Desserts in Ljubljana are one of a kind. They combine the best of what Europe has to offer, together with native bakes and pastries. If you have an incredibly sweet tooth, visiting Ljubljana will be a treat for you.
Ljubljana hosts some of the best cakes and desserts the country has to offer. From the traditional Potica to the popular Bled Kremsnita, you can find everything in Ljubljana. You’ll also find new patisseries that provide some of the best new-wave cakes out there.
Are you visiting Slovenia any time soon? Find out which cakes, pastries, and desserts you can find in Ljubljana. Tell your expert tour guide that you want some of these cakes, and they’ll bring you in the best bakeries in town. Here are the top 14 cakes and desserts in Ljubljana.
Potica (Slovenian Nut Roll)
Potica or the Slovenian nut roll is the pride of Slovenia in general. It’s among the most traditional pastries in Ljubljana and among the oldest too. Potica received its first mention as far as 1575, and it endured ever since.
Potica is a tasty nut roll dish among the aristocrats of Slovenia at the time. Over time, the pastry became more accessible to commoners due to its simplicity.
Potica is a yeast-raised dough typically with a filling and rolled like a roll cake. The traditional flavor for potica is orehova or walnut. It’s a delicacy that is common during Christmas and New Year, and for a reason.
Walnut potica offers a rich, soft dough, but it’s not too sweet to the palate. It’s luxurious to eat, and you can find it almost everywhere. During the Open Kitchen season, you’ll find many stalls selling a slice in the morning and afternoon.
Potica doesn’t stop at walnut either. You can use hazelnuts, almonds, and other nuts in it. You can even use tarragon, poppy seeds, and even bacon for a savory pastry. If you want a traditional Slovenian breakfast in Ljubljana, potica is the best pick.
Prleška gibanica (Prekmurje-style Layered Cake)
Prleška gibanica or Prekmurska gibanica is the pride of Prekmurje, Slovenia. Over the years, the traditional recipe passed down from generation to generation has come to Ljubljana. Some restaurants, like Gujžina, offer delicious gibanica.
Every homemaker in Prekmurje has its own recipe for prleška, but the general style is the same. Prleška gibanica is a variety of potica, a layered strudel that uses pull pastry. The name comes from the term gibâničnik, a type of pastry basket.
Weddings will always have some Prleška gibanica, with different varieties of fillings too. The most traditional filling for gibanica is full fat cottage cheese. Locals sweeten it with granulated sugar and a pinch of salt.
In addition to the cottage cheese, many add a cream topping to their gibanica. This topping adds a dollop of sour cream and eggs for a delicious bite every time. Other fillings for gibanica include layers of apple and walnut.
Kremna rezina (Cream Cake)
Kremna rezina or kremšnita is one of the most famous desserts in Slovenia. Kremšnita or cream cake is something every tour guide will recommend to you. Here’s why.
Kremšnita, especially Bled Kremšnita, is among the most decadent desserts in the country. The Bled Kremšnita harkens as far back as the 1950s in Park Hotel near Lake Bled. The world-famous recipe is a delicious creation of Ištvan Lukačević.
The recipe has now come to different Slovenian bakeries, and many bakeries in Ljubljana offer it. Original Bled cakes are available in some areas around the Old Town, and your tour guide will likely find one for you.
So, what is Kremšnita anyway? Essentially, the cream cake is a vanilla pie. It uses vanilla custard and whipped cream in between two crisp layers of puff pastry.
If you can find Bled cakes in Ljubljana, you can call yourself lucky. Even then, a delicious Kremšnita in Ljubljana will never disappoint.
Jabolčni Zavitek (Layered Apple Pie)
If it isn’t obvious yet, Slovenians love their layered pastry. The quintessential dessert pastry is Jabolčni zavitek, known basically as štrudelj or strudel. The strudel has Austrian roots, but over the decades have become part of Slovenian gastronomy.
In Ljubljana, almost any bakery will have a type of strudel. Every home will have a different style, and every baker will have their own interpretation.
Jabolčni zavitek is generally an oblong pastry jacket. It will have grated cooking apples as for its filling, together with sugar, cinnamon, and even bread crumbs. The filling is delicious when hot and thick, similar to a hot pocket.
Strudel is a typical dessert that adds a ton of toppings and sauces around it. In Ljubljana, sliced fruits or a scoop of ice cream on top is something you find restaurants. A nice, cheap Jabolčni zavitek will have a bit of powdered sugar to it.
If you want something tasty with a good cup of Turkish coffee, this is for you. Sit down, sip your coffee, and take a bite of strudel whilst enjoying a slow afternoon in the Old Town.
Pohorska Omleta (Pohorje-style Omelette)
If you’re not Slovenian and you hear the word Pohorska omleta, you won’t even think it’s a dessert. Known in English as the Pohorje Omelette, this dessert is something we’re sure you’ll enjoy.
