Polish Pleśniak cake with rose and rhubarb

The Polish Film Festival Supper Club with KinoVino went swimmingly. That’s not to say there wasn’t any stress. After cooking for 3 days, the drive to the venue with all the lovingly prepared dishes balanced on top of one another was one of the most stressful journeys I’ve ever had. On the way, a swan flew over us on the dual carriageway. We had the sunroof open and saw his big, white belly carried by a pair of majestic wings overhead. Yasin said it was a good omen, which perked me up:
“Really? You think so?”
“Are you kidding? A WHITE swan just flew right OVER OUR HEADS”
I think he was right because the night ended up being really rather special, magical even. After all the hard work, everything worked out in the best possible way. I was happy with all the dishes that went out, yet this Pleśniak cake got the most attention, and a couple of people asked me if the recipe is in the book. Sadly not, as I have just made it up in the last few weeks, with this event, and season, in mind.

This makes 1 Pleśniak cake, about 12-16 portions


500g plain flour plus…
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, separated
250g butter, room temp
500g caster sugar
400-500g rhubarb, roughly peeled and chopped
250g walnuts plus…
1 tblsp brown sugar
250g Rose jam
1 tsp rose water

25g flour
25g brown sugar
25g ground almonds
10g butter

Rose petals to serve (optional)


Combine the flour, baking powder and butter, using a knife to chop the butter into the flour, or your fingertips to rub it in.

Add the egg yolks and 50g of the caster sugar.nead this mixture into a dough. Keep kneading until it’s smooth. Place the ball of dough in the fridge for 20min.

Knead this mixture into a dough and keep kneading until it’s soft and smooth. Place the ball of dough in the fridge for 20min.

Roll the dough out into the shape of your baking tray, then line your buttered baking tray with it, pressing it into the corners. Bake for 10min at 180 degrees C.

Meanwhile, break up the walnuts into quarters and toast them on a dry frying pan with the brown sugar, until they caramelise.

Beat the egg whites until the form stiff peaks then add the remaining caster sugar, a bit at a time.

Combine the topping ingredients with your fingers until they form a crumble.

Allow the base of the cake to cook slightly before topping with a layers of jam.

Sprinkle the rhubarb with the rose water. Place the rhubarb in rows onto the cake.

Place the walnuts on the cake into the gaps between the rhubarb.

Finally, cover the cake with a layer of meringue and crumble.

Bake for 45min at 180 degrees C.

Serve with rose petals thrown whimsically over the top.