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“Kossuth” Hungarian Lemon Walnut Crescents – Kossuth Kifli

A simple but special light buttery lemon sponge cake with toasted walnuts on top.

The name is paying homage to Lajos Kossuth, lawyer, journalist, politician, statesman and Governor-President of the Kingdom of Hungary during the revolution of 1848–49.

The story goes, he spent a lot of time in Bratislava which was the hub of Hungarian political life and home of the parliament – now the capital of Slovakia. Here a restaurant frequented by the politicians had these cakes on the menu, a creation of the owner.  Kossuth became very fond of these little delicacies, so much so that the cakes got named after him.  The original recipe is somewhat debated in detail but this is the variety that became known as Kossuth Kifli.

Lajos Kossuth
Lajos Kossuth


  • 380 gram (3.3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 6 medium eggs, white and yolk separated
  • pinch of salt
  • 420 gram (1.9 cups) caster sugar
  • 420 gram (3.4 cups) plain or pastry flour, sifted
  • 12 gram (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 un-waxed lemon
  • juice of half a lemon

for the topping:

  • 150g walnut chopped to fine crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar


  1. Line a square cake pan (about 10×13 inch) with parchment paper or butter and dust with flour
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (325°F)
  3. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff peaks form
  4. In another bowl work the butter and sugar until whitened and fluffy
  5. One by one add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar cream, then the lemon zest, with the juice of half a lemon.
  6. Mix the sifted flour with the baking powder
  7. Spoon by spoon gradually work in the beaten egg whites and the flour into the sugary butter. Try to retain the air bubbles in the egg white as much as possible
  8. Pour the batter into the baking tray, spread it evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with the chopped walnut and sugar.
  9. Cook in the 180°C (325°F) oven until golden and cooked through, about 25-30 minutes
  10. Let it cool completely, then with a round cookie cutter take out crescent shapes
  11. Dust lightly with icing sugar to serve

hungarian walnut crescent


– Chop the walnuts into smaller pieces than I did, it will be easier to cut out the crescent shapes.
– Could use almonds instead of walnuts

Main Equipment used

  • 2 mixing bowls (3 quart size)
  • electric hand mixer
  • 10×13-inch cake pan
  • 3-inch diameter circle cookie cutter, tall

6 thoughts on ““Kossuth” Hungarian Lemon Walnut Crescents – Kossuth Kifli

  1. Kossuth Kifli was a specialty of one my aunt’s. I wish there was a deep crescent cookie cutter to make these.
    They are a Hungarian dream.

    1. Hi – if using the 10×13-inch cake pan and 3-inch diameter circle cookie cutter, you could get approximately 20 crescent shapes as on the picture.

  2. Hello , My grandmother made something very similar with rasberry jam mixed in the egg white and no lemon, I still make them, they are good, but hers had her own magic, its true .The bas e was more like a shotbread biscuit. She was born in Budapest in 1899. I have never seen them in recipe books… etc… Many thanks for your wonderful recipes.

    1. Ray, I just saw your reply with your unique family version. If you see this can you post a reply on one of the Hungarian FB food groups ? I don’t know if this site lets you know if replies .

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