chimney cakes

chimney cakes

chimney cakes…Given that the trend of chimney cakes in America is growing, the cake itself is in fact nothing new. Its origins date back to at least the 1700s in Hungarian speaking regions. It was originally made as a special treat during times of festivals, weddings and other celebrations such as Christmas and Easter.

Over time, the cake has remained a Hungarian tradition, and an important part of the Transylvanian heritage. It is known to be Hungary’s oldest pastry. Throughout its history, the process of making kürtöskalács has only been altered to meet health standards, although the traditional recipe itself remains the same.

The popularity of chimney cakes, also known as kürtöskalács, has been on the rise in recent years, and it appears as though this trend will continue. You may have noticed food stands at your state or county fair promoting what looks like a coil of dough being baked over an open fire, and then being rolled in a topping of sugar or nuts. The sight of steam billowing from the freshly baked cake as it is rolled, along with its sweet smell can be very alluring.

In addition to food stands, there are numerous restaurants and cafes that are now featuring this dessert on their menus. There are many reasons for the growing popularity of kürtöskalács, a number of which will be discussed throughout this essay. It is important to note that the essay will focus on true, Hungarian chimney cakes. There are other cakes from various cultures that may look similar, but they are indeed different, and lack the flavor and the tradition of a Hungarian kürtöskalács.

chimney cakes
chimney cakes

What Is a Chimney Cake?


A chimney cake is a type of pastry that is also referred to as a spit donut, stick cake, or stick donut. It originated in Hungary, where it is known as Kürtőskalács. The name comes from the appearance of a stovepipe, or kürtő, as the cake is baked in the shape of a hollow cylinder. When served warm, the steam rising from the cake resembles a hot chimney.

Homemade Chimney Cakes


Chimney cakes, also known as Kürtőskalács, are a popular item at street fairs, carnivals, and outdoor markets. The irresistible scent of freshly baked bread covered in butter and cinnamon-sugar fills the air as you walk by. These traditional treats have been enjoyed since medieval times, with the first documented recipe appearing in a cookbook from the 1700s.

If you can’t wait for the next fair to have a taste, you can try making chimney cakes at home with some creativity and innovation. Instead of cooking them on an outdoor rotisserie, the dough can be wrapped around foil-covered rolling pins and baked in the oven on the edges of a pan. This will result in a piping-hot chimney cake straight from the oven.



7g dried yeast
400g plain flour
40g caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly whisked
200ml whole milk
120g butter, at room temperature plus 40g butter, melted
50g caster sugar
For the walnut sugar
80g walnuts, blitzed to grounds in a food processor
80g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon



1. Combine olive oil, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Blend well. Gradually mix in the 2 1/2 cups of flour, adding 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

2. Heat the oven to 375℉/190℃. Get a large plate or container ready and mix cinnamon and sugar in it.

3. Take the dough and place it on a surface dusted with flour, then roll it out into a rectangle measuring 8 by 14 inches.

Cut the dough into strips that are half an inch wide. Wrap 4 tall, empty beer cans in aluminum foil and brush them with extra virgin olive oil. Wrap the dough strips around the cans in a spiral, overlapping each layer. Roll the cans on the counter to smooth out the dough. Brush the dough with extra virgin olive oil and coat it with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar by rolling it in the prepared mixture.

Position the cake covered with the batter in an upright position on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let it cool slightly before carefully removing the beer can. Serve as is or dip in melted chocolate if desired.

Chimney cake recipe
Chimney cake recipe

Do I Need Special Equipment to Make Chimney cake?


Yes, you will need some special equipment to make chimney cakes. The traditional way to make chimney cakes involves using a special chimney cake oven, which is a rotating spit over an open flame. This allows the dough to cook evenly and develop its characteristic crispy outer layer.

If you don’t have access to a chimney cake oven, you can still try making chimney cakes at home using a grill or a rotisserie attachment for your oven. You may also need a chimney cake roller to shape the dough and give it the signature spiral pattern.

While special equipment can enhance the authenticity of your chimney cakes, you can also get creative and adapt the recipe to use more common kitchen tools to achieve a similar result.

Variations of Chimney Cakes


One of the most inviting elements of chimney cakes is the huge variety of flavors and coatings from which to choose. They are made with just a few simple ingredients, but there is a long involved process going from raw dough to finished delicious treat. While there are slight variations to the basic dough recipe from region to region, the real variety comes in the many ways to top chimney cakes. Traditionally, they are topped with a mixture of sugar and crushed nuts (most commonly almonds), but nowadays there are all manner of tempting toppings.

The sugar and nut mixture can be upgraded to a variety of candy coatings. One of the most difficult to find outside of Hungary is a sweet tasting cheese, called Quark, that is similar in consistency to yogurt. It can be spread inside the chimney cake and makes for quite a different taste.

Another increasingly popular topping is cinnamon, and many people are complementing this flavor with a second layer of apple and cinnamon. For the complete opposite taste, there are garlic chimney cakes which are being sold at the garlic festival in Hungary.

Other not so sweet variations include a sausage or hot dog cooked inside the dough, and a pizza chimney cake with tomato sauce and cheese on top. More conservative toppings can include jam and or other fruit filled pastes. With so many way to prepare them, just about anyone can find a flavor chimney cake that satisfies his or her taste buds.

Chimney cakes menu


Here is a suggested menu featuring chimney cakes as a delicious dessert option:

Classic Cinnamon Sugar Chimney Cake:

Freshly baked chimney cake coated in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Chocolate Drizzle Chimney Cake:

Warm chimney cake topped with a generous drizzle of melted chocolate.
Nutty Delight Chimney Cake:

Chimney cake rolled in crushed nuts like almonds or hazelnuts for added crunch.
Fruity Surprise Chimney Cake:

Chimney cake filled with a light fruit compote or fresh berries for a refreshing twist.
Ice Cream Stuffed Chimney Cake:

Chimney cake sliced open and filled with a scoop of your favorite ice cream flavor.
S’mores Chimney Cake:

Chimney cake layered with chocolate, marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs for a campfire-inspired treat.
Coffee Infused Chimney Cake:

Chimney cake infused with coffee flavor and topped with a coffee glaze for a unique twist.
Feel free to mix and match these different variations to create a diverse and enticing chimney cake menu for your guests to enjoy!


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