A slice of Hungary: traditional cakes and pastries

| April 8, 2014 | 1 Comment

Close-up of Dobostorta, the cake is one of Hungary’s most famous desserts .

Hungarians have a great reputation for their gulyás (goulash) and paprikáscsirke (chicken paprika). But Hungarians aren’t only masters of savory foods, they know a thing or two when it comes to dessert! There’s a great amount of Hungarian cakes and pastries that deserve just as much attention.

Here are some of the most popular desserts that you owe it to yourself to try if you are in Hungary!


This rich and elegant cake is stacked with several layers of chocolate buttercream and topped with a thin crust of caramel. It was created by Hungarian confectioner József C. Dobos in 1884. The cake was first introduced at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885; Franz Joseph I and his Empress Elisabeth were among the first to taste it. Soon afterwards, it became a sensation around the world.

Rigó Jancsi

Rigó Jancsi is a cubed shaped chocolate sponge cake with chocolate cream filling in the center. The cake was named after Rigó Jancsi, a famous Hungarian Gypsy violinist who according to legend, seduced and married Clara Ward, a wealthy American socialite. Unfortunately, their love and marriage didn’t last long but Rigó Jancsi story was so touching that his cake became a celebration of his life.

Esterházy Torta

Esterházy Torta is a rich layered almond and walnut cake with a fancy fondant glaze. It was named after Pál Antal Esterházy who was a member of the noble Hungarian family Esterházy. The cake is also widely popular in Austria and Germany.


Rétes, also known as strudel. Common fillings include túró, cherries, sour cherries, apples, poppy seeds or plums. Rétes can also be savory with the most popular filling being cabbage.

Gerbeaud Szelet

The Gerbeaud szelet was invented by Swiss pastry chef Emile Gerbeaud of Gerbeaud Café. The cake consists of thin layers of sweet yeast cake alternated with layers of apricot jam and ground walnuts, and topped with a chocolate glaze. It is cut into rectangles to serve.


Puncstorta is a jelly roll sponge cake which is soaked in rum with dried fruits and topped with a bright pink frosting. Underneath the frosting there is a thin layer of strawberry jam.


Similar to a Mille-feuille or custard slice. It is made up of layers of puff pastry filled with custard cream and dusted with confectioner’s sugar on top. The exact origins are unknown but its believed the Hungarian city of Szeged or the Italian city of Napoli may have inspired the original recipe.

Rákóczi Túrós

Rákóczi Túrós is a pastry with a short crust topped with curd cheese, meringue and apricot jam. It was invented by Hungarian pastry chef János Rákóczi in 1958 for the Hungarian restaurant at the Brussels World Fair.


The Indiáner is a pastry stuffed with whipped cream and glazed with chocolate.The delicate pastry was invented in the 19th century for a theater in Vienna.

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