This raspberry Zserbó is an adaptation of a famous layered cake from Hungary. Layers of enriched shortcrust pastry with raspberry jam, almonds and chocolate.
The original recipe which is traditionally made with apricot jam and walnuts has been a cake that I enjoyed for some time now, as it is one of the most popular cakes in Hungary. Mainly eaten during the winter months and especially at Christmas time. The story goes that it is associated with a French-born pastry chef named Émile Gerbeaud, who settled in Hungary in 1884 and opened his own cake shop.
The cake is often baked for us by a cousin of my mother-in-law and she kindly shared with me her great family recipe. I wanted to make it slightly different and it is not always easy to find apricot jam or ground walnuts in the UK. Of course, you can make this with any jam, so feel free to use your favourite and any ground nuts you prefer.
If you decide to give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment below and rate it – it’s really helpful to me and the other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #thegourmetlarder on Instagram. I love seeing what you come up with! 🙂
- Ease: Easy.
- Great for: Afternoon tea, Christmas, petit fours, friends and family visiting.
- Taste: Multi-layered sweet, citrus shortcake with raspberry and a dark chocolate glaze.
- Texture: Deliciously moist layers of shortcake with sticky jam and smooth dark chocolate.
- Quantity: 21 slices
- Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
For this raspberry Zserbó recipe all you need are these ingredients:
- Plain or all-purpose flour – to build a structure.
- Butter – adds structure and flavour. I use salted butter for most of my baking as it intensifies the flavours, but feel free to use unsalted if you prefer.
- Powdered / icing sugar – adds refined sweetness.
- Baking powder – increases the volume and lightens the texture during baking.
- Lemon zest (optional) – adds a citrus twist to the cake.
- A medium egg yolk – enriches the pastry and builds structure. Make sure they are at room temperature before use.
- Pure vanilla extract or paste – adds flavour and enhances the other ingredient flavours in the recipe.
- Whole milk – creates creaminess in the pastry. Alternatively, you can use water or non-dairy milk.
- Raspberry jam – is just delicious in this cake but use any jam you like.
- Ground almonds – add texture and keep the jam from spreading too much.
- Dark chocolate – makes a beautiful glaze and finish to the cake.
Chocolate recommendations: bars – Lindt Excellence Dark 70% bar 100g, Montezuma’s darkside 51% bar 90g, Menier dark cooking chocolate 100g. 1kg bags – Callebaut dark chocolate, Callebaut milk chocolate, Callebaut white chocolate.
- Honey – creates a nice shine in the glaze.
TIP: I highly recommend adding a good pinch of salt to your cakes. It might seem counterproductive, but it’s not. Salt helps balance out the sweetness and richness. It also elevates the other ingredients, bringing out the best characteristics of any recipe. In a seemingly absurd or contradictory way, salt intensifies the mouth’s ability to taste sweetness. It is the sodium that sends signals to move glucose into the sweet taste receptor cells in our tongue, triggering the cells to register sweetness. The result is that salt not only alerts our ‘salt sensitivity’, but also our ‘sweet sensitive’ taste buds.
WHAT VARIATIONS CAN I MAKE?
- Different jams – can be used to make different versions of this cake.
- Ground nuts – are used to stop the jam running and to add flavour and texture. Traditionally, ground walnuts are used but I felt that ground almonds would pair better with the raspberry. If you make the traditional version with apricot try it with walnuts, it tastes great too.
If you experiment, I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
Serving: one cake slice
Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, or the source of nutrition data.
I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy.
I encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
STORAGE AND FREEZING OPTIONS
This cake will keep well for 4-5 days in the fridge. Remove an hour prior to serving to allow the cake to come to room temperature.
Freezing: This cake can be frozen but it is better to freeze without the chocolate glaze. Defrost at room temperature, then glaze and slice the cake as desired.
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TIP: If you have ever ended up with dry, dense or crumbly baked goods, it might be because you’re using inaccurate measurements. I highly recommend using metric measurements and a digital scale, rather than cup measurements for example. You will find it much easier, less messy and you will get far better, consistent results weighing your ingredients. 🙂
- Good jam and chocolate – are highly recommended as they are the main stars of this recipe that make it stand out. Sometimes I even add a few fresh raspberries to the jam for that extra boost.
- Thin pastry – is key to getting a moist cake. Make sure you roll the pastry nice and thin for each layer.
- Turning over the baked cake – is something I do to ensure, when glazing the cake it has a nice smooth finish.
READY TO MAKE YOUR OWN RASPBERRY ZSERBÓ?
Raspberry Shortcake (Zserbó)
- 250 g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 100 g butter
- 75 g icing sugar (US powdered sugar)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
- 1 medium egg yolk (20g total)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp of vanilla paste
- 75 ml milk
- 350 g raspberry jam
- 100 g ground almonds
- 100 g dark chocolate (minimum 50% cocoa solids)
- 30 g butter
- 1 tbsp honey (Alternatives: corn syrup, golden syrup or maple syrup)
- In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour, using your fingertips and thumbs take small amounts of the mixture and rub together. Keep rubbing in until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
- Stir through the sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, egg yolk, vanilla and milk.
- Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough.
- Leave to rest for 15 minutes on the side.
- Line a baking pan 20 x 30cm (8 x 12inches) or a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Filling: While the dough is resting, mix the filling ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- After the dough has rested, divide it into 4 equal pieces (approximately, and roll out each piece thinly (3mm / 1/8inch) into a rectangle to fit the baking pan or tray. (If you don't have space on your work surface, you can roll them out as required.)
- Lay the first piece of rolled dough into the pan or tray and spread 1/3 of the filling over the top.
- Place another piece of rolled out dough on the top and spread another layer of filling over the top.
- Repeat this one more time with the dough and filling.
- Place the final layer of dough on top and prick all over the top with a fork. This allows the steam to escape so that the dough doesn't puff up in the oven too much.
- Place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan / 400°F / Gas 6.
- Baking: Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Glaze: Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (not boiling and do not let the base of the bowl touch the water) to melt.
- When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and honey. Stir until smooth and then let the mixture cool slightly (5 minutes).
- Place a wire rack or chopping board over the top of the cake and turn it out and over so that the cake's bottom is now on the top.
- Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake, spreading it out evenly and then leave to set. If the glaze sets before you are ready to use it, gently melt it over a very low heat.
- Cutting and serving: I usually cut the edges off to get nicer slices. The pastry shrinks slightly away from the edge, but if this does not worry you then you don't need to do this. Cut the cake into portions with a long serrated hot knife.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT FOR YOU!
If you tried these Raspberry Zserbo or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you got on in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you’re there!
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