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CHIMNEY CAKE, or trdelník, or Kürtőskalács

The trdelnik, or chimney cake due to its shape, is a traditional Slovak cake and confectionary, originally from Romania, namely the Hungarian-speaking region of Transylvania. It is also known in the culinary traditions of other European countries, such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria. The first documentary of a ‘roasted spitz’ cake family dates back to medieval times (around 1450) and is in a manuscript from Heidelberg. The description reports a dough strip wrapped around a baking spit in a helical form and sprinkled with egg yolk before it is cooked.

The first known recipe of the chimney cake (or Kürtőskalács) comes from Transylvania, which was included in the bakery book by Mária Mikes of Zabola in 1784 (“kürtős kalats à à la Poráni”), but it does not mention any sweeteners in the preparation A recipe from the cookbook written by Kristóf Simai in Upper Hungary (today Slovakia) in 1795 was mentioned for the first time in “Sweating after baking.” The Tartlnik of Szakolca is based on a similar preparation, with the surface of the cake covered with chopped almond nuts) before baking, and sugar is added only after the baking.

Approximately 100 years have passed before the first reference to the next step of the evolution of the kürtőskalács, the appearance of a caramelized sugar garnish, in the cookbook of Aunt Rézi written by Terézia Dolecskó in 1876, published in Szeged, Hungary. The recipe suggests sugar in the dough with the spit. Because of the heat, the sugar is caramelized and enters the dough known as the Maillard reaction. The coating of melted sugar to make candy also helps in the stability of the cake.