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A dessert with a secret monks’ recipe - Lithuanian tree cake “Šakotis”

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I have heard a lot of stories about the tourists who fell in love with this Lithuanian dessert as from the first time they tried it. If I tell you that baking it is more fun than to make a fondue, and that the smell of this cake is unforgettable, can you imagine the taste? Sounds interesting? Get ready for a mouthwatering story about the dessert with a secret monks’ recipe and ready to try the Lithuanian tree cake Šakotis soon.

Secret monks’ recipe

Every story becomes even more interesting when you have some intriguing facts. The idea of a cake with a secret recipe is interesting, right? But now imagine that the recipe was a monks’ secret for hundred years. Why was it kept as a secret for so long? I think because of its wonderful taste and appearance. The Šakotis (tree cake) is big, yellow, fresh, soft and (the best thing) baked on fire. If not the taste, the view of baking Šakotis is something unique.

They say that in Europe the monks started to bake the Šakotis in the early 15th century and that there are more than 60 different types of this cake. There are some stories that Šakotis was the most favorite dessert of Barbora Radvilaitė, a queen of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania (16th century). Actually, the main ingredients of the cake are very simple - eggs, sugar, cream, and flour. It sounds easy, but the most important part of the Šakotis preparation is to cook it on a rotating spit over an open fire. Oh, one more thing - for two kilos of cake you will need to have 30 eggs. Usually, in Lithuania, you can find two types of Šakotis - traditional one (more yellow cake) and crumbly type (for this one even more eggs are needed, and it looks more white and crunchy). In our country, it is common to have Šakotis on our tables during the big celebrations - Weddings, Christmas or Easter celebrations. And for the big events, Šakotis is decorated with chocolate and candy flowers.


This Tree cake you can find in every bigger grocery shop or bakery, but more interesting is to cook it on your own. Of course, for the first time, it can be hard, so that’s why in Lithuania you can find some places where you can try to prepare Šakotis with some help. The educational programs are a nice opportunity not only to know more about the tree cake but also to try to make it by yourself. For instance, while visiting one of the Lithuanian National Parks - Aukštaitija National Park, you can pass by Ignalina and try to prepare Šakotis in the Romnesa restaurant.

Romnesa restaurant
Romnesa restaurant

The queens loved this cake, the monks were keeping the secret recipe of it, and we, Lithuanians, still have it on our tables for every bigger celebration. The Lithuanian tree cake Šakotis is a thing you must try and bring to your friends. You can even find small tree cakes as souvenirs. So taste, cook and bring back home a dessert with a secret monks’ recipe - Lithuanian tree cake “Šakotis”.

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The author

Monika Grinevičiūtė

Monika Grinevičiūtė

I am Monika and I am passionate traveler, an engineer, books reader and desserts lover. I live in a beautiful and colorful country called Lithuania. I will use my Lithuanian superpowers to show you that this small Baltic pearl has much more than you can imagine

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