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Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake- Rigó Jancsi

Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake- inspired by the original recipe of Rigo Jancsi Cake, an elegant dessert from the 19th century in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Slices of Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Cake0

Rigó Jancsi Chocolate Cake– a decadent chocolate cake

Today I am going to share a delicious Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake recipe. Maybe you have heard of it.  

This recipe is inspired by the classic Rigó Jancsi cake, named after the legendary Hungarian Gypsy violinist.

If you have never had this cake, you do not know what you are missing. If you are a chocolate lover, but not only, this cake is a must-try.

Once you have had it, this recipe will become one of the family treasures. At least, this is what happened in our house, and I am confident that it will happen in yours as well.

Moist and delicious, with a hint of rum flavor and coffee (flavors that are so traditional in Eastern Europe), the cake has a decadent layer of chocolate ganache and a glaze that makes the cake handsome and presentable.

This elegant dessert resembles the rich, decadent life of the 19th century in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

What do you need to make this chocolate cake?

This cake has three main layers: cake, chocolate ganache filling, and glaze. The cake layers are brushed with a sugar syrup flavored with rum.

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache and topping:

  • Heavy Cream – In the US, heavy cream has about 36% fat. You will need 32 fl. oz.
  • Unsalted butter – please use unsalted butter in all your baking recipes unless the recipe tells you you can replace it.  
  • Granulated sugar- We will use just a small amount of sugar. Please do not skip it.
  • Semisweet chocolate– In this recipe, we do not use chocolate chips. We need a semisweet chocolate bar, like Baker’s semisweet chocolate. It has to be about 53-56% cacao.
  • Dark Rum – some legends will tell you that the original chocolate cake doesn’t use rum. I like to add it, as it makes the cake different, but you can skip the rum if you want to avoid the alcohol.
  • Vanilla extract – for a great flavor, please use the best vanilla extract you can buy or afford.

Ingredients for the syrup:

  • Water 
  • Granulated sugar 
  • Dark rum or rum flavor

Ingredients for the cake:

  • Vanilla extract- Try to use the best vanilla you can afford. REl vanilla is better than fake o
  • Instant coffee powder – The original recipe doesn’t require coffee. Still, doing the testing in my kitchen, I discovered that coffee actually enhances the taste of the chocolate in the recipe, so I use it. The Nescafe brand is the most popular one in the US. Look for instant coffee without any added milk or sugar.
  • All-purpose flour – please do not replace the flour with self-rising or other types of flour.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – this cocoa powder is designed for baking. Please do not use cocoa powder or other products with added sugar or milk solids, among other ingredients. If you like baking, you should probably have a bag of cocoa powder in your pantry.
  • Baking soda -helps the cake batter rise.
  • Large eggs – large eggs are standard for baking in the US.
  • Granulated sugar 
  • Salt- a pinch of salt is all you need, but please do not skip it. It enhances the flavors and is the “umami” of the recipe.
Slice of Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Cake on plate with fork0

How to make the Rigo Jancsi Hungarian Chocolate Cake

Before you start making this recipe, please read the instructions carefully. It is not a complicated dessert to make, but some things will require your full attention.

For example, the cake batter has a little baking soda in the mixture, but the air incorporated in the egg whites will help the cake rise beautifully, so make sure you beat the eggs well, stiff but not dry.

You will also need a 9×9″ cake pan

Remember: After you make the chocolate ganache, you will need to set aside 1 cup of it for the final glaze. Don’t forget about it. It happened to me.

Step 1. Make the Chocolate Ganache:

Start by chopping the chocolate and set it aside.

Chopped Dark Chocolate

Use a large saucepan and stir the heavy cream, sugar, and butter together in a saucepan.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and heat it until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts, and the heavy cream starts simmering (you see little bubbles on the edges). Do not boil the cream as this can separate the fat and ruin your ganache.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Allow it to sit unmoved for about five minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.

Whisk until the heavy cream and chocolate become smooth. At this point, you will have a runny ganache, but it will get thicker while it cools.

Make the chocolate ganache

Note: Do not boil the heavy cream. If the cream temperature is too high, you risk overheating the fat in the chocolate, and the ganache might separate. 

Whisk in rum and vanilla.

Important!!!

Transfer one cup of the warm mixture to a small bowl and add the 2 ounces of chocolate. This will be the final glaze. Mix until smooth and set aside.

