GF Vegan Homemade Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)

December 7, 2021
Chimney cake or Kürtöskalács in Hungarian is a sweet bread ( slightly sweetened yeast dough—traditionally with eggs and butter) that is crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy inside. The dough is rolled out and wrapped like a ribbon around a baking dowel and rolled in sugar. Then baked fresh over an open rotisserie grill until they turn golden-brown. While baking, the sugar caramelizes to give a crispy crunch outside. It can be flavored with many things such as vanilla, cacao, chopped walnuts, cinnamon sugar or more modern flavoring such as chili and chocolate chips, Christmas spice, pumpkin spice, to name a few.

Since I don’t have an outdoors grill or chimney cake over, I found another way to make these delicious cakes at home—wrapping my wooden rolling pin in several layers of aluminum foil, brushing it with margarine, placing it over a baking sheet or casserole dish so the middle part is suspended, and turning it 1–2 times while baking to get the cakes baked even. I used roasted peanuts for this version.

A very modern take on chimney cake is to switch up its traditional cylindrical hollow shape (that gives it the name ‘chimney’ or "kürtő") and make it cone shape, then fill with ice cream and top with whipped cream and candies or other sweets. Another modern version is to dip your chimney cake in various sauces such as hot chocolate sauce or vanilla pudding.

Chimney cake is a Hungarian delicacy, but as our country was cut up after WWI and many parts of old Hungary now belong to other countries, it quickly became popular in those areas too, thanks to the Hungarians who decided to stay there. So don't be surprised to find chimney cake under different names during your Czech or Romanian travels.
chimney cake on a blue plate

GF Vegan Homemade Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)

Recipe Type: Sweets
utensils YIELDS 1 cake
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 21g fresh yeast
  • 50 g raw cane sugar
  • 190 ml plant-based milk
  • 20 g coconut oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 350 g GF all-purpose flour
  • GF flour for dusting
  • 50 g vegan butter or margarine
  • 6 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts/walnuts
        graphic for recipe card


1. Crumble the fresh yeast with your hands and add it to a bowl along with raw cane sugar and lukewarm (!!) plant-based milk of your choice. Whisk well to combine and let it rest for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.

2. Add melted coconut oil, salt, vanilla sugar, and gluten free flour to the yeast mixture. Knead until you get a smooth dough. Cover the bowl with a damped kitchen towel and let it rest at a warm place for approx. 1 hour, or until it’s doubled in volume and shows a lot of bubbles on the surface.

3. Flour a flat surface and roll out the dough. If the dough should be too sticky, add more flour and knead again. Cut the rolled out dough into stripes, about 2–3 cm wide.

4. Preheat oven to 200°C. For the topping, melt vegan butter in a small bowl. Mix sugar and peanuts or walnuts in a separate bowl.

5. Wrap a rolling pin in aluminum foil and place it on a casserole dish or baking sheet in a way that only the ends of the rolling pin are lying on top of the rim. Brush aluminum foil with melted vegan butter. Leaving 5 cm space to the ends of the rolling pin, start to wrap one string of dough around the rolling pin, then directly add another one—make sure to tightly press the ends of both strings together so they wont fall apart. Brush the wrapped up dough with vegan butter and sprinkle with the sugar peanut mixture.

7. Bake the cakes one by one (over  the casserole dish) at 200°C for 12–15 minutes, rotating the rolling pin once or twice during this time. Remove from the oven when it appears golden brown and let the cake cool down a bit before removing it from the rolling pin. Repeat the steps with your remaining dough.

Also by Imola: GF Vegan Christmas Mince Pies

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Photo: Imola Toth

Imola is a Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher, tree planter and writer and editor of Raised by the Wolf, an online magazine for Wild Women, with a passion for exploring and life outdoors. Originally from Hungary but currently planting trees and rewilding the enchanting forests of France. Hop over to RBTW magazine, and blog and follow her on Instagram @yogiraisedbythewolf


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