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Piernik Staropolski Recipe – Old Polish Gingerbread Cake

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Gingerbread is really popular in many countries. Normally you will find that most gingerbread recipes have ginger, cloves, and cinnamon and are slightly sweetened.

Piernik staropolski is a traditional cake and is well known as the old Polish version of gingerbread cake. The sweetness in the cake comes from a mix of the honey used in the dough and the plum butter used in the layers. The chocolate glaze also adds to the sweetness.

The best part is that you can make the dough in advance and allow it to mature in the fridge for up to 6 weeks in advance! That makes piernik staropolski even better.

Piernik Staropolski Recipe

Make And Bake The Cake

Part I – Mix The Honey, Sugar And Butter

To do this slowly heat the 4 oz. (110g) of honey, 2 ½ oz. (70g) of butter and 2 ½ oz. (70g) of sugar in a pot. Add in 2 tsps. of cocoa as the mixture dissolves. Stir it gently. Remove it off the flame and set it aside.

Part II – Let The Mixture Cool

Part III – Add The Remaining Ingredients

Once the mixture has cooled, add in 2 ½ cups (300g) of flour, 1 egg, ¾ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ tsp of gingerbread spice mix. Combine the ingredients together to form a dough. 

Add the remaining ingredients for the dough.
Add the remaining ingredients to the dough.

Part IV – Place The Dough In The Fridge

Once the dough is ready, place it in the fridge for at least one hour.  You will find that the longer you keep the dough in the fridge, the better the Polish gingerbread cake will be. In fact, the dough can be kept in the fridge for as long as 6 weeks. 

Part V – Preheat The Oven

Preheat the oven to 170°C / 340°F. Preheating the oven is an essential step in baking a cake. It ensures that the oven is at just the right temperature so that the dough rises and cooks. Too hot and the cake will burn without cooking. Too cold and the cake will cook without rising. It is also important to note that different cakes require a different temperature so make sure to always check your recipe before setting the temperature.

Part VI – Roll Out The Dough

For this step, you will need a 9×13” cake pan. Roll out the dough so that it fits in this pan. Remember that this cake will rise considerably and that we will be cutting it into 3 parts so that we can form layers. So don’t worry if it looks thick. Bake the cake for 15-20 minutes.

Part VII – Allow The Cake To Cool

Once the cake is baked, set it aside and let it cool. In the meantime start working on the things required for assembling the cake.

Assemble And Decorate The Cake

Part I – Melt The Chocolate

Melt 4 oz. (110g) of chocolate with 1 tbsp. of butter. Set it aside.

Part II – Cut The Cake

Now that the cake has cooled, cut it into 3 even pieces. This should be done widthwise. This will give you three layers of equal thickness. Set these aside.

Part III – Assemble The Cake

Assembling the cake is really easy. Just follow this order.

  • Cake 1
  • Plum butter
  • Cake 2
  • Plum butter
  • Cake 3
  • Chocolate glaze.
Layering the Polish gingerbread cake.
Layering the Polish gingerbread cake.

Part IV – Decorate The Cake 

This is the fun part about making the Polish gingerbread cake. You can decorate the cake any way you like with almond flakes and white chocolate. Giving the children a free reign is a fun way to involve them in the baking process too.

The decorated Polish gingerbread cake
The decorated Polish gingerbread cake.

FAQ About Piernik Staropolski Recipe

Can The Polish Gingerbread Be Stored After It Is Made?

Yes. Storing the Polish gingerbread is incredibly easy. The best way to do so is to freeze the cake. The cake will remain fresh for as long as 3 months in the freezer. 

What Does The Gingerbread Spice Contain?

The prepackaged gingerbread spice normally contains nutmeg, ginger, allspice, black pepper, and ground cloves. Now the actual proportions of these may differ from brand to brand but generally you will find that they all give you a similar flavor. It is best to avoid any brands that have sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in the mixture. This is because we already have those added in the recipe and it could interfere with the dough. 

Why Is The Polish Gingerbread Cake Called Piernik?

Piernik comes from an old Polish word ‘pierny’. This word means ‘peppery’. The flavors of the spices are roughly translated into peppery though pepper is not a key ingredient in the cake.

What Should I Serve With Polish Gingerbread Cake?

Like all gingerbread cakes, the piernik staropolski goes well with a hot beverage. Now most people love to have the cake with a cup of tea or coffee because the sweetness of the cake pairs so well with them. 

Can This Polish Gingerbread Cake Be Served To Children?

Yes. This cake is alcohol-free and can easily be served to children. In fact, you will find that the children love it.

Yield: 12 slices

Piernik Staropolski Recipe - Old Polish Gingerbread Cake

Piernik Staropolski Recipe - Old Polish Gingerbread Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


Gingerbread Cake Dough

  • 4 oz (110g) of honey
  • 2 ½ cups (300g) of flour
  • 2 ½ oz (70g) of butter
  • 2 ½ oz (70g) of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of gingerbread spice mix
  • 2 teaspoons of cocoa


  • 1 jar (12oz) of plum butter (powidło śliwkowe)
  • 4 oz (110g) of chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • almond flakes or white chocolate to decorate


Make And Bake The Cake

  1. Slowly heat the honey, sugar, and butter in the pot. Add cocoa.
  2. Let the mixture cool down.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and form a dough.
  4. Place the dough in the fridge for at least one hour (the longer the dough will be in the fridge, the better. It can stay there for up to 6 weeks).
  5. Preheat the oven to 170°C / 340°F.
  6. Roll out the dough and bake it in the 9x13" cake pan for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool.

Assemble And Decorate The Cake

  1. Melt the chocolate with 1 tbsp of butter.
  2. Cut the cake into 3 even pieces (widthwise).
  3. Assemble in the following order:
    Cake 1
    Plum Butter
    Cake 2
    Plum Butter
    Cake 3
    Chocolate Glaze
  4. If you want, you may decorate the cake with almond flakes of white chocolate.


  1. Traditionally, people were baking three 9x13" cakes, assembling them, then dividing them into 3 separate gingerbread cakes.
    That's what I am always doing as well that's why you can see more than one gingerbread cake in the photos. This recipe is for 1 cake only.
  2. It's ok to freeze the gingerbread cake. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 219Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 129mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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