Like its namesake, the Pohorska omleta comes from the rural areas of Pohorje. The locale near Maribor is famous for its fresh fruits and produce. It’s a delicious dish that came from the collective hard work of the locals in the area.
Now, the delicious dessert is in the modern Ljubljana consciousness. So, what’s the Pohorje omelet? It uses pound cake dough, folded like an omelet or a crepe. In between the dessert, different types of fruits, jams, and fillings are added.
The traditional Pohorska omleta uses cranberry marmalade and a lot of whipped cream. It’s so sweet that it’s usually served to a family of 3 or 4 people. While there are individual servings of the omelet, you would want the real deal.
Some reiterations of the Pohorska omleta in Ljubljana include a variety of fruits. You can find omelets with blueberry filling, oranges, apples, strawberries, and even raspberries. Whichever it is, you’ll surely enjoy the sugary decadence every time.
Let’s get away from pastries for a bit and taste something different from Slovenia. While it’s contentious to call candy a “dessert,” Sumi candies are one of a kind.
If you live in Slovenia, you likely grew up enjoying a few Sumi candies when you were a child. For those living outside Slovenia, Sumi is a must-try.
Sumi has a wide variety of candies, from hard-filled fruit candies to Frubi cubes and caramel. These confectionaries leave a delicious taste in the mouth. A couple of these should be enough to sate your palate if you don’t want to overeat.
A pack of Sumi are also great souvenirs when you’re going back home. Bring a bag or two of their Herba candies, and you won’t find them anywhere else. Sumi Herba has a unique taste available only in Slovenia.
Belokranjska povitica (Bela Krajina-style Raisin-Curd Roll)
It’s hard to talk about Ljubljana, and Slovenia in general, without talking about Belokranjska povitica. While every Slovenian loves potica, the Belokranjska povitica is proof that you’re a full-fledged Slovene. It’s the national dish of Slovenia and has its history to it.
The Belokranjska povitica comes from Bela Krajina, a village south of Ljubljana. The story of how this dish came about is hazy, but there is a widely accepted origin story to it.
Slovenes believe that the dish came to Bela Krajina via the Uskoks. Uskoks are Serbian and Croatian Habsburg soldiers from the eastern Adriatic. It’s a straightforward dish that is almost similar to the widely accepted potica.
Belokranjska povitica uses the usual phyllo for the strudel-like consistency. The filling for the Belokranjska povitica, is a little more flexible. There are sweet versions and savory versions of the dish, with the savory version using pork cracklings.
The savory version of Belokranjska povitica, if you follow tradition, uses eggs, curds, cream, butter, and raisins.
Some modern Slovenes will tell you that potica and povitica are virtually the same – and they are. Even then, the Belokranjska povitica adheres more to tradition. The famous walnut potica is the more famous, albeit historically inaccurate, dessert of Slovenia.
Blejska grmada (Bled Pyre)
Bled is home to many desserts, mostly due to its vacation locale status. A good tourist guide will likely bring you to Bled and help you shop around local bakeries. Among such delicacies that have come to bakeries in Ljubljana is the Blejska grmada.
Blejska grmada, which translates to the “Bled pyre”, is a creamy delicacy from Bled. It was the brainchild of Jože Pristavec, and the genuine mccoy is only available at the Lesce-Bled Airport. The dessert, however, is now famous around Slovenia.
Blejska grmada is a decadent biscuit inside a cream topping. The pyre in this situation is the biscuit, while the cream topping is the flames.
The base uses cocoa to give it a chocolatey taste. The sweet cream topping can be something as simple as vanilla cream to other toppings like walnuts, chocolate, and fruits.
The typical restaurant will use rum to soften the base or other fruity liqueurs. Milk is a common sauce for children and those moving away from alcohol.
Ajdnek (Buckwheat Cakes)
For tourists who like the taste of rustic Slovenian countryside, one of the best desserts in Ljubljana is the Ajdnek. It’s one of the easiest buckwheat cakes available to Slovenes, and some families have it as a stable.
Ajdnek comes from the Upper Savinja Valley, due extreme north of Ljubljana. The main ingredients, which are buckwheat, walnuts, and honey, exude what Slovenia is all about. It’s not too sweet, but rather it has a harmonious flavor all around.
Ajdnek is peasant food in the past, usually made by farmers and foresters. Savinja is naturally mountainous, which makes this dish easy to make and economical. The average mother in Savinja prepares ajdnek for special occasions, usually Easter.
When farmers and foresters wanted to celebrate in the past, ajdnek is the go-to cake. Unlike potica, adjnek’s dough is thick and bready. It’s also not “rolled,” unlike the potica.
This dessert is a cake made inside a bundt pan, like most Slovenian desserts. The dough uses a thick buckwheat batter, layered onto a deep pan. Between each layer, crushed walnuts and honey go in-between.
