Marchwiak lubelski is not your normal carrot cake! And it’s definitely not what you know to be carrot cake in the U.S. This yeast cake made out of fresh, grated carrots and poppy seeds has a specific taste! But what makes it even more special is the swirl!

This cake comes from Kąkolewnica village in Radzyń Podlaski County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It was a tradition to bake this carrot cake for All Saints’ Day – Polish equivalent of Halloween but way more serious (!). To this day, on All Saints’ Day Poles light candles on their relatives’ graves and pray. These cakes were made for the poor people who gathered around churches and cemeteries.

Marchwiak – Yeast Carrot Swirl Cake from Lublin


  • 50 g fresh yeast or 14 g of dry yeast
  • 500 g flour
  • ½ warm milk 
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • egg white (optional) 
  • yolk (optional)
  • additional egg (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of oil (originally lard)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of grated carrots
  • 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds
  • Orange zest
  • ½ cup of warm water

How to make Marchwiak

The dough:

  1. Fresh yeast: melt it in warm milk, add sugar and 3 spoons of flour. Put it aside and wait till it grows. Dry yeast: just throw it in with the flour and other ingredients in the bowl.
  2. Sift the flour in a bowl, add salt, oil, egg, the single egg yolk, half of the water and yeast.
  3. Work the dough until it forms a nice and soft ball.
  4. Cover the bowl (with the dough) with a cloth and put the bowl aside to a warm place. Give it an hour to rise.
  5. Work your dough again for 5 minutes.
  6. Take the dough out and divide it into two. Roll each piece with a rolling pin.

The Filling and putting it all together:

  1. Wash, peel and grate the carrots.
  2. Put the grated carrots on the flattened dough, sprinkle it with sugar, poppy seeds, and orange zest. Roll it up and seal the edge.
  3. Lightly whisk egg whites (with a bit of water) to make an egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  4. Bake for 30 min in 180℃ ( 356℉)

Tip: I like mixing the carrots with the poppy seeds before so the filling is nice and even.

Podkarpackie Regional Polish Food