Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Dobos Torta is a five-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. It was invented in 1885 by Jozsef C. Dobos, a Hungarian baker, and it rapidly became famous throughout Europe for both its extraordinary taste and its keeping properties. The recipe was a secret until Dobos retired in 1906 and gave the recipe to the Budapest Confectioners’ and Gingerbread Makers’ Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.
Dobos Torta is extremely rich with caramel wedges at the top, lots of chocolate buttercream sandwiching 5 (in my case, 6) layers of thin sponge cake and coating the entire surface of the cake, and a great amount of chopped nuts such as hazelnut or almond for side decoration. It is absolutely an excellent choice for sweet dessert! In order to make one, you need to face the ultimate challenge and make sure you do very good planning.
Entirely agreed with some DBers’ opinions that the top caramel is the most challenging part of all in the making process. Bringing syrup into the amber stage is no problem at all, but once the caramel is applied to the sponge layer and gradually settles, I am totally uncertain about the right time to cut the caramel. Despite the fact that I precut the segments from the beginning, but when the caramel added to it, I knew for sure this extra layer would add a new problem. An oiled knife worked well in cutting but it was still quite hard to get the segments separated without damaging them. I guess this caramel thing has to be improved by more practice.
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..
The recipe has been adapted for my own convenience and to suit the local ingredients. To see the original recipe please click here.
Serves 12 persons
1. Sponge Cake
Makes 7 layers
Need: 7 baking trays and one 8 inch convex square cake ring
- Cake flour – sift > 112 grams
- Salt > 1/8 teaspoon
- Eggs – room temperature, separate egg yolks from egg whites > 6
- Icing sugar – divide into 2 equal portions > 162 grams
- Vanilla essence > 1.5 teaspoons
- Combine cake flour and salt.
- Preheat oven at 200C.
- Cut 7 pieces of parchment paper with the size of 11 inch square. Using the bottom of the 9 inch convex square ring as a template and a pen, trace the shape on the center of each of the paper. Turn them over and place them into each baking trays.
- Beat egg yolks, icing sugar, and buttercream essence on high speed until pale and thick in about 3 minutes.
- In another mixing bowl beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Stir ¼ portion of egg white into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk moderately. Then fold in the remainder, again whisk just moderately.
- Fold half of flour mixture into the eggs, whisk moderately and then fold in the remaining flour.
- Spread 75 grams of batter into the area slightly exceeding the mark on the parchment paper.
- Bake at 200C on the top rack for 4 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the center and the edges are lightly browned.
- Repeat for the remaining batter until 7 layers are achieved. Cool.
- Peel away parchment paper.
- Use the 9 inch convex square as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat convex square.
- Set aside for later assembly.
2. Chocolate Buttercream
- Eggs – room temperature > 4
- Granulated sugar > 200 grams
- Dark chocolate – finely chop > 110 grams
- Salted butter – room temperature > 250 grams
- Prepare a double boiler by filling ¼ portion of a large saucepan with water and bring it to boil.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick in a big heat-proof bowl for about 5 minutes.
- Place bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan and switch to low heat. Cook egg mixture by whisking constantly for 3 minutes until it starts to thicken a bit.
- Immediately whisk in chopped chocolate. Continue cooking and stirring for 3 minutes.
- Scrape hot egg mixture into another bowl and leave to cool in room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
- When cool, beat in soft butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time. The result will be thick, velvety chocolate buttercream.
- Chill while make caramel topping.
- Granulated sugar > 200 grams
- Water > 180 ml
- Lemon juice > 40 ml
- Vegetable oil – to oil knife
- Choose one of the best-looking and flat sponge layer for caramel topping. Grease parchment paper with butter and place the layer in the center.
- Cut the 9 inch convex square cake into 12 segments but leave them in their initial sticking-together position.
- Grease a sharp knife with oil.
- Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar.
- Once dissolved, switch to high heat and boil without stirring, only swirling the saucepan.
- Let it boil until the color turns amber.
- Immediately pour the hot caramel on top of the cake layer (make sure it is in room temperature, not just being refrigerated). Keep caramel inside the cake area.
- Using offset spatula quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake. Let cool until beginning to set for about 30 seconds.
- Using the tip of a hot oiled knife cut through the cutting mark to divide the cake into 12 wedges. Cool another minute.
- Finally use the edge of the oiled knife to completely cut and separate the wedges by doing one firm slicing movement.
- Cool completely.
- Chopped almond > 200 grams
- Almond chocolate truffle > 1
- Chocolate curls > 2
- Position one cake layer on the serving plate. Spread 75 grams of chocolate buttercream on the layer. Top with another cake layer.
- Repeat this step until all the layers are stacked up. Coat the entire cake with buttercream.
- Press chopped almond to the sides of the cake.
- Arrange the caramel wedges on top of the cake. Prop an almond under each wedge so it sits at an angle.
- Place almond chocolate truffle as a centerpiece accompanied by 2 chocolate curls.
- Refrigerate cake inside a cake dome until the buttercream is set, about 2 hours.
- Serve. If there is any overnight refrigeration involved, remember that the cake is best to be consumed when the it is in room temperature.