When I was a little Bunny, my paternal Grandmother would make piles of pierogies for the holidays. I was in charge of pressing the edges down with the fork to close them. We also iced hundreds of Christmas cookies – tables full of food, tradition, and family bonding. I remember being excited, even at a young age, about sharing that experience with my own children one day, ideally around the same table. That idea didn’t quite pan out and as I grew, it was up to my Mom to continue the traditions from my Polish family. She did her best, cooking me traditional foods and bringing me to Catholic masses, and as an adult, I decided to keep up with it and learn to make both the pierogies and Christmas cookies on my own.
In my search, I found a recipe that had been found during renovations of the basement of St. Stan’s church in Buffalo, NY. Coincidentally, my Polish family is from Buffalo as well, so I saved it and, naturally, forgot all about it for a couple years. Last week we did a stream with Pretty Good Cooking and made pierogies. I rediscovered the cake recipe and bam! Surprise stream in the works.
I adore everything about it – the old paper, the lines from being folded, blue ink instead of black, and my personal favorite, the perfect 40’s era cursive handwriting. I wish I knew a little bit more about Mrs. Mary Rozek, but I hope we did her proud.
Mrs. Mary Rozek’s Buttermilk Placek with Crumble Topping
1/2 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix everything together, in order, put into 2 loaf pans, or 1 larger 13″ x 9″ pan.
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
6 tbs of butter
Mix and put on top. Bake at 375 degrees or 350 oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (depends on your oven).
We cooked our cakes at 350 degrees for around an hour and they were mostly cooked. The one problem that we can into was a large area of butter crumble that seemed undercooked. You can see where the cake cracked in the middle. Next time, I’ll make sure to spread the crumble a bit more thoroughly.
Outside of that, I think they came out beautifully. The crumble topping crystallizes a bit and becomes a nice crunchy top. From my reading, traditional placek is generally a dense, mildly sweet cake, and that’s just how ours came out. It’s heavy like a bread, with a simple sweet vanilla flavor.
A viewer, N7Bonana suggested that we try it with fruit and creme, which, naturally, a good Bunny always has on hand. So we pulled out the reddiwip and some strawberries and it was even better.
It’s great as it is with coffee and I think next time I’ll try it with cinnamon and brown sugar. It’ll definitely grace our kitchen again!
I’m really glad we tried this out and I’m also happy to add the recipe to my collection of Polish things to save and learn about.
Hope you all enjoy it too! Happy Baking! See you all on Twitch <3