Melted glaze for the Rigo Jancsi chocolate cake0

Transfer the rest of the chocolate mixture into a larger bowl to use as a filling. Chill until cold and thick for a few hours. Leaving the ganache in the refrigerator overnight is best if you make the cake a day in advance.

Note: Some readers complained that the ganache was runny after many hours in the refrigerator. It never happened to me. If you use 36% fat heavy cream, measure the chocolate and the rest of the ingredients correctly, and avoid boiling the heavy cream, then there is no reason for the ganache to be runny.

In the photo below, you can see what my chocolate ganache looked like after a night in the refrigerator. It is creamy, thick, and ready for the cake. Definitely, not runny!

Chocolate ganache ready for the cake0

Step 2. Make the syrup.

The syrup will flavor and make the cake moist. Bring water and sugar to a boil. Boil for a minute, then remove and let cool. Add the rum flavor or the rum. Set aside.

Making syrup for chocolate cake0

Step 3. Make the cake.

Here are some notes on the recipe before you make it:

  • Make sure you dissolve the instant coffee powder in the vanilla extract so the coffee mixes properly inside the batter. If you forget, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and instant coffee into a bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C.
  • Line the bottom of a 9×9″ pan with parchment paper and then butter the paper.
  • As I said before, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and coffee powder into a bowl. (if you forgot to add the instant coffee to the vanilla.
Dry ingredients for Rigo Jancsi cake0
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl until they get very thick and light in color. Add the vanilla.
Egg yolks with sugar
  • Use a hand or standing mixer and beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add the rest of the sugar and continue beating until stiff but not dry. This step will allow the batter to rise during baking as we incorporate air into the egg whites.
Egg whites with sugar
  • Fold ½ of the egg whites into a yolk mixture. Fold in half of the flour mixture. Fold the remaining whites, then the remaining flour mixture.
Making the cake batter for Rigo Jancsi Cake
  • Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread gently to an even thickness.
Transfer cake batter on the baking tray

Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread gently to an even thickness. Bake cake for about 18 minutes until it puffs up and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on rack. It might shrink a little bit.

Baked cake sliced in half

Step 4. Assemble the cake:

Before you assemble the cake, remove the bowl with chocolate ganache from the refrigerator. Use an electric mixer to beat the cold chocolate ganache until thick and lighter in color for about a minute.

Beated chocolate ganache

Note: Do not overbeat it, as you risk transforming the ganache into butter.

Cut the cake horizontally in half using a serrated knife. Place one half, cut side up, on a platter. Use a pastry brush to brush syrup over the cake surface.

Pouring syrup over the cake

Spread all filling evenly over the cake layer, aligning with the sides of the cake.

Assembling the chocolate cake

Brush with syrup the other half of the cake, the cut side one. Place layer syrup side down on top of the chocolate ganache.

Step 5. Glazing the cake.

Rewarm the reserved cup of ganache over low heat until pourable. Pour it over the top of the cake, starting in the center.

Pouring glaze over the Rigo Jancsi chocolate cake0

Use a spatula and spread topping to edges, trying not to spill over.

How to store the Hungarian Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Cake:

Chill the cake overnight, covering loosely with foil or with a cake dome after 2 hours. Keep refrigerated but serve it at room temperature.

You can also freeze it wrapped in foil and place it into freezer bags for up to three months. Thaw it in the refrigerator.

Slices of Rigo Jancsi Hungarian Chocolate Cake0

Secret: Serve the cake by cutting it into small equal pieces. For cutting, use a sharp knife dipped in hot water. Rinse the blade and dip it again in water before each cutting.

Are you going to try this recipe?

Three slices of Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Cake0

More recipes to love:

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Slice of Hungarian Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Cake square photo0

Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake- Rigo Jancsi

Hungarian Decadent Chocolate Cake- inspired from the original recipe of Rigo Jancsi Cake, an elegant dessert from the 19th century in the Austro Hungarian Empire.
4.51 from 51 votes
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Course: Cakes And Entremets
Cuisine: Hungarian
Keyword: chocolate cake, Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 18 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 745kcal

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Chocolate Ganache and Topping

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (or 1/2 stick butter)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 20 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped (do not use chocolate chips)
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate (we will use it for glazing the cake)
  • cup dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Syrup

  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs (separated)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

Make the Chocolate Ganache:

  • Stir the heavy cream, butter, and sugar together in a saucepan.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and heat it until the sugar dissolves and the heavy cream comes to a simmer. Do not boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add 20 ounces of chocolate. Whisk until melted and smooth.
  • Whisk in rum and vanilla.
  • Transfer one cup of the warm mixture to a small bowl and add the 2 ounces of chocolate to it. This will be the final glaze. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
  • Transfer the rest of the chocolate mixture into a larger bowl to use as a filling.
  • Chill until cold and thick, at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • Make the Syrup:
    It will be used to flavor and make the cake moist)
  • Bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove and let cool. Mix in the rum.

Make the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Line the bottom of a 9×9" pan with parchment paper and then butter the paper.
  • Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and coffee powder into a bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl until they get very thick and light in color.
  • Beat in the vanilla coffee mixture.
  • Use clean, dry beaters to beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form in another bowl.
  • Add remaining ¼ cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry.
  • Fold ½ of the egg whites into a yolk mixture. Fold in half of the flour mixture. Fold the remaining whites, then the remaining flour mixture.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread gently to an even thickness.
  • Bake cake for about 18 minutes until it puffs up and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan on rack. It might shrink a little bit.

Assemble the cake:

  • Cut around the pan to loosen up the cake.
  • Turn it out onto the work surface and peel off the parchment paper.
  • Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally in half.
  • Place one half, cut side up, on a platter.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush syrup over the cake surface.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the cold chocolate ganache until thick and lighter in color for about a minute. Do not overbeat, as you might transform the ganache into butter.
  • Spread all the filling evenly over the cake layer, aligning with the sides of the cake.
  • Brush with syrup the other half of the cake, the cut side one.
  • Place the layer of cake side down on top of the chocolate ganache.
  • Rewarm the reserved cup of ganache over low heat until pourable.
  • Pour it over the top of the cake, starting in the center.
  • Use a spatula and spread topping to edges, trying not to spill over.
  • Chill the cake overnight, covering loosely with foil or with a cake dome after two hours.
  • Keep refrigerated but serve it at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 138mg | Potassium: 417mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 1370IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 4mg
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Recipe Rating




Debbie B

Sunday 3rd of July 2022

I had a problem with the ganache. I looked over the recipe over and over, following it exactly, and still not sure why it didn't set up. ? Almost 15 hours later, it's still liquidity. I was so excited to make it for my Hungarian friends 40th birthday, and now I have nothing.

The Bossy Kitchen

Sunday 3rd of July 2022

Hi Debbie, I am sorry this happened to you. The heavy cream and chocolate ratio is correct, so I do not understand why it is still liquid. 1. Did you measure the ingredients correctly? Twenty ounces of chocolate = 566 grams. 4 cups of heavy cream = 32 fl.oz./950 ml. Also, when you heat up the heavy cream, you should just bring it to a boiling point and remove it immediately from the heat. If it boils, it will overheat the fat in the chocolate, and the ganache might separate. Do you have a smooth consistency of the ganache, or is it split? 2. Did you keep the ganache in the refrigerator overnight? 3. One method to thicken the ganache is to place it over a double boiler and on very low heat reheat it again. Then add more chocolate, maybe 2-3 ounces. You have to stir it constantly to incorporate the chocolate. If you need it immediately, place it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. It should get hard. If you don't need it immediately, place it in the refrigerator. It should harden really nice so that you can use it inside the cake. Do not throw it away. It can be fixed, and I hope you try it.

Liora

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

I have a question or two. I am serving more than 12 people, can i double the recipe and use a larger pan? Right now I am just planning on making a few 9"x9" ones. Also since there is so much time between portions can the cake part sit overnight as well as the syrup and one cup of ganache?

Right now everything is done and I am waiting for the cake to cool to assemble.

After being put together, how many days can it be in the fridge?

The Bossy Kitchen

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hi, Yes, you can double the recipe. Making a few 9x9' ones is a good idea.Make sure you have a double batch of everything(ganache, syrup etc). I am not sure I understand what you mean about "Also since there is so much time between portions can the cake part sit overnight as well as the syrup and one cup of ganache?"- If you do not assemble the cake tonight, place the ganache in the refrigerator, also the syrup. The cake has to be wrapped in some plastic foil so it doesn't dry out. Oh, also, the cake is good for maximum 4-5 days in the refrigerator. There is heavy cream in it, which is perishable.Let me know if you have more questions.:-)

Saturday 11th of May 2019

Saturday 11th of May 2019

Saturday 11th of May 2019