Where Is My Spoon Recipes Sweet Recipes Cakes Pull-Apart Yeast Cake – Hungarian Coffee Cake
pull apart yeast cake
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Last Updated on 23/03/2020 by Adina


Soft and delicious pull-apart yeast cake with almonds. Also known as Hungarian coffee cake or monkey bread.



First of all, this is a yeast cake, but you will not have to knead anything with your hands. Just in case the title worries you.

I found the recipe for this pull-apart yeast cake or monkey bread on a German cooking website Chefkoch and I was immediately intrigued by its name. I mean, I was born and raised in Transylvania and even though I spent the last 15 years in Germany my heart still beats for anything Romanian. Well, sometimes… at least. 🙂


monkey bread yeast cake


I read the recipe and thought that it didn’t sound like anything I have ever eaten in Romania, but still, my grandma rarely baked and I didn’t eat any cake at all as a child (the Harlequin cake was the exception), so what do I know? If there is any Romanian person out there reading this, who happens to know this cake, I would be very happy to hear about it.

I am updating the recipe for the yeast cake in July 2019. Thanks to some comments I received for this recipe, I found out that this Transylvanian yeast cake is actually the better known Hungarian coffee cake, monkey bread or pull-apart bread, which was brought to the US by Hungarian immigrants.


slice of pull apart yeast cake


A recipe for the yeast cake or arany galuska – golden dumpling was first published by Betty Crocker in 1972 under the name of Hungarian Coffee Cake.

“ As it became more popular in America, arany galuska came to be confused with monkey bread in which the balls of dough are not dipped in cinnamon and sugar but only in butter. “Monkey bread” soon became the more common name for this Hungarian Jewish dessert.”

And now that I know that this yeast cake has Hungarian origins, I understand why I found the recipe under the name of Transylvanian yeast cake. Lots of Hungarian people live in Transylvania – Romania and that explains everything.


yeast cake monkey bread



Different types of yeast:

There are two kinds of yeast: fresh and dry yeast. And also there are two kinds of dry yeast: active dry yeast and instant yeast.

Fresh yeast:

  • The best kind of yeast you can use. Buying it in Germany is a piece of cake, it is available in any supermarket and it costs about 10 cents a cube. Fresh yeast bought at the baker’s is even better.
  • A cube of fresh yeast weighs 42 g/ 1.48 oz in Germany and it is usually enough to bake a regular sized bread or to make the dough for a large yeast cake, for instance. However, always follow the quantities indicated by the recipe you are following.
  • But, fresh yeast is not easily available all over the world (I could never buy when I was living in the UK), so dry yeast is a good substitute.


pull apart yeast cake

monkey bread yeast cake


Active dry yeast:

  • It has larger granules and has to be dissolved in water before using.

Instant dry yeast:

  • The granules are finer and the yeast can be mixed with the dry ingredients before adding the milk (or water).

Both types of dry yeast are usually sold in small packages and, at least in Germany, one package is the equivalent of ½ cube fresh yeast. One package of dry yeast weighs 7 g/ 0.24 oz in Germany.

To make this Transylvanian yeast cake you will need 1 cube/ 42 g fresh yeast or 2 packages (a total of 14 g/ 0.5 oz) active dry yeast or instant yeast.


The original recipe calls for hazelnuts, which is definitely more Romanian or Hungarian than using almonds. I didn’t have any hazelnuts though, so I took the almonds instead. Please feel free to take whatever you have or like best.


yeast cake monkey bread



The yeast dough is really easy to make, so don’t get scared by it. You will not even have to knead this time, because the dough is too soft.

You can use either a food processor with a kneading attachment or a hand-held mixer with kneading attachments.

How to make the dough with fresh yeast:

  • Heat the milk very gently until lukewarm, not hotter than 37 degrees Celsius/ 98 degrees Fahrenheit/body temperature or the yeast will be destroyed.
  • Crumble the fresh yeast into the milk and stir until dissolved.
  • Give the yeast mixture to the flour, sugar and salt mixture and continue with the recipe.
  • How to make the dough with active dry yeast:
  • Mix the active dry yeast with the lukewarm milk and proceed with the recipe.

