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Rachel Raj’s Flodni

June 08, 2021
Daniella CheslowRachel Raj cuts her signature flodni layer cake at her Tortaszalon coffeeshop in Budapest. Trained as a fashion designer, Raj built a career as a pastry chef based on the Jewish cake.Daniella Cheslow

Among the wooden shacks filled with hot cherry wine and chunky goulash soup in Budapest’s Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market, one stands out: It belongs to Rachel Raj, named Hungary’s Pastry Chef of the Year by Budapest Week magazine, and she’s using it to sell flodni, an elaborate layer cake filled with plum, apple, poppy seeds, and walnut—a traditionally Jewish Hungarian dessert based on a recipe she inherited from her family.

Featured in: Budapest’s Top Pastry Chef Gives Christmas a Jewish Flavor


  • 5cups flour
  • 1 1/8cups margarine
  • 3egg yolks
  • Scant cup of red wine
  • 2.2 lbs apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 7oz ground walnuts (about 1.75 cups)
  • 7oz ground poppy seeds (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1jar of plum jam, about 2.5 cups
  • 1cup raisins
  • 2tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • 3tsp grated orange zest


  • Step 1

    Make the dough: Mix the flour, margarine, 2 egg yolks, a pinch of sugar and a splash of wine, to taste. Knead dough until it can be easily worked. Divide the dough into five parts, with one slightly larger than the rest. Refrigerate until the fillings are made.

  • Step 2

    Make the poppy filling: Mix the ground poppy seeds, apricot jam, 1 tsp orange peel, cloves, with half the wine, sugar and raisins.

  • Step 3

    Make the walnut filling: Mix the ground walnuts, 1 tsp orange zest, and the other half of the wine, sugar and raisins.

  • Step 4

    Make the apple filling: mix the grated apples with the cinnamon and 1 tsp orange zest.

  • Step 5

    Roll out the largest piece of dough to be slightly larger than a 12”x16” baking pan with sides at least 3” high.

  • Step 6

    Grease the pan with margarine and lay this first sheet of dough on the bottom.

  • Step 7

    Spread the poppy seed filling on the first layer of dough.

  • Step 8

    Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough, and top it with the apple filling.

  • Step 9

    Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough and spread it with walnut filling.

  • Step 10

    Roll out and lay down the next layer of dough and spread it with plum jam.

  • Step 11

    Roll out and lay down the final layer of dough and brush the remaining 1 egg yolk on top.

  • Step 12

    Bake the flodni at 350 degrees for about hour until it is golden brown. Let cool and slice into 3-inch by 2-inch squares.