Polish Karpatka Cake With Choux Pastry And Vanilla Pudding Cream

Have you ever had karpatka? This Polish choux pastry layer cake filled with vanilla pudding cream is an absolute classic. Its uneven shape is inspired by the Carpathian Mountains, and that's also where it gets its name from. Traditionally, this delectable cake consists of 2 layers of choux pastry and a very generous amount of cream inside. But in our humble opinion, that simply isn't enough, which is why we've given this Polish dessert 3 layers of choux pastry and 2 layers of vanilla pudding cream. Go big or go home, right?!

You'll Need:

For the choux pastry:

  • ¾ stick butter
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 4 eggs

For the vanilla pudding cream:

  • 1 qt milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ⅔ cup corn starch
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature


  • 3 springform pans
  • powdered sugar

Here's How:

1. Heat the butter with the milk, water, and sugar in a pot until barely simmering. Then add in the flour and mix everything continuously with a wooden spoon. Once a white layer starts to form on the bottom of the pot and the dough starts to separate from the pot and turns into a lump of dough, your pastry has achieved the right consistency. Remove the pot from the heat, let it cool a bit, and then mix in the eggs one at a time.

2. Line the 3 springform pans with parchment paper and grease the sides. Divide the choux pastry between the 3 pans. It doesn't necessarily have to be spread out to the edge as it will rise in the oven. It can also be a little bit uneven to get more of a "mountainous" surface. If you want to bake the cakes one after the other, put each one in the oven at 375°F for 30 minutes. It's important that the oven remains closed during baking, otherwise, the choux pastry could collapse. If you want to bake all 3 cakes at the same time, bake them at 350°F.

3. Now you can get started on preparing the vanilla pudding cream. Add the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla bean, and corn starch to a saucepan and mix everything together. Let the mixture come to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover the vanilla pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. Beat the room temperature butter with a hand mixer until fluffy and white, then gradually stir in the chilled vanilla pudding until a smooth cream forms.

4. Place one of the cooled choux pastry cake bases on a cake platter and put the frame of a springform pan around it. Spread around half of the vanilla pudding cream over the pastry base.

5. Turn the second choux pastry base upside down and spread some of the vanilla pudding cream over it. Put the upside-down pastry base on top of the vanilla pudding cream in the pan.

6. Repeat the same process with the 3rd choux pastry base and then refrigerate the finished choux pastry cake for at least 4-5 hours (preferably overnight). Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake before serving. 

Polish Karpatka Cream Cake

See, choux pastry might seem hard to pull off at first, but it's actually not that complicated! This is a Polish dessert that needs to become part of your dessert routine – your friends are going to thank you for it!

Get the recipe for the Cream Puff Swans featured in the bonus video.


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