Homemade Chimney Cakes

published Nov 22, 2021
christmas
Chimney Cake Recipe

From hot fudge sauce to sprinkles and whipped cream, the fun topping options are endless.

Serves4

Prep58 minutes to 1 hour 4 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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chimney cake topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and chocolate sauce
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Chimney cakes, or Kürtőskalács, are a staple of street fairs, carnivals, and open-air markets. Walking around, it’s hard to resist the aroma of sweet, freshly baked bread coated in butter and cinnamon-sugar. These festive treats date all the way back to medieval times, with the first written recipe found in a cookbook from the 1700s.

If you can’t wait for the next fair for a taste, it’s possible to prepare them at home with a little creativity and innovation. Instead of cooking them on an outdoor rotisserie over an open flame or hot coals, the dough can be wrapped around foil-covered rolling pins. The pins are then rested on the edges of a 9×13-inch pan to suspend the cylinder of dough in the oven while it slowly bakes on all sides. The result is a piping-hot chimney cake, fresh from the oven.

What Is a Chimney Cake?

A chimney cake is also known as a spit donut, stick cake, or stick donut. The origin of the dish comes from Hungary where they are called Kürtőskalács. The name refers to a stovepipe, or kürtő, since the cake is baked in the shape of a hollow cylinder. When it is served warm out of the fire, the steam rising from the cake resembles a hot chimney.

What Is a Chimney Cake Made of?

Chimney cakes are made from a sweet yeast dough that is rolled into a long rope and baked around a cylinder. They are coated in melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Do I Need Special Equipment to Make Chimney cake?

A traditional chimney cake is cooked around a round cylinder that is placed on a rotisserie and slowly baked on all sides over a hot fire. To make a chimney cake at home, you will need a rolling pin, aluminum foil, and a baking pan to recreate this baking process in a standard oven.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Toppings, Fillings, and Dipping Sauce Ideas

Chimney cakes are delicious on their own, dipped, or filled. The cinnamon sugar-coated coils can be broken off in bite-sized pieces and enjoyed plain, or they can be dipped in your favorite sauces. Any sauce you might use on an ice cream sundae tastes great — hot fudge, warm salted caramel sauce, butterscotch, or strawberry sauce are all delicious options.

Because the chimney cakes are hollow, they can also be filled to create a decadent dessert. Fluffy whipped cream or your favorite flavor of ice cream are both delicious. Once filled, they can be drizzled with sauce and topped with sprinkles or chopped nuts.

Chimney Cake Recipe

From hot fudge sauce to sprinkles and whipped cream, the fun topping options are endless.

Prep time 58 minutes to 1 hour 4 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup

    whole milk

  • 1 3/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1

    (1/4-ounce) packet rapid rise or instant yeast

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 2

    large egg yolks

  • Cooking spray or butter, for coating the bowl

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cinnamon

Serving options:

Instructions

  1. Place 1/2 cup whole milk in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until warmed to the touch (100ºF to 110ºF), about 30 seconds.

  2. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 (1/4-ounce) packet rapid rise or instant yeast, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix with the dough hook on low speed until the flour is incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed, about 2 minutes. The dough will be shaggy.

  3. Place 3 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, about 1 minute. Add the melted butter (reserve the bowl) and 2 large egg yolks to the dough and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

  4. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray or butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl and flip. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, cover 1 wooden rolling pin (straight-sided or tapered) about 20 inches long completely with aluminum foil. (See note below.)

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF.

  6. Place 3 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in the reserved microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, about 30 seconds. Brush the foil of the covered rolling pin with the melted butter.

  7. Divide the dough into 4 pieces (a little less than 4 ounces each). Roll a piece into a long rope 2 1/2 feet long and about 1/2-inch wide. Starting at the end of the prepared rolling pin, tightly coil 1 rope around the rolling pin 4 to 5 times, tucking and pinching the top and bottom of the rope onto itself. Repeat on the other side of the rolling pin with a second piece of rope. Do not overlap the dough. Gently roll the rolling pin on the work surface to press the strips of dough together. Brush more melted butter over the surface of the dough.

  8. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Working over an empty bowl, sprinkle the mixture over the dough, rotating the rolling pin until coated.

  9. Place the rolling pin on a 9x13-inch baking pan, resting the handles on the short sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. The cakes will be slightly puffy and golden. Remove the pan from the oven and rotate so the bottom of each chimney cake is now facing up for even baking. Bake until the chimney cakes are golden-brown, about 10 minutes more.

  10. Meanwhile, microwave the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted. Brush the cakes with the melted butter and sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar. When cool enough to handle, carefully slide the cakes off the rolling pins and allow to cool. Repeat with the remaining ropes of dough, cinnamon-sugar, and melted butter.

  11. Serve with warm caramel sauce or hot fudge sauce for dipping or fill as desired.

Recipe Notes

Rolling pins: If you have two rolling pins, you can roll and bake all the dough at once, resting 2 rolling pins in the 9x13-inch baking pan.

Storage: Chimney cakes can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days and or frozen for up to 3 months.