Better without sugar: Recipe for Perník

Janina Černá has helped tens of thousands of people embrace a low-sugar diet, even if her own journey towards sugar-free eating was not an easy one. Her second ‘sugar-free cookbook’ – Cukrfree kuchařka pro malé i velké – written with Jana Dell Plotnárková, was released this May by Sevruga, the publishing company of the Czech celebrity chef Zdeněk Pohlreich. Full of tips for healthy eating, the cookbook includes 120 minimal sugar recipes, all naturally gluten-free and many also lactose-free.


Perník with chocolate glaze and grated coconut

Perník, the ubiquitous Czech spice cake, is a rewarding dessert. Easy enough for a beginner to make with readily available ingredients, it can be prepared several days in advance and decorated with wild fancy. Made in a square tin, perník is an any-day dessert to serve with coffee or tea, but baked in a round form and decorated with chocolate, it will spice up any special occasion – especially if made with a layer of jam in the middle, preferably with no added sugar. 


  • easy 


  • 16 

What you need: 

  • 4 eggs 
  • 1 cup of almond butter 
  • 1 teaspoon of grated rind from an organic lemon  
  • 2 teaspoons of perník spice*  
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda  

* perník is a spice mix of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, anise, fennel, cardamom, coriander and nutmeg; buy it ready from a purveyor of Czech goods or make your own  

for the glaze

  • 85 g of dark chocolate (high % cacao content) 
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil  

for decoration

  • grated organic coconut  


  • Preheat the oven to 170 °C. 
  • Mix the eggs and almond butter in a mixer until smooth. Add the lemon rind, cake spice and baking soda, and mix well. 
  • Line a 20 cm round form with baking paper and fold the batter into the form.  
  • Place into preheated oven and bake for 25−30 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to test whether the cake is fully baked.  
  • Allow the cake to cool. 
  • For the final step, melt the chocolate in a hot water bath, add one tablespoon of coconut oil and mix well.  
  • Glaze the top of the cake with the melted chocolate, sprinkle with grated coconut and serve.  
  • Keep for up to five days in a closed container in the refrigerator.  

Order your signed copy of Cukrfree kuchařka pro malé i velké at and

Find more inspiration and recipes in the printed volume Soffa 27.

text: Hana Janišová, Janina Černá and Jana Dell Plotnárková  | styling and photo: Janina Černá