Piernik – Polish Spice Cake

Not complaining at all, but I had three different parties to go to last Saturday night, so I needed a recipe that I could mix up once and yet get a lot out of. I wanted to make a desert, so I went back to Poland. They do seem to be masters of sweet treats. I went with Piernik (Polish Spice Cake, also sometimes known as Polish Gingerbread). The recipe below makes two large loaves, or three medium which was perfect for my purposes.

It’s traditionally served with a chocolate glaze on top, so I’m providing a recipe for that as well. A little more crumbly than your average cake, but not too sweet and very tasty.

Polish Gingerbread
(By Marcin Floryan (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons)

Polish Piernik

(Spice Cake or Polish Gingerbread)


  • 1 cup dark honey
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a small saucepan, combine honey, coffee, butter and spices. Cook on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and then let cool to warm.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 large or 3 medium loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar and baking powder. Slowly add the warm liquid, beating constantly at low speed. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour into the prepared pans and bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick is pretty much clean. Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. This cake keeps very well and can be dusted with confectioners’ sugar or glazed with chocolate at serving time.

Chocolate Glaze


  • 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream


In a medium saucepan, gently heat the cream but not to a boil. When warm, take off heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir until melted, then let cool to lukewarm. It will thicken up.