Friday, September 21, 2012

Kurtos Kalacs

I was at the Great Frederick Fair last night for dinner. After my crab cake, I was on my way to buy a deep fried Twinkie (I know, I know!), when I saw a booth called Crazy Cakes selling some really interesting cakes called Kurtos Kalacs.

I tried the sample (very nice) and sat down while they made me one to take home. The proprietor was nice enough to tell me about how they are made.

But first, the cake. Kurtos Kalacs or Chimney Cakes, are so called because they look like a stovepipe or round chimney. It is a thin cylinder of dough, soft on the inside and crunchy-sweet on the outside, rolled in cinnamon sugar or crushed pecans. It is pleasantly, but not overly, sweet. The cake breaks apart and is eaten with your hands and lots of milk, coffee, or water.

Kurtos Kalaks are from the Transylvanian region of Romania. They are street and festival food, but can be bought from bakeries also.

They are baked over a spit. I've actually had spit-roasted cake before.

Sakotis, Lithuanian Wedding Cake
My sister-in-law is from a Lithuanian family, and when she married my brother they served the traditional Lithuanian wedding cake. It is made by drizzling batter over a spit as it turns. Gravity pulls the batter into these wonderful stalactites of cakey awesomeness. It is, however, quite dry and firm, and should be dipped in coffee before eating, like biscotti.

Kurtos Kalacs are very different in taste and texture. The cake is made with a yeast dough, not a batter, that is wrapped around a thick wooden cylinder in a continuous spiral or helix. The ends are tucked under to keep the dough in place, and wet sugar is brushed on the outside.

As the cake bakes, the sugar starts to caramelize. It is taken out of the oven while still sticky and rolled in a topping, traditionally crushed pecans.

You have until Saturday night, September 22nd, if you want one for yourself. The Crazy Cakes booth is by the big barbecue booth, across from the poultry barn.

This is my personal opinion, spontaneously given, and I was not compensated for it.


  1. OMG! These are to die for or as they say in Hungary, "naygon finom". I had one of these from Molnar's Kurtoskalacs on Vaci Street in Budapest in May. I was surprised when my daughter told me that they are being sold at the Frederick Fair, so off I went. I was met with disappointment, when it was closed through the day. I never got a chance to try them, but maybe this September. Oh, and I know this is splitting hairs, but these are truly Hungarian. The Transylvania region was part of Hungary until it was taken away due to the treaty of Trianon. Large pockets of Hungarians still reside there today.

    1. The company goes to events all over the region. You can probably call and find out where they are working.

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