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Worldwide Gastronomy Habits & Trends

From A to Z about the W-Z | The classical Varsovian wuzetka cake from the war times

ByDominika Margolt

Jan 24, 2023

The war history of wuzetka

Wuzetka is a chocolate sponge and cream pie which originated in Warsaw. Its name most probably derived from the Warsaw W-Z Route, on which the confectionery that first began to sell the dessert in the late 1940s was located. Other professional bakers began to make the eye-catching cake, and home bakers eventually joined in, too. At the beginning, the dessert was exclusively served by cafés and restaurants in Warsaw, but soon became a beloved home-made food in the whole Poland.

The name wuzetka/ W-Z comes from the road that was built in Warsaw right after the World War II. W stands for wschód- East, while Z stands for zachód- West. It doesn’t require a genius to guess the road connected the Western and Eastern parts of the city. Others say that the name wuzetka comes from the acronym ‘WZC’, which at the time stood for the Warszawskie Zakłady Cukiernicze (Warsaw Confectionery Plants) or for the wypiek z czekoladą (pastry with chocolate). The confectionery store was most likely situated somewhere close to or in the Kino Muranów cinema building on 5 Andersa Street, in the Muranów district of Warsaw.

From A to Z about the W-Z

Take a closer look and you will see that the wuzetka cake looks like the road itself.  The sponge cake which constitutes the black road sponge cake is divided by the white line which is the custard. Some Polish housewives are also decorating the top of the cake with the white line in the middle.

The cake consists of two layers of a light chocolate sponge, soaked in syrup. It is filled with stabilized whipped cream and topped with chocolate ganache. According to some recipes you have you bake two thin cakes, while others suggest baking just one and split it. To a certain extent, it actually depends on the type of baking tins you happen to have.

Traditionally, Polish housewives used the curdle from curdled milk instead of cream cheese. You can do it too if you’re lucky enough to have a Polish shop in the area, where you can buy crudled milk (Polish: zsiadłe mleko).

Recipe for wuzetka

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 4 eggs
  • 250g of margarine
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of marmalade/thick jam
  • 5 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 2 cups of milk or kefir
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda

Custard:

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 2 cups / 250g of cream cheese, e.g. mascarpone

Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 100g of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 egg

Additionally:

  • Whipped cream for decoration

Instructions:

Dough:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Oil the cake pan or put the parchment paper onto it.
  2. Mix together the eggs, margarine, and sugar until you get the fluffy whitish custard. Then, add the remaining ingredients and mix it.
  3. Finally, pour the dough onto the cake pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Custard:

  1. Beat the cold heavy cream. Start gradually adding the sugar.
  2. Add the cream cheese and mix until you obtain the smooth custard.

Frosting:

  1. Boil butter with cocoa, sugar and water.
  2. In the meantime, beat the egg using a fork using a separate bowl.
  3. When all the ingredients for the frosting have melted down, turn off the heat, and add the beaten egg, stirring all the time.

Constructing the wuzetka:

  1. Cool the cake and cut it in half. Spread the custard evenly on the first layer of the cake.
  2. Cover it with the second layer of cake.
  3. Place the chocolate frosting on top of the cake, smoothing it out, you can use a spoon for it.
  4. Decorate the cake with the whipped cream on top and serve it cold.

Final recommendations

  • Soak the cake with cherry vodka.

In order to make the wuzetka more sophisticated, you can soak each part of the cake with a punch or cherry vodka (very easy to obtain in Poland or a Polish shop) before spreading the custard.

  • Add an additional layer of bluckcurrant jam.

Some wuzetka recipes suggest spreading the cake with the additional layer of marmalade or jam, for example, blackcurrant jam in order to add a contrasting sour flavor. You can either put it on top of the cake before pouring the chocolate frosting, or under the custard layer.