Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cooking With Us - E16 - Chimney Cakes

Working hard in Romania!
This time on Cooking With Us,
we "tried, tried again" to make the awesome dessert known as
Kürtőskalács or Chimney Cakes!  

Üdvözöljük!  To another episode of Cooking With Us!

A little background:

I first had the delicious treat known as 'Chimney Cake' when I visited Cluj-Napoca, Romania back in 2009. 

Cluj-Napoca is located in the Transylvanian region of Romania, where chimney cakes come from!

They now sell 'chimney cakes' in Prague, where my entire family recently tried them, but trust me - those chimney cakes are utter frauds!  So we just had to do something about it!

Luckily, after trial and error, we have a very good recipe to share with you!  And hopefully, some fairly entertaining photos:)

This is what success looks like, people!  - After many attempts, and buying a new 
rotisserie toaster oven, we ended up with a delicious chimney cake!

But back in 2009, it was by sheer luck (some may call it fate?) that on a random evening stroll, a couple of new friends and I happened upon a street vendor selling just that pastry! 

The Chimney Cake!

My search for this tasty treat would never end... and my life would never be the same!

 (Cue dramatic music!)

 Now, please enjoy the video below of our crazy endeavor to recreate the Chimney Cake.

As usual, I suggest watching it in high res and full screen - and share, share alike (or share and like?)!

I told you my husband is crazy - here he is with our second attempt at Chimney Cakes!
Granted, it was 2 in the morning!

You guys like the music I used?  Me too!
I will tell you more about the band and link to their page and music after the post! ^^

 Before you make your chimney cake, envision yourself in the region of its birth: Transylvania!
For me, that just meant having fun with my ani-matte and resize tools in Avid ;)

 For our recipe, we used four cups of flour.

 Yeah, four. We also did this over the course of three different nights,
so please forgive the costume changes!
 Also - Hi Leigh!

You're also going to need two packets of self-rising yeast...

Six heaping tablespoons of sugar...

And "1/4" teaspoon salt... or in our case, a pinch ;)

Mix all your dry ingredients together!
(Whisk attachment!)

Meanwhile, you'll need nine tablespoons of butter (so one stick, and another TBSP) which you will of course melt!

You need only one cup of milk.

And four egg yolks. Just the yolks people!

As Leigh said, "If there was only one yolk, I'd say it was Yolk-o Uno..."
...It was late at night.

 Cheesy puns?  This is a face that can be forgiven! :)

 Mix all your wet ingredients together.
(The melted butter, milk, and egg yolks)

And add them to your blender with the dry ingredients!
(Flat beater attachment!)

Mix it until the dough really starts to resemble... dough!
(Spiral dough hook attachment! Or.. Piggy tail attachment!)

Now you want to knead your dough like a kung-fu master!
 And set it aside, covered, for about an hour to let it rise.

In the meantime, MacGyver your prior rolling pin into something you can use in your new
rotisserie toaster oven.

This is where it comes in handy to have a husband who is an innovative thinker.
He popped out the plastic parts from the rolling pin, and inserted the metal squeezy parts from a paper clip.

This kind of paperclip I mean.
Somehow this worked.
I didn't do it, I didn't even see it, but if you are creative, I'm sure you can understand it.

After an hour of waiting, you want to roll out your dough till it's pretty thin.

Then, with a knife or rolling pizza slicer, cut the dough into spirals.

Also - brush butter onto your rolling pin (or whatever wood you're using for the rotisserie)...
And make sure to TUCK the end of your first strip of dough under the second strip so it doesn't unravel.

As you can see, this was a pre-MacGyvered-rolling-pin night ;)

Roll your dough again until it is flat and there are no spaces between the dough strips.

Now, coat your dough with butter, then roll it in lots of sugar!

Fire just looks awesome.

If you've engineered your drill to hold your dough onto a surface, and have the patience to hold it over hot coals / a fire forever, you can do this... but otherwise...

Do what worked best for us, and put your MacGyvered wooden pin into your rotisserie...

Set it to rotate (rotisserie) at the hottest temperature possible.
Clearly we used the broil rotisserie setting for about 20 minutes... and waited!

Then, you know - safety first!! Take it out carefully b/c it is going to be hot-a-tot-tot!

When it comes out, the more it looks like the part on the right - the better!
That means your sugar has caramelized on the outside, whilst hopefully the dough has remained fluffy on the inside.

 As I stated at the beginning, this is what success looks like, guys!!

Your Chimney Cake should be doughy enough on the inside to come off as one long, spiraling thread, and yet be hard enough on the outside to have a candy-like crunch!

We made a couple that night. Here, we added butter post-sugar which didn't work as well for us, crunch-wise.

BUT the inside looks (and tastes) delicious.

See what I'm sayin'?
Yummy pastry achieved!

Who wants to make these again!!
*raises hand*


Now, it may take several attempts before it TRULY resembles what it was like in Romania....

I mean, who wouldn't want to try making that?

We definitely wanted to try our hands at making them after happening across the real-deal again about a month ago in Budapest, Hungary!

But keep in mind these people have been making these for-ev-or! 
And not just for three nights!

So fight the good fight....

 Keep making your chimney cakes... 

And always remember:
It doesn't hurt to have someone crazy enough to keep you sane at 2 in the morning ;)

Thanks guys!

The recipe and transcript follow - and I urge you to try this! Really!
Even if you just put it on something to keep it above the rack in a 
traditional oven and cook it on broil!

