Johnny Blackbird cake

This cube-shaped confectioner’s cake was named after the leader of a gipsy band, the famous Jancsi Rigó (1859-1899) out of respect for the talented musician. According to the legend and the records of the contemporary newspapers when Jancsi Rigó appeared on the stage in Paris he enchanted the wife of the Belgian Prince, Princess Chimay Caramon, who was the daughter of an American milliner, so much that she left her husband and slipped away with him.

Jancsi Rigó also left his wife for the beautiful woman. The contemporary tabloids newspaper continuously reported on their romance, the zenith of which was their marriage in 1896. When the couple visited Budapest Jancsi wanted to please his fiancee and asked his confectioner friend to prepare a unique, new cake for her. The confectioner wanted to oblige Jancsi, so he created a new cake with chocolate, cream and sponge-cake and named it ” RigóJancsi” after the musician. Soon the cake became very popular and its popularity has not fadd since the beginning of the last century.

Something extra:

Rigó and his sweetheart settled in a castle in Egypt where she taught him to read and write. But, she turned out to be fickle. When they went back to Paris on a visit, she fell in love with a Spaniard and lost her passion for Jancsi. In the end, she married an Italian, Ricciardi, who was a mere stationmaster of the Vesuvian Railway.

The only remnant of this romance is Sütemény Rigójancsi. Today, more than 170 confectioneries in Hungary sell about 32,000 pieces of Sütemény Rigójancsi every year.

Ingredients for the chocolate sponge cake:

  • 7 whole eggs
  • 7tbs sugar
  • 7tbs flour
  • a bit of bicarbonate of soda
  • 70g cocoa powder

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the egg whites, add the sugar spoon by spoon, continue to beat until the whites is shiny and hard. Add the egg yolks one by one, continue to beat the whites for 4-5 minutes more. At the end slowly add the mix of flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix it slowly together, use a wooden spoon. Pour into prepared flat big pan (buttered & floured or line a parchment paper), the cake base should be an inch high. Bake for 30 minutes on medium heat. Do not over bake. Don’t open the oven door during baking, if you do the cake base might collapse. Let cool completely when is ready than cut the cake in half.


  • 8dl cream
  •  6dkg cacao powder
  •  12dkg vanilla sugar
  • 1 flat tbs gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water


from 30dkg sugar and 4dkg cacao powder make some fondant – or Make the chocolate mass from 3dkg cacao powder 3dkg sugar mixed and cooked with 3dkg butter in a heat proof bowl

Keep the cream for a few hours in the fridge – after whip it and add the gelatin (what was soaked in water, 1tbs of gelatin granules = 1/4 cup cold water). We keep 2 big tablespoon whipped cream a side.

Mix the cacao powder with the 12dkg vanilla sugar, than add slowly to the whip.
Spread the filling over one of the half cake, then spread on top of it the kept white whipped cream.

Pour the glaze evenly on the other half of the cake. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until glaze is set. Cut it into 5cm big “squares”, after we lay these squares onto the top of the cream and with watered knife we cut them through.
Serve it with whipped cream.

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