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Pani Dulska Polish Poppyseed and Walnut Layered Cake Recipe

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Pani Dulska cake is a Polish apple and poppyseed cake that requires a bit of effort, but it is worth every minute. Polish people often say that this spectacular layer cake will steal the show every time.

Why The Name “Pani Dulska”?

So, who is Mrs Dulska and why is there a cake named after her? Well, although it’s not universally agreed upon, the name is likely inspired by the character of Mrs. Dulska from Gabriela Zapolska’s classic play The Morality of Mrs. Dulska. The play is a satire and it portrays social and moral issues in early 1900’s Poland. 

Mrs. Dulska, a conservative and traditional widow, has a strong personality and wishes to control her loved ones. The cake might be a playful nod to her, focusing on traditional ingredients (like poppy seed filling).

Another connection might be that Mrs. Dulska is a show-off and loves to be the center of attention. The cake is without a doubt a towering showstopper.

Alternatively, some people believe that the multiple layers in the Pani Dulska cake reflect the multiple layers of Mrs Dulska’s personality, which was a strong theme of the book.

What’s Special About This Cake?

Alright, so poppy seeds are a big deal in many Polish recipes. But what makes the Pani Dulska cake stand out is its amazing combination of flavors and textures. Think about the crunch of walnuts meeting the tartness of apples, all wrapped up in a poppy seed hug. It’s not your everyday cake, and that’s what makes baking it so exciting!

Now, I won’t lie – this cake asks for a bit of patience and precision. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with all the steps and tips to make sure your Pani Dulska turns out just perfect.

Tips For Baking Pani Dulska Poppy Seed and Walnut Layered Cake

  1. Quality Matters: Fresh ingredients make all the difference, especially for those apples and walnuts.
  2. Fluffy Egg Whites: Get those egg whites to stiff peaks for the poppyseed layer. It’s all about that airy texture.
  3. Layer Like a Pro: Take your time layering each component. It’s like building a delicious edible puzzle.
  4. Keep an Eye on the Oven: Every oven is unique, so watch your bake times.
  5. Cool It: Let each part cool down before you start assembling. Patience is key!
  6. Custard Consistency: Aim for that perfect custard texture — creamy but firm enough to hold everything together.
  7. Apple Talk: Go for sour apples; they add a nice zing.
  8. Show It Off: That final decoration isn’t just for looks; it adds a lovely crunch too.

Pair it with a cup of strong coffee or tea, and you’ve got yourself a showstopper dessert for any gathering or a fancy afternoon treat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Pani Dulska Cake

Can I bake one large poppy-seed cake and cut it in half post-cooling?

The cake’s delicate texture makes this challenging. It’s best to bake in two pans for easier handling.

Will the first baked half sink if I wait to bake the second?

There might be a slight drop, but it won’t affect the cake’s stunning final appearance.

Sweet or sour apples – which is better?

Sour apples are the way to go for that perfect flavor balance.

Serving and Storage Tips

The Pani Dulska cake is best served fresh, but you can store it in an airtight container for a couple of days.

If storing, keep it in a cool, dry place to maintain its freshness and texture.

This cake pairs wonderfully with a cup of strong coffee or tea, making it an ideal dessert for gatherings or a tea party.

Pani Dulska Polish Poppyseed and Walnut Layered Cake Recipe

Yield: 20 servings

Pani Dulska Polish Poppyseed and Walnut Layered Cake Recipe

Pani Dulska Polish Poppyseed and Walnut Layered Cake Recipe
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour


Poppyseed Cake

  • 5.5 oz (150g) of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 tbsps of honey
  • 1 can of poppyseed filling (800g/28oz)
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsps of cocoa

Walnut Cake

  • 5 eggs
  • ⅔ cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of ground walnuts
  • 3 tbsps of bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsps of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsps of oil
  • 1 tsp of baking powder

Chocolate Custard

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsps of potato or corn starch
  • 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 tbsps of cocoa
  • 7oz (200g) of butter

Apple Layer

  • 2 lbs (1kg) of apples
  • 1 lemon jelly


  • ½ cup of chopped nuts to decorate the cake


Make The Poppyseed Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).
  2. Separate egg yolks from egg whites.
  3. Beat butter with sugar and it changes the color to whitish.
  4. One by one, add egg yolks, beating all the time.
  5. Add honey, poppyseed filling, flour, cocoa, and mix again.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
  7. Carefully add egg white foam to the batter. Do it using a spoon, stirring in one direction.
  8. Divide the batter into half.
  9. Pour the batters into two 9x13" cake pans lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes (one by one or at the same time, depending on the type of oven you have).

Make The Walnut Cake

  1. Beat eggs with sugar until they change the color to whitish.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Pour the batter into 9x13'' cake pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes.

Make The Chocolate Custard

  1. Pour 1 cup of milk into the pot.
  2. Add sugar, cocoa, and bring to a boil.
  3. In the meantime, in a separate bowl or pot, mix cold milk with flour and potato starch.
  4. When the milk and sugar mixture nearly boils, add milk with flour. Stir until you will get the consistency of the pudding.
  5. Allow the pudding to cool, then beat it with butter.

Make The Apple Layer

  1. Peel and dice the apples (make sure to remove the core and the seeds).
  2. Place the apples in a pot and fry them until they start falling apart.
  3. Add jelly and mix until it dissolves. Allow to cool.

Assemble The Cake

Assemble the cake in the following direction:

  • poppyseed cake
  • half of the chocolate custard
  • walnut cake
  • apple layer
  • poppyseed cake
  • half of the chocolate custard
  • nuts to decorate

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 139mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 35gProtein: 9g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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