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Hungarian Cherry Sponge Cake – Cseresznyés Lepény

A delicious versatile cake to make with many seasonal fruits of the continental summer. Cherry or sour cherry being most popular but the apricot and plum ones are very nice too. These were often served in Hungary after a heavier soup as a second course or light dessert to keep the energy up. Nowadays they also make a nice companion at barbeques or summer evenings spent socialising with a glass of wine.
The cake takes well to other flours, such as part rye or spelt four and could use part almond flour for the recipe with cherries. You can also sprinkle flaked almonds or roughly chopped walnuts on top before baking.


– for a 240mm x 34mm [10″x14″] cake pan

  • 400g white pastry flour (~3.3 cups) – if using self-raising flour reduce baking powder accordingly
  • 15g (3 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 250-300g (~1.5 cups) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g (5 oz) butter (room temperature)
  • 300ml (~1.3 cups) milk
  • grated  zest of 1 un-waxed lemon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence – optional
  • 400-500g (~1lb) fruit [cherry, sour cherry, apricot, plums, berries –  most would work]

How to make

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (400°F – Gas mark 6), and line an approximately 240mm x 34mm (10″x14″) cake tin with baking parchment
  2. Sift the flour with the baking powder, add the salt and lemon zest
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until whitened and fluffy
  4. Combine with the soft butter sliced into manageable smaller pieces.
  5. Working with a large spoon alternately mix in the flour and milk in small batches
  6. Pour the thick batter into the baking dish and scatter the fruit pieces on top, you could sprinkle with a bit of extra sugar if you like
  7. Start baking at 200°C after 10 minutes turn the temperature down to 180-170°C and cook for a further approximate 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and it is cooked through
  8. Let it cool slightly in the baking dish then transfer onto a cooling rack
  9. Dust with icing sugar and optional cinnamon before serving.

12 thoughts on “Hungarian Cherry Sponge Cake – Cseresznyés Lepény

  1. Szia! I am a Hugarian/ Canadian and I just found your fantastic website! I just baked this cake using peach slices and it was perfect!! Thank you for posting these wonderful traditional recipes! I can hardly wait to try them all!! Especially the soups and sweets!

      1. I am just baking at the moment, looks good so far. I did put a few tbsp’s of sour cream in mixture will let you know what it’s like after tasted

  2. Hello Eva,
    I just made the recipe and I think there are a couple of measurement mistakes so please review.
    I checked if 400g flour was equal to 3.3 cups – it’s more
    I think for the baking powder you meant 1.5g not 15g, so I used the 3 tsp. instead.
    Please check these and let me know if I’m incorrect.

    Thanks very much

  3. Eva, I’m so thrilled to find your website, thank you and keep it growing! I’m a Hungarian/Canadian, sadly all my Hungarian family has by now passed on, and there were any number of recipes that we just no longer have. Even something as simple as the green bean soup! And Madartej!! I never expected to find that. These are wonderful authentic recipes that remind me of my childhood and family no longer with us.

    1. Thank you Nora for such a nice feedback. Hope the recipes will come useful to reconnect with some of your cherished family dishes. ❤

  4. Guy from Kentucky with a Hungarian-American girlfriend here! Thank you for posting all these awesome recipes so I can try to bring something good to her family parties!

    1. Thank you Leonardo, I’m so glad you like the recipes, hope you will find some good ones to surprise the Hungarian side of the family with, very thoughtful of you.

  5. Thank you or the beautiful recipe my Aunt always made this recipe in Hungary when I was a little girl. She was an excellent baker she also made cherry strudel. Your recipe turned out really good! Thank you. I have a very small oven and heat travels fast so I cooked it for 25 min @ 350 degrees. Bless you 🙏🏼

  6. I also used less sugar and I used brown sugar … 1 cup and it tasted sweet enough because of the cherries.
    My Family really enjoyed it thank you once again. 🥰

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