Polish Wheel Cake (Kołacz Weselny) Recipe

Polish Wheel Cake Kołacz

Barbara Rolek

Ratings (12)
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Rising time: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 2 (12-inch) Kołacz (40 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
221 Calories
10g Fat
28g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 (12-inch) Kołacz (40 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 221
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Sodium 212mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 5g
Calcium 56mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Kołacz Weselny (KOH-wahtch veh-SEL-nih) is a yeast-raised coffee cake similar in texture to a babka but made in a pan without a central hole, and with a sweet curd cheese filling.

If you can't find dry curd cheese, you might want to make your own farmer's cheese from scratch. It's very easy to do.

Kołacz means "wheel" in Polish and weselny is the adjectival form of "wedding." These wheel cakes were traditionally served at weddings and other holidays in the south of Poland, but are rarely seen today.

There are many recipes. Some make a lattice top over the cheese filling, others adorn theirs with braids and bird shapes. This version sports a crumb topping.

This recipe will make two large wheel cakes. I use my mother's pan that measures 9 inches x 4 inches deep. If you don't have a pan like this, use two (12-inch) pans that are 3 inches deep.

If you need more in-depth instructions, a step-by-step guide might help.

Ingredients

  • Sponge:
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons yeast (active dry)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups milk (warm)
  • 1 cup flour (all-purpose)
  • Dough:
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar (confectioners)
  • 4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces butter (melted, cooled slightly)
  • Cheese Filling:
  • 2 pounds ricotta (or dry curd or farmer's cheese)
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 cups sugar (granulated)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (vanilla)
  • Optional: 1 cup raisins (light or dark, plumped in water and drained)
  • Crumb Topping:
  • 4 ounces butter (cold)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoon sugar (vanilla)
  • 1 cup flour (all-purpose)

Steps to Make It

Make the Sponge

  • In a medium bowl, mix yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, milk and 1 cup flour. Set aside in a warm place to rise until light and foamy, about 15 minutes.

Make the Dough

  1. Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer or large bowl, beat 4 eggs with 1 cup confectioners' sugar until light colored and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add flour, salt and sponge, and continue to beat the dough until well incorporated. The dough will be too loose for a dough hook, so continue to use the paddle.

  3. Gradually add melted butter and continue to beat until the dough is smooth and starts to blister, about 10 mnutes. Scrape down dough from sides of bowl, cover and let rise in the same bowl until doubled.

  4. Grease two 12 x 3 inch round pans. Stir down dough (it will be very slack) and pour half into each pan. Cover and let rise until dough comes to within 1 inch of the top.

Make the Crumb Topping

  • In a small bowl, mix together 4 ounces butter, 6 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoon vanilla sugar and 1 cup flour as for pie crust. Set aside.

Make the Filling and Bake the Cheesecake

  1. In a large bowl, beat together farmer's cheese or ricotta, 4 eggs, 2 cups sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar. Stir in drained raisins by hand, if using. Set aside.

  2. Place rack in middle of oven and heat to 325 F. When dough has risen to within 1 inch of the top of the pan, pour half of the cheese filling on top of each pan of dough and allow to sink in, pushing it down, if necessary.

  3. Sprinkle half of the crumb topping on top of each cake. Bake about 50 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Let cool to room temperature before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.