Introduction: Chimney Cake

About: Hi, I'm Éva from Hungary. I love baking, cooking, and gardening, not to mention the perfect combination: cooking using fruits and veggies from our garden. I often experiment with new ingredients and try to use…

Hello Everyone,

How about a barbecue dessert recipe that starts with the instruction: „drink a few cans of beer”? This is just what is going to happen here. It is the cans that we need to make this fabulous dessert. Chimney cake (kürtőskalács) is a pastry that originates from Middle-Europe (some say Hungary, but there are other opinions as well) made traditionally on open fire, not something normally made in the oven and adapted to outdoor cooking. The name of the cake most probably comes from its shape.

I guess I have to warn you that this stuff is seriously addictive with its crisp exterior and soft texture inside with vanilla added to the dough and double - coated with sugar and cinnamon … I think the joyful expression on the face of the lucky one who managed to put his hands on the first piece ready, says it all.

It’s the kind of food that you taste once and can’t wait until next time. Nowadays it is sold throughout the year, it is a typical street food go – along treat. For me, eating it is closely linked to Christmas because when I was a child, this was the only time you could get it. Chimney cake bakers regularly showed up at Christmas fairs with their mobile baking apparatus. People were attracted by the scent of cinnamon and vanilla. Somehow it did not occur to us that it could in fact be made at home and as a matter of fact also in the oven (lacking the rich aroma of open fire smoke in that case, but it will still be delicious).

Step 1: You'll Need

(for 6 0.33 l can sized cakes)

For the dough:

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 230 ml lukewarm milk
  • 7 g active dry yeast
  • 75 g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or replace 2 tablespoons sugar with vanilla sugar)
  • 5 g salt (1/2 teaspoon, roughly)
  • 50 g softened butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour for dusting

To coat:

  • 100 g melted butter
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon


  • Barbecue
  • empty beer cans (1 per mold, depending on how many helping hands you have to cook them and how many fit comfortably on your barbecue)
  • Barbecue skewers (made of metal, the same number as cans)
  • aluminum foil (thick)
  • cooking spray
  • stand mixer
  • rolling pin
  • pizza cutter
  • cooking spray

Step 2: ​Craft Time

Take an empty can, poke the skewer through the top and bottom (or have your son to do it) and wrap the whole thing tightly with tin foil.

Step 3: Proof the Yeast

Measure the flour into the mixing bowl of the stand mixer (it can be knead by hand but a stand mixer makes life so much easier).

Make a well in the middle, add a tablespoon of sugar and the yeast, pour in one third of the milk.

Sprinkle a little flour on top of the milk.

Cover with a kitchen towel and set it aside for about 10 minutes until the yeast bacteria start working, You will see cracks on the surface of the flour sprinkled over.

Step 4: Knead the Dough

Add the rest of the ingredients of the dough, save for the butter and mix with the dough hook until it starts to come together.

Add the softened butter and keep kneading the dough until it becomes smooth, almost shiny. (It took me about 4 minutes in the Kitchenaid.)

Scrape it onto the lightly floured counter and form it into a ball then put it back into the bowl (lightly dusted with flour).

Cover with a piece of clingfilm or kitchen towel and leave to rise for 1 hour or 1 hour and a half depending on temperature until it doubles in size.

Step 5: Fire!

Set up your barbecue as usual,.. like I usually ask my husband to do it. It is very important to wait until the charcoals start to get ashy otherwise the heat will be too strong and the cake would get burnt on the outside without cooking thoroughly on the inside.

Step 6: Pastry Ribbons

Once your dough doubled in size, dump it out of the bowl onto the floured countertop,

Press the air out of it with your fist, then roll it (preferably into a rectangle shape) about 2 mm thin. Cut it into 2 cm wide ribbons with a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife).

Step 7: Shaping

Spray your mold with cooking spray (if you use it multiple times, then each time).

Take a strip of dough and, beginning at one end of the can, spiral the dough around the can without gaps, but not overlapping. If the dough strip is not long enough to cover the whole can, no problem, take the next one and carry on (overlapping the end of the previous and the start of the next, pushing them together a bit as seen in picture 2. Keep wrapping until the can is covered.

Lightly roll the wrapped mold on the counter (pic 4.) to press the dough on the can.

Brush melted butter on top and dust with sugar and cinnamon mixture (or roll the cake into the mixture).

Step 8: Bake

Rest the end of the skewer on the rim of the barbecue and hold the other end, turn it once in a while until the sugar caramellizes and it gets golden brown all over. It took me about 7-8 minutes with a roughly 10 cm distance between the top of the charcoal and the bottom of the cake . Pay close attention not to burn it.

When it's done, wait a couple of minutes (so that you won't burn your hands) then gently slide the cake from the mold.

Brush some more butter, sprinkle with a little more sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Step 9: Enjoy!

We eat it warm. It does not really have the time to get cold :-)

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