The honeyed gerbeaud is a typical Hungarian Christmas dessert, but people consume it throughout of the year. The precious recipe is more than 150 years old.
The company was started in 1858 by Henrik Kugler, the third child of a confectionery dynasty. He acquired his knowledge and experience mostly during his journeymanship in eleven European capitals including Paris. After returning home he opened a confectionery first at József Nádor place in Pest which was soon accounted for as one of the best in Pest. Among his specialities were Chinese and Russian tea specialities as well as his icecream creations which were soon named “the best ice in Pest”.
In order to be closer to the city center, in 1870 Kugler moved the store to the present place to Vörösmarty tér. The customers of that time most favoured his coffees, coffee liqueurs and candy. But Kugler Pies and Mignons (French fancies) were also well known, because for the first time it was possible to take them home, wrapped in a paper tray. In 1882 while travelling Paris, Kugler met Emil Gerbeaud and immediately recognized his talent and spirit of enterprise. In 1884 Kugler invited him to Budapest to declare him to his associate. Later, Gerbeaud took over Kugler’s store piece by piece and retained the original name.
Emil Gerbeaud, who was also descended from a confectionary family, was born in Geneva (it belonged to France in that time). He gained his experience in Germany, France and England. He performed a number of innovations, e.g. by expanding the selection with numerous products like butter creams, Parisian crèmes, hundreds of kinds of short cakes, candy and kirsch candy (cut tongues, cherry cognac). To offer this broad palette to his clients, he hired a number of employees for sales and service. By the end of 1899, he had about 150 employees, many of whom only came to Budapest to learn and work with Gerbeaud. Due to his sense of business, bit by bit he equipped the bakery with modern machinery. Thus, the name Gerbeaud became a phenomenon for quality and bakery art. Since his clientele loved the paper boxes for takeaway pies (that were already introduced by Henrik Kugler), Gerbeaud continued with this tradition and started to design these himself.
Gerbeaud became internationally acclaimed. He was invited as a jury member both to the Brussels world fair (1898) and to the Paris world fair (1900), whereat in Paris he was awarded the Legion of Honour. He was further awarded numerous national and international prizes.
When Henrik Kugler died, Gerbeaud founded a public company named Kuglers Successor Gerbeaud PLC to carry on the business. Since Gerbeaud set value on modern working conditions, he used automobiles alongside horse carriages from 1909 on. For the interior design of his confectionery, in 1910 Gerbeaud took advice from Henrik Darilek who mainly used marble, exotic woods and brass. The ceiling’s stucco was created in the rococo style of Louis XIV of France. The chandeliers were inspired by Maria Theresa of Austria. The guests were offered as French tables as well as secession ones which Gerbeaud had delivered from the world fair in Paris. But World War I was felt but the company survived even that.
Gerbeaud died on 8th of November, 1919, and left the store to his wife Ester who headed it until 1940. The shop retained the name “Gerbeaud” ever since, except for the time between 1950 and 1984, when it was renamed “Vörösmarty”. In 1995, German businessman Erwin Franz Müller bought the confectionery and had it renovated extensively. The traces of the last 50 years have thus disappeared, and today the Café shines in the style as built by Emil Gerbeaud. Café Gerbeaud is noticed as of the greatest and most traditional coffeehouse in Europe. In 2009 Café Gerbeaud opened its second confectionery in Tokyo, Japan.
Honeyed gerbeaud by my grandma
Ingredients: 500 grs flour, 350 grs +3 tbs powdered sugar, 300 grs of butter, 50 ml milk, 4 tbs honey, 3 tbs rum, 3 tbs flour, 2 eggs + 3 egg yolks, 2-3 tbs sour cream, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 pack vanilla sugar
1. Mix all the dough ingredients together and knead it well. You should get a firm, not soft, but well shapeable dough so if needed use more yoghurt or sour cream to make a good dough.
2. Cut the dough into 4 or 5 similar pieces. Grease the medium sized baking skillets, put on baking papers. On floured surface, roll out one of the dough to the size of the baking skillet then place it on. Roll out the second piece of dough and so on. Heat the oven to 180 C (350F) and bake the cake (two at ones) for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are light-brown. Take the cakes out from the oven and allow to cool until the cake is firmed completely at least for one hour. 3. Meanwhile prepare thick white cream from the 3 egg yolks, 3 tbs of flour, vanilla sugar and from half liter of milk. Stir constantly when cream is thick enough let it cool.
4. Mix together 200 gr of butter with 150-200 grams of powdered sugar and add 3 tbs of rum. Mix ingredients together until frothy. Add it to cooled cream. Smear cream evenly each layers.
5. Keep cake in the pantry until next day. The honey cake needs time to soften not to mention that it is always tastier next day. Cut into narrow, oblong slices and serve! You can cover the cake with chocolate fondant but it is optional!
You can be sure it will be the biggest hit of your festive season!