Top 11 Croatian Traditional Sweet Delicacies

Discover tastiest traditional desserts you have to try while in Croatia

Throughout the Croatian history, the majority of the population was faced with poverty. For their everyday meals, they would use goodies from their gardens and fields. Therefore, eating cakes or other kinds of pastries was considered a luxury.

These types of delicacies were eaten mostly on special celebrations such as weddings, main Christian holidays, birthdays or baptisms. They would still use common ingredients, which they had at their homes, but they would also add some secret ingredients to make their recipe stand out from the rest of the village.

1. Ston cake

This cake originates from small town Ston on the Pelješac peninsula in the south of the Dalmatia region. Ston has the second-longest preserved fortification system, after the Great Wall of China, the oldest saltern in Europe and I can say the most unique looking cake in the world. Its filling consists of pasta, olive oil, chocolate, butter, almonds, and walnuts from which we can see the influence of Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean climate. Pasta in the cake seems weird, but it tastes heavenly mixed with chocolate and nuts. Considering this is a Mediterranean cake, it usually has hints of lemon or orange aroma, which makes it a perfect symphony of Dalmatian flavors.

Dubrovnik Tourist Board

2. Dubrovnik rožata

The first record of Dubrovnik rožata was back in 1300, addressed as a friar’s pudding. Dubrovnik rožata base was made from rather simple and modest ingrediants; milk, eggs and sugar. Since then, the pudding-like dessert was upgraded with the element from French cuisine, caramel glaze. It is made with a rose liqueur or as people from Dubrovnik call it rosalin. At that time, similar desserts were developed in other European cuisines. Therefore, Italians today have crème caramel, Spanish cuisine has flan, France is famous for the crème brûlée and Croats are proud of their rožata.

3. Brač Hrapoćuša cake

Hrapoćuša cake, or Brač aphrodisiac, is on the list of protected cultural property of the Republic of Croatia. Women of a small village Dol, with about 100 residents, bake this cake as a gift for weddings and birthdays. Even Croats have the problem with pronouncing the name of this delicacy, inspired by the Brač rough stone. The cake is covered with walnuts on the top, which gives it an interesting look. The original recipe of the Brač aphrodisiac includes 14 eggs, kilo of walnuts, and the same amount of sugar, which seems like a perfect recipe for getting a sugar rush. There is even a night in August dedicated to this magnificent cake, so stop by the Brač island and take a bite of Hrapoćuša cake!


4. Trogir rafioli

Just like other Dalmatian sweet delicacies, rafioli are present on the family table on special occasions. Every family has its own cookbook with unique recipes, which are passed on from generation to generation. Still, the foundation of rafioli is always the same; flour, eggs, butter, sugar, milk, and almonds. There are numerous legends about the origin of this Trogir delicacy. I will share with you only one. The rest of them you can hear from locals while eating rafioli in Trogir.

The legends says there was a young beautiful girl, imprisoned in the famous Trogir fortress Kamerlengo. Her last name was Rafioli. While she was waiting for her prince on the white horse to set her free, she would kill time with baking treats. When the love of her life finally arrived and released her from the fortress, he took her back to his castle. Where she, of course, baked him rafioli until the rest of his life.

5. Skradin cake

As you figured out by know, Croatian people are not keen on sharing their original recipes, which they inherited from their ancestors. The same goes for the Skradin housewives and their tasty cakes. There is a tradition from the 14th century tied to the Skradin cake. The day before their wedding night, brides would bake this cake. Brides would show off their baking skills and impress the future husband with the cake on the wedding night. Skradin cake is made without any flour. The basic version consists of walnuts, almonds, and eggs. Depending on the recipe, women would add cinnamon, honey, lemon and orange peel, rose liqueur, or rum. Give this cake a go and let its intensive aroma make you fall in love all over again.


6. Rab Cake

Rab cake found its spot on the table for the first time in 1177. While pope Alexander the third and the group of 10 ships were sailing the Adriatic, they got caught in the storm. The sailors found their shelter in the caves of the Croatian coast and by chance ended up at Rab island, in the newly renovated Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During this event, the pope blessed the Cathedral, and Benedictine nuns wanted to honor his act. Therefore, nuns served him a Rab cake. Today, cakes’ main ingredients are almonds and eggs. It can come in various shapes and sizes, but the most common is the oblong shape. Visit Rab and have a piece of this tasty cake. After you finish eating Rab cake, you can explore Saint Andrew monastery, where the original recipe on the small piece of paper is preserved.


7. Labin krafi

Labin krafi can be cooked or fried. Both cooked and fried ones have the same filling: 1 kilo of cow cheese, 8 eggs, around 300 grams of sugar, vanilla, lemon peel, raisins, and a pinch of salt. In the modern versions of this sweet sin, there are walnuts, hazelnuts, or chocolate in the recipe. The shape of krafi is not very different from the Trogir rafioli, which both are similar-looking to ravioli. Back in the old days, sailors would bring exotic ingredients from their journeys. With the strengthening of financial power, people of Labin started to have access to a variety of goodies, which meant experimenting and mixing them into original krafi filling. Today, you can taste different variations of this Labin sweet dessert.


8. Fritule

Christmas time and summer evenings both carry a scent of fried dessert fritule covered with chocolate or sugar. This dessert is present in every part of Croatia and has many versions. The recipe is rather simple and fritule are easy to make; the base consists of flour, sugar, salt, and Croatian alcohol beverage rakija. If you find yourself in Croatia during the Christmas holidays or in the summer months, grab a portion of fritule, which are convenient to eat while you walk and enjoy magical scenery.

9. Samobor kremšnite

Probably the most famous Croatian cake is Samobor kremšnita, filled with yellow custard between the layers of crispy puff pastry. In Samobor, locals call it a queen of the cakes. It is impossible to visit Samobor (or Croatia) without tasting this specialty. There are even songs composed about this delicious treat. The story of Samobor kremšnita goes back to the 20s of the last century after Đuro Lukačić returned from Zagreb. He was practicing his baking skills in the Zagreb pastry shops, experimenting with different recipes from his mentors until he made the first kremšnita. Kremšnita soon became a symbol of Samobor. All year long, people from all around the world visit Somobor and wait in lines just to have a bite of fresh kremšnita. Stop by and see or better yet taste this piece of Croatian culture.


10. Orahnjača and makovnjača

You cannot miss Croatian grandmas’ specialty – orahnjača and makovnjača. Croatians know it is a real holiday only when the smell of freshly baked orehnjača or makovnjača spreads across the entire home. Both are made from the same dough and filled with rich stuffing. The stuffing is also pretty much similar; sugar, cinnamon, and milk, with the different main ingredients. While orahnjača consists of walnuts in its filling, makovnjača is made out of poppy.


11. Mađarica

The name of this chocolate delight literally means Hungarian girl. Even though we do not know who was the mysterious lady that was an inspiration for the cake, we know this cake cannot be found in Hungary. It is an all-time Croatian classic with smooth layers of dark chocolate and sweet pastry. Mađarica is usually cut in small portions, so you can enjoy it in one bite and not feel guilty at all. Take a piece of Mađarica and let the fine chocolate overflows your mouth, while you reach for the next bit.


If you made it to the end without eating, it makes only one of us!

You are now ready to get to the dark side and eat all of these Croatian desserts. Well, we know all the best restaurants and pastry shops where you can eat authentic delicacies from the list. Contact us and we will arrange a proper tasting tour.

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Barbara Boltiš

July 15, 2020