Polish Wheel Cake (Kołacz Weselny) Recipe #1

Polish Wheel Cake - Kołacz
Polish Wheel Cake - Kołacz. © 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • 80 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Yield: 2 (12-inch) Kołacz (40 servings)
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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.

Here are step-by-step instructions for making kołacz. And here are more Polish Cheesecake Recipes you might like to try.

What You'll Need

  • 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)

How 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.
     
  1. 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.
     
  2. Grease two 12x3-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 degrees. 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.