How to make the yeast dough with instant yeast:

  • Mix the instant yeast with the flour, sugar and salt. Add the lukewarm milk
  • Proceed with the recipe.


monkey bread yeast cake


Steps to make the yeast dough:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk as instructed above. Or mix it with the flour, sugar and salt, if using instant yeast.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
  3. Pour the milk-yeast mixture in this well and mix it with a little of the flour.
  4. Add the eggs and the very soft butter.
  5. Knead using the kneading attachments of your hand-held mixer or a standind mixer/food processor.
  6. Give the dough to a clean bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth.
  7. Let the dough rise in a warm place. It should double in size, this will take about 30 minutes if you use fresh yeast and about 35-40 minutes if you use dry yeast. But check, the rising time depends not only on the type of yeast you are using, but also on the temperature in your kitchen.


how to make yeast dough


How to shape monkey bread:

  1. Take the dough out of the bowl piece by piece using two tablespoons for help. Scoop some dough with one tablespoon, the tablespoon should be more than full, quite overflowing. Help it keep in shape with the second tablespoon.
  2. Roll the dough piece first through the oil and then through the almonds/nuts. Don’t worry if the dough streches and looks lumpy. Just help it more or less keep the shape with the two tablespoons and dump it in the prepared pan.
  3. Don’t be tempted to shape the dough with your hands, it will not work, the dough is very very soft.
  4. After you’ve arranged about half of the dough pieces into the pan, you might have the feeling that the pan is too small for all the pieces to fit in. I thought so too at first, but I was wrong, everything fits perfectly, you just have to push the pieces that are already in the pan around and you will be able to fit the remaining ones as well. I usually have 14 to 16 pieces of yeast cake that I have to fit in the pan.
  5. Bake the yeast cake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and dry. It really depends on your oven, so keep checking.


how to make yeast cake monkey bread



The yeast cake or monkey bread is best enjoyed on the day you bake it.

Serve it lukewarm or at room temperature for breakfast, brunch or coffee time with a cup of coffee or tea.

Leftovers should be stored, covered, at room temperature for 1 day. You can still eat them 2 days later, but the yeast cake will be drier, so you might want to help it with more coffee, tea or milk.


soft slice of yeast cake monkey bread


slice of yeast cake or monkey bread








yeast cake in a pan



pull apart yeast cake

Pull-Apart Yeast Cake – Hungarian Coffee Cake

Yield: 14-16
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Soft and delicious pull-apart yeast cake with almonds. Also known as Hungarian coffee cake or monkey bread.


  • Yeast dough:
  • 500 g/ 1.1 lbs / 4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cube (40 g/ 1.4 oz) fresh yeast or 2 sachets dried yeast (See note 1)
  • 400 ml/ 13.5 fl.oz/ 1 ¾ cups lukewarm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 g/ 2.1 oz/ ¼ cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • Coating:
  • 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup vegetable oil (See note 2)
  • 200 g/ 7 oz/ 1 2/3 cups ground almonds (See note 3)
  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Yeast dough:

    1. If making the dough with fresh or active dry yeast, mix the lukewarm milk and the crumbled fresh yeast (or sprinkle the active dry yeast in the milk) in a small bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves.
    2. Give the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the milk-yeast mixture in the well and mix it with a little of the flour.
    3. If using instant yeast, mix the flour, sugar and salt with the instant yeast. Add the milk and continue with the recipe.
    4. Add the eggs and the very soft butter.
    5. Knead for about 5 minutes using the kneading attachments of you hand-held mixer.
    6. The dough should be smooth and really soft, you will not be able to knead it with your hands.
    7. Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place. It should double in size, this will take about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of yeast you are using and on the temperature in your kitchen. Keep checking.
    8. Line a springform pan (diameter 26 cm/ 10 inches) with baking paper, bottom and walls of the pan.

