You’re wandering innocently on the streets of Budapest, taking photos, admiring the architecture, then something happens… A sweet scent is catching your nose and guiding you to the origin of the sugary aroma, which is a chimney cake kiosk with delicious sweets. And maybe a long queue… Don’t care about that, just wait because you have to try out this Hungarian sweet street food. The long queue and the enticing smell don’t always guarantee the quality. Don’t worry, I tested the chimney cakes and I’ll share with you where to eat the best chimney cakes in Budapest.
What is chimney cake (kürtőskalács)?
Chimney cake is a sweet delight, its main ingredients are flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, yeast and salt. The sweet dough is wrapped around a cylindrical baking spit. Before placing above the hot charcoal, they roll the dough in sugar, so it’ll be golden brown outside and the scent of the caramelised sugar will attract you.
It’s baked over fire only on outdoor events and in kiosks because Hungarian regulations don’t allow using charcoal and fire indoors. I couldn’t find a difference between the tastes, just the one baked over glowing charcoal smells better and waiting for the fresh chimney cake next to the fire has a special atmosphere.
The last step is to choose a coating. The most common ones are cinnamon, vanilla, cacao and walnut. Grab the freshest one, share it with your friends and enjoy the fluffy sweet dough.
Nowadays, cone-shaped chimney cakes are even more popular because they can be filled with ice cream or other tasty creams. Just use your imagination and you can create your dreamy filled chimney cake.
Before telling you where to find the best chimney cakes in Budapest, let me tell you a few interesting facts about its history. Spoiler! It wasn’t always sweet…
The origin of chimney cake (kürtőskalács)
I’ve seen loads of photos on social media about people holding chimney cakes in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I was confused because they were talking about traditional Czech or Slovakian chimney cakes, which looks like the Hungarian kürtőskalács. I had to clarify the origin of the chimney cake.
Once upon a time, in a German manuscript from the Medival time, a description was made about a raised dough wrapped around a baking spit in a helical shape. So the ancestor of chimney cake was born in Germany, furthermore, different shapes and baking methods were invented too.
The 1st known recipe of chimney cake comes from Transylvania (West-Romania) also called Székely Land. However, this early version from 1784 didn’t include any sweetening.
An Upper-Hungarian recipe from 1795 suggested sugar in the baking process for the first time. Sugar and almond coating was mentioned in 1876 in a Hungarian cookbook by Auntie Rézi. In the 20th century, the sugar-almond coating was changed to sugar-walnut coating and at the of the century, other coatings like cinnamon, coconut, cocoa appeared.
Other European countries also have been inspired by the recipe. In Slovakia, this spit cake is called trdelnik and trdo in the Czech Republic. Both countries changed the original Hungarian recipe and implemented their own versions, where the dough is thicker and before baking, it’s covered only with ground walnut or almond.
So for the authentic kürtőskalács you have to come to Hungary! I’ll tell you where to try it out in Budapest and everyone can live happily ever after 😉
Chimney cake guide to Budapest
Kiosks in the underground and around main squares
At main squares and stations, you can find kiosks selling chimney cake. It’s easy to find them, just follow the scent with your nose. The sweets are freshly baked in the booths, and usually, there’s some waiting time, but it’s worth to wait for your fresh and warm chimney cake.
The most common coatings are cinnamon, walnut, vanilla, cocoa, chocolate and coconut.
- Small chimney cake – 300 HUF
- Big chimney cake – 500 HUF
- in front of Nyugati railway station
- at Oktogon
- close to Jászai Mari square at Szt. István street
- on the corner of Andrássy Avenue and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky street
- metro station of Deák Ferenc square
- metro station of Corvin negyed
Opening time: changeable
Molnár’s Kütrőskalács is located in Váci street, in the heart of the tourist area, it’s hard not to notice and smell the store, which waits for you with indoor and outdoor seating area.
You can choose normal chimney cake, ice cream filled chimney cake and coffee as well.
The traditional one is available in 8 flavours including vanilla, cinnamon, walnut, almond, chocolate, coconut, cocoa and poppy seed. Seeing its price, I’d expect a bigger one, but this is the touristy area with touristy prices. That’s why I’ve tried the ice cream version in a coconut covered chimney cake. The homemade vanilla ice cream was tasty, but the chimney cake wasn’t warm and I could barely taste the coconut. However, you won’t feel hungry after this.
Be aware! Not every chimney cake is warm, they bake it, roll it, place into plastic, and put it on the counter, so you maybe won’t get the freshest one. Or wait a few more minutes and ask for a warm one.
- Traditional chimney cake – 990 HUF
- Chimney cake with ice cream, only half is filled – 1590 HUF
- Chimney cake with ice cream, both halves are filled – 1590 HUF
Website: Molnár’s Kütrőskalács
Address: 1052 Budapest, Váci str. 31.
Opening time: Monday – Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm
Vitéz Kürtős and Édes Mackó in the Zoo
Vitéz Kürtős also called Sekler Cake attends every foodie event and Christmas market in Budapest. They bake big, fresh and fluffy chimney cakes.
