Karpatka – Eclair Cake, also known as Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake, is a delightful dessert that has captured the hearts of pastry lovers around the world. From the moment I laid eyes on this decadent treat, I knew I had to try it, and it did not disappoint!
This cake is essentially a giant cream puff or eclair, made up of two layers of choux pastry that are filled with a generous amount of vanilla cream. Each bite is a harmonious blend of crisp, buttery pastry and luscious, velvety cream. It’s a dessert that’s perfect for any occasion, be it a family gathering or a fancy dinner party.
One of the things I love most about this cake is its name. The word “Karpatka” comes from the Carpathian Mountains, which stretch across several countries in Central and Eastern Europe. As the choux pastry bakes, it puffs up and takes on irregular shapes, which, when dusted with powdered sugar, resemble the snowy peaks of the mountains. It’s a beautiful and fitting name for a cake that’s as stunning as it is delicious.
To take this cake to the next level, you can serve it with a berry coulis or chocolate sauce. The tartness of the berries or the richness of the chocolate complements the sweetness of the vanilla cream and the buttery flavor of the choux pastry perfectly. It’s a great way to add some extra flavor and texture to an already fantastic dessert.
How to make this Karpatka Eclair Cake
First, prepare the vanilla pastry cream by whisking together eggs, sugar, flour, and cornstarch. Gradually add boiling milk, return to heat, and cook until thickened. Add vanilla extract, cover, and let cool.
For the choux pastry layers, boil milk, water, sugar, salt, and butter, then add flour and cook until the dough pulls away from the pan. Add eggs one at a time, divide evenly, and bake until puffed and golden brown.
For the vanilla filling, mix butter with pastry cream until fully incorporated. Assembly involves placing the first layer of choux pastry on a serving platter, adding vanilla cream, placing the second layer of pastry, and refrigerating for several hours. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, and enjoy with berry coulis or chocolate sauce if desired.
I highly recommend trying this Karpatka Eclair Cake. It’s a show-stopping dessert that’s sure to impress your friends and family. And with its simple yet elegant flavor profile, it’s a dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. So, don’t hesitate to give it a try, and I promise you won’t be disappointed! If you do, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, would love to see how it turns out for you. For a twist on the classic recipe, be sure to try the Chocolate Karpatka Eclair Cake. Enjoy!
Other custard desserts you may like to try
This Norwegian Verdens Beste Cake consists of two layers of soft vanilla sponge cake topped with crispy baked meringue and toasted almonds filled with smooth and creamy vanilla custard and whipped cream. You also must try the twist to this amazing dessert, the Chocolate Norwegian Cake. Another custard dessert we love is this Ding Don Cake which consists of two layers of rich and moist chocolate cake that are filled with a creamy and fluffy vanilla custard cream filling, then topped with a smooth and rich chocolate ganache. For a nutty caramel, experience try this Pecan Caramel Mousse Cake with two layers of vanilla sponge cake with caramel pecan topping and with a smooth custard salted caramel mousse filling.
Eclair Cake - Karpatka - Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake
Choux Pastry Layers
- 3/4 cup (95g) bread flour
- 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
- 1/3 cup (80ml) water
- 2 tsp (10g) sugar
- 1/2 tsp (2g) salt
- 2 oz (60g) unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups (500ml) milk
- 2/3 cup (135g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
- 1 tbsp (10g) flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp (10g) vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (170g) butter , room temperature
Prepare the vanilla pastry cream.
- Prepare this first to have time to cool. Place milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile whisk the eggs with sugar until well combined. Add flour and cornstarch and mix to combine.
- Gradually add milk into the egg mixture and return to heat. Cook stirring constantly until it boils and thickens.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
- Pour the cream into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent forming a skin on the surface. Let cool to room temperature.
Prepare choux pastry layers.
- In a saucepan bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add flour all at once and incorporate mixing energetically with a wooden spoon until homogenous.
- Return the saucepan over low heat and while stirring cook for 1 minute or two to pull out the moisture from the batter and until it pulls away from the sides of the pan. You will see some of the dough sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer batter to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 F (190C). Grease two 8 inch (20cm) pans and line with parchment paper.
- Add the eggs one at a time, carefully incorporating each into the batter, using a wooden spoon or even a stand mixer. It will result in a smooth, homogeneous batter which still holds its shape.
- Divide choux pastry evenly and spread on the bottom of the pans.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until nicely puffed and golden brown.
- Let cool.
Prepare the vanilla cream filling.
- Place butter into a large bowl and mix until creamy. Gradually add spoons of pastry cream and mix to incorporate. Add another spoon only when the other spon is fully incorporated. Repeat until all the pastry cream is fully incorporated.
Assemble the cake.
- Add a bit of vanilla cream on a serving platter. Add the first layer of choux pastry. Place a ring and line with an acetate sheet for easier removal. Add vanilla cream on top of the pastry layer. Fill the gaps from the second layer of pastry and place on top of the vanilla cream. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or better overnight.
- Before serving, dust with powdered sugar. Serve as is or with a berry coulis or chocolate sauce. Enjoy!