27 August 2009

Daring Bakers: Dobos Torte

Recipe: Dobos Torte
Recipe origins: Rick Rodgers' Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar

Co-hostess: Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonfulof Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular DobosTorte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

First, a little bit of bloggy business: I'll be on holidays for a few days and will be in Ottawa this weekend with Jenny of All Thing Edible and Mary of Beans and Caviar. If you're around and want to meet up (we're thinking of dinner and a movie (Julie and Julia) for Saturday night), please email Jenny or me and we'll get you details. Needless to say, I'll do my best to autolaunch a post...but the key words are "do my best."


My regular readers know I've been stupidly busy this month. Workasaurus and Deadlineadactyle tagteamed me almost into submission. I beat them off, but it took time and energy. By the time I could draw breath it was...well...Monday. As in Monday 24 August.

I hadn't even really looked at the challenge before a couple of days ago. Sure, I saw a chocolate cake with wings in the challenge post: yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it--a layer cake of sorts, enrobed in chocolate with some sort of caramel thing on top. Nuts on the side. Easypeasylemonsqueezey.

After printing the instructions and reading them I realised it wasn't your regular cake. Parchment papers and drawn circles...springforms as templates and not baking vessels...six layers...toffee...chocolate butter cream.

Really, I didn't have time to think about what it was telling me to do. I just did. Even though I'm a huge proponent of analytical and critical thought, but sometimes thinking can really screw you up.

I knew for practical reasons a full cake would be out of the question. It's just me (well, not really: I decided to take it to a barbecue for two at Dear Friend's), so an eight- or nine-inch cake would be far too much. Add to that I'm going away for a couple of days and I'll have a stale cake sitting in my fridge awaiting it's binned fate when I return. I found the most adorable five-inch springforms a couple of months ago and I bought a set of six, thinking they'd be great for individual savoury pies, and thought "Well, if they're good enough for a savoury pie, they're good enough for a DB challenge." By eye I could see that I could easily halve the quantities for my teeny torte, my diminished Dobos.

The other changes may kick me out of the DBs for the month:

I just couldn't bring myself to ice the entire cake. All I could see was all that sugar: sugar in the cake, sugar in the icing and sugar in the toffee. I knew I'd either come away with a migraine or just be bouncing off the walls. And given it was a lakeside barbecue, I could easily see myself bouncing into the lake. Not good for a non-swimmer.

Then came the toffee layer. Sigh. Fatigue got the better of me. Although the toffee is really easy to make, I just didn't have the energy to do it....so I pulled my bottle of dulce de leche, melted it and used that instead.

I decided, instead of icing the full thing and turning the sixth layer into a pinwheel design, I'd turn it into a proper six layer cake, with layers of chocolate buttercream peeking from between the storeys of cake. the top layer would be drizzled with caramel. I think of it as a minimalistic version of the proper Dobos.

The result was a delicious...if not slidey cake. Quite honestly, I don't think icing the full cake would have stopped the Leaning Tower of Pisa appearance. The cake was tilty and cutting it didn't help as each serving became an Escher-like constuction of cake, chocolate and caramel...from certain angles, it was very difficult determining which end was on the bottom and which end was on top.

But does it really matter? No. The cake was lovley. The cakes were light and delicate. The buttercream (my first time making chocolate buttercream) was a heavenly moussey-marshmallowy spread. Sure, it would have been nice to have a properly done Dobos, but then again, it would have tasted just as good.

Click here for a list of participating Daring Bakers.


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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Well done Jasmine-it looks lovely! And good on you for taking the time to make this with your life so busy too :)

Mickle in NZ said...

I'm sure the other partaker at the barbeque loved it - a cake sized for two happy eaters.

My goodness - is beezlebub starting to behave, or have you beaten him into submission?

Snores behind me from a half awake Zebby. Life is so good when you're a much loved rescue cat. I'm sure Cleo learnt this from your own and EXBF's love for him.

care and huggles,

Michelle and "nose buried in a fluffy scarf" Zebbycat

Meeta K. Wolff said...

jasmine - like you i was kind of exhausted by the time it came to the caramel layer! i like your style here - dulce de leche is always a savior!

maybelles mom said...

wow, consrdeing your month, i was surprised to see you post. good job.

George@CulinaryTravels said...

Lovely job Jasmine. Looks great :)

Sue said...

Love your photos! Though sponge cake is not my favorite(I didn't even eat mine), your torte sounds/looks delicious!

Have a fun weekend! I loved "Julie and Julie!"

Sweet Kitchen said...

This cake sounds absolutely delicious and I'm so sorry I missed out this month. Enjoy your R&R - sounds like you really could use it!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

I really liked your take on this one. Minimalistic. And you didn't miss much withe caramel layer, though the cake was pretty good.

Valérie said...

Yep, the Dobos is quite decadent, indeed! So a mininalist version is not at all a bad idea!

Your mini version looks both cute and satisfying. And I agree, chocolate buttercream is a keeper!

Natalie said...

The main thing is that you enjoyed the process.. You did enjoy it?
How it all looks in the end it does not really matter :)

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

the cake looks just fabulous! Yummie all the way,...

Cakelaw said...

LOL - I know what you mean by life catching up with us and taking us by surprise. I am glad that you enjoyed the cake - and full marks for being creative enough to deconstruct it. Enjoy your holiday!