Pastry chef Ana Rusu will teach bakers of any skill level to make standout tarts, pies, cakes, cookies and more, going above and beyond the classics. Ana, who is an artist turned food stylist, uses foolproof methods, easy-to-follow instructions and unique ingredient pairings.

Enjoy this recipe for the Hungarian sweet noodle cake, Vargabéles. If you’re looking to explore more of Ana’s beautiful work, try her brand new cookbook, New Vegan Baking: A Modern Approach to Creating Irresistible Sweets for Every Occasion.

Makes 12-14 portions

Total time: 45 minutes



•​​ 4 eggs, beaten
•​​ 200 g caster sugar
•​​ 500 g cottage cheese
•​​ 2-3 tsp vanilla extract
•​​ lemon zest from 1 lemon
•​​ 60 g melted butter
•​​ 100 g raisins, soaked in hot water (or rum)
•​​ 250 g fettuccine pasta
•​​ 3 tsp sea salt
•​​ 1/4 tsp cinnamon
•​​ 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/380F and grease a 31cm X 20cm / 12-inch X 8-inch baking pan with 1-2 tsp softened butter. I used my 31 cm Falcon Enamelware baking pan.

Start by making the cheese mixture: in a bowl of a stand mixer, add the beaten eggs and caster sugar. Mix until slightly fluffy and lighter in color, about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot with water and about 3 tsp of salt to a boil.
Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, about 8-9 minutes, or according to the package instructions. As a general rule, add 1 litre of water for every 100 g of pasta.

Meanwhile, add the cottage cheese to the mixed eggs. Add vanilla, lemon zest, soaked raisins and a pinch of sea salt. Mix on low until everything is well combined.

Reserve 1/3 cup of the mixture to top the cake. Set both mixtures aside.

Strain the cooked pasta and transfer them to the cheese mixture. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to coat the pasta in the cheese mixture.

Transfer to the prepared baking pan and spread the pasta evenly. Top with the reserved cheese mixture, spread evenly with a spatula and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 25-30 mins. or until golden brown on top.

When ready, leave to cool on the counter for at least 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm. Sift the top with confectioners sugar before serving.

This noodle cake is wonderful warm or cold as well. Enjoy!


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