Polish Yeast Cake

Fruits are coming into a season now, an abundance of them. All these goodies made me crave for a Polish childhood favourite number - The Yeast Fruit Cake. There is no other Polish cake than speaks of a summer like a fruit yeast cake. It is a simple, homely and very satisfying fruit cake, topped liberally with a sweet crumble. I would say that only the British apple crumble could be the match for it!

It is not too sweet but deliciously fruity - you can actually use any summer fruits you have, like raspberries, strawberries, apricots or plums. Then you top it with a crumble and once you take it out of the oven and smell its yeasty aroma, you know you’re at home!

The yeast cake could be a tricky one to make, I admit I was defeated by it few times, but do not shy away from it. This recipe is easy, always works and with a help of a bread machine it is nearly effortless.

In this recipe you will need a bread flour – I used spelt and it worked very well. If you do not have a spelt flour at hand, use a strong bread flour instead. When using bread machine, put 3 cups of flour along with 14g of dry yeast (an equivalent of 4 teaspoons). Then add 100g unrefined, brown sugar like demerara, 1 beaten egg and 170ml of buttermilk. In a pan, melt gently 80g of butter and pour into the mixture. Set the machine on a dough setting and let it do the work.

However, if you do not have a bread machine, you can make the dough by hand as well and then follow the rest of the steps. When a dough is smooth and elastic, it is ready for the resting.

Once the dough is finished, transfer it into a bowl slightly dusted with flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1.5 hours.

In the meantime, prepare fruits. You will need about 1kg of fruits like plums (pitted and halved), strawberries, other summer berries, peaches, nectarines – try out your favourites.

The next step is to prepare a crumble topping. You will need 200g of spelt flour, but you can replace it with almond meal for a more nutty flavour. Then add 100g of unrefined sugar and 120g of melted butter. Work it with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.

When the dough doubled its size, it is ready for baking. Preheat the oven, for a gas mark 6 or 180C. Knead the dough again for a short while, roll it into a large rectangle and transfer into a large baking pan lined with a parchment paper. Arrange fruits on top of the dough, scatter the crumble over them and pop into a preheated oven (180C/gas 6) for about 40 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer if it is baked (skewer should come out dry).

Let the cake cool on a rack for a while before cutting. You can serve the Yeast Cake with ice cream or clotted cream, but it tastes rich and marvellous on its own!

I love this cake for being buttery and fresh but not overly sweet, though mostly because of its yeasty flavour. You can think of it like a take on a panettone, but less sweet, made with fresh fruits and crumble. For me it is simply irresistible. I wonder how I will managed to safeguard some slices for the next day. Smacznego!

Ingredients:

For dough:

  • 3 cups spelt flour
  • 14g dry yeast
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 170ml buttermilk
  • 80g butter
  • 1kg fruits

For crumble topping:

  • 200g spelt flour (almond meal would work here too)
  • 100g sugar
  • 120g melted butter

Equipment:

  • Large cake pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Wooden skewer
  • Bread machine (optional but very handy)

 

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