Karpatka (Polish Carpathian Cream Cake) recipe for #BakingBloggers: Baking of Poland! Two layers of wavy pâte à choux are filled with a creamy custard and topped with powdered sugar to resemble the Carpathian Mountains.
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Created by Sue of Palatable Pastime, #BakingBloggers get together monthly to vote on a different baking project. For September, we are featuring the Baking of Poland and I am joining in with a recipe for Karpatka (Polish Carpathian Cream Cake)!
Karpatka (Polish Carpathian Cream Cake)
Karpatka is a fun and decadent Polish cake similar in style to the Napoleonka (Kremówka Papieska). Both cakes are filled with a pastry cream, but the Karpatka is made with two layers of wavy pâte à choux instead of puff pastry. Once topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, the cake resembles the snow capped Carpathian Mountains.
To make the pâte à choux, water and butter are heated on the stove, then flour is whisked in the form a thick paste. The mixture is cooked while continuously stirring over low heat until it starts to pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan. Take care not to overheat or the mixture will start to separate.
After cooling slightly, eggs are beaten in along with baking powder. The dough is divided in half and each piece is formed into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle and baked until puffed and golden. Do not open the oven door to keep the heat in until the pastry is almost done baking. Allow to cool completely to room temperature before assembling with the vanilla cream filling.
The two pâte à choux sheets are used as the base to hold the vanilla cream filling. Milk is heated on the stove until steaming, then flour and potato starch (can be substituted with cornstarch) are whisked in until smooth with no lumps. The mixture is simmered over low heat while continuing to stir until well-thickened to the consistency of pudding. Allow to cool to room temperature, then slowly mix into beaten butter and sugar to form the smooth cream.
After assembling, the Karpatka can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Dust with plenty of powdered sugar and cut into squares immediately before serving.
September 2020: Polish Baking
- Baba Kartoflana – Polish Potato Pie from Food Lust People Love
- Babki Śmietankowe (Cream Tarts) from Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking
- Kapusta Casserole – Polish Cabbage, Potato, and Bacon Bake from Making Miracles
- Karpatka (Polish Carpathian Cream Cake) from Tara’s Multicultural Table
- Kolaczki – Jam-Filled Polish Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Kotlety Ziemniaczane from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Mom Klik’s Breaded Pork Chops from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Oven Braised Pork with Sour Cream (Karkówka w śmietanie) from Palatable Pastime
- Piernik – Polish Gingerbread Cake from Caroline’s Cooking
- Polish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Cookaholic Wife
- Veg Pierogi Casserole from Sneha’s Recipe
Karpatka (Polish Carpathian Cream Cake) Recipe
Adapted from Rose Petal Jam
Karpatka (Polish Carpathian Cream Cake)
Pâte à Choux:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla Cream Filling:
- 3 cups milk
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons potato starch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or 1 vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
To make the pâte à choux:
- In a medium saucepan, add the water and butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour, reduce heat to low, and cook, continuing to stir, until the dough lifts from the sides and bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Beat the eggs into the dough, one at a time, until well-combined, followed by the baking powder.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Place each piece on the prepared baking sheet and press into equal rectangles about 1/4 inch thick.
- Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Do not open the oven door until it is nearly done. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the vanilla cream filling:
- In a large saucepan, place the milk over medium heat. Once starting to steam, whisk in the flour, potato starch, and vanilla sugar (if using vanilla extract, wait to add until after removing from heat) until smooth with no lumps. Once bubbling, reduce heat to low and continue to whisk until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in the cooled milk pudding until smooth.
- Evenly spread the cream custard over on layer of the cooled pâte à choux, leaving an 1 inch border around the edges. Gently top with the other layer of dough. Refrigerate until chilled, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares to serve.