Shape the dough for the monkey bread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Give the oil to a shallow bowl or a soup/pasta plate.
  3. Mix together the almonds and sugar in a similar dish.
  4. Remove pieces of dough out of the bowl helping yourself with two tablespoons. Scoop a very full tablespoon out of the dough, helping yourself with the second spoon.
  5. Turn each piece first through the oil and then through the almond-sugar mixture. Don't worry if the pieces look lumpy, they are supposed to be like that.
  6. Place each piece of dough in the prepared pan.
  7. After you've arranged about the half of the dough pieces into the pan, you might have the feeling that the pan is too small for all the pieces to fit in. I thought so too at first, but I was wrong, everything fits perfectly, you just have to push the pieces that are already in the pan around and you will be able to fit the remaining ones as well. You should have 14-16 pieces of dough.
  8. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and dry. Enjoy lukewarm or at room temperature.


  1. You can use any type of yeast: fresh, active dry yeast or instant yeast. 1 sachet of dry yeast weighs 7 g/ 0.24 oz in Germany, so a total of 14 g/ 0.5 oz for this recipe.
    Follow the instructions for each type of yeast. I've baked the yeast
    cake with all these kinds of yeast and it always works.
  2. I used neutral tasting canola oil. Do not use olive oil or any oil with a strong taste.
  3. Ground hazelnuts can be used instead.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 143mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 8g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.


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Thao @ In Good Flavor 07/07/2015 - 13:51

This cake looks marvelous! It is indeed an interesting cake! I do like the method and the fact that it’s a no-knead yeast recipe.

Adina 07/07/2015 - 14:19

Thank you, Thao. It is really easy to make it, I normally don’t mind a bit of kneading but still am happy when I don’t have to.

Sam @ SugarSpunRun 08/07/2015 - 21:57

I’ve never heard of this cake before, it reminds me of “monkey bread” only less sticky and with larger pieces. It really looks delicious, I think I could easily eat 3 pieces myself! Love that there’s no kneading involved!!

Adina 09/07/2015 - 07:44

Thank you, Sam. I have to google “monkey bread”, I have never heard of it, but I like the word “sticky” a lot when it comes to food. 🙂

malou 12/07/2018 - 17:13

sounds heavy on the yeast considering no sugar and only 2 eggs in dough. normally for 500g loaf only 16 to 20g max of fresh yeast. i say this because i only use fresh yeast in my baking. has anyone made this?

Adina 12/07/2018 - 18:30

Well, I did. It was really good. Soft and fluffy. But you can try with less, if you wish. Let me know how that is. 🙂

Kalyani 13/11/2018 - 08:06

hey Adina – I made this (eggless) and loved it a lot !! Thanks for a wonderful recipe, and I am sure we are going to be baking this very often ! here’s a pingback to your recipe from my blog . Do drop in when free !


Adina 13/11/2018 - 08:48

Hi Kalyani, I am glad you liked the cake and that it worked without eggs as well. The link is not working though, I could not see it.

jen 09/01/2019 - 13:22

What kind of yeast? Fast acting instant yeast? Dry active yeast?

Adina 09/01/2019 - 18:16

It doesn’t matter. As far as I know they can be used interchangeably, you only need to follow the package’s instructions as active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water while instant yeast should be mixed with the dry ingredients. if available try fresh yeast, it is the best sort.

Beth 26/03/2019 - 20:23

I believe this recipe is the Hungarian Arany Galuska (golden dumpling). It can be served with vanilla custard. Yummy! I live in Hungary but have never tried making it before. This makes me want to try! 🙂 In the US, Hungarian immigrants brought the recipe in the mid 1800s, and it evolved (rolled in cinnamon sugar rather than nuts) to become known as monkey bread.

Adina 27/03/2019 - 08:23

Could be, Beth, it is Transylvanian and there are many Hungarian people living there. I didn’t know that the monkey bread evolved from this cake, that is really interesting. You should try to make it, it is really soft, comforting and delicious! And not extremely sweet.

