romanian pastry Caciula lui Guguta

Tasting as many Romanian pastries as I can

by Michael on September 20, 2015

When we arrived in Romania much of what we knew about the country was its role as an elusive nation behind the Iron Curtain during our childhood. What we found surprised us. A vibrant nation with a beautiful countryside that is rapidly putting the past behind it. Another surprise, the 3rd fastest Internet in the world and by far the fastest we have seen in our travels to over 70 countries. But as usual we start with food and having a sweet tooth, we soon found ourselves tasting Romanian pastries on a daily basis.

Romanian papanasi

Papanași (papanosh) are little tater tot sized donuts (or bigger at some places) topped with sour cream and cherry jam. It’s the first donut treat I’ve met (and I’ve met many) that you eat with a spoon.

Romanian pastries

Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake with sour cherry jam at the Fronius Residence, a 16th-century inn located in the walled medieval village of Sighisoara.

PastryinRomania (1)Caciula lui Guguta is a pile of rolled up pancakes stuffed with wild cherries and topped with vanilla whipped cream and grated chocolate. Despite the fact that Larissa ordered something else she ended up eating half of my dessert. We found this version at La Placinte, a mini-chain of restaurants with several locations in Bucharest and a few other Romanian towns.

Bucharest pastry layer cake

According to the menu this is “Honey sponge cake impregnated with creamy nuts and sour cream.”  Something may have been lost in translation but I did feel stuffed and like I had eaten for two afterwards.

romanian pastry rulada swiss roll

I think these are actually Swiss Rolls (the Yodels of my youth) but they sound more exotic as “rulada.” How can vanilla cake twirled around chocolate icing then rolled in nuts be bad?

*** Hungry now? Check Amazon for Romanian cookbooks ***

And now for something completely different . . .

I haven’t yet mentioned what an incredible travel value Romania is. Here’s an example. The delicious meal below of spicy goulash, Romanian potatoes and sauteed carrots in the posh Restaurant Transilvania in Brasov was $4.50. Most of the pastries above were about $3.

Romanian goulash



The breakfast above was included with our $58 per night room (including tax) at the high-end 4 Cardinal’s Hotel in Brasov. We found Romania to be a great place for food and to stretch a European travel budget. In future posts we’ll talk about surprising Bucharest and the medieval villages we visited on our road trip through the Transylvania section of Romania.

Please let us know if you have any questions about travel to Romania.

*** Hungry now? Check Amazon for Romanian cookbooks ***
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Andrea September 20, 2015 at 9:29 am

If there was a competition for finding the best papanasi, I think I’d win 😉

Michael September 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Papanasi trash talking, I like it.

JessieV September 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm

yum, yum, yum. It sounds like the best place to go eat!

Patti September 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Looking at all of the dessert photos, it was a tough choice but I narrowed it down to the Mountain cream cake and the rolled up pancakes. I can’t decide to so I’ll take both. Decision made. Yum!

Carole Terwilliger Meyers September 22, 2015 at 11:05 am

I always eat my way through a country, and for Romania I plan to start with the pile of rolled up pancakes stuffed with wild cherries known as Caciula lui Guguta! I want it right NOW! And the goulash looks pretty yummy, too.

The GypsyNesters September 23, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Romania is part of my family background, must be why I love goulash. The pastry looks fantastic too. We have to visit soon.

Charles McCool September 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Wow, those pastries (and other food) look amazing. Have you been to Timisoara? Or the small nearby towns? That is where I want to visit.

Michael September 25, 2015 at 4:56 am

Romania is a wonderful country to visit for that “Old World” Europe feel at Old World prices too.

Michael September 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Did not head out to Timisoara. Next time.

Merrill Mixer September 26, 2015 at 6:35 am

We’re in Bucharest right now, arrived Tuesday and are headed for Brasov on Monday. We’re planning to continue traveling through Romania slowly with a quickie through Budapest, Vienna and Prague before heading to Croatia for a month and Italy for the month of December. Are you still nearby?

Patti Morrow September 26, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Now here’s a travel activity I can really get into! I don’t really consider myself to be a foodie…. unless you mention sweets. Of all the Romanian pastries pictured, I think I’d like to try the honey sponge cake first!

Casey September 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Looks like Romanians love their cherries. 😉 This all looks amazing! And for $3?? Gotta admit–I’m a little jealous. Also, that “impregnated” honey sponge cake! So funny! 🙂

Neno September 28, 2015 at 7:21 am


I just included this post in my link list. Romania is underrated it has great things to offer.

My recommendation is Danube delta. Hard to reach but mind blowing place.


Michael September 28, 2015 at 9:09 am

Thanks for sharing.

Luminita September 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Everything looks so delicious! I recommend trying some traditional Romanian dishes next time you visit. And by traditional I mean dishes that you can find in small village pensions or guest houses. Most of the ingredients, if not all of them are produced by locals. The vilages in the Transylvania region or in Bucovina for example are delicious!

Izy Berry October 5, 2015 at 2:34 pm

OMG everything looks delicious!! you are a lucky one

Camille King October 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm

We lived in Romania for 6 years and loved almost every minute of our time there. I hope that Sibiu is one of the cities on our itinerary. That is where we lived and it was named the Cultural City of Europe. I hope you try Sarmale and Mamaliga, traditional Romanian Dishes.

Michael October 8, 2015 at 1:38 pm

We visited Sibiu and loved it. Thanks for the food tips!

Myra Washington October 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Love your website

Andrew October 12, 2015 at 10:19 pm

looks like a tough job but someone has to do it! 🙂

Alina October 8, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Lol that ”impregnated” cake suppose to be ”filled”; I think that was a nut and honey layered cake with cream filling.

Michael October 10, 2016 at 3:19 am

Either way, it’s delicious!

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