The sugary cinnamon coating is sooooo good and I’m sure that the others are also tasty. They use the original flavours like vanilla, nut, cinnamon, cocoa, coconut, almond and also special ones like raspberry, strawberry, blueberry.
Édes Mackó in the Zoo (Sweet Bear in the Zoo) is part of the Vitéz Kürtős family and their only permanent location is at the Zoo. They rethought the traditional Hungarian cakes and sweets like floating island, poppy seed bread, Gerbaud and creamy slice.
I’ve tried the Creamy Kürtős because I really like the original dessert with its light fluffy cream, but this version didn’t give me what I’ve expected… The thin dough was too sweet and sticky and the cream wasn’t that creamy.
- Traditional Sekler cake – 1100 HUF (1300 HUF on Christmas market)
- Sekler cake with special flavour – 1400 HUF
- Creamy Kürtős – 800 HUF
Website: Vitéz Kürtős
Address: 1146 Budapest, Állatkerti str. 14-16., at Holnemvolt Castle
Opening time: Monday – Thursday: 9:30 am – 4 pm, Friday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 4 pm, Sunday: closed
Kató néni finomságai (Deliciousness of Auntie Kató)
The motto of Auntie Kató is “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy chimney cake and that’s pretty much the same thing!”. She’ll bring you happiness and joy with her fresh chimney cakes.
Auntie Kató has 2 permanent locations in Budapest. One is in the City Park (Városliget), close to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and the other one is at the Citadella, so after climbing up you can present yourself with a chimney cake.
Her food trucks attend festivals, events and Christmas markets (Vörösmarty square and Szt. István square alike). On the markets, 3 filled types were available: Oreo, Sweet dreams and Gingerbread. The Oreo chimney cake gets its name because they placed an Oreo biscuit in the cream. The other parts don’t resemble the taste of Oreo, however, the combination of the chocolate cream and the chimney cake is amazing. Super tasty!
- Traditional chimney cake – 1200 HUF
- Oreo chimney cake – 1800 HUF
Website: Kató néni finomságai
Opening time: Monday – Friday: 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday: 8 am – 3 pm
Try out a different kind of chimney cake! In Hoppácska the lukewarm chimney cake works as a plate, so you can eat your plate too. The topping on your edible plate can be salty and sweet too. 3 salty and 2 sweet combinations are permanent on the menu, which changes every week.
It was very hard to choose, but I went for a dessert, so I asked for their recommendation and I could get a small bite from every sweet topping. I could resist a gingerbread chimney cake. (Yes, it was Christmas time.) Ooooo… the cream was so good and the chimney cake as well. The dough wasn’t as sweet as usual but it’s still good. Chimney cake is around 15 cm long and cut in half.
- Salty chimney cake: 1590 – 3390 HUF
- Single sweet chimney cake (1 half is filled): 990 HUF
- Double sweet chimney cake (both halves are filled): 1590 HUF
Address: 1092 Budapest, Ráday str. 33.
Opening time: Monday – Sunday: 11 am – 8 pm
The Chimney Cake Shop
The booth of Chimney Cake Shop is located in Király street, close to Deák Ferenc square. They sell traditional and special ones filled with ice cream and these chimney cakes are lactose-free!
The dough of the traditional one was thick, not so fluffy and a bit burnt outside. Not the best one and not so big.
My Bounty chimney cone was filled with tasty vanilla ice cream and topped with Bounty slices, shredded coconut and chocolate syrup. The dough of the cone was also thick and a bit hard. You can also choose M&M, Twix, Oreo and Banana split cones.
- Traditional chimney cake – 1000 HUF
- Chimney cone filled with ice cream – 1200-1500 HUF
- Extra Nutella – 300 HUF
Facebook: The Chimney Cake Shop
Address: 1061 Budapest, Király str. 8.
Opening time: Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 11 pm
I left my favourite for the end. Street Cakes brings the chimney cakes to a new level. Use your fantasy and create your dreamy chimney cake.
Visit the store of Street Cakes in Andrássy street close to Oktogon, where you can choose fillings, toppings and even extra toppings for your chimney cake cone. Oooooh, must-try if you’re into special sweets. It can be filled with fruits or various ice creams, topped with chocolate or fruits and many many options. I don’t want to tell you everything, go there and check it out!
- Chimney cake cone – 400 HUF
- Filling – 350 – 500 HUF
- Toppings – 150 – 400 HUF
- Dressings – 100 HUF
Facebook: Street Cakes
Address: 1062 Budapest, Andrássy str. 61.
Opening time: Monday – Friday: 11 am – 7 pm, Saturday – Sunday: 12 am – 8 pm
This was the ultimate chimney cake guide to Budapest. My obsession with sweets and Budapest is limitless. So I’ve tried each of these examples for you (and for my own pleasure) to have a wonderful chimney cake experience in Budapest.
Are you interested in more Hungarian food? My Budapest food guide to traditional Hungarian dishes is for you 😉
Please share your experiences and sweet happy chimney cake moments with me. Leave a comment below or share your photos on social media using my #alizswonderland hashtag.
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