This delicious cake doesn’t have a single story about its origin, but this is probably why several versions of the Esterházy cake still exist. The walnut-creamy dessert and its emblematic pattern have a special place in the heart of Hungarians.

Finding the origins and the perfect recipe of the Esterházy cake is quite a hard task, because it is not even mentioned in classic Hungarian cookbooks. This is why several legends evolved around its story.

Most people connect the cake to the famous Esterházy family. Some sources mention Miklós Esterházy, while others state that the cake was made for Pál Antal Esterházy since he was known to be a real gourmand. For instance, the Esterházy sirloin was named after him. writes that further questions arise when it comes to the confectioner who created the recipe. Since the cake spread quite quickly in Austria and Germany, it can be assumed that Austrian confectioner Franz Sacher had to do something with the cake. According to, most people know that Joseph Haydn was the court composer of the Esterházy family, however, it is less known that the creator of the Sacher cake, Franz Sacher was the court chef of the family in the 1830s. This is why some sources believe that he played a role in the creation of the Esterházy cake.

Gerbeaud Café also serves it in a cup – Photo:é

If this is true, the cake had every chance easily conquer all parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from Fertőd. During this path, the dessert went through several changes, this is why today we can find many different recipes online. The cake is basically the combination of four or five walnut sponge layers, buttercream, a chocolatey fondant cover and the emblematic pattern on top.

The sponge-cake is mostly made with ground walnut, but there are recipes which call for almonds, hazelnut or flour instead. There are also many versions when it comes to the filling of the cake. It is usually made with buttercream, to which some kind of alcohol is added (brandy, rum, amaretto, walnut liquor, coffee liquor etc.). Certain recipes call for sprinkling the sponge layers with alcohol instead of adding it into the cream. The buttercream can be made with chocolate or even a lighter mascarpone cream.

The glazing of the cake is the most important part, because this is what the cake is mostly known for. The Esterházy pattern (or Eszterházy?) forms a web, which is usually made from chocolate. The classic version features a dark pattern on a light base, but some people like to do it the other way around. Besides the pattern, the cake is sometimes decorated with dried fruits, while the creamy side is dipped into almond flakes.

Hungarian classics on one plate (Esterházy cake on the left) – Photo:é

The story and recipe might seem like a complete chaos, but the end result is exceptional. The Esterházy cake is a special treat which is perfect for any type celebration or get-together.


For the sponge-cake

  • 10 egg whites
  • 300 grams of sugar
  • 350 grams of ground walnuts
  • pinch of salt

For the cream

  • 2 teaspoons of brandy
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 5 dl of milk
  • 2 packs of vanilla sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 50 grams of sugar
  • 300 grams of butter

For the glaze

  • 100 grams of white chocolate
  • 50 grams of dark chocolate


Prepare five parchment paper pieces and draw 20 cm diameter circles onto them. Whip up the egg whites and slowly add the sugar. Then carefully add the ground walnut and the pinch of salt. Mix them together without breaking the mousse. Spread the mixture equally on the five circle-shaped parchment papers and bake each of them at 200° Celsius for 10 minutes.

Next up, you have to make the filling cream. Pour the milk into a pan, add the brandy and the sugar and start heating it. Mix the egg yolks with the flour until you get a smooth consistency, and slowly add this mixture to the milk. Stir constantly until the cream thickens, and take it off of the heat. Leave it to cool, and then mix in the room-temperature butter.

Then, layer the cake. Spread the filling between the sponge layers and on the side. Cover the top layer with melted white chocolate and draw circles with the dark chocolate. Take a toothpick and draw lines from the inside of the cake, thus forming a web shape. If you wish, you can decorate the side of the cake with shredded almond. Let the cake sit in the fridge for a few hours and serve it.

Enjoy the dessert!

Featured image:

Source: Daily News Hungary

1 comment
  1. I am in America; can you ; can you post to me on facebook the recipe for Esterhazy cake using American (i.e. not grams etc; substitute for vanilla sugar etc. Marjorie Bush Thank you [email protected]

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