Hungarian chimney cake can be found throughout the country | Courtesy of Molnar's Kürtöskalács
Hungary is surprisingly rich in desserts, and it is just as capable of handling fluffy cream cakes as it is Italian gelato or American-style doughnuts – not to mention, it has its own unique additions to the baking world. If you have a sweet tooth, then you ought to know the best places for dessert in Budapest. Here are our favourites.
Located only a short distance from Matthias Church, Ruszwurm is one of the oldest confectioneries in the city with a 200-year history behind it. You can expect to enjoy the whole range of popular treats in its small and cozy building, which hasn’t changed much since its inception. Of note are the Ruszwurm Krémes, a particularly creamy take on the traditional Hungarian cake. Since the venue is so small – and famous – don’t be surprised if you have to wait in a queue during busy periods.
Get a unique Hungarian cake at Molnar's | Courtesy of Molnar's Kürtőskalács
Kürtöskalács, or ‘chimney cake’, is an exclusively Hungarian treat, and one of the earliest examples of cake baking. While you can pick up one of these classics at any number of stalls dotted throughout Budapest, the iconic cake at Molnar’s is served with a number of twists. The typical sugar or cinnamon coating is ditched in favour of chocolate or walnuts. There is even an option to fill it with ice cream, an unusual, but novel way of enjoying the dessert.
Another vintage coffee house with a memorable heritage is Gerbeaud House. It’s a classy cafe that looks more like a luxury jewelry shop than a bakery. Located at the popular tourist destination of Vörösmarty Square, it is known for catering to every sweet tooth. For a bit of history, however, the Zserbó Szelet – or Gerbeaud Slice – was born in this very cafe over a century ago. The now-famous cake has since engraved itself into Hungarian tradition and is seen at celebrations and special occasions across the country.
As a ‘design confectionery’, Sugar! is much more than its colourful charming decor. If you’re craving something sweet, there are few places in Budapest that will satisfy as well as Sugar! Whether it’s ice cream or jelly beans, chocolate milkshakes or cakes, Sugar! has it. But what stands out the most about this place is its annual ‘collections’, custom designed cakes and treats. Each year, the cakes, cupcakes and pastries are decorated based on a chosen theme, such as anime, New York, Candyland or unicorns.
Hidden away on Dob Street in the middle of Budapest’s bustling party district is Fröhlich. The first thing you’ll notice is that its exterior doesn’t exactly match the modern and brash displays of the storefronts nearby. There’s a retro sense about this cake shop, which offers not only the most popular Hungarian treats, but some intriguing Jewish-style classics too. In particular, you’ll find flódni or the triangular Haman’s Ears.
The ornate interior of New York Cafe in Budapest | Courtesy of New York Cafe
While it is possible to have more than just dessert at New York Cafe – which is attached to the Boscolo Hotel – the truth is, it’s a little pricey. However, treating yourself to a trio of tiny cakes and a coffee in this lavish cafe should be on your list. One of the reasons the cafe is such a popular location for tourists is because of its impressive, ornate interior. It’s like having cake in a palace! We recommended coming here for the experience at least once while visiting Budapest.
For something a little more down-to-earth, there is The Box Donut, close to Nyugati train station. It primarily serves a variety of creative doughnut flavours, each of which come in a funky square shape. While the store offers up very little outside of its intriguing fánk, there are so many variants – some of which are seasonal – that you’ll be coming back time and again.
As another veteran cake shop in Budapest – opening its doors on the ‘Buda’ side of the city in 1870 – Auguszt naturally comes with a lofty reputation that locals have high expectations for. Thankfully, it has managed to uphold its reputation, offering up a bevy of Hungarian cakes and pastries baked from family recipes that have been handed down through generations.
Cake Shop Budapest specialises in cakes made to order | Courtesy of Cake Shop Budapest
You’ve got to be brave to name your store ‘Cake Shop Budapest.’ Brave, or very confident. The specialties at Cake Shop Budapest are grand, layered cakes that are made to order for whatever purpose a giant cake might be deemed necessary. It also functions as a cafe, which means you can stop by for a sweet treat and a coffee. Its central location might not be the most obvious to spot, but it shouldn’t be overlooked during your travels.
If all you’re after is ice cream on a warm summer’s day, then Levendula is your best option. It has a number of stores across the city, the most easily accessible one is next to the Akvárium. Levendula’s range of flavours is not just broad, but sometimes unusual. Chocolate and vanilla make a showing, but expect all sorts of unique options, including dairy-free and sugar-free flavours, and its namesake flavour, Lavender.
The bright, charming glow of Desszert Neked’s interior might be tempting as it is, but it’s the exacting nature of the cakes that will seduce you. There aren’t any shops on this list that can make such perfectly presented desserts, but don’t think that this is a case of style over substance. The cakes here are just as delicious as they look. With an immense selection to choose from, Desszert Neked is a place that sweet tooths return to regularly. And for all the bakers out there, their Instagram account is gorgeous and inspiring.