Recipes Gastronomy Desserts

Jahelník (Millet cake)

Jahelník was the food of the poor, both in savory and sweet version. Today, I’ll share my recipe for the latter.


Millet or jáhly in Czech is a cereal not as widely used in Czech cuisine as it used to be. Whilst nowadays, you’ll find millet more in healthy food stores and it’s somewhat fancy, it used to be very cheap and therefore, often used for cooking. You can cook it with many different ingredients, it’s great for preparing savory meals, side dishes or desserts.

I would like share with you my recipe for a simple healthy dessert that used to be commonly prepared in the countryside, and especially by the poor. Of course, there’s more than one version of this recipe. The poorest people would cook just the sweetened millet, whenever they could afford more, they would add ingredients like povidla, raisins or other dried fruit to make the taste more interesting and other ingredients to make jahelník richer in calories to sustain them during a hard winter or long days of manual labor.

This recipe is made with povidla, however, feel free to add dried fruit to taste.


Jahelník was the favorite dish of Karel Čapek, who suffered digestive problems and the gluten-free cereal didn’t give him much trouble. So if you too eat gluten-free, this is a dessert for you!

Ingredients and Supplies

  • 2 cups of millet
  • 3 cups of milk + 3 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 – 2 cups of povidla
  • butter – about 4 slices
  • 1 egg
  • baking pan

Jahelník – Recipe

Pour hot water over the millet so it doesn’t taste bitter. Place the millet and milk (except for the 3 tbsp) into a saucepan and boil slowly until the millet’s done and the mixture is dense. The millet-milk ratio can differ depending on the type of millet and also whether it’s whole or crushed. You can start with less milk and add more if you see it necessary.

Mix in the honey.

The resulting mixture should be rather dense.

Place half of your millet in the baking pan and the povidla on it. You can make a full layer of povidla or just chunks. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the spread.

Cover with the rest of the millet.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/338°F. Whisk 1 egg with 3 tbsp of milk, pour the mixture over the jahelník and bake for 10 minutes.


Place some sliced of butter on top and bake for 30 more minutes.


Let jahelník cool down and serve. you can cut it into individual pieces or everyone can grab a spoon and eat from the baking pan.

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