We've ventured to the sweet side of Balaton, going on a tour full of cakes, carbohydrates and talented confectioners, and it was worth it. We’ve found a handful of establishments representing home style confectionery in a positive sense, workshops in line with the emerging new wave and cake shops that have options for guests with a fear of gluten, lactose or sugar.
In our last ice cream-related article, we’ve already covered the crucial role the Bergmann team plays in anything to do with sweet treats. The classic, bourgeois vibe at both of their locations in Balatonfüred is quite unusual compared to the average Balaton atmosphere – it’s like walking straight into Vienna from the beach. When it comes to cakes, they are adamant about observing traditions to a tee: paleo and vegan creations are not their cup of tea, but their krémes is famous enough to beat any kind of new wave trend. They make delicious cakes to order, even from ice cream.
What to try? Everything. Krémes for the beginners, chocolate truffle or cherry-caramel cake (which also includes cherry pralines) for the more advanced patrons.
Prices: 400-700 HUF
We’ve raved about Balatonlelle in one of our earlier pieces: it’s a place where innovation and classic ideas live side by side in peace. Geleta is all about being progressive, offering cakes inspired by French, Italian and other classics at surprisingly reasonable prices. Their triple Belgian chocolate cake is only one way to go; you can also mess up your diet in no time with the Hungarian cream puffs called képviselőfánk or a slice of Dobos torte. You don’t even have to go looking for Geleta – it’s right by the main road.
What to try? We enjoyed that triple chocolate cake quite a bit.
Prices: 350-500 HUF
The number of people grandma Karolina served with cake in her lifetime is probably nowhere near the number of guests that flock to the café’s terrace over just one weekend. Unlike the other famous confectioneries in Füred, this one has a waterfront terrace to enhance the enjoyment of the cakes, which feature home style flavours despite the fact that mass production is necessary due to popular demand. You won’t have to fear a macaron attack, and the fence is not painted with crème brûlée either – the cakes, such as the poppyseed-cottage cheese cake, the home-made krémes or the floating island cake, are much more reminiscent of the cuisine of everyone’s favourite granny, like Karolina (who had so many recipes that she was a bit more like a gastroblogger than a grandma).
What to try? Everyone loves the traditional chocolate-vanilla cake filled with punch-flavoured pudding called méteres kalács, but feel free to experiment because it’s impossible to get it wrong.
Prices: 300-700 HUF
Kedves has quite a story. The building, which had been erected in Balatonfüred by the end of the 18th century, was the simple holiday home of an upper middle class family before it was turned into the most beloved confectionery in town. Endowed with the Kedves name in the 50s, the cake shop lived its glory days during the socialist era. Today, the café in Füred’s Blaha Lujza utca is run by András Dobai, who regular We Love Balaton readers will no doubt have heard of. Kedves boasts a classic interior with respect for tradition, and offers home-made cakes that are fairly priced. We’ve sampled some of the lime-flavoured mini cakes, which were absolutely divine thanks to the fact that they had none of the horrible characteristics of mass-produced sweet goods.
What to try? Go for the Gugelhupf or the lime cakes, or try their gluten- or lactose-free cakes, which are also made to reflect the flavours of home baking.
Prices: 300-500 HUF
You can’t not spot Liget if you are strolling near Balatonalmádi’s boat stop and the Bridge of Sighs: the columns and the elegant interior are as rare around Balaton as bathrooms on a public beach. It’s not a coincidence: Liget was not erected on the Balaton shore during the communist era; it was built as a café in 1928, emerging as a favourite hang-out of fighter pilots during WWII. After it was nationalized, it served as the canteen of the holiday resort run by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Being majorly run down during the Kádár era, the building was renovated jointly by the current owner and the local government in the late 90s and early 00s. When we arrived to test the venue, we found out that they also offer Hungarian style cuisine, but we stuck with their desserts, which are prepared on site without exception. The classic café feeling is somewhat altered by creations like cheesecake or crepes filled with apple and vanilla ice cream (both of which come in sizeable portions!), but rare classics, such as floating island, are also featured on the menu.
What to try? We can’t get their mascarpone cheesecake out of our minds, and the jam dip that comes with it is pretty amazing too.
