While Dobos is originally Hungarian, the cake has been made quite popular throughout the Balkan region. Various countries, including Romania, have adapted the cake to be a part of their dessert repertoire. And it totally makes sense… because it’s delicious!
So last year, December 30th, 2013 to be exact, I started baking the Dobos cake layers… and eventually finished assembling the cake before the closing of the year. I knew I needed to set a deadline of sorts in order to get myself to bake this cake… with all the butter… and eggs:). You know though, I’m glad I baked it… for the experience, as well as the joy I saw in my husband’s eyes after he tasted his first bite. I think it was totally worth it:)!
The Dobos torte recipe can vary a bit from recipe to recipe… but it’s mainly based on sponge layers, chocolate butter-cream and a hard caramel topping. After looking over a few recipes, I decided to combine ideas to make this version I ‘m posting today. I loved the sponge cake from Palachinka, so I used that. I liked the caramel from Smitten Kitchen, and so used that. The butter-cream however was my own adaptation… based off of the one from Palachinka, but with a bit less butter, one less egg and a bit of extra chocolate.
One thing I might do next time, just thinking out loud, is to lightly brush each sponge biscuit with a rum syrup… to add a bit of extra moistness. The cake tastes better the next day when the sponge layers soften and flavors improve. But if I had brushed the sponge layers with a bit of syrup, I think it would have taken the cake up a notch… I ran across the syrup idea on a Dean and Deluca online description of their Dobos torte. I thought the idea was brilliant, so I’m sharing it in case any of you would love to try it. So here’s my version of the Dobos torte, which we loved. Hope you enjoy…
Note: This makes minimal amount of butter-cream….by minimal I mean I “scraped” and used the last “drop”. If you would like more butter-cream, increase quantities… check original recipe from Palachinka.
Make Sponge Biscuits:
- Preheat oven to 390 deg F
- Cut out 8 (9 inch) circles of parchment paper
1. Using a mixer, beat egg whites on high till stiff… about 2 minutes.
2. Slowly add sugar and continue mixing until thick and shiny.
3. Stir in egg yolks, one by one.
4. Carefully sift the flour over the egg whites in 3 parts… using a large whisk to “fold” in the flour, tapping the whisk on the edge of the bowl as you complete a “fold” . Do not over mix, as you will lose volume. Just fold until all flour is incorporated.
5. Measure the weight of the batter and divide into 8 equal parts…. You should have about 8 cups worth.
6. Line a 9 inch cake pan with 1 cut out parchment circle…. Butter paper and sides of pan. I used a removable base tart pan.
7. Using a cup measurement , scoop out 1 cup worth of batter and spread batter in pan to an even thickness. I love to use an offset spatula.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden, you don’t want to under-cook as the top will be too moist and stick…. and you don’t want to overcook as to dry out the cake layer to a brittle. Mine took just under 6 minutes in my electric oven… middle rack.
9. Remove parchment paper from cake layer and place the parchment paper on top of the cake and cover with a towel.
10. Repeat with the next 7 layers… you will need to scrape every bit of the batter. Don’t forget to place parchment paper between the cake layers to prevent them from sticking.
Note: The layers are quite thin and very light. Allow to cool completely. I love to make the cake in 2 days… so I freeze my cake layers and defrost the second day, and then continue with making the caramel and butter-cream.
Make Caramel (This can be optional): You could do this in 2 ways… either cut the sponge cake layer ahead of time in desired shapes and then pour hot caramel over each piece…. or leave cake layer whole, pour hot caramel over layer and then quickly cut the desired shapes using a well-buttered utensil, be it a knife or sharp buttered cookie cutter. The first method may be easier to get clean caramel on the surface… the second option, can easily crack as you cut, especially if you don’t work quickly.
NOTE: Caramel hardens quickly, so you need to work fast… but be VERY careful as caramel can burn hands.
- Lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper and place it on a firm surface
- Grease knife or cookie cutters well, if using the second option.
- Set aside an offset spatula.
- Place a handful of slivered almonds next to the cake layer… only if you would like to cover the sides of the cake with an almond brittle.
1. Place last cake layer on greased sheet.
2. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water. Swirl the pan until sugar melts and begins to turn a pale amber color, making sure it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat.
3. Quickly and carefully, pour some of the hot caramel over the prepared cake layer, then pour the rest over the slivered almonds.
4. Quickly go back to the caramel covered cake layer and with an offset spatula, spread the hot caramel over the cake layer evenly all the way to the outer edges.
5. Using prepared knife or cutter, quickly cut layer as you wish… be it in wedges or shapes. If making wedges just cut through and leave shapes in place to completely cool. Once cooled, cut edges of shapes again, to ensure that you can remove them cleanly.
Note: If making shapes, then it will be a bit harder, as you will need to remove the cutter before allowing the shape to cool completely, otherwise it can break when removing. Not recommended, as it can try your patience:)… and you will need to be VERY careful, when working with any caramel as it can easily burn you. If you really want to make shapes, then I’d recommend cutting out the shapes beforehand and then spreading caramel over each piece.
6. Make almond brittle by placing the hardened caramel and almonds in food processor. Process until brittle is crushed to small pieces. Set aside.
1. Using a mixer, beat eggs with sugar until fluffy and thick… 1-2 minutes.
2. Cook egg mixture in a double boiler until it thickens, stirring continuously. It took me about 20 minutes. The time can vary, depending how hot the bain marie water may be. The egg mixture is thick enough when you run a spatula over the bottom of the bowl and a clear mark is visible. The mixture will have decreased by 1/3 almost… and is still somewhat light.
3. Add chopped chocolate to the egg mix, stirring and cooking for another 2-3 minutes. The mixture will deflate considerably and get thick … pudding-like consistency.
4. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
5. When chocolate egg mix is completely cooled, beat butter till fluffy.
6. Add a bit of the cooled chocolate to the butter and mix till combined. Continue beating and adding the chocolate mix until all chocolate egg mix is used up and butter-cream is fluffy and light.
7. Stir in vanilla and rum.
1. Place first cake layer on a parchment lined plate. You may want to place a touch of butter-cream cream on the plate just to keep the parchment paper from sliding on the plate.
2. Using an offset spatula, spread about 4 TBS of butter-cream evenly on cake layer all the way to the edge. The filling must be spread fairly thinly to have enough for all layers and the outsides of the cake.
3. Repeat until all layers have been used.
4. Trim the edges so that they’re even.
5. Spread some chocolate butter cream on top and sides… in a thin coat, just to cover and adhere the crumbs to the cake. If you notice the butter-cream is too soft, then refrigerate to harden a bit.
6. Spread a bit more butter-cream on top and sides, to smooth out exterior.
7. Decorate sides with crushed almond brittle. Pipe frosting on top and arrange caramel pieces or wedges over cake. Sprinkle with just a touch of the brittle.
8. Using a large thin pizza peel remove cake from parchment paper and place on cake stand(the cake is quite light, so you could even use your hands to lift cake and remove bottom paper)… making sure to dab a bit of butter-cream in the center of cake stand, to keep the cake from moving.