Thursday, August 27, 2009

August Daring Bakers: Dobos Torte

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. 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:

30 comments:

  1. I also made it into square shape. I think it looks really attractive too. Sounds like you had fun with challenge Sara. Well Done!

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  2. Your buttercream is beautifully dark and luxurious!

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  3. You also made the square shape LOL Your butter cream has very nice colour to it! Looks delicious :)

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  4. Oooh apricot sounds great with this! Haha, you're right, the buttercream was like chocolate pudding.

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  5. Glad you had fun with this one and I agree, I probably would have never attempted this one if it wasn't for the Daring Bakers! It looks beautiful.

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  6. Looks great! Very nice in a square shape. Glad you had fun.

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  7. The apricot idea sounds so delicious! I love the square dobos--great job! :)

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  8. I could taste the similarity between this buttercream and chocolate pudding, too!
    So, with the apricot syrup it was a sacherized dobos torte, right?
    Good job!

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  9. Wow did we make different buttercreams? Yours looks so nice and dark and firm. I've read of so many others having a "chocolate pudding" type frosting (as did I). Great job!!

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  10. @ Lisa: Haha, the picture is somewhat deceiving! My frosting was also very "pudding-y", although it firmed up ok after I had frosted the cake and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours. It was so hard to ice, though! :)

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  11. Cool! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. Your icing looks pretty lucious.

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  12. Glad you like the "pudding-y" buttercream... love your cake and the cute plate too :)

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  13. I really want to just EAT this frosting. So good. I love the caramel hazelnuts idea!

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  14. I am so envious your icing turned out so dark and velvety! Great job!

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  15. I'm so glad your enjoyed this challenge!! The torte looks amazing =D. Wonderful job!

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  16. Great idea with the apricot preserves. I just made some last week and didn't even think to do anything like that. I like how to made a square as opposed to the normal circle. Awesome job!

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  17. Mmm, apricot syrup! I really loved the sponge, too.

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  18. Caramel nuts sound better than caramel cake wedges!

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  19. Hahaha.. you're right, the buttercream does look like chocolate pudding. Your torte looks lovely. I especially love the orange plate. so cute!

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  20. Great idea with the apricot syrup and the caramelized hazelnuts! Beautiful looking frosting too!

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  21. I loved this challenge too! Your dobos looks delicious!

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  22. Lovely cake! I'm really taken with the shape... it seems so perfect for this challenge. :)

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  23. I really loved the buttercream too. Soo good. Looks delicious!

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  24. Great job! The buttercream was yummy, I agree!!

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  25. I LOVE your little square Dobos, it looks so lovely and delicious! I agree that the frosting was great, and NO to the lemon in the caramel. BTW, blanching hazelnuts in boiling water with baking soda, takes the skins right off. It totally beats roasting them and rubbing them with a towel until your fingers fall off..lol

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  26. Awesome looking cake. I loved making the buttercream too - because I hadn't used that technique before. Quite pleased with the end results.

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  27. Hi!

    I couln't figure out how to contact you directly - but I wanted to thank you so much for your review of the Frugal Foodie cookbook!

    All best,

    Lara Starr

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  28. @ Lara Starr: You're very welcome, and thanks for sending the book to review...I really enjoyed it! :)

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  29. Your torte looks awesome. I'm sad I didn't get a chance to make it.

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  30. roast the hazelnuts for a few minutes in a low (170) oven...gives the nuts a nice flavor, and the skins just fall off.

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