Madjarica – Croatian Layer Cake

A beautiful and delicious traditional Croatian cake that is a welcome addition to any celebratory table.
By Tamara Novacoviç

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The original name of this cake is Madjarica and its literal translation is “Hungarian girl”. I still don’t have an explanation for this name, since it is actually traditional Croatian cake.

This is not an easy cake and every household has its own recipe, usually written in old grandma’s textbooks and passed on from one generation to another.  Some versions use caramel for the filling, some don’t. Besides cocoa, I always put some chocolate in the filling, which makes the flavor really full. The recipe always produces a large amount of cake. Furthermore, it is cut into small rectangles, so it’s the perfect cake for holiday celebrations.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Madjarica - Croatian Layer Cake
 
A beautiful, and delicious traditional Croatian cake that is a welcome addition to any celebratory table
Author:
Recipe Type: Dessert
Ingredients
Cake layers
  • 21.1 oz (600 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 6.3 oz (180 g) sour cream
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6.3 oz (180 g) sugar
  • 6.3 oz (180 g) butter
Filling
  • 4 cups (1 l) milk
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 oz (200 g) sugar
  • 1.7 oz (50 g) dark chocolate
  • 6.3 oz (180 g) butter
  • 1 tbsp rum
Glaze
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1.7 oz (50 g) butter
Instructions
  1. Prepare the filling first. Cook milk with sugar and vanilla until it boils. Separate one part of milk and whisk it with cocoa and flour. Add the mixture into the boiling milk. Add chocolate and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in butter and rum immediately. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely.
  2. For the cake layers, make the dough. Beat butter with sugar, egg whites and sour cream until fluffy. Add sifted flour and baking powder and knead into a dough. Separate it into six equal parts and roll it out into a rectangles, between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out as thin as possible and transfer, together with the bottom parchment paper onto a rectangle baking tray.
  3. Preheat oven to 356 F (180 C). Bake layers one by one, each for 8 minutes. They must stay pale. Let them cool. You can press them with something in order to flatten them out as they cool.
  4. For the glaze, melt chocolate with butter and oil.
  5. Assemble the cake: place first layer into a baking tray and spread one part of the filling evenly over it. Cover with the second layer and alternate until you finish. You need to end with the dough layer. Pour hot chocolate glaze over it and leave the cake in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next day, cut into small rectangles and serve.
18 Comments
  1. Thank you for solving a many-year mystery! When I visited Hvar, the woman who owned the apartment I rented brought me this cake (leftovers from a family party). It remains one of the best desserts I have ever had–though of course being in Croatia helped. Her version had the caramel layers as well (if I remember correctly, some were creamy and some were crunchy), and it looked like something you would find in the finest Parisian patisserie. I have never been able to find a recipe (and never saw it anywhere else in three visits to Croatia) and was always confused by the Hungarian aspect of the name. Now if my baking skills were only up to the task of replicating it…

  2. I love cake but doctors and some health experts found out that if a person eats a piece of cake everyday then this person is likely to live a short life.

  3. I can shed some light on the name, Croatia and Hungary where both part of the Yugoslavian territory, many Hungarians came to Croatia in the 1800’s. It could have been named that as a favorite of a Hungarian girl.

  4. The cookies you are thinking about are called “Sarene oblande”. As far as I know, you can’t buy them in stores, but mommys and grannys always bake them for parties! Love them too!!!

  5. Tamara!!! My mother-in-law made this cake for me for the first time 17 years ago and it has remained my favourite dessert EVER. I’m so excited to try it.

    Hvala ljepa!

    Anita Dijakovic

  6. Can you please tell me if the cake layers can be made ahead of time
    I am thinking about a week just to save time as I have lots of cakes to make.

  7. Thank you for sharing – so many people are afraid to give their recipes to others and this is a very special dessert. You are very thoughtful and nice to share!
    Jean – a Croatian lady.

  8. Most of Croatia was Hungary, thus all their pastry customs food resemble very very closely to Hungarian They just made it more their own version……

  9. Hi, I have an issue with the filling… when I take a small part of the boiling milk and mix it with the cocoa powder/flour mixture, it becomes very lumpy, even when I stir it with a whisk very fast. When I put it back into the boiling milk mixture, there’s still lumps. I sifted the mixture onde it thickened to remove the lumps but I’m wondering why it’s doing this? Any suggestions?

  10. Omg!! I have been hunting for this recipe for 10 years! Every Easter at primary school my friends mum would melt down their Easter chocolate and make this! Only my friend didn’t like it so I got her piece every day! It is my favourite school memory hahah! I’ll be making for my kids!
    Thank you!!

  11. There is a lot of cross-pollination between Croatians & Hungarians, especially in some regions. Hungarians have TWO desserts this reminds me of… Dobos torte & Gerbeau szellet. Could the Croatians just really have liked the desserts that the ma?ar made? Coffeehouse culture may also have something to do with this & they were very popular in Budapest, Vienna & Paris. Hungarians & Croatians also share a fondness for palacsinta/palacinke.

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