Polish Icebox Cake (Miodowiec)


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.


MIODOWIEC
Adapted from my aunt.

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
1/2 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.

14 Thoughts on “Polish Icebox Cake (Miodowiec)

  1. Looks great!

  2. “miod” what a pretty name for honey :) I am amazed by the number of traditional cakes there are in this world. I wish I could try this

    • Hi Jesica! I know, isn’t it crazy, all the cakes there are? It’s funny too because when you look at them closely a lot of them have similar elements. If you do try it, I’m sure you’ll love it :-)

  3. batooty on May 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm said:

    question, do you have to bake it in a round dish if you’re already cutting the dough into a round shape? it doesn’t look like it expanded.

  4. What lovely memories you have associated with this cake…and it looks absolutely delicious!!

  5. Oh Natasha, this cake looks wonderful and I would like to try it. Could you recommend any substitute for semolina flour? I also enjoy reading about the traditions behind a recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Betty! Thanks :-) you could always replace the semolina custard with pastry cream, or just replace the semolina with a cornflour slurry and add it to the hot milk :-)

  6. Zeina on June 2, 2013 at 11:22 pm said:

    Awesome cake…just a tiny question, can I substitute margarine with butter for the biscuits?

  7. hi, I from Poland, was looking for Miodowiec recepie and I got to your website. I made this cake for years but then lost my home cookbook :(. I never saw that thin buiscits, always made 4 or 5, but this Xmas I made like you :)
    thanks and merry Christmas

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