September 30, 2023

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This Hungarian Coffee Cake is Even Better Than Babka

This Hungarian Coffee Cake is Even Better Than Babka

Just one morning, my spouse proposed I appear into earning a diverse sort of bread. Not automatically to substitute my weekly challah practice, but just to try one thing new. I asked what she has in mind and she described monkey bread. I’d never read of it. 

So, I Googled and turns out that monkey bread is in fact a yeasted cake. Its origins are rooted in the immigrant Hungarian Jewish group that came to the United States. I instantly imagined of my father’s grandparents, Jews who immigrated from the previous Austro-Hungarian empire. I texted my father and positive plenty of he remembered his grandmother, Bertha Stern, generating him what she called Hungarian espresso cake, but what numerous call aranygaluska.

Aranygaluska appears a thing like a bundt cake without the donut hole and the splash of powdered sugar. That’s mainly because the goodness lies within, exactly where the warm, gooey jam awaits among doughy dumplings protected in butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Aranygaluska has all the traits of a dessert but can just as quickly go down with your early morning cup of coffee.

Photograph credit: Joe Baur

Jewish Food Historian, Gil Marks, bundled aranygaluska in his Encyclopedia of Jewish Food stuff, noting the arrival of the “golden dumpling” in the 1880s. Hungarian Jewish immigrants started marketing it in their bakeries someday in the mid-20th century, and it transcended Jewish meals when it was bundled in a 1972 edition of Betty Crocker, referred to as “Hungarian Espresso Cake,” as my terrific-grandmother known as it. 

Finally it grew to become recognized as “monkey bread.” There is no definitive motive why but a person of the extra common theories is that the act of pulling the bread aside mimicked how a monkey picks something apart.

Joan Nathan, the matriarch of American Ashkenazi cuisine, states she very first came across the recipe in George Lang’s The Delicacies of Hungary (1971). She also notes that changing the walnuts with cocoa turns the dish into the incredibly Yiddish kuchem-buchem.

I was admittedly a bit verklempt when I understood I experienced stumbled upon a heritage food, in particular one laced with some of my favored substances: cinnamon and honey. 

This is  wonderful for an inexperienced baker since it’s a tricky recipe to screw up. As you get your dough with each other, it just requires taking pieces of that dough, swooshing them close to in bowls of butter and cinnamon sugar, then arranging the chunks of sweetness in levels. Fill the gaps with jam and you are established.

Image credit score: Joe Baur


For the dough:

  • 2 ¼ tsp dry lively yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup water or warm milk
  • 3 substantial eggs, overwhelmed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup or 1 stick melted butter
  • ½ cup  honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4-5 cups flour

For the topping:

  • ½ cup or 1 adhere melted butter
  • 3 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½-2 cups floor walnuts
  • 1 ½-2 cups brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼-⅓ cup jam (some recipes contact for apricot but I applied a blended berry jam)


  1. Place your yeast in a smaller bowl with 1 tsp sugar. Pour in a cup of heat milk or water and whisk collectively. Let it sit for the future 5-10 minutes until finally it foams.
  2. In a substantial bowl or mixing bowl if you are going to be employing a stand mixer, whisk with each other your eggs, salt, sugar, honey, and melted butter. (Make guaranteed your melted butter has cooled to at the very least place temperature prior to mixing it with the eggs.)
  3. After your yeast is activated (foamy), dump it into your mixing bowl and get started doing work in your flour. Proceed adding your flour in stages until finally a ball commences to type. Then, drop the dough on to a floured floor and knead for about 10 minutes. Place your kneaded dough into a lightly oiled pot and depart it in a heat atmosphere to increase for the next 60-90 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, start making your topping. Toss the walnuts into a food stuff processor and operate it until extremely good. Blend that with your brown sugar, cinnamon, and pinch of salt. Melt a stick or ½ cup butter into a next bowl.
  5. Acquire some of your melted butter and grease your pan. Then, generously layer the bottom with your cinnamon-sugar-walnut-combine.
  6. As soon as your dough has risen, preheat your oven to 360 degrees F or 180 levels C. Punch the dough out on to your doing work floor. At this point, there are two strategies to make your dumplings. You can possibly roll the dough out until finally it is about a ½ inch thick or eyeball it. I’m on workforce “eyeball it” and use my dough cutter to reduce off golfing ball-sized dumplings. Nevertheless you do it, roll your dumpling into a ball and drop it into your bowl of melted butter. Then fall your butter-coated dumpling into your cinnamon-sugar-walnut combine, masking it on all sides. Position the dumpling into your pan and repeat, leaving a small place between every single 1.
  7. Right after you finish the bottom layer, area a dollop of jam on every dumpling. Really do not overdo it with the jam or it’ll seep out of the sides of your springform pan, burn in the base of your oven, and ooze out when you clear away the spring.
  8. Working with a 9-inch or 23-centimeter pan, you will only have two levels of dumplings. After you finish your second layer, coat the dish with what ever butter you have left followed by the rest of your topping blend. Toss it right away into the oven for 35-40 minutes right until golden. 
  9. Eliminate the aranygaluska from the oven and enable it awesome off for a great 15 minutes prior to getting rid of the ring.