But first, check out the band whose music I used in my video: Di Gojim
Download, or just listen, to the song I used here:

And learn more about the band here:

Finally, my friend Gabriel, whom I mentioned in the video, also took up 
The Great Chimney Cake Challenge with me, 
and you can watch his awesome youtube video here:

And now for our delicious, adapted recipe:


Rotisserie Toaster Oven (this helps!)

Dry Ingredients:
- 4 cups flour
- 2 packets self-rising yeast (we used this one: http://www.redstaryeast.com/platinum)
- 6 heaping TBSP sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt (or a pinch)

Mix together in your mixer.

Wet ingredients:

- 9 oz butter (one stick plus 1 TBSP), melted
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup of milk

Mix together

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until a dough is formed.

Remove dough from mixer, knead dough for approx five minutes, cover, and set aside for an hour.

Roll out dough, and cut it into spirals (which is the easiest, though you can also do strips).

Brush your wooden dowl (or MacGyvered rolling pin) with more melted butter.

Wrap your dough around this pin, being sure to tuck the ends under so they don't unravel.

Roll this pretty flat so as to remove any spaces between your dough.

Paint the dough with butter, and roll it in granulated sugar.

Now put it in your rotisserie oven on high for about 20 minutes.

When it comes out, you should be able to slide it off with a firm "knock" on the table, or pull it off with a cloth towel. (Remember: it's hot!)

Let it cool for a moment, then enjoy!


Hi, and Üdvözöljük to another cooking with us.

Oh you're baking huh?

We're gonna try making Kürtőskalács or Chimney Cakes.

Now if you don't know anything about chimney cake, basically it originates from the Transylvanian region of Romania, that used to be owned by Hungary... So it's kind of a Hungarian-Romanian dish, and it's delicious!

We've never made it before, but we're gonna try now...

This is the simple recipe I found on line.

We went through several different attempts, including switching up recipes...

Can you tell I've never kneaded bread before? mhm.

Cooking methods, et cetera, to make a chimney cake.

This is what Val made...

And what'd you make?

Oops... It's really falling apart... Sorr- Oh this sucks!

This is probably why I don't bake.

Well if it's not obvious enough, we had a massive chimney cake Fail!

Bottom's done.

Try one, right?


Ok well clearly our first attempt did not work out at all... So we found a completely different recipe.

It looks a lot more like dough now.

So we're feeling hopeful about this one.

mmmm butter.

At least it's staying...

Gonna make a chimney cake.

chugga chugga chugga chugga choo choo!

It's looking like a white chimney cake.

Now what's your method here?

Just gonna put it in there...

And this is obviously been preheating for a long time, it's at two-hundred degrees right now.

Looks like it's done.

We had to turn it up to four-hundred degrees though, 'cause it was taking forever.

We baked our rolling pin.

Oh no it's falling - well, almost.

hm... it's good.

It does taste more bread dough-y though than pastry dough-y.  We ended up with a solid chimney cake.

It's better than last time.

Finally, we have a very good recipe to share with you.

We um.. are basically going off the same batch that Theron did last time, except we're adding um... a little extra butter and sugar... and we've also gone all out and bought a rotisserie toaster...

And this is our third attempt... and third time's a charm... or as Theron said...

Third time's a Chimney Cake.

At this same time, my friend Gabi took up this challenge as well.

Since he's originally from Romania, he took it up with gusto!

I will link to his youtube post as well, as it is quite nicely done.

Two... self-rising yeasts... platinum variety.

Bam, one thing of butter.

So you have four cups of flour. It's crazy how it melts.

Six tablespoons of sugar. Six.

Quarter teaspoon salt....

It's a dry ingredient, it shouldn't matter that much.


Now we're going to mix the dry ingredients together in the handy Kitchen-Aid.

How much?

One cup milk.

Just one cup, huh?


So four yolks in all? Yep.

Look at that.

I know, why is it congealing?

Must be the butter.

Pour in what's supposed to be your wet ingredients.

This is serious business, huh babe?

Now Theron's gonna do what he did exceptionally well last time, and that's kneading the dough by hand.

Now I'm just playin'.  Mhm.

What are these called?

Clips, paper clips...

Taking the clips from this clipper, and putting them in here so that it hooks.

Good job baby!

This is what he, um, disassembled, in case you guys were wondering.

Goodnight Leigh.  Goodnight.

Well they can't say we didn't try.

There we go, Ok.


And now, we wait.


Rotisserie broil.
As high as it'll go.

This one's kinda messy, but...

We did pretty good.

Mm... that's good.

Chimney Cake!!  Lookin' good babe!

I'm gettin' better each time.

Once again it's two in the morning so, naturally we're making chimney cakes...

This is our last attempt for tonight.

There you go, see?

That is a hot chimney cake!

I'm chimney caked out.

You're chimney caked out?

Mhm, but I'm still gonna eat it though. It's good.

Everybody's a winner.

It's time to go to bed.

Thank you for joining us on this very late episode of Cooking with Us... We hope you guys make some chimney cakes. And good night! Night night.

I think I'll take a selfie!


  1. Love it Val!! What a great show. Loved the attempts. :-) And that rotisserie oven is a kool idea!!! Definitely more convenient than firing up the charcoal grill.
    Thanks for the shoutout!!

    1. For sure - you deserved one :D You rock! Thank you !

  2. I saw them doing a cake like this over the spit fire as they called it in Germany and it was so cool! Kudos. I would love to try it!

    1. How awesome Bea! Where in Germany? We just got back from their a month ago :D (as my previous post suggests as we tried our hand at Wienerschnitzel!)

      Definitely let me know if you try this and how it comes out! :)

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank you so much!!!
      It was so fun to do as well :)