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Wheel Cake Recipe - Polish Kolacz Weselny

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Polish Wheel Cake - Kołacz

Polish Wheel Cake - Kołacz

© 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

Kołacz 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 cheese filling. If you can't find dry curd cheese, you might want to make your own farmers cheese from scratch.

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 kołacz 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.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Rising time: 2 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 2 (12-inch) Kołacz


  • Sponge:
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups warm milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Dough:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) melted butter, cooled slightly
  • Cheese Filling:
  • 2 pounds dry curd or farmer's cheese or ricotta cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 cup light or dark raisins, plumped in water and drained (optional)
  • Crumb Topping:
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold butter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


  1. To 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.

  2. Meanwhile, to make the dough, 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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Grease two 12x3-inch round pans. Stir down dough and pour half into each pan. Cover and let rise until dough comes to within 1 inch of top of the pan.

  5. Meanwhile, make the crumb topping by mixing 4 ounces butter, 6 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoon vanilla sugarCompare Prices and 1 cup flour as for pie crust. Set aside.

  6. Make the filling by beating farmer's cheese or ricotta, 4 eggs, 2 cups sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar. Stir in drained raisins by hand. Set aside.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.
NOTE: This recipe has been amended to take into consideration the reviewer's comments. The dough is excellent, much like a fine brioche. Don't discount this recipe.
User Reviews

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 1 out of 5
You have to be kidding, Member retiredme

My cake is in the oven now. Only for 10 minutes mind you. It has already run over the pan and down the sides completely. In other words, the entire pan has disappeared. Needless to say, I had to remove the smoke detector and the bottom of my oven is a mess. Forget the part where it says to pour the cheese and let it go to the bottom, even with help, the dough does not budge. I only used 1/3 of the cheese mixture as I could see it was way too much. I wish I could post a picture of this disaster. Farmers cheese at five dollars a pound is no laughing matter either.

12 out of 14 people found this helpful.

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