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Polish Cake for Christmas

7 Dec 2005 /  #1
When I was a child, every year for Christmas we had special Polish pastries. There's one in particular that I've been trying to find for years.

It's light in color on the outside, smooth but wavy. It's round & hollow in the inside like a bundt cake would be. It's very tall & when you buy it, it's sliced across & you'd buy a ring. On the inside of the cake, there are light & dark layers that I was told come from it being spun. It would be sliced horizontally in thin layers to eat.

I don't know the true spelling, but it sounded like it was spelled something like bonku. Bon, like a bon-bon, & ku like coo. I have been looking for it for years & today we went in search of it in Chicago to the Polish bakeries & deli's. A customer at one of the bakeries said she knew what I was talking about & she wrote it down in Polish for me. It looks like it is Sekacz & sounds like san koch.

I'm still not sure if it's the same thing & if it is, why were we told it was called something else. I would really like to find it for Christmas like we had when I was a kid.
OP Guest  
7 Dec 2005 /  #2
By the way you describe it seems to be what the lady told - 'sekacz'. But then, the name you're trying to recall may point to 'babka' - it's usually quite high with a hole in the middle and yes, it can have brown and yellow (sandy yellow?) layers! Still, babka's are traditionally eaten during Easter :/,67025,2566445.html - that's a whole 'sekacz', you normally buy just a piece
OP Guest  
7 Dec 2005 /  #3
Sekacz was the word that came to my mind as I was reading your description. I do not know of any Polish cakes with a name souding anything like bon-coo.

This is what a sekacz looks like
tinyurl/7vw4b (apparently the word refers not only to cakes)
bon-coo sounds like a form of the Polish word for a top (the toy that spins around)
OP Guest  
7 Dec 2005 /  #4
Maybe you mean "babka"? It's sometimes being referred to as "polska babka"
OP Guest  
12 Dec 2005 /  #5
Maybe you mean "babka

I always thought "babka" means "a classy woman"... Maybe I'm wrong though as at my age I'm more interested in girls than food...:)
13 Dec 2005 /  #6
I discovered the German name for the same cake is Baumkuchen.
And, it actually sounds close to what we called it & means the same thing, tree cake.
Thanks to all who replied.
OP Guest  
2 Jan 2006 /  #7
Baumkuchen is the German name and Sekacz is the Polish name.
OP Guest  
17 Apr 2006 /  #8
Iam a retired pastry- chef and bake BAUMKUCHEN
FOR MORE INFORMATION you can e-mail me at
21 Feb 2007 /  #9
babka is a kind of cake polish people make
North Pole  
21 Feb 2007 /  #10
Guys! Silesian cheesecake! I will die for it! Undefinable heaven!
18 Apr 2007 /  #11
I have been looking for a recipe my polish nanny made for me when I was younger.
It's a rolled sponge cake with a coffee/vodka frosting with cherries rolled in it
24 Oct 2007 /  #12
I believe what you are looking for is a German recipe for Tree Cake- BAUMKUCHEN-( King of Cakes) which is a layered cake that when cut shows layers of golden rings, was originally made by layer after layer of thin batter on wood poles over open fires, but has been adapted to a spring form pan, although not as impressive looking, it is also known as Sekacz in Polish or Sakotis in Lithunian. Recipe is time consuming and labor intensive.
24 Oct 2007 /  #13
Oops - there was a typo in that. I will repost the recipe below (typo fixed).

Beggar's Cake (Dziad):
2 lbs butter
40 eggs
2 lbs sugar
grated rind of 10 lemons
2 lbs potato flour
3 cups sweet cream
Beat butter to a pulp. Add one yolk at a time, alternating with a tablespoon of sugar until the mixture has been beaten for one hour. Beat the egg whites stiff and add by tablespoon, alternating with a tablespoon of flour. Add the grated lemon rind and finally the cream.

This cake is baked barbecue style. Get an oakwood rod the size of a rolling pin, about 16 inches high, wider at the bottom, narrow at the top. The rod should have a hole in it wide enough to make it fit on a spit. Wrap rod with well-buttered paper and tie securely with string. Support ends of rod with tripods. Place tray under rod for dripping batter. Bake before a blazing fireplace or a gas fire grate. Heat the rod to a high temperature. One person then turns the rod while another pours on the batter with a soup ladle. When first layer begins to brown, pour on another layer and so on until all the batter is used. The last layer should be baked most thoroughly. Add the batter from dripping tray. Cool cake for six hours on the rod. Cover the cake unevenly with lucre (I don't know what lucre is). Slice from the top.

