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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sweet Treats Saturday: Dobos Torte

Admist the craziness that's going on right now, one of my very good friends celebrated a birthday.  We threw her a little celebration and I assumed cake duties.

I wanted to do something special, and something chocolate, as she always gets me the best cakes for my birthday.  I had tucked away this recipe from Smitten Kitchen as it was love at first site.  I was just waiting for the right moment to make it.

I will admit, it was a bit time consuming to make, but only because you had to space about the prep and baking time.  Aside from that, it was easy peasy.  I highly recommend that you check out Smitten Kitchen's post as she provides some valuable tips, as well as multiple options for how to bake and assemble the cake (in various shapes and sizes).  I went with (what she mentioned was) a traditional approach: the rectangular, 7-layer cake.

I was excited (and nervous) when I showed up with the cake.  Excited because it looked fantastic and I could tell it would be yummy; but nervous because one of my friends saw it and exclaimed, 'you brought a Dobos Torte! That's my grandma's specialty!'  Oh great, now I had to compete with grandma?  She said that it's their family tradition to make this cake every holiday season.  So the big test now came when she bit into it... and she gave it her seal of approval!  The only difference that she could tell, was that her grandma uses a lighter chocolate for the frosting. She approved of the dark chocolate and said the cake was just as delicious as the one grandma makes. Success!

There were no leftovers to be had, but full tummy's and chocolate overdoses... in a good way, of course.  It's worth the effort, especially for a special occasion.  According to Smitten Kitchen, you can make the cake layers ahead of time and just frost and assemble when you're ready.

Dobos Tarte
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

A 6-layer 4×8.5-inch cake (the more traditional rectangle, baked in a single 12×17-inch sheet pan)

Cake layers:
7 large eggs, separated
3 large egg yolks
1 pound (3 1/2 cups or 455 grams) confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting racks
3/4 cup (94 grams or 3 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon table salt

Frosting and filling:
1/2 pound (8 ounces or 227 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Caramel layer (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
Handful of toasted, peeled hazelnuts

Prepare your cake pans: I used an 11x17 jelly roll pan and lined it parchment paper, and non-stick spray.  To make the rectangular shaped, 7 layer cake, I used the same pan twice, and just re-lined it with parchment.   If you are going to be doing a different shape, please refer to Smitten Kitchen's original post for suggestions.

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 450°F and place a rack in the center of your oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 10 egg yolks for a few minutes at high speed, until pale and lemon-colored. Reduce speed and gradually add sugar, then increase the speed and beat the yolks and sugar until thick and glossy. Scrape bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Reduce speed again and gradually add flour; increase speed mix for 5 minutes more, then mix in lemon juice. Scrape bowl again with a rubber spatula. In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, or by transferring your cake batter to a new bowl and washing it out and drying it with a long sigh, beat the 7 egg whites with a whisk attachment until they hold stiff peaks. Because your yolk mixture is more or less the thickness of spackle at this point, stir a few heaping spoonfuls of the whites into it to loosen the mixture, before folding in the rest of the whites in three additions. When you’re done, your batter will have transformed from a dry paste to a spreadable, foamy batter.

Bake your cake layers: Spread your batter in prepared pans; try to push the batter rather than pull it with an offset spatula, it will help keep the parchment from rolling up. Spread the batter evenly to the edges with an offset spatula; be careful not to leave any holes. I divided the batter in half and baked one at a time.

Bake each layer for 5 minutes, or until golden with some dark brown spots. When layer is baked, remove it from the oven and flip it out onto a cooling rack that has been dusted with a small amount of confectioners’ sugar. Carefully, gently remove parchment paper then flip cake back onto another lightly dusted cooling rack to finish cooling. It’s best to cool the layers right side up; the tops are the stickiest part.

Repeat with remaining layers. Dunk your cake batter bowl in water right away; that egg yolk-enriched batter dries quickly and was surprisingly hard to scrub off later! Layers will cool very quickly. Trim edges of cake, if needed, to make even shapes or divide larger rectangular pans accordingly.

Make the filling and frosting: Melt chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, but of course not so cool that it hardens again. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until soft and smooth, scraping frequently. Add vanilla and 3 egg yolks. Add sugar and cooled chocolate, beating until thoroughly mixed and scraping as needed.

Assemble the cake: Cut your cake to size.  If doing the rectangular shape, cut each jelly roll cake into 4 - 4.25" strips.  You will have one extra (for the 7 layer cake) that you can use to make the optional caramelized shapes.  Place four strips of parchment or waxed paper around the outer edges of your cake plate. Place first cake layer on plate and spread chocolate on top and to edges with an offset spatula. The filling must be spread fairly thinly to have enough for all layers and the outsides of the cake. You can scale the frosting recipe up, but I was able to have enough for all 7 layers by spreading it ultra thin.  Repeat with remaining layers (or all layers except one, if you’d like to do a decorative caramel layer), stacking cake as evenly as possible. Once fully stacked and filled, you can trim the edges again so that they’re even.

Spread chocolate on outside of cake in a thin coat, just to cover and adhere the crumbs to the cake. Place cake in fridge for 30 minutes (or freezer for 5 minutes) to set the chocolate. Spread chocolate more thickly and smoothly to make a final exterior coat of frosting. Remove paper strips.

Assembled layers - ready to trim the edges to even them out

Caramel topping, if using: Lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper. Place last cake layer on this sheet. Lightly oil a large chef’s knife (if cutting layer into 16 traditional wedges) or sharp cookie cutter of your choice and set aside. Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan and swirl it until the sugar melts and begins to turn a pale amber color. Quickly and carefully, pour this (you’ll have a bit of extra) over the prepared cake layer and spread it evenly with an offset spatula, right over the outer edges. Using prepared knife or cutter, quickly cut layer as you wish. Leave in place, then cool completely. Once fully cooled, cut edges of shapes again, to ensure that you can remove them cleanly. Arrange caramel pieces or wedges over cake, propping them up decoratively with hazelnuts.

Chill cake until needed.

I added the caramelized pieces right before serving


  1. Wow...looks so yummy! :)

  2. Ok, that looks sinful! So sinful that I could eat the whole thing!


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