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Adjust Servings:
For the Dough
2 1/4 cup white flour
6 Tbsp white wine
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
Cottage Cheese Filling
2 Tbsp golden raisins
2 Tbsp dark rum I didn't have any so I used Madeira
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 Large eggs
Poppyseed Filling
1 1/4 cup poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
Apple Filling
2 medium green apple peeled, cored and grated
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
Walnut Filling
1 1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
To Assemble
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 Large eggs
powdered sugar
ground cinnamon

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Slovenia: Prekmurska Gibanica {Bakeolution}

Layered Apple Strudel Cake with Poppy Seeds, Walnuts and Cottage Cheese

  • 2.5 hours + 4 hours to chill
  • Serves 10
  • Hard


  • For the Dough

  • Cottage Cheese Filling

  • Poppyseed Filling

  • Apple Filling

  • Walnut Filling

  • To Assemble



Funny story.  Friday afternoon, my friend Sarah chatted me to remind me to bake for Bakeolution.  I would bake, I told her, but I was going to make something easy.  I’d hoped to make a Swedish princess cake, but no way would I have the time or energy for layers and rolling marzipan on Sunday after I’d hosted 50+ people for a 12 hour National Corn Dog party the day before.  One of my colleagues would probably end up finding a beer cap in their buttercream.

Yes somehow I found myself this Slovenian strudel cake, complete with nine layers and four types of filling.  How do I get myself into these things?

Four fillings: poppyseed, apple, cottage cheese and rum raisin, and walnuts.

I’m going to sound like a crazy person, but I actually didn’t find this recipe that hard… except for the pastry dough.  The recipe simply didn’t seem to make enough dough to roll to the size described, even when I applied enough muscle that Courtney was laughing at how much I was exerting myself.  What ends up happening is a cake that narrowed toward the top and was uneven, rather than the perfectly leveled cake shown in the picture.  So maybe you want to x 1.5 the pastry recipe – or better yet just buy a couple packages of puff pastry.  Note: poppy seeds can be extraordinarily expensive when purchased in the spice section – Harris Teeter wanted $21 for a container that was probably 1/2 cup at most.  If you look for them in bulk, you’ll find a much better deal – I found a 1 1/2 cup bag at Yes Market for $3.99

Anyways, about this recipe!  As the name indicates, this dish is native to Prekmurje, a small region in the Northeastern tip of Slovenia.  Gibanica comes from the expression güba which means “to fold.”  The oldest written reference to gibanica is from 1828, when the priest Jožef Kosič compiled a text citing gibanica as a special Prekmurian dish, a must at wedding festivities and also served to workers after finishing a big project.  You know, like cleaning all the bottles, solo cups and corn dog sticks from the back yard!

My Prekmurje Gibanica came out hideously ugly (Courtney will attest), but once cut into the layers were beautiful and distinct. This cake is very unique, and some found the poppyseed to be overwhelming.  Others appreciated that the pastry was not overwhelmingly sweet.  I personally liked it, although it probably isn’t something I’m going to be making again!

Recipe Source: Saveur



Make the strudel dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour with the wine, oil, sugar, salt, and 1⁄4 cup water. On low speed, mix until the dough comes together, and then increase the speed to medium and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the fillings.


Make the cheese filling

In a small bowl, soak the raisins with the rum until soft, 30 minutes. Combine with remaining ingredients and set aside,


Make the poppy seed filling

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the poppy seeds form a smooth paste and just begin sticking to the bottom of the pan, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat, scrape into a small bowl, and let cool completely.


Make the apple filling

In a small bowl, toss the grated apples with the remaining ingredients. Let stand for at least 20 minutes and drain excess liquid before using.


Make the walnut filling

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Finely chop the walnuts and place in a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients.


Assemble the cake

Line the bottom of an 8-inch round springform pan with parchment paper and then brush the bottom and side with some of the melted butter. Unwrap the strudel dough and divide into 9 pieces (1 piece should weigh 3 1⁄2 oz. and the remaining 8 should weigh 1 3⁄4 oz.). Using a rolling pin, flatten the larger, 3 1⁄2-oz. piece into a 12-inch circle. Line the baking pan with the dough circle, letting the excess hang over the edge of the pan.


Brush the dough with melted butter and then spread half of the poppy seed filling over the dough, smoothing the top. Flatten each of the eight 1 3⁄4-oz. pieces of dough into an 8-inch circle, and then place 1 circle over the poppy seed filling. Brush the circle with butter and then spread half of the apple filling over the top. Cover with a second dough circle, brush with butter, and spread half of the cheese filling over the top. Cover with a third dough circle, brush with butter, and sprinkle with half of the walnut filling. Repeat with 4 more dough circles and the remaining poppy seed, apple, cheese, and walnut fillings, brushing each dough circle with butter before adding the next filling.


Fold the overhanging dough back into the pan, over the walnut filling or as far up as it will go, and brush the dough with butter. Place the last dough circle over the walnut filling and press gently at the edge to adhere to the buttered dough. Brush the top of the pastry cake with the remaining butter and pierce the top with a paring knife in 6 evenly spaced places. Refrigerate the cake at least 4 hours, or overnight.


Bake the cake

Heat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, stir the sour cream with egg until smooth; discard the remaining egg. Spread the sour cream evenly over the top of the pastry cake, leaving a 1⁄2-inch border, and cover with foil careful that it's not touching the sour cream. Bake the pastry cake for 1 hour, and then remove the foil and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 30 minutes more.


Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool completely. Unmold the cake from the pan, transfer to a serving platter, and discard the parchment paper. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar and cinnamon before serving.


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