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 Dobos torte has three main components: an incredibly light sponge cake, chocolate frosting that's so delicious it might as well be chocolate pudding, and a lemony caramel.
Starting with the sponge cake, this was one of the best sponge cakes I've ever made! It held its structure well while still being light and tasty. We had the option to brush our sponge layers with some sort of syrup, and so I used an apricot syrup that I made a few weeks ago in the process of making apricot preserves. This added a nice tang and kept everything moist. I baked the sponge cake on a half-sheet pan covered in parchment paper and then cut it into six squares to make the six required layers of cake. Unfortunately, we didn't eat the cake until it was really dark out and too hard to get a good picture, but those layers of white cake and chocolate icing were gorgeous!
The frosting was probably my favorite part of the challenge. Although it was definitely more than a little hard to work with, it was so delicious. The frosting is basically chocolate pudding enriched with lots of butter...so although it isn't very firm (which makes constructing a non-slouchy cake near impossible), it is so, so good. I will definitely be making this frosting again, but next time maybe for cupcakes or a sheet cake rather than a six-layer cake!
Finally, I made the required lemony caramel. Because of reports of crunchy cake layers, I abandoned the step of soaking one of the cake layers in caramel in favor of dipping hazelnuts in the caramel. I dipped whole hazelnuts in caramel for the top and then poured the remaining caramel over the not-so-pretty hazelnuts and chopped them up to decorate the sides. This whole component didn't work out so well. The hazelnuts were a huge pain to peel, which is why I only succeeded in peeling seven of them for the top! The rest just refused to release their skins or broke in half when I was peeling them. The caramel also wasn't my favorite. It was hard to get it dark enough, I think because of the high water content...as you can see in the above photo, it's not very dark at all. Perhaps because the caramel flavors didn't come through well, the end result was just too lemony for my taste. However, with the whole cake assembled, this component added a nice crunch and was tasty.
Overall, I loved this challenge! This is one I definitely would not have made on my own, but I loved the end result (and it made for a really impressive presentation at a dinner party!). Thanks to our hosts for another fantastic challenge! You can find the recipe at A Spoonful of Sugar.
Please remember to check out all the rest of the tortes this month at the Daring Kitchen. Some of my favorites this month: