CAKE REVIEW #2


So, the second of this grand (some might say seminal) series has been delayed by a very unfortunate discovery. See, the common-or-garden cake is not the only baked good the cukraszda has to offer. On worse for wear mornings – of which, due to the thoroughly clement pricing of boozables around these parts there are a few – one naturally prefers the soothing combo starch n’ carbohydrate to confectioner’s cream, egg custard and the like. Thus, one would choose the scone-ish pogácsa, a cannon ball of salty pastry topped with cheese or similar. Some days ago, Joe discovered that these leadweight carb-bombs featured pork fat shortening pretty high up on their list of ingredients. Therefore, in the attempt to retain what is left of my hard-won vegetarianism (for I have no doubt that I am inadvertantly absorbing pork fat by osmosis most days), myself and the pogi-for-short can no longer be friends.

As far as cake goes, however, things are still grand (and if they’re not, and, in fact there are morsels of duck tail studded through every one, please don’t tell me). Today is Mikulás, which I shall post about at length later. Suffice to say, excitement levels at Kazinczy utca 7 were pretty high – this not only being something a bit like an extra Christmas but also the kind of aimed-at-children tradition-fest with a PG-rated folktale backstory that I’m a total sucker for. Occasion enough, then, for a trip to Muvesz, the fin-de-siecle, confectioner’s cream paradise that I may (ahem) have mentioned previously.

I had francia kremes, a tower of pastry, egg custard, confectioner’s cream and caramel glaze which is now, I’m almost certain, my very favourite cake.

THE CAKES IN BUDAPEST ARE EVEN BETTER THAN THE CAKES IN VIENNA

…as a very wise man once told me. This is the strudel at Muvesz, a marvellously fin-de-siecle kávéház on Andrássy út, the monster boulevard that stretches between Erzsébet ter and the Városliget (City Park). Joe thinks it’s changed, become too bright, too slick, too breakbeat/acid jazz. For me its much the same: astonishing coffee n’ cake and served with an enormous dollop of Properness that makes my Hyacinth Bucket-ish heart sing. Still the kind of place where watching a Man of Distinction freeing his coat from the hatstand and re-robing can make you audibly gasp with admiration.


For us non-Men of Distinction, us Cheaper Dates, there’s lángos, a fried doughnut-come-pizza pie-come-pancake-come-churro, smothered in raw garlic and sour cream and available from metro stations, markets and street vendors.

I’m spending Saturday afternoon tip-tapping away at my keyboard catching up on a spot of freelancing work. I’ve a bit of a kink for this sort of thing; I’m helping a London university reorganise some of their webpages, and it’s exactly the kind of nitpicking, data-efficient zealotry that I love. Joe is listening to some ambient noise in the next room that more befits a floatation tank than a sweaty desk occupied by one mighty close to finishing his PhD.

This morning, on a tipoff from a friend, we went to find breakfast at a newly-opened bakery at the end of Gloucester Street. Rounding the corner, we cased the joint: called Dozen: Artisan Bakery, white facade, tiny amounts of produce displayed on slate tiles, artful bread and so on. The counter was manned by Aussies. My next sentence we still pre-verbal as Joe shot me the “here we go again” look: ‘I suppose you wanted twee confectioner ladies’. Well actually no, I thought, that’s not the kind of authentic I was after this particular morning.