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Kürtőskalács a.k.a. Chimney Cake, a delicious Hungarian pastry

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All different - all delicious!

All different - all delicious!

Tourist eating a Chimney Cake in Budapest

Tourist eating a Chimney Cake in Budapest

Did you know?

The Hungarian word Kürtő means stovepipe or as the name suggests, ‘chimney’.

Origins

Kürtőskalács or Chimney Cake is an incredible Hungarian pastry that is usually baked over open fire above smouldering charcoal and the pastry is rolled around a cylindrical wooden ‘skewer’. In these modern times as open fire is not that applicable in many cases there are special gas and electric ovens that enable us to cook this delicious sweet inside the house as well (as you will see on the videos later on).

The Chimney Cake was originally born is Transylvania (present day Romania), while the territory was still part of present day Hungary. There are many different beliefs about its exact origins; one of these says that Kürtőskalács was first made by a clever Szekler (Székely) woman who saved the locals from starving to death while the Mongols (Tatars) invaded Hungary in 1241-1242. According to another belief (that is most probably the real truth) this pastry is only a few hundred years old and was first made by some Szekler families who wanted to make another use of the smouldering charcoal in their house. They put the charcoal onto their stovepipes and started to bake the pastry above that. A bit later this pastry became a traditional sweet on weddings and some family events both in Transylvania and in whole Hungary.

Nowadays Chimney Cake is usually sold on special events, carnivals and fairs by street vendors, but it is popular in bakeries and different pastry shops as well, not just in Budapest or Hungary.

The Cake itself is not that hard to make and is usually topped by different sweet spices like cinnamon, coconut-sprinkles or walnuts. Sugar is caramelised on the surface of the pastry and then it is rolled into one of the above mentioned toppings. This way the whole Chimney Cake has a sweet and crispy surface and a very soft, almost creamy interior.

This pastry is a national symbol of Hungary, though it was registered by the European Union as a Protected Geographical Indication/Speciality (PGI) of Slovakia under a different name (Trdelnik).

Baking over charcoal

Baking over charcoal

kurtoskalacs-aka-chimney-cake
kurtoskalacs-aka-chimney-cake

International success

Kürtőskalács was very popular in Berlin as well when it was presented to the locals on the opening of Galeria Kaufhof.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour 30 min

20 min

1 hour 50 min

about 6 rolls

Ingredients

  • 750g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g sugar
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 30g yeast
  • 300ml milk, lukewarm
  • some more melted butter and sugar, for the caramelised surface
The perfect Chimney Cake

The perfect Chimney Cake

The home-made tools for baking

The home-made tools for baking

The product on fairs

The product on fairs

Instructions on how to make Chimney Cake

  1. Sprinkle the flour into a bowl and make a small ‘pit’ into the middle of it by your hands. Put the yeast into this ‘pit’, pour the lukewarm milk onto it and mix it gently with the yeast until it dissolves in the milk. Cover up the bowl with a small piece of cloth for 10-15 mins until the yeast in the mix starts to ‘work’.
  2. Mix the butter, the sugar and the eggs together and pour this mix into the previous one. With your clean hands knead the ingredients together and then cover the pastry again and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place (near the radiator for best results).
  3. During this time, create your tools that you will use to bake the pastry. For best results, use the rolls of paper kitchen towels or empty beer cans after you totally wrapped them into kitchen foil.
  4. After the hour has passed on a clean and even surface make long strips from the dough. Wrap these strips around the special baking tools you made previously, but first, brush some butter on them to be able to easily get the baked pastry off of them later. Wrap the strips in a way that there will be no spaces between the strips.
  5. If you can, bake the rolls above smouldering charcoal. If you have to bake it ‘inside’, then grill them in your oven on 200 degrees for about 15-20 mins. Around the 10th min, brush them with melted butter and roll them in sugar or sugar mixed with cinnamon or any other sweets you desire. Bake them until the sugar is fully caramelised.
  6. When it is done, tap the cake on a hard surface so the pastry will simply slide off of your home-made tools.
  7. Enjoy!
kurtoskalacs-aka-chimney-cake

Hotness-meter of Chimney Cake

kurtoskalacs-aka-chimney-cake

Ideal products for baking

Professional baking of Chimney Cake

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© Copyright 2012-2014, Zsofia Koszegi-Nagy (zsobig)

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© 2012 Sophie

Comments on Chimney Cake

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on September 19, 2014:

I have always wanted to try this. I just have to look for this in my city now.

retromellie from Australia on May 07, 2013:

I tasted this in Prague recently and it was lovely! Thanks for sharing this recipe I am definitely going to give this one a go!

Louise Samuel from Murska Sobota on March 14, 2013:

Nice article about Kurtoskalacs... I am a kurtoskalacs or Chimney cake baker. I also have a small business where we make and sell Kurtoskalacs ovens, accessories and a NEW EASY kurtoskalacs dry mix. We ship our ovens all over the world! We have helped many self-employed people establish their own Kurtoskalacs bakery stores as well as assist bigger companies to establish larger franchises.... My web site is www.kurtos-kalacs.com and we have a Facebook page which you can view from our web site home page. We have lots of images of the product and images taken by some of our customers. Pop in and take a look!

Sophie (author) from United Kingdom on August 12, 2012:

Believe me, worth it!

If I'd have the opportunityI would eat one everday! :)

(Thank God I don't have, how would I look like after a while? :))

Thanks a lot for your kind comment!

C E Clark from North Texas on August 12, 2012:

This looks so scrumptious! Unfortunately there are no open flames available, but I certainly look forward to trying it if I should come across it in my travels. I will know as soon as I see it that it is something not to pass up!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on August 03, 2012:

I've never heard of this -- not surprising because we don't have that big of a Hungarian community here in Southern California. Voting this Up and Useful.

moonlake from America on August 02, 2012:

This is new to me I have never heard of them. Your hub is great so much information on Kürtőskalács. I don't know if I would ever try to make them but I will keep the recipe just in case. Voted up and more.

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on July 05, 2012:

We're not the only ones who like the look of it - it's been repinned twice in the last couple of minutes from my board!

Sophie (author) from United Kingdom on July 05, 2012:

Thanks for pinning it - believe me this worth trying, as it really is an incredible pastry. Not only looks good (in my opinion), but tastes delicious! If you ever happen to get to Hungary, try it on Vaci street in the heart of the city.

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on July 05, 2012:

I'd never heard of this before - I don't think I'd have the patience to make it, but I'd certainly give it a try if I was offered some. Pinned.