Hungarian chimney cakes or Kürtöskalács, are made from a sweet yeasted dough that is wrapped around cylinder moulds and then cooked.
I believe they have got the English name chimney cakes because when they are removed from the moulds you can see steam coming the middle of them which looks like smoke from a chimney. When making these you will see that, they really do look like smoking chimneys.
They can be made at home using tin cans or rolling pins as the mould and baked in the oven.
If you have travelled to Prague or Budapest then you would have most defiantly seen these being cooked in shops along the streets.
I saw Trdelnik, which is what they are known as in Prague when i went with my grandma a few years ago. The smell of the sweet dough wafting around the city was amazing.
The warmth from the heaters they use to cook them was a good excuse to stop and warm up. I enjoyed standing there and watching them being made.
I found this post about Kürtöskalács if you want to find out more.
I was really excited when i saw a recipe for them in Irina Georgescu’s book Carpathia. It is a really beautiful book full of wonderful Romanian recipes.
The authors father travelled to Transylvania for work when she was a child and he would return with food, often these cakes and other sweet treats. so she has found memories of these, I’m so glad she included them.
I can see why as the yummy buttery dough that is covered in walnuts and sugar is so good.
The chimney cakes i saw being sold in Prague were served with all kinds of fillings and toppings, like chocolate sauce or ice cream.
The process of making them is fun, I used cola cans wrapped in baking paper as i didn’t have any foil.
Taller cans would make them a more traditional length. I have seen some being made at home using a rolling pin covered in foil also.
The recipe from Irina Georgescu’s first book full of recipes from the heart of Romania, called Carpathia.
Its a really wonderful book with so many delicious looking recipes, i highly recommend it.
These are best eaten while warm, i love them with some Nutella or honey, but you can have what ever you fancy.
I had some leftovers and warmed them up the next day in the microwave for a few seconds and they were still delicious.
To ensure they were evenly baked this time i turned them over after 15 minutes, i didn’t do this the first time i made them.
I used unsalted butter, so i added some salt to the dough when i made them.
Hungarian chimney cakes
- 6 Tin cans, like tall beer or soft drink cans, (smaller ones are ok for smaller chimney cakes)
- tin foil or baking paper to wrap them brushed with melted butter (20g (3/4 oz)
For the dough
- 3 eggs
- 50g (2 oz) golden caster sugar
- 80g (3oz) butter melted
- 600g (1 lb 5 oz) plain flour
- 220ml (7 1/2 fl oz) milk lukewarm
- 14g (1/2 oz) fast action yeast
For the coating
- 150g (5 oz) golden caster sugar
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) walnuts finely chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) butter melted
To make dough
- Briefly whisk the eggs, sugar and melted butter together. Sieve in the flour and add the milk and yeast. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until smooth, then cover and set aside to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. (note – i used unsalted butter so i added a tsp of salt)
- Wrap each emptied drink can in a sheet of kitchen foil. Twist the excess foil at one end to create a handle then brush the foil with butter. (I ran out of foil so i used baking paper)
- Divide the dough into 6 balls and roll each into a 5mm-(in-) thick rectangle. Cut into 4cm- (1½in-) wide strips. Carefully wrap strips of dough around one of the prepared cans in a spiral, slightly overlapping them as you go. (see video on post)You will most certainly need to stick strips together in order to go all the way down the length of the can. Repeat with the remaining dough strips.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
Adding the walnut/sugar mix and baking
- Combine the sugar with the walnuts and vanilla in a shallow dish. (i chopped mine in a food processor)Brush the dough-spirals with half of the melted butter, then roll in the sugar and walnut mixture. Place onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and brush with the remaining butter, and again roll in the sugar and walnut mix. Bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown.Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then gently push the spirals off the cans. Serve warm with a large cup of coffee and chocolate sauce if you wish.
A photo from when i visited Prague with my grandma back in January 2020. I loved the misty moodiness that enveloped the city.