Sweet treats: cake classics of Hungary
Dobos cake, Rigó Jancsi, Esterházy cake… just some of the sweet classics of Hungarian cuisine and compulsory elements of a visit to any of the Hungarian confectioneries. From a romantic love story to 19th century innovation, they all have a story, and are much more than food: they are telling stories and are a piece of history themselves.
Your trip to Budapest is not complete without visiting one or more great cafés or confectioneries of the city, but great representatives of the genre can be found in the countryside too.
What a romantic story: this cake was named after a famous leader of a gipsy music band ('prímás' in Hungarian), 'Rigó Jancsi'. The handsome young man was playing with his band in cafés and restaurants, and in one of them it happened in 1896 that Clara Ward-Chimay, wife of a Belgian prince and daughter of an American millionaire fell in love with him and they soon ran away together. It was such a scandal that even Toulouse-Lautrec has immortalized the lovers in one of his drawings! The chocolate sponge cake is filled with a rich chocolate cream and also topped with a layer of chocolate fondant galze
The cake exists in several versions today, but originally it consisted of several layers of almond meringue dough and cognac or vanilla spiced buttercream. Nowadays the almond is replaced with walnut. The cake is topped with white fondant cream and is decorated with a very characteristic chocolate stripe pattern.
Dobos torta (Dobos cake)
József Dobos C., a famous confetioner of the 19th century is the mastermind behind this cake, which was first introduced at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885, and was admired by even Sissy (Empress Elizabeth) and Emperor Franz Joseph. This sponge cake is layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with crispy caramel. Before his death József Dobos handed the recipe over to the federation of Hungarian confectioners, with the terms that from then it will be public for any confectioners wishing to recreate this cake
Gerbeaud slice (Zserbó szelet)
Chocolate, walnut and apricot jam: this is the triumvirate which unite in a perfect harmony of tastes in the form of zserbó. This cake was invented and got it's name from Emile Gerbeaud, a Swiss-born confectioner who moved to Budapest in 1884 and together with confectioner Henrik Kugler they opened a pastry café at Gizella Square.