There once lived a man, who was the leader of a gypsy band. He was very successful in the music world, however, he became famous through a scandalous love affair and the cake, with which he wanted to seduce a woman. This is the story of Rigó Jancsi and the cake that is sweet as love.
According to cultura.hu, János Rigó was born into a poor gypsy family in Pákozd. He loved music and started playing the violin at a young age. His career is dreamlike: he started at the bottom of the band hierarchy and slowly made his way upwards until he became the leader of the gypsy band. The band first toured Hungary and then the pubs, restaurants of trans-border regions.
This is how the man, who everyone called Jancsi Rigó (Jancsi is the nickname for János), got to Paris in 1896, where he entertained the guests of Alhambra and Restaurant Payard. The show was visited by Prince Chimay and his beautiful wife one night. Jancsi noticed that his music and more so his personality impressed Princess Clara Ward. Being a fine-looking and talented man, he was used to women admiring him, but that night was different.
The princess became a regular guest at the performances of the gypsy band, they met more and more until they fell in love. The romantic escape of the princess and the fiery-eyed musician was the greatest sensation of 1896. They both divorced so that they could remarry. The press loved their relationship and frequently reported about their life. Their romance was a real phenomenon that was even made eternal by painters and caricaturists.
Their fame was still unbroken in 1905, when they visited the Rémy (later Nemzeti) Hotel, and the clever confectioner of the hotel took advantage of their visit. Legend has it that Jancsi asked the confectioner to make an irresistible cake that would dazzle Clara. This is how the chocolatey, sweetly creamy cake was created. It is believed that Jancsi presented the cake to his love with following sentence: “Taste it: it’s brown like my skin and sweet like your heart”.
The cake turned out so great that it also impressed the guests of the hotel and later the whole country. It became popular quite quickly and its sweetness remained its main characteristic throughout history. But unlike the cake, the love of Jancsi and Clara wasn’t eternal. The lack of money, cheating and constant fights poisoned their life until Clara escaped with an Italian porter.
The story of Rigó Jancsi is the perfect example of the power of gastronomy and how it’s able to preserve someone’s memory. The cake named after him combines sponge, cream and chocolate. According to mindmegette.hu, the chocolatey sponge layer is followed by a layer of chocolatey whipped cream, another sponge layer and a chocolate glaze. No wonder people can’t resist it. If you want to impress your guests with a truly sweet dessert, take a look at the following recipe.
For the sponge
- 3 eggs
- 60 grams of sugar
- 60 grams of flour
- 20 grams of cocoa powder
For the cream
- 4 dl of whipping cream
- 100 grams of dark chocolate
For the chocolate glaze
- 40 grams of dark chocolate
- a tablespoon of butter
For the sponge, separate the eggs and mix the egg yolks with the sugar. In another bowl, whip up the egg whites, add it into the sugary mixture and combine carefully. Then add the cocoa powder and the flour, and mix everything together. Bake the sponge at 180° Celsius for 8-10 minutes.
For the cream, melt the chocolate over boiling water. After it has melted, take it off of the heat and slowly mix in the whipping cream. Cut the sponge into two layers and spread the cream between them. For the glaze, melt the chocolate and the butter and spread it on top of the upper sponge layer. Store the cake in the fridge, and cut it into squares with a knife dipped into hot water before serving.
Featured image: www.mindmegette.hu/FazekasKira
Source: Daily News Hungary