Stir in candied orange peel and transfer batter to loaf pan. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Towards the end of baking, cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent burning the top of the cake.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack and cooling completely.
Make the Filling
  1. In a saucepan, cover prunes with water and bring to a boil. Cook 2-3 minutes, remove from heat, and drain. In a food processor, puree prunes with lemon zest and sugar. Let cool to room temperature before using. May be made one day ahead of time and refrigerated.
Assemble the Cake and Glaze
  1. Slice cake in half horizontally. Spread bottom with prune filling. Top with other half of cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the glaze by bringing butter, water, and corn syrup just to a boil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat. Pour chocolate chips all at once over butter mixture. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract until mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour glaze over the cake and, with an offset spatula, spread to cover the top and sides. Refrigerate overnight (at least) before serving. May be made one week ahead of time.
Recipe Notes
  • A thick plum jam or marmalade can be substituted for the plum filling.
  • Here is a recipe for candied orange peel.
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2 Comments

  1. Ania,
    I just love your Polish Layered Honey Gingerbread Cake. Trying to savor every bite. From now on, this cake has my name on it! Thanks for sharing.
    Joseph

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