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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Daring Baker Adventure: Dobos Torte

I was hoping for a cake but was surprised to find Dobos Torte as our August 2009 Daring Baker's challenge since it's a recipe that I've already tried myself!

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of hNot Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular "Dobos Torte" based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: ExquisiteDesserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. The Dobos Torte is a multi-layered spongue cake and chocolate frosting dessert.

My family used to order Dobos Tortes during the Christmas time due to our european heritage and it is a fond memory that I have from my childhood. As a fun challenge, I had decided for my 28th birthday last December that I would make my own Dobos Torte based on Wolfgang Puck's recipe, and it tasted exactly as I remembed a Dobos Torte should taste, except even better because it was fresh and homemade. I have a long blog post about it all here.

So I had mixed feelings about the Daring Bakers making the Dobos Torte. I was glad it was a cake but a little sad it's one I've already challenged myself with. But it was a new recipe, so I thought that would be a great thing to try out, and I certainly didn't want to miss out on the August event.

Unfortunately, this cake didn't turn out great for me. I gladly take some of the blame but this cake turned out nothing like my birthday Dobos Torte or the ones from my childhood. I must've made the layers too thin, plus Meijer only had Meijer-brand parchment paper, which made for a disaster trying to get those stupid sponge layers off of the parchment. They were so sticky. I had batter leftover after making 6 layers so I probably should've made them a little thicker.

The chocolate frosting was a mess for me as well. I didn't chill it after putting it together so that was probably a mistake, but it was such a liquidy consistency that it just glopped on and the layers slip-slided around. It was like a chocolate ganache (except way harder to make) as it just poured over the sides of my short and squatty cake. There was no chance I was going to be able to make it smooth or do any piping with this kind of hot-fudge consistency. I kept the frosted cake in the fridge overnight but much to my dismay, the frosting never hardened up like a ganache would have, so I couldn't even do any touch ups. It tasted fine but again, not the same as the other recipe or memories of my Dobos Tortes in years past.

I slapped some sliced almonds on the side, which was laughable to look at, and the top decorative layer of sponge cake covered with hardened caramel did not really do anything as far as making my monstrosity look any better.

The caramel worked better for me than in the last recipe I have tried, however the horrible sponge cake triangles which were sticky to begin with now were even worse with this caramel topping. I had to bring this cake up to my mom's house and just having a few of those triangles on top of eachother made for a disaster for trying to pull them apart the next day. I didn't like this sponge/caramel triangle topping in the original cake either (maybe I just cook the caramel too far because who wants to chew that hard of candy?) so it was nothing against this recipe, really.
The cake itelf was soo short (no thanks to my too-thin layers), so I did cut two slices and put them on top of eachother which made it look like a 12 layer cake (as seen in the top photo of this post). The flavors of the cake were still delicious, just very different from what I expected and it didn't fill in the void of "I want a Dobos Torte" like the other recipe I tried had.

Anyway, not my best Daring Baker showing, and a bit of a bummer since cakes are my specialty and this was so time consuming considering how ugly it turned out. Still, I am glad I completed it, on time and I am glad that I know the original recipe I tried is the one for me, hands down. I hate to be a Negative Nancy but I highly receommend you try Wolfgang Puck's recipe if you like the Dobos Torte!


  1. It is a shame you weren't happy with the torte, but I would still enjoy it - love anything chocolate!! At least you have another recipe you like. I loved this cake so will try that one soon! Wolfgang Puck has never let me down....

  2. Right! I definitely made mistakes on this one and the recipe just didn't come together for me, and I am very impressed with everyone else's results! I still enjoyed my slice o cake, that is for sure. :) Chocolate is always deliciouso!

  3. Oh, I am sorry it didn't turn out good (it looks good though) especially as it is something you have such strong family connection with.

  4. Aw, it's too bad this recipe/time didn't work out for you. I loved your cake from December. Thanks for the heads up on Meijer parchment, too!

  5. Your final photo still looked yummy, even if this wasn't the best challenge! I guess this will teach us to be wary of untested parchment paper. I had to scrape my layers off with my large icing spatchula, which doesn't get a lot of play around here, actually, so it was kind of fun (kind of) to use it for something. I loved the cake overall and might try your Wolfgang Puck - I have a love/hate with the sponge cake, and I think the only way to get past it is to make more...which, wouldn't you know, means eating more cake...:)

    Looking forward to your September challenge and many more delcious posts!