Karpatka cake: A Taste of Poland’s Mountain-Inspired Delight


Discover the charm of Karpatka cake, a classic Polish dessert named after the Carpathian Mountains. This delightful treat features two layers of choux pastry filled with creamy custard, offering a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. In this piece, we’ll explore its origins and provide a simple guide to recreate this beloved Polish delicacy at home.


  • For the Dough: 
    • 75 ml whole milk
    • 75 ml water
    • 75 g unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 100 g all-purpose flour, sifted
    • 170 g eggs (3 large eggs at room temperature, weighed without shells)


  • For the Cream: 
    • 600 ml whole milk
    • 160 g granulated sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 50 g cornstarch, sifted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 4 egg yolks (of large eggs at room temperature)
    • 200 g unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 15 g granulated sugar (to beat with the butter)
    • Powdered sugar for decoration


Karpatka: A Taste of Poland's Mountain-Inspired Delight

For the Dough

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F. Prepare two 23cm/9-inch springform pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and greasing the sides.
  2. In a saucepan, combine water, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat until simmering.
  3. Remove from heat, add sifted flour, mix until no dry flour is left, bring back to heat, and set to low.
  4. Cook the dough for 2 minutes until it forms a ball and leaves a pale residue on the saucepan.
  5. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl. Let it cool down for 10 minutes.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
  7. Split the dough between two springform pans, spreading it unevenly.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a deep golden-brown color. Cool down completely.

For the Cream

  1. Heat milk, half of the sugar, and salt in a saucepan until simmering.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the sugar with cornstarch. Add egg yolks and vanilla, whisking until smooth.
  3. Gradually add half of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously. Then, return the mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk.
  4. Cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes, whisking consistently, until it becomes pudding-like, then cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, pour into a large dish, cover with plastic wrap, and cool to room temperature.
  6. In a mixer, beat butter with 15g of sugar until fluffy.
  7. Whisk the pastry cream until smooth, then gradually add it to the butter, whisking until incorporated.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Place the first cake layer in a springform ring lined with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the cream evenly on top.
  3. Cover with the second cake layer, press slightly, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  4. Remove from the ring, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the baked cake layers for up to 1 month.


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