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Piernik - Polish gingerbread or honey spice cake view of slice
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5 from 2 votes

Piernik (Polish gingerbread cake)

This gingerbread/honey spice cake is easy to make, moist and with a delicious warm spice flavor.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Polish
Servings: 12 (approx - makes 1 loaf)
Calories: 229kcal
Author: Caroline's Cooking


  • ½ cup honey 162g
  • ½ cup sugar 100g
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter 60g
  • ½ orange zest ie zest from ½ orange
  • 2 tablespoon marmalade or fruit jam eg apricot, plum
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour 210g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk 120ml

For the glaze

  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar 55g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 15g
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water


  • Preheat the oven to 355F/180C. Lightly butter a 9x5in (23x13cm) loaf tin (8 ½ x 4 ½in/ 21x11cm also works) then line it with parchment, at least through the bottom and up longer sides.
  • Put the honey, sugar, butter, orange zest and marmalade or jam in a small pan. Warm them together over a medium-low heat until the butter and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl. Lightly beat the eggs. Add the honey-butter mixture, milk and eggs to the flour mixture and mix so they are well combined but try not to over-mix.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined loaf pan and transfer to the oven (lower middle shelf). Bake for around 50 minutes until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow the loaf to cool slightly, then mix together the frosting. Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl and add the cocoa powder. Melt the butter then add this and the boiling water to the sugar and mix well. Spread over the top of the loaf evenly, but try not to over-work it. Ideally leave it to harden before taking the loaf from the pan and slicing, but it will be fine if you do while still slightly warm.



As mentioned above, some also split the loaf through the middle and add a layer of plum jam. If you do this, it's probably best to remove the loaf from the tin, slice through middle, add jam then put top half on before adding the chocolate glaze.
In the photos, I used a 9x5in loaf tin but I think an 8 ½x4 ½in would probably be a slightly nicer shape and it would work volume-wise so use as you have/prefer.


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 212IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg