Bejgli – the Hungarian Christmas roll cake recipe

Bejgli (the Hungarian roll cake) is the integral part of Christmas feasts in almost every Hungarian family. Still, many are afraid of making it on their own. I honestly admit that I was the first a bit scared to. I thought it was going to be a long and complicated process. But my mom’s recipe (she got it from her sister, my godmother) couldn’t be simpler.


The dough was soft and the filling was incredibly delicious. I made two varieties, the two classics, one with poppy seeds and the other with walnuts. And here comes the super recipe …


Ingredients for 4 pcs of bejgli:

The dough:

  • 60 dkg flour (I used a special cake flour that I had at home, but classic flour is great as well)
  • 25 dkg butter
  • 10 dkg powdered sugar (it can be replaced with other sweeteners such as erythritol)
  • 3 dl milk at room temperature
  • 2 dkg fresh yeast or 7 g (1 bag) dried yeast (I used the dried version)
  • 1 egg (for the top)

The fillings:

    • 25 dkg of grounded poppy seeds
    • 25 dkg of powdered sugar (or other sweetener)
    • 1 tbs honey
    • 1 tbs jam (I used plum jam, but my mom usually works with apricot jam)
    • 1 dl milk
    • 25 dkg grounded walnuts
    • 25 dkg powdered sugar (or other sweetener)
    • 1 dl milk


Mix the flour with the powdered sugar, butter, milk and yeast (the fresh yeast should be just crumbled in it, the dry version sprinkled) in a large bowl. My mom always work with her hands but for me my kitchen robot was to help. Once the dough has formed nicely, place it on a boar sprinkled with flour and divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Cover the dough and let it sit and leave the yeast work its magic for half an hour in a cool place.

While the dough is resting, boil the milk for the poppy seed or walnut filling (separately). Once the milk begins to pearl, mix into it the poppy seeds, sugar, honey and jam (if you don’t like it to be too sweet, just leave honey or jam out of it). To the other warm milk portion add the nuts and sugar. Mix the fillings properly and let them cool completely.

Spread the soft, delicious dough on a floured surface and roll each of them individually with a rolling pin into a 3 mm thick and 30 cm wide “sheet”. Here I’ve made the mistake of stretching it too thin, making it harder to roll. Spread the filling on the formed dough, leaving out 1-1 cm on the edge of the dough. Roll it up nicely, at its end where the 1 cm is left out, brush it with a bit of egg – the egg essentially serves as glue – and then finish up the roll. Patch rims of the roll too, preventing the filling from loosening.

Daub the prepared rolls well with the whipped egg. And here comes the magic! The rolls should rest for 2-3 hours or even overnight before baking them. After the time is up, before sticking them into the oven, daub the rolls again with  whipped egg. This way the top will have a nice brown color, it will shine and it won’t crack. Place all 4 rolls in a baking pan and bake together in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. This way the rolls will not break and melt sideways, they “keep” support to one another. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and I placed only 2 into the baking pan at a time, so they became a bit wider and flatter during baking. After I pulled the 1st portion out of the oven, I send a photo to my mom, who immediately said, “Well, you should have put all four at once in the baking tray”.

But overall, I am completely satisfied with the results of my first roll cake baking experience. The bejgli became divine and I dare to recommend this recipe to anyone. And it’s really easy to make and the end result speaks for itself. It certainly tastes delicious!


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