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Chimney Cakes

Kürtös Kalács is a traditional Hungarian pastry that is hollow– the pastry is baked on a wooden spit, rolled slowly on an open fire until golden brown. In North America, they've been branded as "Chimney Cakes".

To make these, you wrap a thin strip of pastry around a wooden cylinder, and cooked on an open flame, rotating it as it cooks until golden brown. Once cooked, they’re heavily sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, almonds, or any combination of the four.

This recipe is a cheater’s version. I don’t have access to an open flame, nor the robust wooden cylinders that are traditionally used for this dessert. I used mini hand-crafted wooden cylinders, and a small square metal pan to deep fry these little suckers instead. If you ever come across these at a street fair, you should get them.

Chimney Cakes (kürtös kalács) (makes ~ 24 x 7″ (2.5″ dia) colacs)

Sweet Bread Dough: – 1 tsp white sugar - 1 pkg (.25oz) Fleischmanns Active Dry Yeast - 1/2 cup warm water - 1/2 cup milk - 1/3 cup white sugar - 1/4 cup butter - 1 tsp salt - 2 eggs, beaten - 4 cups all-purpose flour + 4 cups of oil for frying + 4 x 2.5″ diameter dowels, tapered at the end with handles + square metal pan for frying


1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp sugar, yeast, and warm water. Allow the yeast slurry to stand for about 10 minutes, or until it turns foamy (as below). If the mixture doesn’t foam, it could be an indication that you’re yeast is no longer active, and your dough won’t rise.

2. In a saucepan, scald milk over medium heat– once it bubbles, remove it from the stove, and mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and salt until melted. Allow cooling until lukewarm.

Prepare dough, and first rise:

3. In a large bowl, combine yeast slurry, milk mixture, eggs, zest, and flour. Using your hook attachment on your stationary mixer, mix on low until combined. Once most of the ingredients appear damp and slightly combined, increase speed and allow to mix for 8 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.

4. Once the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly flour-dusted surface, and knead for an additional 2 minutes. Round into a ball, and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 30 minutes)

Shaping and Second Rise:

5. Remove your dough from the bowl, and return to a lightly floured surface. Evenly divide the dough into 6 parts (each roll will make approximately 4 colacs.  Round divided the dough into balls and return to a greased bowl for the second rise. Cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for an additional 25-30

*Dowels are slightly tapered on one end, with a nail in the center to grip the edges of the square pan. The square baking pan is heated on the stove, and you rotate the dowels as it bakes to create an even golden color. 

Prepare the dowels:

6. Generously grease the dowels with oil.

Roll and Cut Strips:

7. Roll out each dough ball into oblong ovals (5 x wider than tall– think “beaver tail”), and cut out 1″ strips. Beginning from one end, wrap the dough around the dowel on a slight angle, pinching the dough and “tucking it in” when you get to the end.

8. Prepare all of your dowels prior to baking, and fry at 350′F, rotating until golden brown. Remove from oil, and allow to co0l. Once cooled, carefully remove the pastry from the dowel. Brush with a one-to-one ratio of sugar/water syrup, and roll in sugar or nuts. Serve immediately, or wrap for later.

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