Polish Heaven Cake

This is my vegan and gluten-free take on the stunning Polish cake, Niebo w gębie. The buttery crust, apple puree, walnut crème and chocolate ganache marry together with surprising harmony. As with all my favourite dessert recipes, it gets better with age. It might look intimidating but just read the recipe through before you start and you’ll be fine. It’s truly heavenly!



Apple Layer

Walnut Crème

Chocolate Ganache


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/360F. Sift the dry Crust ingredients into a large bowl. Add the vegan butter in little pieces then use your fingers to ‘pinch’ the butter into the dry ingredients. Eventually switch to a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together into a very buttery pastry dough. Spread the mixture with a wet spoon between two square 20cm/8 inch tins lined with baking paper. Leave ½ cm gap around the edge of the tin. Alternatively, draw the base size of a similar tin you own on baking paper (twice, for two layers), and spread the mixture to fill the inside of these outlines - then later assemble the cake in the tin you selected. It will seem like there isn’t enough mixture, but there’s just enough as they’re meant to be very thin layers. Chill for 10 minutes, before baking in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
  2. Meanwhile, make the Apple Layer by placing the apples and lemon juice in a medium pot and stirring occasionally over medium heat until the mixture resembles a chunky puree. Add the odd splash of water as needed. Take the pot off the heat and add the agar agar. Stir to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
  3. Make the Walnut Crème by first blitzing the walnuts in a food processor or blender until they resemble fine crumbs. Place the soy milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the bubble (scalding point). Tip in the ground walnuts and stir continuously over medium heat for 2-4 mins until a thick paste forms. Take off the heat and transfer the mixture to a small dish. Refrigerate to cool completely.
  4. Once cool, beat the icing sugar, vegan butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the walnut paste one tablespoon at a time, beating to fully incorporate after each addition.
  5. To assemble the cake, line one of the baking tins you used to bake the crust in (or based the crust layer shapes on) with copious baking paper so that you have two sturdy overhanging flaps to remove it with once set. Pop a crust (trimmed if needed) into the base, spread over the now room temperature apple mixture, top with the other crust then spread over the walnut buttercream. Pop in the fridge while you make the Ganache.
  6. Make the Chocolate Ganache by heating the soy milk in a small saucepan until a few bubbles appear. Turn off the heat, tip in the chopped chocolate and whisk until lusciously smooth and thick. Pour over the walnut crème and spread into the corners. Return to the fridge to set completely for ideally 2+ hours. This cake gets better the longer it sits (overnight is perfect), but can be eaten as soon as the ganache has set. Use the baking paper handles to remove the cake from the tin. Refrigerate the leftovers and eat within 2-3 days.
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