Traditional Hungarian Chocolate Sponge - Rigojancsi


This cake is one of the famous traditional Hungarian desserts. It was called after a popular Hungarian gipsy first-violinist. His name was Rigo Jancsi (pronounce "Reegho Yanchy" = "Johnny Blackbird"). He had a great romantic love story at turn of the 20th century.

Claire Ward (Claire Chimay) was the wife of the Belgian Prince de Caraman-Chimay and the daughter of an American millionaire. In 1896 Rigo Jancsi played violin at a restaurant in Paris. Claire had dinner with her husband and she was enchanted by the black eyes of Rigo Jancsi. The violinist was not a very handsome Hungarian man, but he played the violin devilishly, had charme so he could turn women's heads. Claire immediately fell in love with Jancsi. She left her husband and two children and ran away with Rigo Jancsi. This romance was a great scandal all over the Europe and the hot story was written by the press many times. Claire and Jancsi were married and lived in different countries. They visited Budapest several times and dwelt in Hotel Rémy. Jancsi had a confectioner friend and asked him to create a new dessert for his wife Claire. The cake was created by him, it was called after Rigo Jancsi and became in short time popular.
The story did not have the happy ending. They lived together ten years and spent a few million dollars but after all they got divorced and Claire was married again with an Italian receptionist. Jancsi got into evil ways, became a poor man and played violin at different honkey-tonks. He died in 1927.

Hungarian chocolate sponge (Rigojancsi)

Ingredients: for 15 services (5x5 cm = 2x2 inch cubes)

Chocolate sponge:
5 eggs
150 g all-purpose flour
150 g granulated sugar
25 g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt

Cocoa whipped cream filling:
0,7-0,8 l whipping cream
150 g powdered sugar
30-40 g unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
4-5 tablespoon water
vanilia extract

Chocolate ganache:
80 g bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoon consistant apricot jam
1-2 tablespoon rum (or brandy or whisky)


Preheat the oven to 180 C = 365 F degrees. Line a 30x25 cm = 12x10 inch jellyroll pan with parchment and spray with nonstick vegetable spray.

Measure flour and cocoa, put in the salt and mix them well in a bowl.
Put the eggs and sugar in another bowl and beat them with mixer until very creamy and white (about 7-8 minutes).
Add the dry ingredients to the creamy mixture and whisk them with a spoon carefully. At the end add and whisk the oil too.

Spread the dough in the prepared pan...

...and bake it for 8-9 minutes until set. Let it cool.
Split the sponge fifty-fifty (15x25 cm = 6x10 inch), strip the parchment.

Put one part back in the oven pan and the other one on a tray.

Mix the jam and rum and spread the mixture on the sponge (on the tray).

Melt the chocolate and oil over barely simmering water or in the microwave oven. Make the ganache. Pour it over the sponge that is on the tray. Allow cake to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until chocolate is set.
Slice the ganache sponge into 5x5 cm = 2x2 inch squares.

Steep the gelatin with water. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
Mix the powdered sugar and cocoa.
Beat the whipping cream.
Dip the gelatin to the whipped cream and mix them with mixer. Put the sugar-cocoa mixture and vanilla in the cream and whisk them with a spoon carefully.

Spread the cream on the sponge (in the oven pan)...

...and finish it.

Put the squares on the filling one after the other.

Put the cake in the fridge. Slice cubes.


  1. I shared this on my foodie page 'Roxy's Garden' on facebook. I love this story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. How much cream does it take? I cannot understand the measurement:
    0,7-0,8 l whipping cream
    Help please!!!

    1. I don't understand either

    2. In American measure, 0.7-0.8 litres (many metric countries use a comma where Americans would use a decimal point) comes to about 3 to 3-1/3 cups.

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