Hungarian Jancsi Torta

This is the recipe that made we want to buy Rose’s book and made me want to join the Heavenly Bakers.  Years ago when Food Network was actually about food instead of silly contests to see who the next giggling, simpering wanna be chef personality will be or which no talent hack was going to put their name on anything to make a buck there was a show called The Two Fat Ladies.  Now, I am not saying that these ladies were not about entertainment because they certainly were entertaining BUT they were also about the food.  They cooked honest food with butter and cream and sugar and bacon and they made no appologies for it.  An important thing to note here is that while they were entertaining you, they were also teaching you how to cook.  They were showing you techniques.  They weren’t trying to sell you pans and beakers and campstoves and worthless cookbooks.  They weren’t featuring their husbands, sons, daughters, neices or nephews on every show.  They just cooked and had fun doing it and we watched and learned and had fun learning.  Isn’t that what its all about?  At any rate, I am getting off onto one of my rants about things that none of you care about.  Back to this recipe. 

The Fat Ladies motored around the English countryside on a vintage Triumph motorcycle with a sidecar and they stopped off at various places and cooked for people and special events.  One of these special events was a village fete and they were asked to bake cakes for a bake sale.  One of the cakes they made was called Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Slices.  Rigo Jancsi, it turns out was a gypsy fiddler who was beloved in polite society in Budapest in the 1920’s.  It turns out the it was rather more than his music that was adored by the ladies of polite society and a huge scandal ensued.  None the less, we got these fabulous slices.  On one of my european trips, I happened to be in England and I just happened to have these delicious morsels.  I looked and looked for a recipe and low and behold here were the Fat Ladies giving me one.  I have made them often ever since.  Imagine how intrigued I was when I saw this version of one of my favorite recipes.  This torta is slightly different from the Fat Ladies chocolate slices.  Their recipe uses only 3 eggs and also has a bit of flour in it.  It is baked in a sheet pan and the sheet cake is sliced in half.  A chocolate filling is spread over one half, then apricot jam and then a bittersweet chocolate icing.  The second layer is put on and then they are cut into rectangular slices and dusted with cocoa.  They are marvelous.

This recipe is equally delicious and only half the work.  Toasted walnuts are chopped and added to grated chocolate and sugar.  Egg yolks and sugar are whipped until fluffy and then the chocolate/nut mixture is folded in.  Egg whites are whipped with sugar to for a stiff meringue.   The meringue is folded into the egg yolk mixture and spooned into the prepared springform pan.  The cake is baked.  Mine tested done after 30 minutes at 325 degrees in my convection oven.  The cake is cooled for 5 minutes, then the sides of the pan are removed and the cake cools to room temperature.  It is inverted, the pan bottom removed and then reinverted onto a serving plate.  I simply topped mine with some sweetened whipped cream and dusted the top with some cocoa nibs.  The cake is totally delicious served just as is or it is heavenly with some jam, chocolate ganache, or whipped cream.  No matter how you slice it, you have to try this simple and delicious cake.  It will become one of your favorites and you won’t even have to go to England.

The beaten egg yolks

The beaten eggwhites

The baked cake

Cooling the cake


Next Up: Lemon Poppyseed Sour Cream Cake

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7 thoughts on “Hungarian Jancsi Torta

  1. Raymond, wow, you do bake early! Beautiful cake. I shared the same opinion with you regarding Food Network.
    Love your story about the Fat Ladies and your european trip. This was the 1st cake I baked from the book. It’s yummy!

  2. I have to confess I was so glad Rose’s book arrived after this cake was on the list. The name alone terrified me.
    It sounded complicated. After reading your post, it is going on my to do list! What a great read. I remember the The Two Fat Ladies from either the London Times or Telegraph.
    I wonder if they have dvd’s out? I would love to watch them and learn actual skills.

  3. I enjoyed your rant about the Food Network. I don’t watch it myself but have heard similar comments from others.

    I love the Two Fat Ladies! So funny! And yes, they have DVDs. My public library has all the DVDS, but not their cookbooks. Raymond, which of their cookbooks is this recipe from? Maybe I can pick up a copy somewhere.

  4. OMG, I remember the 2 fat ladies… I believe that one of the die and along with it the show.. so sad, because they had such great TV presence and their recipes were great.

  5. Mmm…now you’ve made me remember how I liked the Jancsi torta. The whipped cream topping really sounds great, and I’ll have to try that next time.

  6. This cake was so great. And I loved reading about your Two Fat Ladies story. When I watch that show I feel like I am baking with my Grandmother.

    And now you have a new easier version of the recipe. Score.

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