This Polish Gingerbread Loaf Cake (Piernik) Recipe is a one-bowl easy festive bake. This simple cake is made using oil for a lighter, fluffier consistency, and is sweetened only with honey (apart from the icing).
Simplified Polish gingerbread piernik cake
Gingerbread spices are for me an essential part of festive baking and today I am sharing an easy Polish Gingerbread Loaf Cake (Piernik) Recipe. Gingerbread is popular throughout Europe and each country will prepare it a little differently. In Poland the more traditional recipes use butter, which gets melted along with the honey and sugar. My simplified version contains oil instead of butter plus there is no sugar in the cake itself other than the honey. What I did use, however, is crystallised ginger* (candied ginger), which is sweet, so there was no need to add any more sweetness to the recipe. Traditional recipes call for raisins, but the ginger is SO delicious I strongly recommend you use that if you can. Here in the UK you can find it in the baking section in the supermarket along with dried fruit.
Easy gingerbread cake recipe
Christmas is a busy time for most of us so the last thing you need is complicated, time consuming cooking. With recipes such as this one you’ll be able to make a delicious homemade gingerbread cake, from scratch, and there’ll be plenty of time left to prepare other dishes too!
This gingerbread cake recipe does not require soaking, proofing, melting or prepping the ingredients in any other way beforehand. So it comes together very quickly.
Switch the oven on and start by combining all the dry ingredients, i.e. the flour, baking powder and soda, the spices, cocoa and a pinch of salt. Set aside and prepare your ‘wet’ ingredients.
Beat together the egg yolks, honey and oil for a couple of minutes. Add the yogurt and continue beating until well combined. Then gradually pour in the dry mixture.
The final step is to fold in the crystallised ginger and egg whites (beaten). Pour the batter into your tin and bake for 55 minutes. After 40 minutes cover the cake loosely with a piece of baking paper to prevent it browning too much.
Easy, isn’t it?
Decorating your gingerbread cake
This cake can be enjoyed as it is, but you can also decorate it with a bit of icing and a handful of crushed nuts. The cake is not overly sweet so a drizzle of icing is a good idea. The proportions I used yield a small amount of icing but you can simply double the ingredients and make more icing if you prefer. (I used the same icing in my dairy free easy fruit cake recipe).
I sprinkled the cake with a handful of crushed hazelnuts, but you can use mixed nuts or skip this step altogether if you like. If you do use nuts sprinkle them first and then drizzle over the icing – it will keep the nuts in place.
Alternatively you can decorate this gingerbread piernik cake with a simple chocolate drizzle.
Storing the gingerbread loaf cake
Gingerbread cake is a bit like wine – it gets better with time. That’s why you can enjoy it over several days. Unlike most cakes it is not at its absolute best straight from the oven (in my opinion) so let it cool completely before serving. It will taste delicious the next day and the day after too. Just keep it in a plastic container, covered, so it stays moist.
*Crystallised ginger (also called candied ginger) is available in most supermarkets in the UK. You might be able to also find it in health food shops or buy it online. Stem ginger in syrup is not the same product and should not be used in this recipe.
More Polish Christmas Eve recipes
If you are looking for more Polish Christmas recipes check out my borscht, porcini uszka dumplings, pierogi dumplings and traditional fish recipe. You might also like this traditional Polish dried fruit compote and this Russian salad, which is a family recipe I’ve been making for years.
Polish Gingerbread Loaf Cake (Piernik) Recipe
- 250 g flour
- 1 tsp each: baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
- 3 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1.25 tbsp cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 220 ml runny honey
- 130 ml vegetable oil
- 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 4 tbsp thick yogurt
- 2/3 cup crystallised ginger, alternatively sultanas/raisins
For the Icing
- 4 tbsp icing sugar, approx. 30 g
- 1 tbsp orange/clementine juice, fresh
- 2-3 tbsp mixed crushed nuts, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C/ gas mark 4. Grease a medium loaf tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, soda, baking powder, mixed spice, ginger, cocoa and salt, stir thoroughly and set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until fluffy but still a little runny. Set aside.
- Beat together the egg yolks, honey and oil for 2 minutes. Add the yogurt and beat until combined. Gradually add the dry mixture until combined. Fold in the crystallised ginger and egg whites until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes. After 40 minutes cover loosely with baking paper to prevent it browning too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Lift the cake out of the tin (with the paper) and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing combine the icing sugar with the orange juice and stir until smooth. Scatter the crushed nuts over the top of the cake (optional) and drizzle over the icing.
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RECIPE LINK PARTIES
I am bringing this Polish Gingerbread Cake Recipe to #CookBlogShare, hosted this week by Easy Peasy Foodie. Also sharing with Fiesta Friday – this week’s co-hosts are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.