The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
A Dobos Torta is a 5-layer sponge cake that is filled with chocolate buttercream & topped with caramel wedges. There can be up to 24 layers in a Dobos Torta, just in case you were wondering. The Dobos Torta was invented in 1885 by Jozsef C. Dobos who was a Hungarian baker. Check out the full recipe & everyone else wonderful creations at http://www.thedaringkitchen.com.
I halved the recipe to make 2 small round Torta’s.
For the sponge cake layers, I made Hannah Kaminsky’s recipe in My Sweet Vegan.
For the chocolate buttercream
6 oz coconut yogurt, chocolate flavored
¾ cup sugar
4 oz dark chocolate
1 stick Earth Balance
2 TBSP silken, firm tofu
I whipped them together in my kitchen aid until combined.
1 cup sugar
¾ cup water
2 TBSP lemon juice
6 whole macadamia nuts
(from our hosts) Directions for the caramel topping:
1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper & butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife & an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water & lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high & boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally & washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn’t just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time & the cake layer was cold & the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less & you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut & separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back & forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.
Angela’s note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later & it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.
Assembling the Dobos
1.Divide the buttercream into 6 equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 ½” cardboard round & top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.
All frosted, doesn’t look too good though. Okay, now it really looks funny. Is it supposed to fall over???
We were able to vary the shape, buttercream flavor, & nuts that we used for this recipe. I stayed with all the flavors they gave us except for the nuts. I have discovered that I just don’t like hazelnuts, not sure why. I keep trying to like them, but… I had some macadamia nuts on hand, so I used those.
After being picked up & set back upright.
Verdict: Great flavor, but I totally tanked on the plating, it completely fell over. I did miss how to do the caramel. We were supposed to cover the top layer of cake, which I did, then cut those into 12 triangles to use on top as decoration. Well, I just covered the top layer & placed it on top of the cake, not as pretty, but since it fell over anyway…um…, I guess it didn’t matter?
I do recommend this Torta, very yummy & really not that hard to make. Thank you so much for such a wonderful challenge.