Prices: everything costs 690 HUF
The owner has several catering establishments all over Siófok, but for some reason he thought he needed to open a cake shop in the main square where everyone who feels like ditching sugar and flour in the summer heat can find alternative sweet options: for example, paleo cakes like coconut bites or walnut cake with apple. The cake shop deserves props for the fact that their lavender-chocolate cake has a gluten-free version with a super creamy filling. They offer a selection of special smoothies: try the banana-spinach or the apricot-apple-banana-mint combinations if you’re up for a refreshing drink.
What to try? We are sure that we aren’t the biggest fans of lavender around Balaton, but we could eat a slice of their chocolaty lavender cake every day.
Prices: 300-500 HUF
Málnás Fruit Bar (closed)
Address: 8600, Siófok, 4 Fő Square
The only ambassador of minimalist Balinese style around Balaton, Mala Garden has recently added a new venue right next door, which operates during the summer as a kind of cross between a café and a restaurant – it has a more concise menu, but the fact that the cake selection changes every day makes up for the smaller number of options. The list, which comprises 55 items, is dominated by new wave trends and lots of inspiration from abroad: it has everything from Oreo cake and Catalan cream tart to crème brûlée. It’s very promising that the menu doesn’t even feature the cakes that are available each day; you’ll have to check out the cake display counter to see what kind of carbohydrate bombs the resident confectioner – who’s also worked at Centrál Café in Budapest – has dreamed up for the day and whipped up on the spot.
What to try? Anything you can find in the cake counter, but the very creamy krémes and the Belgian chocolate cake are definitely some of the must-try goodies.
Prices: 500-900 HUF
Everything was better back in the day. Thankfully, Márton Confectionery is one of the old players that have retained their high standards to this day. Lelle’s cult-status confectionery was already open during the golden era of Balaton, and even today’s nasty market hasn’t been able to bring it down, despite the fact that “there is nothing special about us”, as we were told by Mr Márton on several occasions in the past. If what makes them ordinary is that they use butter and eggs of excellent quality, but refrain from additives, we are happy to concur, and we want more non-special places like this around Lake Balaton.
What to try? Any classic cake you’ve tried elsewhere but you found disappointing.
Prices: 350-500 HUF
We found Tihany’s best breakfast joint last autumn, and it’s been a firm favourite of ours ever since. An eatery where you can buy waistcoats as well as Sacher tortes is not a confectionery in the classic sense, but we were willing to put our conservative views on hold, exactly the way Johnny Depp stopped doing good movies. If you are one of those people who think the secret of living a long life is a gluten-free and everything-free diet, you should definitely follow our example: believe it or not, the honey brittle cake with mascarpone that you’ll be served here won’t compromise your health regimen one bit.
What to try? The honey brittle cake with mascarpone, of course. And if you’re already here, the fruit-adorned cakes made from cottage cheese and regular cheese.
Prices: 550 HUF
Várkávézó is one of the best surprises of this summer: you couldn’t find out much about them last year, and this year they have created the best ice cream in the entire Balaton region, which we can definitely corroborate. When we sat down to talk to the manager, we couldn’t even utter the first question, he immediately said: “We are not a confectionery.” It’s absolutely true, ice cream is their main focus, and it’s the best you can currently get anywhere around the lake. That said, we don’t want to put anyone off their cakes at all because we are delighted to eat anything that comes out of the kitchen of pastry chef Móni. She always uses seasonal fruit and home style recipes, so artificial ingredients only appear in her nightmares, not in her kitchen.
What to try? Take a look at the cake counter to see what’s available. The mille feuille-inspired Szigeti krémes is as good as the ice creams, and the walnut cake with raspberry and mascarpone was pretty popular as well when we visited.
Prices: 480 HUF
Last summer we discovered that the Kőröshegy Viaduct is not only the prefect place to criticize, it also has a lovely café right next to it where you can stop by to relax. The drinks menu looks almost exactly like the ones you’ll find in expensive roadside eateries, but it’s the cakes that make Völgyhíd Café the best Balaton rest stop out there. Völgyhíd cake is prepared at a nearby confectionery based on the recipe of the owner, who makes the brownies, biscuits and mug cakes on the spot.
What to try? The café’s signature Völgyhíd cake with chocolate, walnut and apricot jam – the whole cake or just a slice.
Prices: around 500 HUF