Orahnjaca (Walnut roll)

Orahnjaca or orehnjaca (pronounced ‘orahnyacha’ and ‘orehnyacha’ respectively, and with an audible ‘h’ sound, like the ‘h’ in ‘hotel’) is roll with a yeasted dough and walnut filling. I used to think it was Croatian, but it looks like I was wrong, and the similar cake is popular all over Eastern Europe.

This is my mum’s recipe. Like a lot of good things, it takes a bit of time and attention, but it’s well worth it.

One word of warning though. We don’t really cook on a small scale here, and in this case, without thinking about dividing it into portions. The recipe below yields 2 large rolls (about 36 cm long, 7 cm tall, and 10 cm wide). When the cake is baked, it is cooled (barely!) and then eaten by the whole family throughout the day, or for a few days if you’re lucky and if everyone is not at home, until it runs out. It’s not really a dessert as such, though I wouldn’t stop you if you wanted to serve it as such. I’d just say it’s better after lunch, than dinner, if the dinner is your main, big, meal.  You could think of it more as a piece of cake to eat with your morning coffee, or during the day. But whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!



Orahnjaca (Walnut roll)




SOURCE:  Mum’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: 2 h (includes 1.30 h resting time)

COOKING TIME: about 1 h

CUISINE: Croatian

SERVES: Loads!



400 g plain flour

7 g powdered yeast

80 g butter, melted

2 large eggs

80 g sugar

2 dl warm milk

1 lemon – zest only

a little salt


GLAZING – optional

1 egg yolk, beaten

10 g vanilla sugar

some lemon juice



300 g ground walnuts

70 g sugar

1 dl boiling hot milk

2 tbsp dark rum

20 g vanilla sugar

a little lemon juice




  • Warm the sifted flour slightly in the oven (on low heat). Mix in the powdered yeast and salt, and then add all the other ingredients. Stir to combine and make a soft dough.
  • Set aside until doubled in size. Mum’s special tip: Place the bowl with the dough over a bowl of warm water. That should speed it up, and it will take about an hour.


  • Put the ground walnuts into a bowl and pour the hot milk over. Add all the other ingredients, and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.


  • When the dough has risen, divide it in half, and then roll each piece to 6 mm thickness. Divide the now cool filling in two, and spread over the dough. Roll each piece, and place onto the baking tray, leaving a large gap between the two rolls (they spread when they bake).
  • Leave to rise for 30 min.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 C, and butter and flour a large baking tray. Mum’s is 36 x 36 cm.
  • Before placing the rolls into the oven, you can glaze them with beaten egg yolk and lemon, and sprinkle with vanilla sugar, if you want. This is what mum does.
  • Bake the rolls for about 1 hour, or until done. Test with a skewer or a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Enjoy!


I’m submitting this to Ajme koliko nas je blogging event, hosted by Jasenka. The theme for the event is nuts.



More sweet Croatian recipes on this blog:

  • Fritule (aromatic bite-sized dough balls, flavoured with lemon zest, orange zest, grape brandy (loza in Croatian) and/or dark rum, and sprinkled with icing sugar)


Leave a comment


  1. Oh this is something that if i made would be consumed within the first hour by MOI! Forget what happens if the hubby found out I’d prob have to make x3!


  2. this is such a wonderful walnut roll recipe and I’m going to give it a try soon! looks delicious!


  3. Brilliant – thanks to you and your mum for sharing the recipe, and I reckon this is a real treat, so I can’t wait to cook some.

    I’ll let you know how it goes! Cheers


  4. This is really beautiful and looks delectable!


  5. I’m impressed with the responses here! Please do let me know if/when you make it. I really want to know how it went, and what you thought.


  6. walnut and rum all rolled up lovingly. who can say no to that? bookmarked. will have to do this when i get the time.


  7. fenomenalna je, prefino izgleda a orehnjacu obozavam! hvala ti na sudjelovanju u ovomjesecnoj igrici 🙂


  8. Manina

    I have been waiting for this recipe for years!!!! Since I saw a photo and ad for something called Potika? or something like that in a food magazine, a walnut roll sold by a bakery in New York;

    This is it except better! Thanks so much

    By the way, I goofed and published my post without the recipe and photo; I am publishing it tonight! Sorry. Glad you liked the (true) story.


  9. SOMA, I really look foward to your orahnjaca!

    JASENKA, Fala! I dobrodosla na moj blog!

    TASTEOFBEIRUT, 🙂 I learnt potica is another name for orahnjaca, Slovenian I think.

    The thing with the posts happens to all of us. 🙂
    I knew the story was true. And I loved how you wrote it.


  10. Maninas,
    Your Walnut roll looks yummy!!:)Ohh if onlyI could taste a bit.Love the recipe and hope to try it out…but to be honest,I must really muster some courage before I even venture out;)Absolutely love the photos!


    • Thanks!
      Please give it a go, and don’t be scared! The filling is easy-peasy, and the dough is not that hard. Just make sure your yeast and baking powder are not too old, and you’ll be fine. 😀
      The dough is not too difficult to roll out, because it’s not a crumbly one.


  11. Mary

     /  10 July, 2010

    I See The Recipe now! Thank you!


  12. Hi…thanks for the recepe. I make this with strong canadian flour (you can make it with any strong flour) and it makes a big difference as it is much softer and the pastry is amazing…I also make kiflice with pekmez od sljiva from the same dough recepe and they are amazing – they were only about 3 left for the next day. My kiflice do not look great as I still have not mastered the art of making them look like actual kiflice but they are tasty… if you have the recepe for kiflice would be great to compare..thanks as always…


  13. Crogirl

     /  20 August, 2012

    Hi luv the recipe not sure what the dl measurement means for the milk as I’m from Australia can you give it to me in metric measurements. Thanks for all the wonderful Croatian recipes


  14. Croatgirl

     /  30 March, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. My Baka used to bake this when she was still alive. I never knew how to make it. I just made it today in advance for Mothers Day tomorrow. I couldn’t resist cutting the end off to try and my god this took me back to my childhood and fond memories of her cooking delicious things in her kitchen. Thank you for a spot on recipe.


  1. Croatian picnic in London « Maninas: Food Matters
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