Wednesday, November 9, 2011

dobos torte

The theme of supper club this month was your heritage.  How fun is that?  My dad's side of the family is Hungarian.  Many of the recipes my grandmother was known for were Hungarian.  My father recently passed along to me  a Hungarian cookbook my grandmother got from church. This little book is such  family treasure.  I sat down and read it cover to cover using my laptop to google ingredients and recipes along the way.  There were so many things I had never heard of so, I could not get a visual or flavor profile.  I attempted a coffee cake from it for Carter's birthday.  To say it was a lot of work is an understatement.  Dessert was my contribution for this round of supper club.  When googling Hungarian dessert the cake that most often comes back is the dobos torte.  There was a recipe for it in my grandmother's book but, there were many ingredients that I was not sure on and it had measurements like a block, a good amount and well when you are making and tasting something for the first time (at least in my kitchen) you need more guidance.  After making this cake I am questioning if any Hungarian cooking skills were passed down to me.  I really love Hungarian food but, it is not easy to make.

Here is what I learned ...

When making this cake make sure you have an extra dozen eggs on hand.  My first attempt at this cake was a flop.  I put all of the batter in an 12x17 sheet pan and it did not cook evenly.  

Soak your cake batter pan immediately.  The yolk mixture turns to a spackle that is very hard to get off.

The caramel layer in my opinion did not add anything.  I burnt the caramel which may have been the issue.  When you burn caramel in your pot add hot water and bring to a boil and the hardened mess will loosen up.

Use good chocolate for the frosting as it is the flavor you will taste. 

Google is rad.  If you ever try to make this google the dobos torte and read a few recipes as it was challenging

This cake is really very very good.  Not only is it beautiful looking but, it tastes really good.  The layers are light and spongy and have a custard flavor.  The frosting is not overly sweet there is a good cake to frosting ratio.

Loving supper club and all of my cool girlfriends who sit around the table with me on those nights.  Cheers to our Irish, German, Hungarian and Russian meal.

dobos torte

Cake layers:
7 large eggs, separated
3 large egg yolks
1 pound (3 1/2 cups or 455 grams) confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting racks
3/4 cup (94 grams or 3 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 pound (8 ounces or 227 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Caramel layer (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water

Prepare two 13x9 cake rimmed sheets.  Please note you can use various cake pans depending on the shape and or amount of layers you want to achieve. Line the bottom of each with a sheet of fitted parchment paper, and coat with a butter-flour spray.  

Preheat oven to 450°F and place a rack in the center of your oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 10 egg yolks for a few minutes at high speed, until pale and lemon-colored. Reduce speed and gradually add sugar, then increase the speed and beat the yolks and sugar until thick and glossy. Scrape bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Reduce speed again and gradually add flour; increase speed mix for 5 minutes more, then mix in lemon juice. Scrape bowl again with a rubber spatula. In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat the 7 egg whites with a whisk attachment until they hold stiff peaks. Stir a few heaping spoonfuls of the whites into the egg yolk mixture to loosen it, before folding in the rest of the whites in three additions. The batter will transform from a dry paste to a spreadable, foamy batter.

Spread your batter in prepared pans. Use a cup or a scale to evenly measure the batter between the two pans.  Bake each pan for 5 minutes, or until golden with some dark brown spots. Thicker layers may take up to 2 additional minutes. When layer is baked, remove it from the oven and flip it out onto a cooling rack that has been dusted with a small amount of confectioners’ sugar. Carefully, gently remove parchment paper then flip cake back onto another lightly dusted cooling rack to finish cooling. It’s best to cool the layers right side up; the tops are the stickiest part.  Repeat with remaining layers. Layers will cool very quickly. Trim edges of cake, if needed, to make even shapes or divide larger rectangular pans accordingly.

Melt chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until soft and smooth, scraping frequently. Add vanilla and 3 egg yolks. Add sugar and cooled chocolate, beating until thoroughly mixed and scraping as needed.

Place four strips of parchment or waxed paper around the outer edges of your cake plate. Place first cake layer on plate and spread chocolate on top and to edges with an offset spatula. I used my tablespoon cookie scoop and used 2 scoops per layer.  Repeat with remaining layers (or all layers except one, if you’d like to do a decorative caramel layer), stacking cake as evenly as possible. Once fully stacked and filled, you can trim the edges so that they’re even.
Spread chocolate on outside of cake in a thin coat, just to cover and adhere the crumbs to the cake. Place cake in fridge for 30 minutes (or freezer for 5 minutes) to set the chocolate. Spread chocolate more thickly and smoothly to make a final exterior coat of frosting. Remove paper strips.

Lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper. Place last cake layer on this sheet. Use a cookie cutter of your choice, cut desired decorative pieces and set aside. Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan and swirl it until the sugar melts and begins to turn a pale amber color. Quickly and carefully, pour this (you’ll have a bit of extra) over the prepared cake layer and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Leave in place, then cool completely. Arrange caramel pieces over cake.  Chill cake until needed.


Tina said...

This does bring back memories-I tried this once and it was a big fail. I think my recipe had the caramel only between all the layers and no frosting. I am sure the frosting makes things a lot easier. Your torte looks amazing. The spongy cake and the chocolate frosting does make for a great dessert. Well done.

That Girl said...

This reminds me of my 8th grade class where we had to do presentations on our heritage. Every other classmate was from England/Ireland or Germany. I was the only one from Eastern Europe!

Joanne said...

Some of the best cakes in life are the hardest to make. This looks delicious and worth all the hard work!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

I am so glad you made this first. I have been wanting to do this for about 2 years now- like on the very top of my to do list and then I get all nervous and scared- yep me nervous! LOL! Your dobos torte looks amazing! Simply stunning and I am sure it taste phenomenal. so proud of you said...

What a fun idea! I'm sure there's tons of great recipes in that cookbook. This cake is gorgeous, and I'm sure it was incredibly tasty. Worth all of the time spent making it!

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