When I finished high school, I worked hard for 6 months, did a quick English teaching course, packed my bags, sold my car and set off to live in Europe for a year.
I had no idea what I was going to do for the whole year, so I started off in Poland (my entire family on my mother’s side are scattered around the country).
I arrived on Easter Saturday, was picked up from the airport in Warsaw and driven 3 hours to the village where my mum grew up. My uncle now owns the family home, and Easter was going to be there.
I am lucky to have a family of great cooks. My uncle makes the most amazing dishes and roasts and my aunty bakes delicious cakes. She was already at my uncle’s house with her children, and had baked up a storm.
And that is when I tried Miodowiec for the first time. And I died and went to heaven.
Miod means honey, so it is kind of called honey cake. Really it is layers of crisp honey biscuits and semolina custard buttercream. My aunty traditionally splits it in half and makes two short cakes, layers it with marmalade as well, drizzles melted chocolate over the top and decorates it with slivered almonds. The biscuit layers soak up the custard buttercream overnight and the whole thing becomes one amazing cake.
Come Christmas, I was back in Poland, which had been the base of my travels. This time we were celebrating at my aunty’s house, and I got to make the Miodowiec with her. When I expressed my dislike for marmalade and slivered almonds, she made one cake traditionally, and the other cake plain just for me.
She wouldn’t let anyone else eat my cake because it was made specifically to my liking. So basically, I ate a whole freaking cake by myself.
But I was in cake love, so my aunty wrote the recipe into the back of my travel journal and I have been making my own version of it for special occasions ever since. This time, it’s for Mother’s Day.
- FOR THE BISCUITS
- 500g plain flour
- 50g margerine
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp soda
- 2 eggs
- pinch salt
- FOR THE SEMOLINA BUTTERCREAM
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups milk
- 6 tbsp semolina
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line as many round trays as you have with baking paper (you'll need 8 in total but can always rotate them).
- To make the biscuit dough, knead all the ingredients together by hand, in a food processor or in an electric mixer.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. On a floured surface, roll out each ball of dough into a very thin round, until it is the size of a dinner plate. Place a dinner plate upside down on top of the rolled out dough and trim around it to remove the excess.
- Place the rolled rounds of dough onto the baking trays and bake for 7 - 8 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Boil the milk, semolina, sugar, vanilla and salt together until thick.
- Place in a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until cool.
- Beat the butter using an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the semolina a couple of tablespoons at a time, until it is all combined.
- To assemble the cake, place a biscuit round on a serving plate. Top with about half a cup of semolina buttercream and spread it evenly around using an offset spatula. Top with another biscuit, and repeat the process until all the biscuits and buttercream are used, finishing with a layer of buttercream.
- Optionally, drizzle melted chocolate over the top.
- Keep refrigerated. Best served the next day. Serves 10.
Adapted from my aunt.