Hungarian cake or a Birthday cake for him

A few weeks ago my husband had a birthday. When I asked him what kind of dessert he wanted, he said either Julishka pie or the Hungarian cake. I decided to make Hungarian cake since we already had Julishka this year. Now, what is known as Hungarian cake in the US, in Bosnia it is known as Hungarian Woman cake, with a difference that we use only one word for it – Mađarica (Mah-dia-ree-tsah). It comes from the word Mađarska, which is the Bosnian word for Hungary. Mađarica is a sweet, rich, caramely, chocolatey goodness that becomes tastier as it “ages” (!Aging meaning days, not months or years!) 🙂

If the Hungarian ladies are anything like this cake, then Hungarian men should be very happy! 😉 If you make this cake today don’t serve it right away. It is best when served the next day or even a few days later. When kept in the fridge this cake will still be good even after a week.

Hungarian Cake (Mađarica)                                Printable recipe

Cake layers:

  • 300 g flour (2 1/3 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 g butter (3.6 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream


  • 200 g sugar (1 cup)
  • 500 ml milk (2 cups)
  • 60 g flour  (1/2 cup)
  • 150 g butter (5.4 oz) at room temperature
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa (sifted)

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 100 g (3.6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons cooking oil


Cake layers

For the cake layers combine flour, baking powder, sugar and mix well. Add thinly sliced butter and start mixing until large crumbs start forming. Add egg and sour cream and knead into a smooth dough ball. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces.

On a lightly floured surface roll out each piece of dough into a 9 X  9 inches (23 X 23 cm) square. Lay it on a parchment covered cookie sheet and cut off any excess dough. Bake each layer for just about 5 minutes at 365 F (185 C). Don’t let it brown. Remove each from the oven and let it cool completely.


For the filling place the sugar into a thick bottom pan. Let it melt at a low temperature. When all melted, pour the milk over the melted sugar. Be careful as this will make quite a reaction and sugar will start to bubble and will instantly harden. With a wooden spoon break up hardened sugar into smaller pieces. As the milk simmers, occasionaly stir it. All the hardened sugar will melt.

While milk is simmering, mix the ½ cup flour with a bit of milk and make a smooth mixture. ( In Europe there is a special kind of flour for making a filling base, but in US there is not, so you  may get few crumbs in the filling – don’t worry about it)

When all the hardened sugar has melted and you just have a great smelling caramelly milk, pour the flour mixture in it, mixing constantly until it thickens. Let it cool completely.

Beat the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy, add the sifted cocoa and beat until all combined. Add the butter to the caramel mixture. Filling is now done. I have divided my filling into two equal portions. One I left as it is and into the other one I added 1.8 oz (50 g) melted dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon of rum.

Putting the cake together and chocolate glaze

Divide the filling into 4 equal portions. Lay one cake layer onto a serving plate, spread the 1st portion of the filling on it. Repeat until the last cake layer, which comes on the top.

For the glaze melt the chocolate over a hot water disch, add oil and mix until smooth. Let it cool for about a minute or two and pour over cake. Shake it a little so it evenly spreads over the top. Leave the cake in the fridge for at least 24 hours or even better 36.

Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving, cut into small bars 1 X 2 inches (2.5 X 5 CM) and enjoy!

See below what happens when you add milk to the melted sugar…


34 thoughts on “Hungarian cake or a Birthday cake for him

    1. Thanks Barb! 🙂 This cake is small and very rich, that is why we rather serve it sliced in bars than slices. It is very, very hard to resist!!!!! 😉

  1. Your baking is amazing! I have a few cookbooks with these desserts and I always think: looks too hard, and you pull it off beautifully every time! What a great birthday cake.

    1. Thank you Sara! 🙂 Sometimes recipes look too hard, but all you really need is time to prepare it (like pita/burek). I think you should give it a try!

    1. Thanks so much Korena! 🙂 The Hungarian cake is definitely different. I once tried to make this filling for a regular cake, but it didn’t work so well. So these kind of cake layers perfectly go with this filling. There is also a lot of room for experimenting with the filling, like adding nuts, shredded coconut, rum, white chocolate, etc.

  2. Sibella, good directions for making everything and assembling it all. The cake itself almost looks more like a pie crust. This looks wonderful; great photos. Great cake! Hope hubby appreciates what you do for him 🙂 Happy birthday to him.

    1. Thanks Kathleen! 🙂 You are right about the pie crust. There is specific name for this kind of dessert in my language, but in absence of a better term in English I had to call it a cake… My husband appreciates all the baking and cooking! 😉 Thanks for the birthday wishes!
      I hope you are doing well!

    1. This is one of the ‘Very European Cakes’ I would say. 🙂 I have bunch of similar ones on my list and will be posting them throughout the year. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Hi Sibella, this looks amazing. i may try and make it for by boyfriends birthday in a few weeks, he is also hungarian and i know he misses this type of food. Can i just ask, for the frosting there is 1/2 cup at room temperature, but is there supposed to be a particular ingredient that is 1/2 cup as it doesnt say or maybe im reading it wrong. Your help is much appreciated.

  4. Hi Laura, thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for pointing out that mistake. It was my mistake! 🙂 “At room temperature” suppose to be one line above by butter and 1/2 cup stands for sugar. I corrected it now. If you also click on the printable recipe it will show the correct ingredients and quantities. Happy baking! 🙂

  5. OMG!!! I’ve been gone way too long and missed your blog. Your cake looks so delicate and elegant! I’ve been wanting to make a layer cake like that for a long time but have always been scared to do one. A very belated happy birthday to your husband and massive congratulations to your son! You must be a very proud and blessed wife and mommy 🙂

    1. Oh thanks so much! 🙂 It is fun to bake for my family and friends! Thanks for the Birthday and Graduation wishes! So glad you stopped by! 🙂

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