Chimney Cake Recipe

A chimney cake is an odd thing in that it’s an enriched yeast bread that’s wound onto a thick wooden spit, then roasted over a charcoal fire. The hardest part of this recipe is constructing the implement you need. More on that as the week progresses.

For the dough:

8.5 ounces (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sugar
1/8 teaspoons salt
2 egg yolks, room-temperature
1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) melted butter
4 ounces (1/2 cup) milk, room temperature

For the grilling:

vegetable oil for lubricating the spindle
melted butter

For the topping:

about 3 ounces (1 cup) walnuts, ground and mixed with
about 3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine the dry dough ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Do the same with the wet ingredients and add them to the dry ingredients. Stir the mixture until it comes together to form a dough, then knead it for about five minutes. Allow the dough to rise for 40 minutes. Cut the dough into a long ribbon with a pizza cutter (as shown).

Paint your spit with vegetable oil. Wrap one end of the dough around the spit, tucking in the end so the dough doesn’t unwind. Keep the dough very thin as you stretch and wind, under 1/4″ inch. Roll the whole thing on the countertop to flatten it/press it together. Paint the dough with melted butter and roast over the fire for about six minutes, sprinkling on sugar, until it starts to take on a dark golden color.

Paint on more butter, then roll the finished cake in the nut mixture. Tap the mold on a table top to release the cake and set it upright to cool. Make more and eat, eat, eat.

51 thoughts on “Chimney Cake Recipe”

    1. It’s been recommended to me several times by readers. Now that the weather is improving I think it’s the right time to try it!

    2. I just had some at the K Days here in Edmonton and it is really good, hot or cold. Would be very tasty with ice cream as well.

  1. How strange. Just yesterday I ended up in a wiki-hole full of spit cakes. Can’t remember how I started off; obviously I was looking up something unrelated on wikipedia, but ended up reading about all the different spit-cakes and was thinking I must have a go at making some!

  2. Another thing you can do with them is fill the hollow center with ice cream and other ice cream toppings.

    1. Hi Paul!

      All purpose is perfect for this. I’ll add that to the post…thanks!

      – Joe

  3. Hi joe, I used your recipe on my blog. I had this treat on the farmers market but no recipe. I clearly stated that this is your recipe and linked to your page. I hope that this is alright with you. Thank you, Jen

    1. It’s more than alright, Jen! So glad I could lend some support. Borrow from me any time you like!

      Cheers and thanks for the very kind note,

      – Joe

  4. Hi Joe,
    What if I dont have a spit?
    I am half hungarian and have not heard of this until now, cant wait to make it. Let me know!

    1. In a summer vacation, we made it for ourselves on an open fire. We looked for thicker wood sticks at forest. After some cleaning, put dough pasta on it, and sweet topping…
      you have to roll it above fire.

  5. My daughter is allergic to egg, is it possible to make a chimney cake without egg? The egg replacement powders never really work, so I have given up using that when I bake normal cakes. I studied in Budapest years ago, and absolutely love their chimney cakes and would love to start making it myself.

    1. Hey Lynette!

      You can. Try using ground flax seed and hot water (for every egg, 1T ground flax to 2-3 T water whisked together and rested until a gel forms) to replace the egg’s binding and texture-enhacing properties. You can usually find it in health food stores!

      Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

  6. Joe,

    I have a favorite Challah bread recipe (actually, it’s Peter Reinharts recipe) and while your recipe isn’t exactly the same, I was wondering if you thought it might work or would it be too fluffy?


    1. Hi John!

      You’re thinking about using challah to make chimney cake? I think that’s a terrific idea! It won’t be too fluffy I don’t think. Let me know how it goes please!


      – Joe

      1. will do…hopefully this weekend while making some other bread…

        love your blog Joe!!!


  7. do you know the origin of this pastry (mainly the time it became known as hungarian?) i am hungarian by birth and never heard of it before

    1. Hello Meira!

      Unfortunately I don’t know. I did some research back when I wrote this post, but came up with very little. I saw it for the first time when I visited Transylvania. Perhaps it is native to that area, where plenty of Hungarians live, but who are called Romanians now. Just a guess!

      Sorry not to be of more help!

      – Joe

  8. It originates from Transylvania.
    You can usually buy them on Christmas markets. I think it is best with mulled wine.

    1. That’s where I fist saw them, Bee — in Cluj when I was a student.

      And I shall try them with mulled wine. Excellent idea!

      – Joe

  9. Just saw a booth selling these at a local trade fair, so they have made their way to northern Canada, had a free sample and started thinking about getting a recipe. I was wondering if the name was an indication of what it was cooked on, and now I know. I am going to try this and see how it goes, the booth had a smaller one that you could slip over a hotdog, with what looked like chili powder but might have been dried tomato powder and mustard powder like ketchup and mustard. they had several different ones with sweet toppings and offered the nutella filled ones as well. The price was too much for my pocket book, but the taste was nice.

  10. Hi joe!
    Me and my husband actually just started a business making chimney cakes :) our recipe is a little different then that one. But everyone loves them. How do you cook your chimney cakes on a grill? Or in a actual chimney cake oven?

    1. Hey Alisha!

      Way to go! I generally do mine on the grill after dinner…a great way to use up that leftover heat! I presume you have one of the ovens I’ve seen on the market? Let me know how things go!


      – Joe

  11. Hi there Joe,
    I bought a savoury (Parmesan & olive) & sweet (cinnamon & sugar) at the Freo markets, Fremantle yesterday. They were equally amazing! Love the idea of it and would love to make at home. How would you recommend baking these at home? I have a rottiserie (although never used) attachment for my oven, do you think that’s an option? Does it have to rotate?
    Look forward to your input….

  12. Saw these in Norway two weeks ago but didn’t try them because we were cruising and had no stomach room:(. My friend just came home from Hungary last for a flying visit and brought me a chimney cooking rod! I can’t wait to try your recipe out since she didn’t have a translation for me. Thanks.

    1. That is cool! Mine worked well but it’s a little too wide by Transylvanian standards. Let me know how they go!

      – Joe

  13. I had an almond one last night at the clam fest in Highlands, NJ. It was delish. 1st time any of us ever heard of it but so glad we tried it.

  14. Hi Joe,

    I know there are some all ready prepared mixes that you just add flower and water to it for preparing the dough. Any idea where I could get my hands on something like that? I’m located in Montreal, Canada; maybe there is a website or something that could deliver?

    Thank you!

    Vlad K.

  15. I work at a chimney cakes bakery this recipe tastes better then ours if you roll these in course sugar and fill with real whipped cream you will die !! Lol this is something I did at home not at work lol

    1. Ha! Hey Kerry! Thanks so much for that. Now you’ve got me craving chimney cakes. I may need to get the spit out this morning!

      – Joe

  16. I can truly say i have never had the experience of enjoying a chimney cake before. This looks fairly similar and seeing as my family is big on grilling and doesn’t like frosted cakes very much this would be a great sweet alternative for during the summer. Can you vary the topping such as only doing cinnamon sugar, different nut flavors, or even something very different? Could you also seal the bottom and fill with fruits, pastry cream, whip cream or anything of that kind? I feel as if one could have a lot of fun with this due to the smokey yet sweet flavor it has. This seems like it would be fun to make and I can’t wait to try it out.

    1. All that and more is certainly possible, Devin. This recipe was made for improvisation!


      – Joe

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