tokaji cream cake

tokaji cream cake
A modern pairing of traditional Hungarian sweet wine and pastry

Our inspiration for this Tokaji (pronounced [toe-kai]) cream cake comes from the Auguszt Pavilion bakery in Budapest, home to one of the city’s oldest baking families. Now in its fifth generation, the Auguszt family of bakers have taught us important lessons about traditional Hungarian pastries. This distinctive cream torta is their lesson to us in a more modern direction. They have continued to evolve their craft and if you visit their bakery, you’ll see many new creations, including a Tokaji cream cake.

Our version of this modern Hungarian cream cake is elegant, light, fresh, and pretty. It features Tokaji Aszú, the famous golden, sweet dessert wine from the Tokaj region of Hungary. In our interpretation, we make the cream filling with the Tokaji wine variety, 5 Puttyonos Aszú, a little sugar, Guernsey whipping cream, and a touch of gelatin (much less than is commonly used in Hungary to fit with our tastes). We layer this luscious, wine-infused cream with light vanilla chiffon cake and fresh raspberries. The tart raspberries and the sweet Tokaji Aszú are one of those perfect flavor combinations. Kérjük, élvezze! (Please enjoy!)

Stop by the Bakeshop at the Bakehouse in June and July and ask for a taste. Tokaji cream cake is also available at Zingerman’s Next Door Café, next to the Deli.

Some history

Tokaji Aszú, a sweet white wine with a rich golden hue, hails from Tokaj in Hungary, the oldest, yet one of the smallest, classified wine regions in Europe. Vineyards abound in the misty valley where two slow-moving rivers, the Bodrog and the Tisza, meet along the southern slopes of the Zemplén Mountains. Traditional viticulture (grape cultivation) in the region dates back to Roman rule under Diocletian, around 300 AD.

Revered by European royalty, statesmen, popes, and artists throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and by wine connoisseurs today, this golden, sweet wine is made from aszú grapes of the Furmint variety that have been left on the vines long past normal harvest time. What makes the wine sweet is a mold called botrytis cinerea that affects grapes while they are still on the vine, when the humidity and climate conditions in the region are right. This "noble rot," so called because of its magical effect on the flavor of the grape juice and wine, causes the berries to darken and shrivel like raisins, concentrating the fruit juice into a luscious, sweet nectar.

This cultivating technique of leaving Furmint grapes long on the vine was discovered by accident in the early 17th century when the Ottoman Turks were set to invade the region. The story goes that Zsuzsanna Lórántffy (who was the wife of György Rákóczi I, Prince of Transylvania, and a major landowner in the Tokaj region) and her vineyard manager, László Máté Szepsi, decided to postpone the harvest on the family’s extensive vineyards in the face of the imminent Turkish invasion. By the time they got around to the harvest, the grapes had turned into shriveled botrytized raisins. The winemakers decided to use them anyway, and Tokaji Aszú was born.

This cake contains gelatin and alcohol.

Available in:
small rectangle (serves 8)
nutrition ingredients