The Chimney Cake Brings a Hungarian Spin to America

Kürtőskalács is a traditional Hungarian dessert made from sweet yeast dough. Known here as the chimney cake, this dessert has gained a reputation as the perfect vessel for holding ice cream due to its cone-like shape.

The chimney cake is made by wrapping the sweet yeast dough around a cone-shaped baking spit, rolling it in sugar, and cooking it in an oven while basting with butter or oil. This caramelizes it, creating a warm churro-like shell. It’s crispy on the outside but soft and sweet like a donut inside.

Several bakeries across the country specialize in this delicacy, but few do it better than House of Chimney Cakes in Anaheim, California. Owner Szandra Szabó grew up in Hungary, making her name as a fashion model and entrepreneur. However, Szabó sought a different career and moved to the United States to bring some of the foods of her homeland to Californians.

“When I was little I baked chimney cakes with my grandmother” says Szabó. That family tradition has made its way to The Golden State and is satisfying both California residents and its visitors. House of Chimney Cakes is located just minutes from Disneyland, and is an exciting destination for sweets lovers with the aforementioned cakes being the primary draw.

They pair perfectly with soft serve, which comes in flavors like vanilla bean and Dutch chocolate, as well as a vegan-friendly Dole Whip Pineapple soft serve. The final touch on these chimney cakes is that they are topped with ingredients such as Oreo cookie crumbs, graham crackers, caramel popcorn, cheesecake bites, and fruit.

Anaheim is not the only destination for these tasty treats. In the Midwest, food innovators are putting their own spins on chimney cakes. Kansas City’s Donutology introduced the DoNado last summer to great anticipation. It quickly became one of the most popular items on the donut shop’s menu.

“We spiral our dough and then we cook it on an open-air fryer, and then we dip it in cinnamon sugar. It’s hot, we pour cold ice cream into it, and we already have the toppings in the store for our donuts,” says Donutology owner Andrew Cameron.

The shop plugs each DoNado with a donut hole to prevent the ice cream from escaping, a smart strategy when combining dough with dairy. Donutology is always looking to experiment with fried dough, as evidenced by its billing as a “modern donut laboratory.”