Ajdovi krapi (Buckwheat Crepe)
Ajdovi krapi are among the unique desserts in Ljubljana. Unlike most pastries, ajdovi krapi is not e bread or a cake, but rather a dumpling. It’s closer to a dessert empanada that you can find in South America.
Ajdovi krapi translates straight up as buckwheat crepe, which is what it is. It is a crepe-style dumpling, using a buckwheat pastry with different types of filling. The most basic flavor for it uses millet porridge and cottage cheese.
While ajdovi krapi is a dessert, different types of sauces and toppings come with it. The base topping for it uses sour cream and sprinkled with cracklings. Many people eat this savory, taking it as a main dish similar to a cheese ravioli.
Fillings and toppings are interchangeable, especially if you want a sweeter krapi. For those who want the sweet variety, the filling uses walnuts and hazelnuts. The krapi then gets a dousing of vanilla sauce, maple, or honey, depending on where you eat it.
Kobariški štruklji (Kobarid-style sweet dumplings)
We’ve recently discussed štruklji or strudel recently, and like any dessert in Slovenia, it has its regional variations that have come to Ljubljana. Kobariški štruklji is among those great regional varieties from the far west.
Kobariški štruklji comes from the Kobarid region of Slovenia, far into the west. It’s a favorite among the people in the area, and you’ll find it in upscale restos in the Old Town. It’s delicious and enjoyable, as long as you can find it.
Kobariški štruklji is not a strudel, but rather a dumpling-like dish that looks like Chinese gyoza. It uses a thin layer of dough and has a sweet walnut filling. Additional sauces and garnishes come with it, including lemon zest, raisins, rum, and vanilla.
What makes kobariški štruklji superb is the way it’s made. Once the filling gets a neat wrapping, each štrukelj gets its signature seal. Chefs do a seal that is unique to every chef, so every restaurant will have a different dumpling.
When eating kobariški štruklji, it’s best to enjoy them fresh and warm. Douse it in syrup and dust it with cinnamon, walnuts, or even buttered breadcrumbs.
Buhteljni (Sweet Rolls)
Buhteljni is another great afternoon pastry bread that works with almost any drink. In a regular afternoon, you’ll find buhteljni in a bakery or a dinner table. You can sip your morning brew or tea, and you should be good to go.
So, what is buhteljni? This bread is known as Buchteln, originating from Bohemia but has penetrated Slovenian, Austrian, and Slovak cuisine. In essence, it is a sweet dinner roll made of yeast dough, usually with a filling in the middle.
The filling for a buhteljni tends to be sweet, using fruit jam and marmalades. Some also add poppy seeds or curd to create a sweet, savory bun. Much like American dinner rolls, this bread bake in a large pan so that they stick together.
Buhteljni usually has something added on top, either powdered sugar or vanilla sauce. Many even eat it plain and warm, similar to a potato bun. Some even boil these in a vanilla sauce to create a sort of sweet dumpling.
Krof (Powdered Doughnuts)
Krof is another great, simple dessert that is similar to a powdered doughnut. It’s more closely related to the German krapfen, berliner, or jelly doughnuts. In Ljubljana, it’s a round, fluffy bun with a jam-like filling inside.
Many bakeries make krof around the time of the Dragon Carnival, usually around February. It’s also more widely available during the start of Lent, also around February to March.
The definitive krof harkens back to the 1960s. They come from a roadside inn in Trojane, located northeast of Ljubljana itself. These are the trojanski krofi, and they made the inn a necessary stop for travelers in the area.
People traveling from Ljubljana to Styria and back take these home as a souvenir. They’re bigger than the average krof, but they’re still soft and tasty.
Dražgoški kruhek (Dražgoše-style cookies)
Dražgoški kruhek is another pastry in Ljubljana imported from its neighboring municipalities. This time, this cookie comes from Dražgoše and Škofja Loka, villages a few hours from Ljubljana. These are simple cookies with a lot of heart to them.
Dražgoški kruhek are gingerbread cookies that use the honey-flavored dough. Much like gingerbread, bakers enrich this dough with different spices for a variety of tastes. These spices include cloves, cinnamon, or both.
Common dražgoški kruhek tend to be big, usually shaped like a heart or a circle. Artisanal cookies even add a special design to them. Kruhek sells as a souvenir to tourists and consumed with a cup of strong coffee.
Desserts and cakes in Ljubljana are more than simple pieces of bread. Each bite offers a different perspective into another region of Slovenia. All these local desserts come to the Old Town as a delicious way to taste delicacies from around the country.
If you’re visiting any time soon, enjoy the excellent taste of Slovenia through its cakes and desserts. If you plan on going to Ljubljana, consider getting yourself an expert tourist guide that can help you find great artisans off the beaten path.
Check out more of Ljubljana. Savor the flavors and the aroma of beautiful Slovenia.