cakes/ Christmas/ Dessert/ Polish Recipes

Piernik – Polish Gingerbread Loaf

5 December 2021 By Aleksandra

Piernik is a Polish gingerbread loaf. It’s a loaf cake spiced generously with gingerbread spice mix, layered with plum jam, and topped with chocolate glaze. It’s seriously one of my favorite Polish desserts. It’s so deliciously spiced and moist. If you haven’t tried it yet, I promise – you’re in for a treat! It’s a super easy Christmas dessert, you don’t even need a mixer to make it!

Piernik cake cut in half on a wooden board. Christmas decorations in the background.

Polish gingerbread cake

Piernik is a traditional Polish Christmas dessert. You could call this particular recipe a “last-minute” gingerbread cake.

The most popular and traditional Polish gingerbread cake is more time-consuming to make. The cake batter is made with a large amount of honey, seasoned generously with gingerbread spice, and left in the fridge for 5-6 weeks (!) to develop flavor, then it’s baked, layered with plum jam and marzipan, then left to soften for a couple of days. Finally, it’s glazed with chocolate ganache just before serving.

This recipe is just a simple gingerbread loaf recipe that is ready to eat right after baking!

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to make the recipe. Scroll down for a printable recipe card with measurements and detailed instructions.

Ingredients

This recipe is similar to many gingerbread loaf recipes. It doesn’t have any molasses in it because it’s not a well-known ingredient in Poland (you won’t find it in a regular grocery store).

This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of gingerbread spice mix, this is not a typo! Yes, this loaf is really well-spiced and this is how Polish people like it. I used my homemade gingerbread spice mix but you can also use store-bought. Homemade is just more aromatic.

You can omit ground coffee if you don’t have it, it just adds another layer of flavor to the cake but you can’t taste it.

Here’s what you need to make piernik:

Labeled ingredients for gingerbread loaf.

Step by step instructions

Ingredients for gingerbread loaf in a pot. Mixed ingredients for a cake batter in a pot.

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C), no fan.

Add gingerbread spice mix, cinnamon, cocoa powder, honey, sugar, butter, oil, plum preserves, salt, and ground coffee into a medium/large pot.

STEP 2: Heat over low heat until all the ingredients are well-combined and hot but not boiling.

Milk is being added to a pot with cake batter. Eggs and cake batter in a pot.

STEP 3: Add the milk, heat over low heat, whisking until all the ingredients are well-combined and warm.

STEP 4: Take the pot off the heat and add the eggs, whisk until combined.

Cake batter and flour in a pot.

STEP 5: Whisk in baking soda.

STEP 6: Sift the flour into the pot.

Gingerbread cake batter in a pot. Cake batter is being poured into a loaf pan.

STEP 7: Whisk until just combined (don’t overmix the batter).

STEP 8: Pour the mixture into a 9×5 inch loaf pan (23×13 cm or similar) lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a cake tester/wooden skewer comes out clean.

Place the cake on a cooling rack and leave it to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Plum jam is being spread on a half of gingerbread loaf. Chocolate is being added to a pot with cream.

STEP 9: Cut the cake horizontally with a serrated knife in half.

Spread the plum jam on the bottom half of the cake, top with the upper half.

STEP 10: Make the chocolate glaze: heat the cream until very hot and add the chopped chocolate.

Chocolate ganache in a pot. Gingerbread loaf is being glazed with chocolate ganache.

STEP 11: Take the pot off the heat, stir until the chocolate is dissolved. If the chocolate is not melting, put the pot back on the burner and heat it over low heat until the chocolate is melted.

STEP 12: Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake until it’s coated on all sides. Sprinkle with chopped nuts on top. Set aside until the glaze is set.

Cut into slices and enjoy!

Storage

This cake keeps very well. Store it wrapped tightly in plastic foil for up to 3-4 days. I’m keeping it in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

It also freezes well.

More Polish desserts

A slice of gingerbread cake on a blue plate.. Christmas decorations in the background.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Polish Gingerbread Loaf (Piernik)

Piernik is a Polish gingerbread loaf. It’s a loaf cake spiced generously with gingerbread spice mix, layered with plum jam, and topped with chocolate glaze. It’s seriously one of my favorite Polish desserts. It’s so deliciously spiced and moist. If you haven’t tried it yet, I promise – you’re in for a treat! It’s a super easy Christmas dessert, you don’t even need a mixer to make it!
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Piernik cake cut in half on a wooden board. Christmas decorations in the background.
Print Recipe

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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 400kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the cake batter:

  • 2 tablespoons gingerbread spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons honey 60g
  • 1 cup light brown sugar 200g
  • 1 stick butter 115g
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons plum jam
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee optional
  • 1 cup milk 240g
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups (310g) flour spooned and leveled

additionally:

  • 1/2-3/4 cup plum jam
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to sprinkle

chocolate glaze:

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate 115g
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Make the cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C), no fan.
  • Add gingerbread spice mix, cinnamon, cocoa powder, honey, sugar, butter, oil, plum preserves, salt, and ground coffee into a medium/large pot and heat over low heat until all the ingredients are well-combined and hot but not boiling.
  • Add the milk, heat over low heat, whisking until all the ingredients are well-combined and warm. Take the pot off the heat and add the eggs, whisk until combined.
  • Whisk in baking soda.
  • Sift the flour into the pot. Whisk until just combined (don’t overmix the batter).
  • Pour the mixture into a 9×5 inch loaf pan (23×13 cm or similar) lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a cake tester/wooden skewer comes out clean.
  • Place the cake on a cooling rack and leave it to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Finish:

  • Cut the cake horizontally with a serrated knife in half.
  • Spread the plum jam on the bottom half of the cake, top with the upper half.
  • Make the chocolate glaze: heat the cream until very hot, add the chopped chocolate, take the pot off the heat, stir until the chocolate is dissolved. If the chocolate is not melting, put the pot back on the burner and heat it over low heat until the chocolate is melted.
  • Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake until it’s coated on all sides. Sprinkle with chopped nuts on top. Set aside until the glaze is set.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy!

Notes

  • If you’d like it sweeter, use milk chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate for the glaze.
  • If the cake has cracked on top just even out its surface slightly with a serrated knife. After glazing the cake, it won’t be noticeable.
  • You can omit ground coffee if you don’t have it, it just adds another layer of flavor to the cake but you can’t taste it.
  • How to measure flour: I’m using the “spoon and level method” so 1 cup of flour in my recipes weighs 125g.  Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/12 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Dessert
Cuisine polish
Diet Vegetarian
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