Karpatka, a Polish dessert, involves baking a unique, uneven choux pastry, and then layering it with a rich, creamy vanilla custard filling. It’s typically topped with powdered sugar or chocolate glaze and refrigerated before serving.
Since I live in Poland I’ve tried many traditional and authentic cakes and desserts. And if I want to be very honest with you I have to tell you that my favorite one is definitely kremowka.
But don’t click the below link yet and read at least a few lines more. 🙂
When I say that the kremowka is my favorite one you should also know that my personal number 2 is Karpatka (a Polish Carpathian mountain cream cake).
Karpatka pronunciation is actually very simple and you read it exactly as it is written – Karpatka 🙂
It is quite possible that I like both of these cakes because they have a very similar texture and they are both filled with vanilla-flavored cream. But there is one significant difference.
My Tips for Making Karpatka:
- Do not flatten the dough; keep it uneven for a unique texture.
- Let all components cool down before assembling.
- The vanilla cream filling can be prepared a few hours in advance.
- Store-bought vanilla pudding can be used in a pinch.
- Refrigerate the cake for a few hours before serving.
- Dust with powdered sugar or top with chocolate glaze before serving.
- For a creamier pudding, add butter once it has cooled down.
- Prevent skin on the custard by covering it with cling film while cooling.
- Enhance the custard cream with amaretto or Kahlua for a special touch.
- Cut into squares before dusting with icing sugar to serve.
Enhancing the Dough’s Texture: For an even better texture in the dough, consider resting it before baking. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax and can result in a more consistent rise and a better overall texture.
What is karpatka cake?
The main difference is that the kremowka is made with puff pastry and additionally filled with double cream. Plus I also add a drizzle of Amaretto to the vanilla cream filling. The karpatka on the other hand is made with a so-called choux pastry (ciasto parzone in Polish).
The puff pastry is made by folding and rolling the dough with cold butter (or other fat) several times until many layers of choux pastry appear. The choux pastry is made by mixing water, butter, salt, and sugar together and bringing it to a boil. After that, you mix everything together while still hot, and all the ingredients are combined together. Later on, when the dough is cooled down the eggs are added. The choux pastry is also more flexible than the puff pastry.
The karpatka is also less sweet which makes it perfect for the days when I crave more food but not so sweet ones 🙂
Also, the preparation of the karpatka is less time-consuming as the dough is made very fast. Last but not least you can make the whole cake at home and for the kremowka, you might be ending up using store-bought puff pastry. Making your own puff pastry requires a few hours and endless folding of the dough.
Karpatka vs napoleonka
Karpatka is made of steamed dough, and the Napoleon cake is made of puff pastry. Same as kremowka. The difference between the last two cakes is that the karpatka is made of custard mass, and the napoleon is made of cream mass based on double cream (the exact recipe depends on the region).
How to make the simplest choux pastry?
Pour 1 cup of water into a pot and add 150g of butter, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, add 1 cup of flour to a bigger bowl and then pour over the content from the pot. Mix with a wooden spoon until all is combined and the dough starts to stick together. Once the dough is ready let it cool down a bit.
Once cooled but not completely cold start adding the 5 eggs one by one, mixing the dough all the time. After that, you can use your choux pastry.
How you can use the choux pastry?
- cream puffs
- Pommes dauphine
- Polish Carpathian cake
How to make the filling for karpatka?
Pour 2 cups of milk into a pot and add 3/4 of a cup of granulated sugar. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile mix 1 cup of milk with 2 egg yolks and 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar, 80g of regular, and 80g of potato starch.
Add the mixture to hot boiling milk and mix quickly. After a few moments, the cream starts to thicken. Cook for about 1 minute and then let it cool completely.
Once the cream is cooled completely add 200g of soft butter (at room temperature) into a mixer and beat until soft and fluffy. Then add the cream into the beaten butter 1 spoon at a time while still mixing.
Use the cream in a Polish Karpatka or other cake of your choice.
Most popular Polish desserts.
Did you like the recipe? Feel free to check other Polish desserts.
- The best Polish honey cake with caramelized walnuts.
- Pischinger cake with chocolate filling – an authentic Polish dessert.
- WUZETKA (WZ), a traditional Polish dessert.
- How to make ptysie? A delicious Polish dessert?
How do you pronounce Karpatka?
Karpatka is pronounced car-pat-kah.
What is the difference between Karpatka and Kremowka?
Karpatka is made with a choux pastry, while Kremowka is made with puff pastry. Karpatka is often referred to as the peasant’s version of Kremowka.
What is Budyn? What if I can’t find it?
Budyn is a Polish vanilla pudding available in pre-mix form. If you can’t find it, you can use any other vanilla-flavored pudding as a filling.
How to store the Carpathian cake?
Store the Karpatka cake for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container. Do not freeze it.
Who invented the Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake?
The inventor of Karpatka is unknown, but it originated in Poland in the 1950s and became popular in the following decades. The name Karpatka was coined around 1972.
Can Karpatka be Made in Different Flavors?
Yes, while the traditional Karpatka is known for its vanilla custard filling, you can experiment with different flavors. Chocolate, lemon, or even fruit-flavored custards can be used. Additionally, adding fruit layers or different types of glazes can create a unique twist on the classic recipe.