The Daring Bakers Make A Dobos Torte | The Gingered Whisk: The Daring Bakers Make A Dobos Torte

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Daring Bakers Make A Dobos Torte

Guess what time it is?! It's time for this month's Daring Baker's Challenge!!! 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 Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
Sooo...this probably wasn't my best baking experience ever. In fact, while I was baking, whipping, and frosting, all I could think was "This is going to be a fail. An epic fail."

I had some difficulty with creating the layers. As you can see... my first one didn't turn out so well. So then I got kinda nervous and decided instead of cooking a million super thin layers, I would cook it all together and then cut the cake into its layers. But then when it came time to actually cut the cake, I got even more nervous. I won't lie - I panicked. I am not the best at cutting multiple, thin, even layers, apparently. I only got three layers.
I wasn't pleased with the frosting, either. It refused to set. I mean, absolutely refused. I even put it in the freezer for a half hour and it was still more ganache-y than frosting-y. But my husband's entire family was at my house by this time, sitting at my kitchen table with forks in hand, waiting for a slice. So I had to just go with it. It wasn't hard to assemble, since it was only two layers, except for the fact that my frosting was oozing everywhere. I mean, everywhere. Overflowing the cake stand, down the sides, and onto the table. I know it doesn't look like it, but that is because I did some massive clean up for the photos (I know, I'm so tricky!) Also, I replaced the hazelnuts in the recipe with sliced almonds.

However, this cake or torte, or whatever you want to call it tasted awesome! It was great! I wish I hadn't had family over so I could have had more than 1/12 of the cake! The toffee layer was definitely sticky enough to almost glue my jaw together. But it had a nice lemoney flavor, so it was all ok. All in all, this was a yummy cake, even though I had some issues while making it. I want to try it again, and do a better job at it this time.

Dobos Torte

  • 2 baking sheets
  • 9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates
  • mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
  • a sieve
  • a double boiler (a large saucepan plus a large heat-proof mixing bowl which fits snugly over the top of the pan)
  • a small saucepan
  • a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier)
  • metal offset spatula
  • sharp knife
  • a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin.
  • piping bag and tip, optional

Sponge cake layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
  • pinch of salt

Directions for the sponge layers:
The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.
1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)
4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)
Chocolate Buttercream 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.
1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.
Caramel topping Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
  • 8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)
1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Cut the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and 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 and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and 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 and the cake layer was cold and 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 and 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 and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.
Finishing touches 20 minutes
  • a 7” cardboard round
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • ½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and 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.


  1. You had to assemble this with people waiting??? Kudos to you!

  2. I had no idea that you had so much trouble with the buttercream, because your pictures are great and it looks like it worked out. :)

  3. Perfect or not - Your torte looks amazing!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it =D.

  4. I totally agree with the above comment! I assembled it late at night with LOTS of nerves involved :) You made the photos look excellent! At any rate, the yumminess is what matters, right? Still sorry your buttercream never set! I would have been a mess.

  5. Sorry to hear about your buttercream. I wouldn't have noticed that... in fact I like the look of it and the deep chocolate color makes me wonder why my buttercream didn't turn out as chocolate as what I expected!


  6. Bravo for persevering! My layers were looking just like yours until I made them much thicker- they kept falling apart. And I had runny buttercream too. But I think your cake is beautiful, and it's not a DB experience if there isn't some panic involved, I think.

  7. That's so funny about your jaws being stuck shut.. so I gotta know.. was there a point where ya'll were sitting at the table politely trying to get the caramel layer out of your teeth? Kinda looking at each other, or better yet not making eye contact at all.. just trying feverishly to unglue your mandibles? HAR! Okay so that would so be my family.. but I thought maybe there were others like us out there. ;)

    Thin buttercream or not.. it looks fantastic! :)


  8. Lis, Yes, there definitely was a moment where everyone was trying to be like...yeah, this is awesome...but all we could hear was the cracking of the sugar off our teeth!

  9. Despite the challenge of getting the buttercream to behave, I think you did a fantastic job. Your torta looks really gorgeous.

  10. LOL@ the comments about the caramel stuck in the teeth! SO FUNNY and true! Despite the problems you had with the cake and frosting, the final result is gorgeous, and what matters most is taste, so I would definitely call your Dobos Torte a success! Very well done!!

  11. LOL yeah i didn't really like my caramel either, felt like super glue rather than toffee. I'm glad your cake tasted great and your in-laws loved it. Would you make it again?


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