Inge Kohl 14/07/2019 - 18:45

Looks like I will be busy cooking and baking this afternoon. I had been to Hungary a few yers ago where I had to pick up a recipe book for traditional Hungarian recipes. Of course I had to see if the Aranygaluska recipe was there. It sure is. They used quite a bit more sugar, less liquid and formed the little dumplings by hand. The little dumplings were layered with melted butter and sugar/walnut mixture sprinkled on top of each layer. It was served warm with vanilla sauce.
I will try your version and let you know how it worked out.

Adina 14/07/2019 - 19:38

That’s great, Inge, I hope you like it. This version is not very sweet, but so soft and comforting.

priya 15/07/2019 - 20:05

I have never tried Hungarian cake before but it look heavenly.. and your kiddo is too cute..
have a great day adina!

Adina 17/07/2019 - 15:47

Thank you, Priya

Inge Kohl 17/07/2019 - 05:01

I loved the Hungarian coffee cake and so did everyone at my work. It was just fine the next day.

Adina 17/07/2019 - 12:26

So happy to hear it, Inge. Thank you!

Mariz 07/05/2020 - 11:07

Hi Adina,
Your cake looks really good with coffee. Does skipping the sugar still make it the same sweetness if I use the sweet fresh yeast? This is the only available yeast at home at the moment.
Thanks in advance,

Thao @ In Good Flavor 20/07/2019 - 05:05

What a beautiful pull-apart yeast cake!! It looks so light and fluffy inside and out. I like that the dough has to go through only one rise. I want to try making this someday. Pinning!

Julia 06/05/2020 - 02:32

Hello, I was wondering if you could substitute the sugar with honey or maple syrup? Would the cake still turn out?

Adina 06/05/2020 - 06:53

Hi Julia. Yes, there is only a small amount of sugar in the yeast dough, so you can use honey instead. However, I cannot imagine using honey for the coating, I don’t think that will work.

Mariz 07/05/2020 - 16:18

Hi Adina,
Pls. disregard my previous comments added previously.
I was able to follow all the ingredients and baking process but my dough seems too wet to spoon and roll to the oil and ground nut mixture. So I just sprinkled nut mixture to the pan and spooned batter 1 at a time and brushing oil and sprinkle the nuts on top of each. It’s still have the cracking effect but not as much as you can pull apart. It’s more like a spongecake. 🙁

Adina 07/05/2020 - 17:04

Hi Mariz. I think that the fact that the dough pieces were not coated in nuts might have caused the problem, that is you not being able to pull it apart. The dough is supposed to be really soft, softer than most yeast cakes, so that you cannot handle it with the hands. It might seem weird to spoon at first, but it does work actually. Maybe try adding a tiny amount of extra flour next times, maybe it will help.

Erica 09/06/2020 - 23:46

DELICIOUS! I’m making this recipe for the second time as we speak—the dough is rising right now. I used coarse milled almond flour for the coating and that worked extremely well; it resulted in a deliciously crispy and crackly but still very tender top. I also added a generous amount of cinnamon to the coating—probably half a tablespoon—and cinnamon tastes wonderful in this. It adds a warming effect to it that pairs very well with coffee or milky tea. The only issue I did have with the cinnamon was that it made it a little harder to visually tell when the cake was done, so I checked on it a lot, which made it take a while to bake (but that could also be because I used a 9” cake pan instead of a springform mold, which proved to be WAY too small; the top of the cake puffed up to the full height of the pan while baking, though miraculously it somehow didn’t spill out). I also used a pair of cooking chopsticks to move the dough pieces between the oil and the almond coating, which worked very well and kept things less messy. My whole family loved it and my dad has been asking me to make it again constantly since; the first time I made it, it was gone in less than a day!

Adina 10/06/2020 - 07:47

Wow, Erica, I am so happy to read your comment. We love this cake too and adding cinnamon sounds great, cinnamon makes just about anything better. 🙂 Using chopsticks to turn the dough in the oil sounds good, I must try it next time.


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