Chimney cake : « the cake of the poor »


Marie Madeleine Lempel and her husband hav been spoiling customers with their chimney cake, a traditional European speciality, for years. They run one of the fifty stands at the Gastronomy exhibition which takes place in Nice from the 23rd to the 25th of October.


Chimney cake… this East European pastry got its name from its shape: a kind of elongated turban which looks like a chimney on a roof. The Lempels bake this golden brioche in the Gastronomy exhibition, in a special oven. Slowly twisted in the oven, the chimney cake was “the cake of the poor, because at the time, they didn’t have any cake tins”, explains Marie Madeleine.


The chimney cake is a traditionnal East European pastry ©Iris Bertin and Tiphanie Naud

She has cooked chimney cake for as long as she can remember and has tried to make it popular in France for the last two years. The brioche has existed since the 19th century but is quite unknown in the land of the baguette.

The dough has to rest for one hour before being cooked at 300 C°. Marie Madeleine cuts some slices into the mixture and wraps it around a wooden stick. “The disadvantage is that it takes a long time” she says.

The secret of the recipe? No butter, no milk and no eggs. But instead, some flour, leaven, sugar, salt, sunflower oil, vanilla essence and, to add some flavour, lemon zest. “People often think that it’s made with orange blossom, she smiles, but it’s not ».

Video of the chimney cakes in the oven

Then, once they are warm, her husband dusts the chimney cakes with almonds, cinnamon or coconut and vanilla powder. Sometimes, the Hungarian chef makes a salted dough, with for example truffle oil and fills the chimney cakes with ham or cheese.

To eat this pastry properly, you should roll it out gradually. The chimney cake keeps for one day. The nextday, heat it in the microwave for about 5 or 6 seconds.


Iris Bertin and Tiphanie Naud