In making this Polish Gingerbread Cake Ciasto Imbirowe, I’m giving you muplitle options, and I hope that doesn’t make it too confusing. You could just make two plain loaves of gingerbread cake and stop there or, possibly brush the top with melted jam and decorate the top of the loaf with dried fruit as you’ll see on Moje Wypieki. I wanted to recreate a commercial pastry that we used to buy at the Zabka, a Polish convenience store, near our apartment in Poznan. It was a package with little petit fours sized cakes that were filled with jam and marzipan and covered in chocolate, absolutely addictive!
I have a mini bundt pan (six little cakes), so I used that in place of one of my loaf pans. I wanted to try putting the jam and marizpan directly into the batter, but I wasn’t sure that would work. My Plan B was to slice the cakes horizontally, brush with melted jam and add a thin layer of marzipan before covering with chocolate ganache. So I filled three of my mini bundt pans only half full of batter, then I made a coil of marzipan about the size of a pencil and added that along with little dabs (about a teaspoon in total) of jam. Then added more batter to cover the filling.
The three remaining mini bundts I left plain in case I needed to make these according to Plan B, thinking that my jam and marzipan might run out and stick to the pan, making the cakes impossible to remove. That didn’t happen, all six cakes cake out nicely. The other half of my batter went into a loaf pan. The batter rises a lot, giving a rustic split to the loaf as it bakes. Still inspired by my gingerbread petit fours, I trimmed the loaf cake until it was a nice rectangle, which I finished off according to Plan B. Using some of the leftover marzipan to make holly leaves.
I’m happy to report that baking the marzipan and jam into the batter was successful. The jam and marzipan flavors stayed distinct and unique. I’ll do all of my gingerbread cakes this way in the future becuase it’s easier and the end result flavor-wise is the same. The only reason I see to go to the trouble of rolling out the marizpan and sandwiching it with jam and gingerbread is if you’re after the visual image of the perfect line of contrasting filling as you cut into the cake. There is a pleasing aspect to the look.
Don’t think I wasted the dome I sliced off of the loaf cake. We’ve done a little nibbling and I think the dinner party we’re hosting on Saturday will feature Sauerbraten, a German pot roast seasoned and thickened with gingerbread!
- 1 cup honey (or golden syrup)
- 1 cup stong coffee
- 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1¼ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 4 ounce tube marzipan
- apricot or plum jam
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Comgine honey, coffee, butter, and spices in a saucepan, heat just enough to let butter, remove from heat
- Spray pans with baking spary (the one with flour works best)
- Combine eggs, and brown sugar, slowly add in the warm honey mixure with the mixer running
- Add baking powder, flour, and cocoa, mix until well combined
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans, the batter is very thick
- If you're adding marzipan directly into the batter, only add half of the batter to the pan, add marzipan and jam (a coil of marzipan made from a ⅓" slice and approximately a teaspoon of jam in a mini bundt, for a loaf pan, use 5-6 times this amount distributing throughout the loaf pan, avoiding the edges) and then top with remaining batter. I filed my mini bundts to just ½ inch below the top, they domed over the top of the pan giving a nice tall mini bundt with a slightly rounded bottom when it's turned upside down)
- Bake about 30 minutes for mini bundts, 45 minutes for loaf pans. You can test for doneness by pressing gently on the top of the cake, it should feel firm and spring back or a toothpick inserted in the top should come out clean
- Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and cool completely on a wire rack
- If you want to add a filling, but didn't bake it into the dough. slice the cakes into two layers
- I trimmed my loaf cake to get a flat top and straight, not flared sides
- Roll out the marzipan to about ⅛ inch thickness, cut to the shape of your cake
- Heat jam, brush the jam onto what will be the middle of the cake, the top of the bottom layer, the bottom of the top layer, add the thin layer of marzipan on top of the bottom layer and add the top layer, creating a marzipan sandwich
- Heat the cream and chocolate (about 1 minute on 50% power in my microwave), stir until glossy and smooth
- Let the ganache cool for a few minutes to about 100 F (or while you're preparing the filling)
- Spoon ganaache over the top of your cakes
- If desired, color leftover marzipan for decoration