Thursday, August 27, 2009

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 Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
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This one looked really daunting but went together surprisingly well plus I beat one of my cooking nemesis, caramel. I cut the recipe in half to make a small cake perfect for just Matt & I. I simplified the cooking of the sponge layers by making it in one big piece is a jelly roll pan & then cutting it into 4" squares.
IMG_5034
Because I don't have an offset spatula (Hey, Matt this would be a great present for me, hint, hint) it was hard to get a really flat even sponge but I figure buttercream is made to fill in all those nooks & crannies. Speaking of the buttercream, it was so tasty & relatively easy to make. I used some toasted, salted hazelnuts that the nice people at Oh Nuts! sent me on the side of the cake. I thought the salty flavor would play nicely with the chocolate & caramel.

What follows is the recipe. My notes are in italics. I made 1/2 of this recipe.

Equipment
2 baking sheets I used one Jelly Roll Pan (baking sheet with sides)
9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates I didn't use these at all instead I used a ruler to cut out my sponge
mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
a sieve
a double boiler (a large saucepan plus a large heat-proof mixing bowl which fits snugly over the top of the pan)
a small saucepan
a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier) I used a hand mixer
metal offset spatula Don't have this so I just used a butter knife
sharp knife
a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin. I just made my cake right on a plate
piping bag and tip, optional

Prep times
Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually. Only 5 - 7 minutes to cook if you do one layer & cut it.
Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes

Sponge cake layers
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
pinch of salt

NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.

1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).

2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)
I just lined a jelly roll pan with parchment paper
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.
4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.

5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. I spread the batter in the jelly roll about 1/2-inch thick. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. Mine took 7 minutes. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack.
IMG_5000
Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. I found the sponge stuck to the parchment after awhile with the top side down so I flipped it back over. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Skip all this if you do one big piece like me. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)
I used a ruler & cut out four 4-inch squares. I cut out circles to use for the caramel layer. I just realized it was supposed to be five layers & the top not four, oops.
IMG_5001

Chocolate Buttercream
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar I used powdered sugar.
4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped I used 67% bittersweet chocolate
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.

1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.

3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping. My buttercream didn't seem thick enough so I beat about 1/3 c more powdered sugar in it which helped. It chilled up nicely.
Lorraine's note: If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you'll end up with more of a ganache than a buttercream!

Caramel topping
1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar I just used granulated white sugar.
12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice Next time I'll use vanilla.
1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)

1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
Or like me cut out shapes to coat with the caramel.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.

3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely. I used a ladle to pour the caramel over the pieces to be covered & then spread with a oiled butter knife. Make sure to cut away the excess caramel before it sets.
Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.

Assembling the Dobos
a 7” cardboard round
12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts

1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.

2.Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
I didn't use a cardboard round so I just made my cake on a plate & cleaned it up a bit when done.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.

4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski

10 comments:

Foodycat said...

Oh wow! In one of the cookbooks my family had when I was little there was a Dobostorte, and I was always fascinated by it. But too scared to make it! Well done!

maybelle's mom said...

i did the same thing and baked one sheet and the cut it down. good job to you.

Lauren said...

Wonderful job!! Your torta looks amazing =D.

Grace said...

looks pretty glorious, kat. sadly, this is the type of thing i rarely make. i guess i need to become more...daring. :)

The Momma said...

Your torta turned out great!

Maryanna said...

I love how you did the square cake with the round caramels. Great job!

jillian said...

Looks beautiful! I love that you made it for two.

Lori said...

I did mine in a jelly roll pan as well. I cut my circles out. It was so easy that way.

Your cake looks great and I bet the toasted salty hazelnuts were amazing on the cake.

evanescencia said...

Your Dobos Torte looks delicious!! It's very original the square shape of the torte and the round layers of the topping, they have a beautiful caramel color!! Great job!!

Hugs from Spain
Eva

Kristine said...

Looks good. I just joined Daring Bakers and am a little nervous.

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