Polish sękacz or Lithuanian šakotis is a popular Polish-Lithuanian traditional cake.
The cake became popular during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1791). Its origins are attributed to either the Italian Queen Bona Sforza of Poland or the Baltic tribe of Yotvingians. The Yotvingians settled in the early and high Middle Ages in Podlasie, while Bona Sforza is known to have implemented many agriculture, infrastructure and manufacture reforms.
Its name means "branched tree" or "tree with many branches" due to its distinctive shape (it is often conical, like a pine tree, and with the drips as branches). It is baked by painting layers of dough onto a rotating spit in a special open oven or over an open fire. It is drier than a German Baumkuchen (it is not the same as Baumkuchen, although often confused with it). In France, it is known as gâteau à la broche and is mostly found in the Massif Central and Pyrenees, especially in Hautes-Pyrénées and Aveyron where it is a very popular party dessert.
It can be decorated with chocolate and flower ornaments, but it is often served plain. Šakotis is one of the most important desserts in Lithuanian celebrations, especially at weddings or birthday parties. It is often eaten at Christmas both in Lithuania and Poland.