Gerbeaud Cake

Undoubtedly, Gerbeaud cake, alongside poppy seed roll, is one of Hungary’s most popular Christmas desserts. The sweetness of the chocolate, paired with the sourness of the apricot jam and walnuts, creates the perfect combination of flavors. A great feature of the Gerbeaud cake is that it lasts for a very long time, which allows the flavors to really come together, and is known to make cake taste even better after a few days.

The dessert was created by Emile Gerbeaud, a confectioner who, after spending many years in France and England, opened his confectionery located on the famous Vörösmarty Square in Budapest, in 1884. The Gerbeaud cake was only one of the many famous desserts he offered at his confectionery.

A Few Tips For Baking The Perfect Gerbeaud Cake

  1. Gerbeaud cake is not a cheap cake to make, as both good quality apricot jam and walnut at such high quantities can be quite expensive. If you’re determined to make this dessert, consider investing a bit more in the ingredients, and don’t be afraid to use them generously – you will need 300 g (or 10 1/2 oz by weight) ground walnuts and a big jar (approx. 800 ml or 3 1/3 cups) of apricot jam.
  2. Use homemade apricot jam, and avoid store-bought products if possible. If you didn’t conserve any apricots this summer, ask around among your friends and family. It really makes a huge difference! (In Hungary making apricot jam at home is very popular. But if you use store-bought apricot jam, please find one with high fruit content.)
  3. Allow plenty of time for the preparation. Preparing a Gerbeaud cake is not that difficult, but it takes time to do it right – it is definitely not advised to start it at 6 in the evening.

Gerbeaud Cake Recipe

  1. To prepare Gerbeaud cake, grind the walnuts, mix them together with powdered sugar, add lemon zest, then set the mixture aside.
  2. Gerbeaud cake recipe 1 - ground walnut and lemon zest

  3. Heat up the milk to a lukewarm temperature, add yeast and a tablespoon of granulated sugar. Set it aside for 15 minutes, which gives you enough time to measure out and mix your other ingredients.
  4. Gerbeaud cake recipe 2 - preapre the yeast

  5. Combine flour with powdered sugar, then add butter. Work the mixture with your hands until you achieve a slightly crumbly texture.
  6. Gerbeaud cake recipe 3 - flour, sugar, butter

  7. Add two egg yolks, a pinch of baking soda and the yeast mixture.
  8. Gerbeaud cake recipe 4 - dough ingredients

  9. Knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to your hands. (Approx. 5 mins)
  10. Gerbeaud cake recipe 5 - kneading the dough

  11. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Lightly dust your working surface with flour, and start rolling out the first piece of dough. Spread butter and dust flour onto a 35×40 cm (13×15 inch) baking pan (you can also use parchment paper). Transfer the thinned-out dough onto a rolling pin, then lift it into the pan. Make sure you cut the dough to size with a knife, so it fits the pan. Cut off the overhanging parts to fill up any gaps.
  12. Gerbeaud cake recipe 6 - dough in a baking tin

  13. Spread a generous amount of apricot jam (approx. 4-5 heaping tablespoons of jam per layer), followed by a layer of the lemon zest and walnut mixture.
  14. Gerbeaud cake recipe 6 - spread apricot jam
    Gerbeaud cake recipe 6 - spread walnut

  15. Onto the second layer! Lay down the next layer of dough, spread the other half of the jar onto it, and sprinkle the remaining walnuts over it. Finally, stretch out the third dough portion, which will form the top layer of the cake.
  16. Gerbeaud cake recipe 6 - second layer

  17. Pierce the top layer a few times with a fork (make sure your fork goes through all layers). Cover the cake with a clean kitchen cloth and let it rest for 1 hour.
  18. Gerbeaud cake recipe 6 - cover your cake

  19. After an hour, preheat your oven at 175 °C (375 F) and bake the cake for 35 mins until the top layer gets a lovely golden-brown color.
  20. Gerbeaud cake recipe 6 - bake the cake

  21. Wait until your Gerbeaud cake cools down, then start preparing the chocolate glaze. In order to prepare the glaze, mix together 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar with 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Combine this with boiling water and a teaspoon of oil – this will make your glaze smooth and shiny. Mix it with a hand whisk until you achieve a smooth texture. Pour the glaze on top of the cake, and spread it out with a spoon or spatula. It may not be as even as store-bought chocolate coating, but it is a lot tastier! Allow the glaze to set overnight, or at least for a few hours before serving.
  22. Gerbeaud cake recipe 6 - spread chocolate glaze

  23. The following day your Gerbeaud cake is finally ready to be sliced! Only slice up as much as you think you will eat, so the cake doesn’t dry out. Cut the cake into thin rectangles or diamond shapes.

Hungarian name: Zserbó.

Original Gerbeaud Cake recipe by Imola Pall.

Gerbeaud cake

Gerbeaud Cake

Imola
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

For The Dough

  • 4 cups (500 g) flour
  • 4/5 cup (100 g) icing sugar
  • 7/8 cups (200 g) butter
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) milk
  • 1 tsp dry yeast (or 20 g fresh yeast)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 pinch baking soda

For The Filling

  • 10 1/2 oz (300 g) ground walnut
  • 1 3/5 cup (200 g) icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 1/3 cups (800 ml) apricot jam

For The Glaze

  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tespoon vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • To prepare Gerbeaud cake, grind the walnuts, mix them together with powdered sugar, add lemon zest, then set the mixture aside.
  • Heat up the milk to a lukewarm temperature, add yeast and a tablespoon of granulated sugar. Set it aside for 15 minutes, which gives you enough time to measure out and mix your other ingredients.
  • Combine flour with powdered sugar, then add butter. Work the mixture with your hands until you achieve a slightly crumbly texture.
  • Add two egg yolks, a pinch of baking soda and the yeast mixture.
  • Knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to your hands. (Approx. 5 mins)
  • Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Lightly dust your working surface with flour, and start rolling out the first piece of dough. Spread butter and dust flour onto a 35×40 cm (13×15 inch) baking pan (you can also use parchment paper). Transfer the thinned-out dough onto a rolling pin, then lift it into the pan. Make sure you cut the dough to size with a knife, so it fits the pan. Cut off the overhanging parts to fill up any gaps.
  • Spread a generous amount of apricot jam (approx. 4-5 heaping tablespoons of jam per layer), followed by a layer of the lemon zest and walnut mixture.
  • Onto the second layer! Lay down the next layer of dough, spread the other half of the jar onto it, and sprinkle the remaining walnuts over it. Finally, stretch out the third dough portion, which will form the top layer of the cake.
  • Pierce the top layer a few times with a fork (make sure your fork goes through all layers). Cover the cake with a clean kitchen cloth and let it rest for 1 hour.
  • After an hour, preheat your oven at 175 °C (375 F) and bake the cake for 35 mins until the top layer gets a lovely golden-brown color.
  • Wait until your Gerbeaud cake cools down, then start preparing the chocolate glaze. In order to prepare the glaze, mix together 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar with 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Combine this with boiling water and a teaspoon of oil – this will make your glaze smooth and shiny. Mix it with a hand whisk until you achieve a smooth texture. Pour the glaze on top of the cake, and spread it out with a spoon or spatula. Allow the glaze to set overnight, or at least for a few hours before serving.
  • The following day your Gerbeaud cake is finally ready to be sliced! Only slice up as much as you think you will eat, so the cake doesn’t dry out. Cut the cake into thin rectangles or diamond shapes.

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