Carpathian Cream Cake

Karpatka (pronounced car-pat-kah) is a delicious cake, very popular in Poland. It consist of two layers of choux pastry with a vanilla custard in between. Personally -I love it:) It’s prepared for special occasions, as it is not a quick to make cake. It can also don’t go well while baking, as what you need to get is a pastry with ups and downs, resembling mountains:) Wait, don’t go- with my recipe you would obtain perfect Carpathian mountains in the oven:)

Karpatka served on a plate


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 5 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking powder

Choux pastry preparation for Karpatka

Place butter (cut into few pieces) in a saucepan. Add water, dissolve butter and bring all to boil. Set the saucepan aside and add flour. You need to mix all well all the time, use a wooden spoon. Place again on the stove top and heat for 3 minutes. Mix till the dough is unified and does not stick to the saucepan. Set aside and let cool. Then place the dough in a mixer bowl. Start mixing, add eggs one by one, add baking powder and a pinch of salt.

Divide dough into two parts. Spread half of the dough in a rectangle baking dish around 35 cm x 25 cm ( 14 in x 10 in) lined with parchment paper. Bake it in the preheated to 190 C (375 F) oven for about 20 -25 minutes or until it turns golden brown and crispy. Important! Don’t open the oven while baking! Mountains may not be produced if you do:)

Do the same with the second part of the dough.

In the meantime prepare custard.

Custard preparation for Karpatka

  • 1 liter milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 full tablespoons potato starch or all purpose flour
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 200 g butter

Dissolve flour in one cup of milk. Mix in egg yolks into it.

Place the saucepan with rest of milk on the fire, dissolve sugar in it, add vanilla extract. Bring to boil. Once it boils, set aside and mix in a flour mixture. Then bring to boil again still mixing for 15 seconds and set aside. Let it cool.

Place butter in a mixing bowl, mix it for about 2 minutes till it’s fluffy. Gradually add cooled custard. Mix till you’d get a smooth cream.

Karpatka assembling

Spread custard cream over the bottom layer of pastry. Cover with the second pastry layer. Cool Karpatka in a fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar.

Try also: Orzechowiec – Honey and Walnut Cake – very much worth trying:)

Can you freeze Karpatka?

I won’t recommend that, you can freeze pastry layers, but not the whole cake with cream.

Is Karpatka popular cake in Poland?

Yes, it is a treat, not so often served though, because of the time needed to make it. It’s a special occasion cake.

What’s the meaning of Karpatka?

Karpatka takes its name from the mountain-like pleated shape of the choux pastry, which resembled the snowy peaks of the Karpaty mountains. Carpathian Mountains stretch across Central Europe and their part is in Poland.


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6 thoughts on “Karpatka”

  1. I don’t understand how one of the pastry layers can be smooth and the other appear to be mountains. Please explain how these layers are done differently.

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