Baking of this cake is not as difficult as it sounds. It is delicious and keeps for a long time. In Poland, 60 and 100 eggs are used in this recipe, with other ingredients in proportion. This is a precious old recipe.
pudddddin 7 | 48  
25 Oct 2007 /  #14
This cake comes from North-EAstern Poland doesn't it?? It is just like the german one, but there is a Polish one. They were sold in all the shops when i was in Suwalki!
14 Nov 2007 /  #15
That first year, I found a bakery in Chicago, Lutz, that made the Baumkuchen & was able to have them ship it out to me.

They made the big ones & then sliced it & sold it by the pound, just like we had when I was a kid.
Last year, the same bakery lost their baker & I had to find someplace else, Reuter's, but it wasn't as good. They made individual little ones, & it just wasn't the same.

Does anyone know where I can purchase it like I had the first year online or by phone?
Any assistance would be appreciated.
28 Nov 2007 /  #16
I am trying to find the Tree Cake to, I will let you know if I find a lead

I am looking for some for the Holiday's I live in Wisconsin and can not find it here
lalling - | 1  
2 Jan 2008 /  #17

BAUMKUCHEN USA bakes Baumkuchen throughout the Year. Each Baumkuchen
is baked to order. No stale or dried out Baumkuchen ever. If you want the best
Baumkuchen please contact us at: baumkuchenusa@gmail

I used to eat Baumkuchen in Waldenburg, Silesia (now Poland)
ewan28 2 | 4  
14 Dec 2008 /  #18
Merged: Which kind of cake or pudding is eaten at Christmas in Poland?

what cake or pudding do u have at xmas in poland?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
14 Dec 2008 /  #19
Pudding is not eaten at Christmas. The main Chrsitmas cakes are: makowiec aka strucla z makiem (poppy-seed roll), piernik (honey-spice cake/gingerbread) and keks (a fruit cake less heavy than the English variety with more dough and fewer fruits and nuts). Individual families also bake babka, murzynek, karpatka, sękacz, szarlotka and others, although these are not specifically Yule-related cakes.
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
14 Dec 2008 /  #20
And what about sernik (cheese-cake)? It's a must in my family, both for Xmas and Easter :)
I14Green - | 2  
14 Dec 2008 /  #21


Same difference
HAL9009 2 | 304  
19 Dec 2008 /  #22
I was in the local Polish shop a day ago and I bought yummy loaf shaped thing called "Makowiec". Dusted with icing on top to give it a Christmassy feel it is filled with a dark marzipan-like substance...

Tastes really good. Anybody know what's in it (besides the above mentioned poppy seeds)?
I guess it's the Polish answer to mince pies...
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
19 Dec 2008 /  #23
The makowiec filling besides crushed poppysseds may include chopped nuts, raisins, candied orange peel, honey and other goodies.
wildrover 98 | 4,451  
20 Dec 2008 /  #24
mmm poppy seed cake.....lovely stuff.....
mafketis 29 | 10,018  
20 Dec 2008 /  #25
A lot of Polish cakes are wonderful, but I have to say that makowiec doesn't really do it for me.

I even like poppy seeds (mixed into the dough in other cakes) but I don't much care for the thick mass used in makowiec which is almost always too dry (most sernik too). A friend's mother makes what I can tell is excellent makowiec but one small piece is enough for a long time.
20 Dec 2008 /  #26
yes, but tort makowy is a totally different delicious story...
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
20 Dec 2008 /  #27
which is almost always too dry (most sernik too).

this only means they (makowiec and sernik) are quite old (or badly made).
HAL9009 2 | 304  
20 Dec 2008 /  #28
Makowiec, you have to have it with strong coffee, to open its flavour up.......
mafketis 29 | 10,018  
21 Dec 2008 /  #29
mafketis: which is almost always too dry (most sernik too).

this only means they (makowiec and sernik) are quite old (or badly made).

No. Even sernik and makowiec that Polish people think is fresh, very well made and moist enough is on the dry side for me.

And strong coffee doesn't help (me) either. I think you either grow up eating makowiec in which case you like it or you don't in which case you mostly ... don't. It's just not a taste that's easy to acquire as an adult (most non-Poles agree with me IME).
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
21 Dec 2008 /  #30
I think you either grow up eating makowiec in which case you like it or you don't in which case you mostly ... don't. It's just not a taste that's easy to acquire as an adult

I'm a contrary example, I hated makowiec, and started to like it only when I was about 25 y.o. :)

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